PrayTell broke the story some time ago that German-speaking bishops are unhappy with the Roman-approved translation of the burial rites (what we call the Order of Christian Funerals), and one highly-placed bishop said he would not use it. Now it is public. It is a first, as far as I know, since Vatican II: an officially approved book is being withdrawn because of objections to the translation, especially to the many changes Rome made in the submitted translation. PrayTell provides in full the announcement given by the Archdiocese of Salzburg (translation AWR).
Rituale Fascicle “The Burial Rites of the Church”:
Extension of Permission to Use the Edition of 1972-73
Letter of the President of the Liturgy Commission of the German Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, to the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences and the Extra-conference Bishops of the German-speaking Region:
Most Reverend Brothers,
In September 2009, after many years of preparation, the second authentic edition of the rituale fascicle “The Burial Rites of the Church in the Dioceses of German-speaking Regions” appeared. It was to replace the 1972-73 edition beginning on the First Sunday of Advent (November 29th), 2009.
Since publication, the new rituale has received enduring criticism from bishops, priests, and deacons. This concerns above all the quality of the liturgical texts and their translations, particular rubrical prescriptions foreign to common practice, and also the size and scope of the book which makes it difficult to use. Objections of this sort were expressed in the entire German-speaking region, not seldom along with personal proclamations of the intent to follow a different practice.
The bishops who gathered for the “Forum on Liturgy in the German-speaking Regions” dealt with this situation in great detail on January 20th-21st, 2010. They articulated the urgent recommendation, in order to avoid greater damage, to permit immediately the further use of the 1972-1973 edition and to undertake a fundamental revision of the new edition.
The German Bishops’ Conference, in the context of the Spring meeting on February 23rd, 2010, arrived at the conclusion that the new rituale in its current form must be considered a failure. For the sake of good order in the liturgy, the conference thinks that measures are necessary to deal with the confusion in parishes, and to work for sure progress in the necessary reworking of the rituale.
I address you as president of the Liturgy Commission of the German Bishops’ Conference. This Liturgy Commission has been given the task of undertaking steps in this direction, in coordination with the bishops’ conferences and extra-conference bishops of the German-speaking region.
On this basis, I convey to you the intention of the German Bishops’ Conference to extend immediately the timeframe in which the 1972-73 edition of the ritual “The Burial Rites of the Church” can canonically be used in the dioceses of the German-speaking region by two years (up until the First Sunday of Advent, 2011, 11/27/2011) in the region of your authority.
In contact with the Liturgical Institutes and Commissions, Professor Dr. Winfried Haunerland (Munich), who led the editing of the second edition of 2009 at our behest, will begin immediately with a survey of the current critique and the production of a revised version. I dearly hope that you will collaborate in these measures, so that we succeed in bringing about an improved second edition of the burial rites. This will be presented to the bishops’ conferences and the extra-conference bishops for approbation, and then presented to the Holy See for recognitio.
As president of the episcopal commission “Ecclesia celebrans,” I have already informed the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments on 1.11.10 about the range of problems with the rituale which received recognitio after massive prescriptions and individual textual changes. I will also inform the congregation now of these planned measures.