Rome and Tokyo close in on agreement over Missal translation,” the Asian independent Catholics news agency UCANews reports.

In past years , the Japanese bishops have experienced similar difficulties with Rome on liturgical translations as other countries. But here’s good news:

Recently however, “the atmosphere in the Congregation has changed dramatically,” said Bishop Masahiro Umemura of Yokohama, president of the Committee for the Liturgy at the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Japan (CBCJ).

Bishop Umemura visited with officials of the Congregation for Divine Worship in March. “There was reason to expect Bishop Umemura’s reception to be a cold one,” UCANews writes. Rome had been insisting that Et cum spiritu tuo be translated “And with your spirit,” but the Japanese bishops had pushed for “And also with you” because of the unacceptable connotations of the Japanese word for “spirit.”

“In the past, the Congregation kept merely reiterating basic principles and regulations,” recalled Bishop Umemura. But, to his surprise, “this time they gave us a chance to actually explain our reasons for the changes.”

Pope Francis is seen to be the reason for the change of atmosphere in Rome:

Bishop Umemura believes that Pope Francis’ ascension to the papacy is having a significant influence. “I felt that the pope’s inclination to let the local bishops handle their own affairs has been given considerable weight throughout the Curia.”

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