The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has looked into the question of whether it is possible for them to publish the 1998 translation of the Roman Missal, now that Pope Francis has returned to them their authority over liturgical translations, or so it seems from a recent report. They inquired into use of their authority on prior translations, with the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome.
That is the good news. The bad news is that the CDW has said no.
The Tablet reported yesterday that “the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said after their meeting in Leeds last week that they were ‘grateful’ for guidance that they have received from the Congregation for Divine Worship that the motu proprio ‘concerns future liturgical translations and cannot be applied retroactively.’”
The article goes on to report that
John Wilkins, associate author, with Gerald O’Collins SJ, of Lost in Translation: the English language and the Catholic Mass (published by Liturgical Press and distributed in the UK by Norwich Books), said: “I am puzzled at the emergence of this new principle that “there can be no retroactive application” of Pope Francis’s motu proprio Magnum Principium, which gives back to the bishops their responsibility for producing and overseeing translations of the liturgy in line with Vatican II. The Pope says nothing at all about time directions in his text. Rather, he wants proactive engagement from the bishops.
“In any case, such a stipulation would not seem obviously to apply to the translation approved in 1998 by all the English-speaking bishops’ conferences participating in their translation body, ICEL. They voted that 1998 Missal in by large majorities. They never voted it out: rather, their prerogative was taken out of their hands. That Missal therefore exists in limbo, on a Vatican shelf. If the English-speaking bishops want to take it down now that Pope Francis has restored their authority, dust it off and submit it for the first time for Rome’s recognitio, why not?
You can read the whole story here.