Positive developments in liturgy

Positive developments in liturgy

Michael Gilchrist

The Vox Clara Committee was set up by Pope John Paul II on 20 April 2002, with Archbishop George Pell as its chairman, in order that an approved English translation of the new Roman Missal, according to the guidelines of Liturgiam Authenticam, be completed "as soon as possible."

The two-year delay in achieving this goal had been due to the International Commission for English in the Liturgy (ICEL), which until now has been reluctant to accept the principles embodied in Liturgiam Authenticam, particularly on inclusive language, inculturation of the liturgy and free (non-literal) translations of biblical and liturgical texts. The Vox Clara Committee was seen as the means of achieving a unity of purpose on the important question of liturgical language - including the selection of suitable personnel for a reformed ICEL.

As the report by Dr William Oddie (page 7) makes clear, this goal has been achieved with the replacement in August of Bishop Maurice Taylor as ICEL's chairman by Bishop Arthur Roche, and the replacement of Dr John Page as executive secretary by Fr Bruce Harbert. The two appointees can be expected to work more closely with Rome, aligning ICEL's policies with Liturgiam Authenticam.

Fr Bruce Harbert, in particular, had earlier expressed his ideas on the reform of liturgical language in an article in London's Catholic Herald, making it clear that he strongly endorsed the direction sought by Rome (see page 7).

It is also encouraging that Fr Peter Williams, director of the Liturgy Commission of the Parramatta Diocese and executive secretary of the National Liturgical Commission, has indicated that he supports the directives contained in Liturgiam Authenticam.

His views on these, and on the need for reforms in Church music and architecture, were set out in a recent address given to the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy and also to the National Council of Priests. The text of this address is included in the present issue of AD2000 (pages 10-11).

Michael Gilchrist - Editor (E-mail: mtg@netconnect.com.au)

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