The German-language equivalent of the Vox Clara commission for translation is Ecclesia celebrans. On February 21st the Catholic International Press Agency (Kipa) reported that the controversial bishop of Chur, Switzerland, Bishop Vitus Huonder, has been appointed to Ecclesia celebrans. Huonder recently instituted training in the 1962 (pre-Vatican II) Mass for seminarians, removed the seminary rector, and removed a vicar general. Today two other vicars general issued a declaration expressing their concern for the state of the seminary and diocese. – awr
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The commission Ecclesia celebrans has the task of coordinating the revision of the translation of the Roman missal (ordinary form of the Roman rite) into German. However, the work of this Vatican-appointed commission is not lacking in controversy.
Reservations in Germany
It is the will of the German bishops that the new German-language missal not be essentially different from the text now in use. The president of the German Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, declared last fall that the current text is already adequate for the Roman requirements for an authentic translation of the Latin text.
The bishops are opposed to changing the liturgical texts well established among priests and faithful through fundamentally new translations when there is no need, endangering their acceptance in parish communities. This holds true even for the words of institution at the consecration. The bishops are for maintaining the theologically correct statement “for all” and not replacing it with the variation “for many,” which is closer to the Latin text.
Abbott Holzherr: Betraying the Council
The former abbot of Einsiedeln, Georg Holzherr, stated last year in an interview with the news agency Kipa that the Vatican is betraying the spirit of the Second Vatican Council with the commission Ecclesia celebrans. Holzherr, who was responsible for the area of liturgy as member of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference, stated that in German-speaking regions they conscientiously strove for a faithful but readily understandable text according to the translation directives in force after the Council. This work was far advanced at the end of the 1990s, only to land in the archives.
Now there are new directives for translation from Rome. Everything must be transmitted as literally as possible. The danger in this is that difficult expressions or long sentences make comprehension unnecessarily difficult.
The German-language missal was completely revised on the basis of the 3rd edition of the Missale Romanum which appeared in 2002. The work was done according to the translation guidelines of the 2001 instruction Liturgiam authenticam. Responsibility for the revision lies with the publishers of German-language liturgical books: the German, Austrian, and Swiss Bishops’ Conferences, and the archbishops of Luxemburg and Vaduz.
The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome established the episcopal commission Ecclesia celebrants for coordination of the work of revision, and appointed the archbishop of Cologne, Joachim Cardinal Meisner, as president.