CDWDS Decree on Magnum Principium 13: Language

The Bishops’ Conference prepares translations of the liturgical books in vernacular languages and approves them, requesting confirmation before publication (cf. can. 838 § 3)

Before we get deeply into the discussion on “Language,” a few things to note as we proceed. If you are following closely, you’ll note the CDWDS relies heavily on post-conciliar documents, especially its 1994 work on inculturation, as well as Vatican II. The liturgy dicastery is very cautious and conservative, but they do have an eye to the final aim, which is the development of holiness in the people of the Church. We all agree this must a prime consideration. The disagreements exist because of different ideas on how to accomplish it. The movement after Vatican II was from the world’s bishops, and in favor of a very wide application of the language of the people at worship.

Vernacular languages change and evolve. So there’s a note here to start off to consider the coming generation of believers:

13. The preparation of the translation of liturgical books presupposes an evaluative framework that first of all takes into account the language, [Cf. Varietates legitimae 28; Decem iam annos 1.] its characteristics and its diffusion, with an eye to the near future of its use, beginning with its use by younger generations.

This is even more of a key point:

The adoption of vernacular languages in the liturgy must, among other things, take into account that the fundamental criterion is the participation of the people in the liturgical celebrations and not other types of considerations, such as social issues or issues related to identity.

Of all the developments in the Liturgical Movement and the vector moving forward from Vatican II, participation continues to be the emphasis. Here, it certainly trumps matters surfacing in the wider secular culture, and presumably, issues within the Church itself. 

The link of the English translation is here. And by the way, the link to Decem iam annos will find a piece in the Notitiae from the liturgy dicastery as it was constituted in 1976.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in CDWDS Decree on Magnum Principium, Liturgy, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

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