Today is the fifty-fifth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and it is the day in the liturgical calendar when the Church honors Pope Saint John XXIII. A blessed feast and anniversary to all!
In the matter of the ongoing renewal of the liturgy according to the hopes of the Council, Pope Francis has played an increasingly important role in our time. His motu proprio on translation, Magnum principium, was released in September and came into effect on October 1, but we are still figuring out what it all means.
Today Commonweal published an article I wrote, discussing the contents of Francis’s motu proprio. In it I argue that the portions of the motu proprio concerning translation itself, and not only those concerning the question of the oversight of the bishops, merit close attention.
Pope Francis, I believe, has provided us with a recalibrated vision of what it means to speak of a “faithful” translation. He “touches on many of the neuralgic issues of the ‘translation wars’ and reframes our understanding of them. He did not merely move around the players. He has spoken helpfully about the task.”
A significant part of his motu proprio draws upon the 1969 instruction on translation of liturgical texts approved by Blessed Paul VI, which is commonly known as Comme le prévoit. A study of the two texts (Magnum principium and Comme le prévoit) yields some surprising convergences.
I am happy to share the link to this article with our readers at Pray Tell, and to invite your comments and discussion. The German bishops recently announced that they would be studying the motu proprio before taking any steps to move future translations forward. One can only hope that our English-speaking bishops will do the same.