German priests ask bishops to wait on Missal translation – UPDATE

The Tablet reported today that members of the German Priests’ Initiative, founded in 2007, have asked their bishops to withhold approval of the new German translation of the Roman Missal. They are concerned with the linguistic register of the new translation, which they regard as inappropriate.

You can read the Tablet report here.

The priests’ statement draws attention both to the process by which the translation was “pushed through” and the problems embodied in the resulting text:

We are aware that the Vatican worship congregation has pushed through this new translation according to the instruction Liturgiam authenticam (2001) with great pressure, against the efforts of the German bishops and liturgy experts for a stylistically better and linguistically more comprehensible translation. …

We urgently need a language that helps contemporary people carry out a dialogue with God and thus participate actively in the liturgy. Our liturgy does not suffer from its words being too far from the Latin original. The opposite is the case: the liturgy is often far removed from the language and sensitivities of people and insufficiently poetic and inspiring. A new Missal that that doesn’t deal with these difficulties, but in fact exacerbates them, will be rejected by many priests out of reasons of conscience, and will not be accepted and understood by congregations. It will not lead to greater unity in the church, but will cause divisions and encourage aberrations.

In the few days of his pontificate, Pope Francis has sent clear signals that allow one to hope for more collegial interactions with the bishops and an end to exaggerated Roman centralism. …

We turn to you with this urgent concern: do not implement the new Missal, but stay with the current translation for the time being – even though so much effort has been expended. Make known to Pope Francis the problem, in the hope that he will give back to diocesan bishops the right to carry out the task proper to them, without the paternalism of the Roman curia.

Pastors Karl Feser and Klaus Kempter,

in name of the Pfarrer-Initiative of Germany

The following diocesan groups are brought together in the German Pfarrer-Initiative,: Pfarrerinitiative of Wurzburg, Munich Circle (Münchner Kreis), Priests in Dialogue of Passau, Priesterinitiative of Augsburg, Action Community (Aktionsgemeinschaft) of Rottenburg, AK Regensburg, Initiators of the Freiburg Memorandum, and the Pfarrerinitiative of Cologne.

The statement in the original German is found here on page 3.


HT: translation from the German by Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB


One response to “German priests ask bishops to wait on Missal translation – UPDATE”

  1. Jack Feehily Avatar
    Jack Feehily

    I congratulate these brother priests on Germany. They obviously know,of our experience in English speaking countries. Dare we hope that Francis may actually appoint a liturgist to head the CDW?

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