Vox Clara Committee Press Release May 25-26, 2015

The Vox Clara Committee met from May 25-26 in Rome. This Committee of senior Bishops from Episcopal Conferences throughout the English-speaking world was formed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on July 19, 2001 in order to provide advice to the Holy See concerning English-language liturgical books and to strengthen effective cooperation with the Conferences of Bishops in this regard.
The Vox Clara Committee is chaired by Cardinal George Pell (Prefect for the Secretariat of the Economy). The participants in the meeting were Bishop Thomas Olmsted, First Vice-Chairman (Phoenix); Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Second Vice-Chairman (Bombay); Bishop Arthur Serratelli, Secretary (Paterson); Cardinal Justin Rigali, Treasurer (Philadelphia, Emeritus); Archbishop Alfred Hughes (New Orleans, Emeritus); Archbishop Michael Neary (Tuam); and Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J. (Ottawa). Cardinal John Tong Hon (Hong Kong), and Bishop David McGough (Birmingham, Auxiliary) were unable to be present. Also assisting the meeting were Monsignor James P. Moroney (Executive Secretary), Reverend Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B (expert), Reverend Dennis McManus (expert), Monsignor Gerard McKay (advisor), Reverend Joseph Briody (special assistant) and Reverend Gerard Byrne (special assistant) and Abbot Cuthbert Johnson, O.S.B. (advisor). The Congregation was represented by Monsignor Thomas Fucinaro. The members and staff of the Committee noted with sadness the recent death of Cardinal Francis George, a member of the Committee since its inception. His Eminence’s important contributions to the work of translation and his deep understanding of the principles upon which the instruction Liturgiam authenticam is based will be sorely missed. As a member of both Vox Clara and ICEL his role was especially significant.
The Committee heard reports on scheduling, future publications and other practical considerations to improve the efficient working of the group. The members expressed their appreciation for the close collaboration of the Executive Secretaries of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy and the Vox Clara Committee which has greatly facilitated their common work.
Following the conclusion of the meeting, members of the Vox Clara Committee and the ICEL Executive Committee participated in a joint meeting with the superiors of the Congregation in order to build on this relationship.
The Committee spent the greatest amount of time on a review of the ICEL Green Book of various liturgical texts for the feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest. A number of suggestions and questions for clarification of this excellent text were submitted to the Congregation.
Finally, the Committee approved a revision of the Ratio Translationis for the Missale Romanum for the English language, having incorporated examples from the recently approved Roman Missal.
On the second morning of the meeting the Committee welcomed Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation and Archbishop Arthur Roche, Secretary of the same Congregation. On behalf of the members, Cardinal Pell welcomed Cardinal Sarah to his first meeting with the Vox Clara Committee. The Prefect in turn expressed his happiness in meeting with the Committee particularly in light of his recent meeting with Pope Francis. Cardinal Sarah reported that the Holy Father was quick to state that “Vox Clara must remain because its work is very precious for the English-speaking Conferences in the world. So tell them they must continue the work.”
The Prefect continued that he was “very glad to convey the encouragement of the Holy Father” and that he looked forward to working with the Vox Clara Committee in the years to come. The next meeting of the Vox Clara Committee is scheduled for January of 2016.

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  1. Mary Wood says:

    The liturgy hack who drew the short straw and had to produce the text for the DivIne Office for Trinity Sunday clearly never read out loud through the result of his draft. As a form of prayer it is abysmal.
    I grant that the challenge of composing something meaningful and suitable for this feast is very tough, but wade through that lot and the only response is “OH MY GOD”
    Come to think of it, maybe that very response was his despairing objective.

  2. Could someone please tell these all important people, when they have finished patting each other on the back, that the have made the Mass a Mess.

  3. Joe O'Leary says:

    They survive because the faithful do not listen to the language of the liturgy and because many priests read the text in such a way that the offensiveness of the new translations is somehow airbrushed. Even here in Japan, though, there are liturgical vigilantes who denounce priests who slip back to the old translation when saying mass in English.

  4. Pete Barr says:

    Vox Clara… VOX CLARA..? What a misnomer..!

  5. Joe O`Leary @3 As for not listening to the words, maybe it`s just a sign of age, but recently I have discovered how beautiful the wails and pew-clatterings of Mass-going children are. Instead of wincing and privately girning about it as I used to do before my conversion, I find myself now relaxing and positively basking in the racket. The more of it the merrier. How beautifully it drowns out the abstractions, portentous piosities and clichés spouting from on high.

  6. Mary Burke says:

    The combination of incoherent mumbling and awkward silence that now passes for the People’s part speaks for itself. The crazy ideology of Vox Clara has prevented God’s People from taking its rightful part in Christ’s praise of the Father. Sad. Shocking. Disgraceful.

  7. John Collins says:

    I really want to say something positive so ……..

  8. M Reynolds says:

    I can’t believe Pope Francis said, “Vox Clara must remain because its work is very precious for the English-speaking Conferences in the world. So tell them they must continue the work” or, does Pope Francis, being the leader he has been, have his own ideas and will have his own influence on Vox Clara? Given English is not Pope Francis’ first language, I think Cardinal O’Malley from US, one of his “8” Cardinals, needs to have a conversation. At the same time, with Cardinal Pell as part of Francis’ Curia, and one of the leading influences of the revised Roman Missal, we’ll see where this goes. We shall not remain silent. Yes, the Church is a hierarchy, but it’s not a monarchy! Some priests have taken their own lead and switched back or adapting the prayers to make sense. Thank God for pastoral leaders! PrayTell blog editor has some interesting insights.

  9. Mary Vallely says:

    I’m with mjt in my new appreciation of the ‘pew-clatterings’ of infants and children because it is a sign of aliveness though I am well aware of the slight sardonic tone to mjt’s reasoning! This must surely disturb the appalling liturgical vigilantes Joe O’L describes. (Now, WHO do they remind me of?!) I am quite sure the life giving force of little ones would be more pleasing to the Almighty than the negative energy wasted on the over emphasis of correct liturgy. That is not to take away from the much needed efforts to improve the wording and to make it as beautiful and pleasing as possible. In the end it is the commitment of our hearts and souls that matter and we must learn to trust what our children teach us. Certainly on special occasions we should be able to share in a ceremony of absolute perfection of word, gesture and music but the normal family mass should reflect the reality of family life, with its noise,even cacophony,its spontaneity, energy, messiness. (Otherwise it is dead and we might as well be robots.)

  10. Eddie Finnegan says:

    So, earlier we had a Chilean cardinal telling English-speaking Catholics how they should pray in a béarlagair that was never spoke ‘ar mhuir nó ar tír’. Now we have Cardinal Sarah from francophone Guinea Conakry dropping in to Vox Clara’s meeting to tell them that they’re great fellas altogether and that the Argentinian Pope says in his rather limited English that they should stick at it because the anglophone world couldn’t talk to God without them.
    And what does our man from Tuam – with a good grasp of English and Irish – say to all of this? I don’t think many of us even knew that Archbishop Michael was our expert on anglatina clara authentica. Where’s the Lion of the West, now that we need one? ‘Coragio!’ Michaela Nearius!

  11. Noel Casey says:

    ‘The Committee heard reports on scheduling, future publications and other practical considerations to improve the efficient working of the group.’
    Interesting! Not a mention of any feedback on reaction to the use of the new translation since its introduction, feedback that we have all heard or read about ad nauseam since its introduction. Roma locuta est, causa finite est.

  12. Joe O'Leary says:

    Noel Casey, from the very start critical feedback on the new translation has been treated with contempt and even tarred as dissident. Bp Trautman was mocked by his fellow-bishops in the USA when he raised concerns at their meetings.

  13. Joe O'Leary says:

    This seems to have been lost due to the CAPTCHA problem — I try again.
    Does anyone here recite the Roman Canon any more? It had been sabotaged in the new trans, which begins as follows (asterisks mark points of discomfort): To you [*], therefore[*], most[*] merciful Father, we make humble prayer[*] and petition[*] through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord: that[*] you accept and bless + these gifts, these offerings, these holy and unblemished sacrifices[*], which we offer you firstly[*] for your holy catholic Church. Be pleased[*] to grant her peace, to guard, unite and govern her[*] throughout the whole world[*], together with your servant N. our Pope and N. our Bishop, and all those who, holding to the truth[*], hand on[*] the catholic and apostolic faith.
    Remember, Lord, your servants N. and N. and all gathered here, whose faith and devotion are known to you. For them, we offer you this sacrifice of praise or they offer it for themselves[*] and all who are dear to them[*], for the redemption of their souls[*], in hope of health[*] and well-being[*], and paying their homage[*] to you, the eternal[*] God, living and true.
    * In communion with those whose memory we venerate[*], especially the glorious ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ, and blessed Joseph, her Spouse, your blessed Apostles and Martyrs, Peter and Paul, Andrew, (James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Jude: Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian) and all your Saints: we ask that through their merits and prayers, in all things we may be defended by your protecting[*] help. (Through Christ our Lord. Amen.)
    ** Therefore, Lord, we pray: graciously accept this oblation[*] of our service[*], that[*] of your whole family; order our days in your peace, and command that we be delivered from eternal damnation and counted among the flock of those[*] you have chosen. (Through Christ our Lord. Amen.)
    “Your protecting help” was “help of your protection” in one of the drafts. Neither phrase is passable English style.

  14. Michael C. says:

    What is the purpose of the grandiose Latin names for these committees? To attach an importance and respect they haven’t earned?
    I’d suggest that whenever we have to refer to this committee we should translate the name according to the strictures of their own instruction ‘Liturgiam authenticam”
    So instead of ‘Vox Clara’ we have the ‘Voice Clear’ committee. It is the easiest way to show what they have done to the English language in the travesty of the new missal.
    For good measure there is a “Coiste Sapienti” working on the Irish language Missal.
    Sapienti no less!
    Sadly I don’t think there is any hope or chance of change in the church judging by the mindset behind the naming of these committees and the fruit of their labours.

  15. Eddie Finnegan says:

    Michael C. @14.
    The more sapient among you might suggest that that committee should be ‘Coiste Sapiens’ or ‘Coiste Sapientes’ or ‘Coiste Sapientium’.
    In any case I think that without the expertise of a Breandán Ó Doibhlin or a Pádraig Ó Fiannachta the Irish liturgical stew may be more insipid than the English.

  16. Joe O'Leary says:

    The Japanese bishops were bullied by the Vatican who insisted that the translations be done in Rome. One of the laughable proposals is “And with Father’s ghost” for “Et cum spiritu tuo”. In the end the bishops agreed to accept 80% of the translastion. The perfect French translation is menaced with vandalism. The Germans had to withdraw the Funeral translations because they were so awful and are, or were, fighting to protect the Missal from the vandalism. Yes indeed, the Vandals have won. The most shameful performance is that of the few native English speakers involved in this unspeakable travesty: George Pell, Arthur Roche, etc.

  17. Seamus Ahearne says:

    Oliver Cromwell is remembered for many things but I want to recall a saying that could be appropriate at present. He wrote a letter to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. 3rd August 1650. I find it apt and amusing.
    “I beseech you in the bowels of Christ, think it possible, you may be mistaken.”
    The bishops when they assemble shortly, might have a look at that for many reasons. But they could apply it to their acceptance of the New Missal – as could the Romans (Vox Clara). That Missal has shown a total misunderstanding of Liturgy; no grasp whatsoever of English and very little awareness of how translation should be done.
    Of course, I know also that the same quotation could be applied to many of us in several situations. Life calls out to all of us for humility in accepting that we can often be mistaken. Seamus Ahearne osa

  18. The preface for last Sunday, Trinity Sunday, was one of the worst examples of the problems with this translation, and was almost impossible to read out loud in any intelligible way. What a contrast to the elegant simplicity of the one we used previously!

  19. Joe O'Leary says:

    I googled “Preface for Trinity Sunday” and as usual only Anglican or older forms of preface turned up. The difficulty of accessing our present liturgical texts on the internet suggests that we are ashamed of them — and rightly!

  20. Jim Coyle says:

    I must remark that in the reading of all that is printed here I feel less alone in my thinking. Clearly, when the titanic goes into the water we all must look our best. How unfortunate that we will sound a cacophony.

  21. Anthony O'Donnell says:

    As the Titanic enters the water, the passengers and crew are given a hymn-sheet prepared by a renamed Vix Clara with the words of a heretofore familiar hymn which now reads ‘God my Thee we pray to nearer.’

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