Vox Clara – International Liturgy Meeting

February 2-3, 2011

The newly appointed members and staff of the Vox Clara Committee met from February 2-3, 2011 in the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome. This Committee of senior Bishops from Episcopal Conferences throughout the English-speaking world was formed by the Congregation 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 (Sydney).  The participants in the meeting were Archbishop Alfred Hughes (New Orleans, emeritus), Archbishop Michael Neary (Tuam), Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J. (Ottawa), Bishop David McGough (Birmingham, auxiliary), Bishop Thomas Olmsted (Phoenix), Bishop Arthur Serratelli (Paterson),  Bishop John  Tong Hon (Hong Kong).  Other members of the Committee not present were Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I. (Chicago), Cardinal Justin Rigali (Philadelphia), and Cardinal Oswald Gracias (Bombay).

In the course of the meeting the following officers were announced: First Vice-Chairman: Bishop Thomas Olmsted; Second Vice-Chairman: Cardinal Oswald Gracias; Secretary: Bishop Arthur Serratelli; Treasurer: Cardinal Justin Rigali.

Also assisting the meeting were the Executive Secretary, Monsignor James P. Moroney; Abbot Cuthbert Johnson, O.S.B. and Monsignor Gerard McKay and special assistants: Reverend Joseph Briody and Reverend Gerard Byrne.  Other advisors to the Committee unable to be present are experts: Reverend Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B. and Reverend Dennis McManus.

The representatives of the Holy See included the Delegate to the Vox Clara Committee, Reverend Anthony Ward, S.M., Undersecretary of the Congregation; Monsignor Thomas Fucinaro, Monsignor James O’Brien, and Reverend Andrew Menke.

The Committee heard reports on the recent publication by the Congregation through the Vox Clara Committee of a study text with excerpts from the new English translation of the Roman Missal.
It is the hope of the members that the study text will be of assistance to Bishops throughout the English-speaking world in establishing programs of formation for Priests in preparation for the implementation of the Roman Missal.

The process for the completion of the Roman Missal, continuing initiatives for publications of the Lectionary for Mass by various Conferences, and the recent confirmation of the Grail Psalter were also discussed along with the effective refinement of structures and processes followed at all levels in the future development of English language liturgical texts.

The Committee discussed at some length the English-language translation of the Blessing of Holy Oils for the Chrism Mass and explored the means by which a text might be made available in time for use on Holy Thursday of 2012.  As a text reserved for the of the Bishop it is not included in the Roman Missal.

The Committee also looked to the continuing translation of the rest of the corpus of Roman Rite liturgical books as envisioned by the instruction Liturgiam authenticam. In particular, the Committee recommended to the Congregation the expeditious establishment of a plan of work by all collaborators in this work.

On the second day of the meeting, the Prefect of the Congregation, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, and the Secretary, Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, O.P. met with the Vox Clara Committee.  Cardinal Pell began by thanking the Congregation for its consistent support throughout the years and recalled that with the work of the translation of the Roman Missal substantially complete, initiatives should continue around the English speaking world for its effective reception.  In this regard, Cardinal Pell thanked the Prefect for his introduction to the Vox Clara study text with excerpts from the new English language translation.

Both the Prefect and the Secretary stressed the importance to the Church of providing authentic vernacular translations to strengthen ecclesial communion.  They also thanked the members and advisors for the role of the Vox Clara Committee in providing a model of collaboration by which the principles of Liturgiam authenticam might be applied to the translation of the editiones typicae of the Roman Rite.

Finally, the Committee expressed satisfaction that the completion of the English translation of the Roman Missal has been welcomed throughout the English-speaking world.  The widespread development of formation programs for clergy and people and the publication of resources were acknowledged with gratitude by the Committee, which remains firmly convinced of the spiritual and catechetical value of this moment in the liturgical renewal envisioned by the Council Fathers almost a half century ago.

Monsignor James P. Moroney

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