ICEL press release
The completion of first stage of translation
Today, All Saints’ Day, the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), sent to the Bishops of its eleven member Conferences (Australia, Canada, England & Wales, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Scotland, South Africa and the United States of America) its draft translation of the Appendices to the Third Typical Edition of the “Missale Romanum,” which was published by the Holy See in 2002.
Thus, the draft phase of the Commission’s work of translating the Missal has been brought to completion, some five years after the publication of the Latin original. Like its predecessors, this book, known from the colour of its cover as a ‘Green Book’, is sent to invite comments from Bishops with a view to the production of a final proposed version, to be released as a ‘Grey Book’ (i.e., ICEL’s final version of the text which is sent to Bishops’ Conferences for its canonical vote before being forwarded to Rome for recognition).
The Bishops who receive Green Book draft translations of liturgical texts are free to consult whomever they please. Comments are also solicited from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, who are able to draw on the expertise of a wide range of consultors.
The importance of this process of consultation in shaping the new English liturgical texts now in preparation can hardly be overestimated. A wide range of issues, both theological and linguistic, have been brought to the attention of the Commission, who in response have sought to shape texts that will meet the needs of the worldwide English-speaking Catholic community.
The Bishops of the Commission wish to express their gratitude to all who have taken part in this process. The process will continue for another year, as the Commission revisits Green Book translations in the light of comments received, and it is reasonable to expect that by the end of 2008 the work will be done. By then, the member Conferences will be in possession of a complete translation of the 2002 “Missale Romanum.” It will be their task to adapt the text to meet their own local needs, to approve the text by a two-thirds vote of its voting members, and to submit it to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments for the Holy See’s “recognitio.”
The introduction of a new translation of the Mass will be an opportunity for renewed catechesis. Plans for this are already underway, and an international group are preparing materials that will be useable in all English-speaking countries.