Decree clarifies role of Bishops’ conferences in liturgical translations

By Vatican News

A new decree from the Congregation for Divine Worship aims at highlighting the responsibilities of bishops’ conferences in the “great task” of completing the complex project of translating the Latin liturgical texts into vernacular languages.

That is the explanation given by Archbishop Arthur Roche, the Congregation’s new prefect, illustrating the Decree Postquam Summus Pontifex, implementing the motu proprio Magnum principium in which Pope Francis modified canon 838 of the Code of Canon Law. The text of the new decree, published on the liturgical memorial of St John Paul II, interprets and clarifies how the changes made by Pope Francis, which affect the competencies of the bishops and of the Congregation, are to be implemented.

Postquam Summus Pontifex recalls that “since the main responsibility” with regard to liturgical translations “lies with the Bishops, the Episcopal Conference must take on this task directly, with the necessary collaboration of suitable persons, including experts trained in the translation of liturgical Latin.” The aim is “to guarantee that the correct and integral expression of the faith of the Catholic Church in a given language is transmitted according to her teaching and with the appropriate vocabulary.”

The Dicastery for Divine Worship is then responsible for recognitio and confirmatio of the work of the bishops. The recognitio consists in a review of what has been approved by the Bishops’ Conference and of the legitimacy of the procedure followed, “taking into account the reasons dictated by the culture, and tradition of a country and by pastoral needs.”

The confirmatio consists “in the ratification given by the Apostolic See to the translation of biblical and liturgical texts, after having ascertained the legitimacy of the approval procedure followed by the Episcopal Conferences.”

Text of Postquam Summus Pontifex, “Decree giving effect to the dispositions of can. 838 of the Code of Canon Law”

Commentary on Postquam Summus Pontifex by Archbishop Arthur Roche, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

Vatican News interview with Archbishop Roche about Postquam Summus Pontifex

Published by FDLC

Since 1970, the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions has served the clergy and faithful of the dioceses of the United States by providing leadership, scholarship, and resources to aid in the authentic implementation and celebration of the liturgy.