Liturgiam Authenticam 34-36

Sections 34 through 45 will treat the issues of translating a Lectionary. With all the attention Roman Missal 3 is getting, even fewer Catholics are aware that a full-scale revision of the Lectionary is in process as we speak. Another four or five years down the road, watch out.

Let’s start with a big bite of three paragraphs:

34. It is preferable that a version of the Sacred Scriptures be prepared in accordance with the principles of sound exegesis and of high literary quality, but also with a view to the particular exigencies of liturgical use as regards style, the selection of words, and the selection from among different possible interpretations.

35. Wherever no such version of the Sacred Scriptures exists in a given language, it will be necessary to use a previously prepared version, while modifying the translation wherever appropriate so that it may be suitable for use in the liturgical context according to the principles set forth in this Instruction.

Note the nod to memorization of Bible verses. My protestant mother would nod in approval:

36. In order that the faithful may be able to commit to memory at least the more important texts of the Sacred Scriptures and be formed by them even in their private prayer, it is of the greatest importance that the translation of the Sacred Scriptures intended for liturgical use be characterized by a certain uniformity and stability, such that in every territory there should exist only one approved translation, which will be employed in all parts of the various liturgical books. This stability is especially to be desired in the translation of the Sacred Books of more frequent use, such as the Psalter, which is the fundamental prayer book of the Christian people.[Cf. POPE PAUL VI, Apost. Const. Laudis canticum, 1 November 1970. n. 8: AAS 63 (1971) 532-533; OFFICIUM DIVINUM, Liturgia Horarum iuxta Ritum romanum, editio typica altera 1985: Institutio Generalis de Liturgia Horarum, n. 100; POPE JOHN PAUL II, Apost. Letter Vicesimus quintus annus, n. 8 : AAS 81 (1989)904-905.] The Conferences of Bishops are strongly encouraged to provide for the commissioning and publication in their territories of an integral translation of the Sacred Scriptures intended for the private study and reading of the faithful, which corresponds in every part to the text that is used in the Sacred Liturgy.

Note that the prescription for one translation only applies to the Lectionary. It is a bother in some situations to have multiple English versions of the Bible. But I think bible study is enriched by the possibility.

The problem with the Psalter is that whatever version is used, it must have the quality of being a thoroughly singable text.

And finally note that the version of the Scriptures for private reading and study should correspond to the Lectionary, not the other way around.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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