Vatican clarifies bishops’ role in liturgical translations
October 22, 2021
CWN Editor's Note: The Congregation for Divine Worship has released a new decree, codifying the responsibilities of episcopal conferences for the approval of new liturgical translations.
In the motu proprio Magnum Principium, released in September 2017, Pope Francis gave individual bishops’ conferences the primary role in approving new translations. (The Vatican, which had previously held that role, retained the right to “confirm” the bishops’ decisions.) The new Vatican document spells out the responsibilities of the episcopal conferences, under the terms of #838 of the Code of Canon Law, as revised by that 2017 motu proprio.
The decree explains that the bishops’ conference in each country is responsible for ensuring an accurate translation of approved Latin originals. The Congregation for Divine Worship, the document explains, will then certify that the episcopal conference followed appropriate norms; the Vatican will not ordinarily undertake a line-by-line review of the new translations, relying on the episcopal conferences for that task.
When several countries use the same language, the Vatican strongly encourages cooperative efforts at translation, with all the episcopal conferences working together, with the Vatican mediating as needed, to produce a single translation.
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