Liturgiam Authenticam 131-133

Concluding the document, three final sections:

131. Approbation granted in the past for individual liturgical translations remains in effect even if a principle or criterion has been followed which differs from those contained in this Instruction. Nevertheless, from the day on which this Instruction is published, a new period begins for the making of emendations or for undertaking anew the consideration of the introduction of vernacular languages or idioms into liturgical use, as well as for revising translations heretofore made into vernacular languages.

132. Within five years from the date of publication of this Instruction, the Presidents of the Conferences of Bishops and the Supreme Moderators of religious families and institutes equivalent in law are bound to present to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments an integral plan regarding the liturgical books translated into the vernacular in their respective territories or institutes.

133. In addition, the norms established by this Instruction attain full force for the emendation of previous translations, and any further delay in making such emendations is to be avoided. It is to be hoped that this new effort will provide stability in the life of the Church, so as to lay a firm foundation for supporting the liturgical life of God’s people and bringing about a solid renewal of catechesis.

After the preparation of this Instruction by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in virtue of the mandate of the Supreme Pontiff transmitted in a letter of the Cardinal Secretary of State dated 1 February 1997 (Prot. n. 408.304), the same Supreme Pontiff, in an audience granted to the Cardinal Secretary of State on 20 March 2001, approved this Instruction and confirmed it by his own authority, ordering that it be published, and that it enter into force on the 25th day of April of the same year.

From the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 28 March, the year 2001

The unbridled optimism of the immediate post-conciliar years developed a dark tint by 1970’s Liturgicae instaurationes. Liturgiam Authenticam signaled a deeper shift: a degree of institutional innovation and a further gathering of power from the bishops into the curia.

Long stretches of this document are of administrative concern, rather than liturgical. It dwarfs its predecessor document, Comme le Prevoit.

I note the rather minimal commentary in this series. Frankly, I didn’t have much to say about the administrative details. Liturgy and ministry are far more interesting concerns to me.

The document had a mixed welcome from traditional theologians and liturgists–some saw it as a cheerleading moment. Others, such as the chant scholar Peter Jeffery have much to criticize:

Liturgiam authenticam should be summarily withdrawn, on the grounds that it was released prematurely, before proper consultation with a sufficient number of experts had been completed. Then only the hard part will remain: what to do about the issues and tensions that produced it.

And with that, I will leave any last comments for the readers here.


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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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4 Responses to Liturgiam Authenticam 131-133

  1. Liam says:

    My last comment is my perennial comment about LA, which is to notice what most people fail to notice about this document: it demonstrates that translation principles can be revoked and changed. If CLP could be revoked and changed, so can LA. There are people who might be somewhat unnerved if this reality were noticed.

  2. Liam says:

    Oh, and I forgot my other perennial comment about both LA and CLP: neither of the expressly championed beauty or euphony (as experienced in the receptor vernacular tongue) as a vital purpose of translation. Until we have another set of translation principles that does so champion, we’re just re-arranging deck chairs.

    (I believe I’ve made my point about accounting for the evolution of idiomatic vernacular usage earlier in this series, so I will forego repeating it here.)

    • Todd says:

      Neither did CLP deny or obstruct beauty–LA might be interpreted otherwise, as an institution-centered document.

      I don’t think you can legislate quality and beauty. You have to create an environment in which beauty and the arts can flourish. And we definitely don’t have that on an institutional level.

      • Liam says:

        But when goals are set (both CLP and LA), and beauty/euphony is elided or omitted, that’s a failure. You can’t legislate the particulars of it, but neglecting this essential element of the translation process for liturgical, ritual language is a serious failing. Twice now.

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