Chaos Frank strikes again!
Motu Inapproprio: Francis allows local Bishops’ Conferences to Approve Liturgical Translations
In an oddly-timed move, while Francis is visiting Colombia and most journalists are busy covering that, the Vatican Press Office announced this morning the release of a new “Apostolic Letter” motu proprio, entitled Magnum Principium, in which the “Pope” makes a change to Canon 838 of Novus Ordo Canon Law, which pertains to the translation of liturgical texts. The modification has been decreed to take effect on Oct. 1, 2017.
Until then, Canon 838 reads as follows:
§1. The direction of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church which resides in the Apostolic See and, according to the norm of law, the diocesan bishop.
2. It is for the Apostolic See to order the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, publish liturgical books and review their translations in vernacular languages, and exercise vigilance that liturgical regulations are observed faithfully everywhere.
3. It pertains to the conferences of bishops to prepare and publish, after the prior review of the Holy See, translations of liturgical books in vernacular languages, adapted appropriately within the limits defined in the liturgical books themselves.
4. Within the limits of his competence, it pertains to the diocesan bishop in the Church entrusted to him to issue liturgical norms which bind everyone.
From Oct. 1, 2017 onwards, Canon 838 will read thus:
Can. 838 – §1. The ordering and guidance of the sacred liturgy depends solely upon the authority of the Church, namely, that of the Apostolic See and, as provided by law, that of the diocesan Bishop.
§2. It is for the Apostolic See to order the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, publish liturgical books, recognise adaptations approved by the Episcopal Conference according to the norm of law, and exercise vigilance that liturgical regulations are observed faithfully everywhere.
§3. It pertains to the Episcopal Conferences to faithfully prepare versions of the liturgical books in vernacular languages, suitably accommodated within defined limits, and to approve and publish the liturgical books for the regions for which they are responsible after the confirmation of the Apostolic See.
§4. Within the limits of his competence, it belongs to the diocesan Bishop to lay down in the Church entrusted to his care, liturgical regulations which are binding on all.
(Source: Vatican Bollettino of Sep. 9, 2017; bold print given.)
In a nutshell: Whereas formerly approval by the “Holy See” was needed for liturgical translations, now the Vatican needs to merely “recognize” and “confirm” the translations made and approved by the local bishops’ conferences themselves.
You may think that this change introduced by Francis is so minor as to hardly deserve mention. However, consider that the change was obviously major enough for Francis to bother to revise Canon Law.
The links to the new Vatican document and its presentation in various languages in the Press Office’s daily bulletin, can be found here:
- Latin: “Apostolic Letter” Magnum Principium (Sep. 3, 2017)
- Italian: “Apostolic Letter” Magnum Principium (Sep. 3, 2017)
- Vatican Bollettino of Sep. 9, 2017, including an English translation of Magnum Principium and an explanatory note and a key by “Abp.” Arthur Roche, the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
One of the key passages in the new “Apostolic Letter” is this:
The goal of the translation of liturgical texts and of biblical texts for the Liturgy of the Word is to announce the word of salvation to the faithful in obedience to the faith and to express the prayer of the Church to the Lord. For this purpose it is necessary to communicate to a given people using its own language all that the Church intended to communicate to other people through the Latin language. While fidelity cannot always be judged by individual words but must be sought in the context of the whole communicative act and according to its literary genre, nevertheless some particular terms must also be considered in the context of the entire Catholic faith because each translation of texts must be congruent with sound doctrine.
Notice that this paragraph tries to synthesize the idea of communicating in such a way that people understand what is being said with the idea of fidelity to the original Latin. Such a synthesis is not wrong, but how it will work out in practice is another matter: The Thomas Rosicas, James Martins, and Walter Kaspers of the world will emphasize the part about “speaking the language of the people”, whereas the John Zuhlsdorfs, Jimmy Akins, and Patrick Madrids of the world will point out that the Vatican requires faithfulness to the Latin so as to ensure everything is “congruent with sound doctrine”. The fact that this motu proprio comes not only with an explanatory note on the sources but also with a “key” to reading it correctly suggests that this is precisely what will happen. The chaos is guaranteed — and it is certainly engineered on purpose.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict that what will happen in actual practice is that we will see a virtual Babel of local and regional translations proposed by the Novus Ordo bishops, and the Vatican will just give the nod of approval more or less automatically to virtually all of them. We will probably also see “priests” and “bishops” using their own words for all sorts of liturgical things and daring the Vatican to intervene, which will happen only after a long time and only in the rarest of cases.
This isn’t mere speculation. This is simply how the Novus Ordo Sect operates, as we’ve witnessed for decades.
In light of recent events, this latest move is yet another step in a series of liturgical modifications ordered by the “Pope” himself. Recall that just a few days ago, Francis had claimed that the Novus Ordo liturgical revolution was “irreversible”. It won’t be rash to anticipate that there are more liturgical changes in the making that he will likewise claim to set in motion “irreversibly.”
What’s amusing is that apparently these Novus Ordo authorities still think they can credibly promote the idea that there is some kind of “liturgical renewal” going on. Francis writes in his motu inapproprio: “…in order that the renewal of the whole liturgical life might continue, it seemed opportune that some principles handed on since the time of the Council should be more clearly reaffirmed and put into practice.”
See, without this change to Canon Law, the “renewal of the whole liturgical life” since Vatican II might be put in jeopardy! Thank heavens we have Francis coming to the rescue, lest the rich 1960s “liturgical renewal” go down the tubes!
Whom does he think he’s fooling?