The Translation Process: a Primer

From the newsletter of the US national liturgy office (see p. 11):

1. How many stages are involved in this process?
There are two stages in the consideration of the ICEL translation of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia [Roman missal, third official edition – ed.] by the USCCB [United States Conference of Catholic Bishops – ed.]: A “Green Book” Consultation and a Canonical Vote on the ICEL “Gray Book.”

2. What is the Green Book Consultation?
Members will first receive a “Green Book” for each of the parts of the Roman Missal, upon which they will be asked to comment. Diocesan Offices for Worship, Liturgical Commissions, Pastors and other experts might be consulted to provide advice on each of these segments. The Committee will provide the maximum amount of time possible for each consultation in order to facilitate such consultations. Once the consultation has been completed, the results will be reviewed by the Committee on the Liturgy, which will formulate its own recommendations. A report containing each of the suggestions received from the members of the USCCB and the recommendations of the Committee on the Liturgy will then be forwarded to ICEL.

3. What is the Gray Book for Canonical Vote?
Once ICEL has reviewed the reactions to the “Green Book” from each of its member Conferences, a “Gray Book” will be presented to each of the Conferences of Bishops of the English-speaking world for their canonical vote. Each Conference of Bishops is free to emend the Gray Book, while keeping in mind the value of a single vernacular text for all English-speaking Catholics.

4. What happens once the Gray Book has been approved?
Once the “Gray Book,” emended to meet the particular needs of the USA, has secured approval by two-thirds of the Latin Church members of the USCCB, it will be submitted to the Holy See for the requisite confirmation.

5. What is the Timeline for this Process?
[deleted – no longer current information]

6. How is the Roman Missal being divided up for this process?
The parts of the Roman Missal, in the anticipated order of their completion are: Order of Mass I, Proper of Seasons, Order of Mass II, Commons, Ritual Masses, and Various Needs, Votive Masses, Masses for the Dead, Proper of Saints, and Appendix and Introductory Materials.

7. What are the respective roles of the ICEL, the Conferences, the Holy See?
ICEL produces translations of the Missale Romanum for consideration by the Conferences. The Conferences then consider these texts twice: one for consultation (Green Book), and then for a canonical vote (Gray Book). Once the Conference has approved a text by a two-thirds vote of the Latin Church members, the Holy See reviews the approved text for consideration of the confirmation.

8. What does the Vox Clara Committee do?
Vox Clara, a committee of senior Bishops from around the English-speaking world, is the primary advisor to the Holy See on English-language liturgical texts. Members from the United States are Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb and Archbishop Alfred Hughes.







5 responses to “The Translation Process: a Primer”

  1. Graham Wilson Avatar
    Graham Wilson

    So what’s missing is the unacknowledged, unofficial, secret step of “correcting” and/or “improving” the ICEL bishops’ approved and confirmed texts by Mgr James Moroney and helpers, but without the bishops getting in the way and doing silly things like voting on texts, or heaven help us, even requiring that they be acculturated properly? Or will the new and improved text be subject to local approval and Roman confirmation?

    And have the bishops, by approving such a clumsy translation, played into the hands of the CDW?

    “You see, you can’t really rely on ICEL (the English-speaking bishops) to produce a good translation, whether using Comme le prévoit or Liturgiam Authenticam. For the pastoral good of the English-speaking Church we, the CDW, have stepped in and rescued the translation. Why not permanently give us the job of translating the liturgy? It would be so much easier and quicker to centralise it all. You wouldn’t have to seek our approval (opps, “confirmation”) then, because any translation would be automatically accepted, because it would be Ours.”

  2. Nancy Hanson-Windsor Avatar
    Nancy Hanson-Windsor

    Please do not take offense, but I’m a newbie to all of this. What does CDW mean?

    1. Christian Cosas Avatar
      Christian Cosas

      Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Or CDW for short.

      Wikipedia entry on the CDW

      1. Nancy Hanson-Windsor Avatar
        Nancy Hanson-Windsor

        Thank you!

  3. Fr Timothy Lewis Avatar

    Graham, what then was the point of the Vox Clara Committee, appointed by the CDW – what was their brief? Make sure the final text is so bad that we can then correct it?

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