Liturgiam Authenticam is an instruction of the Holy See issued on 28 March 2001 that included the requirement that, in translations of the liturgical texts from the official Latin originals, "the original text, insofar as possible, must be translated integrally and in the most exact manner, without omissions or additions in terms of their content, and without paraphrases or glosses. Any adaptation to the characteristics or the nature of the various vernacular languages is to be sober and discreet."

Typical edition

The following year, the third typical edition[1] of the revised Roman Missal in Latin was released. These two texts made clear the need for a new official English translation of the Roman Missal, particularly because the previous one was at some points an adaptation rather than strictly a translation. An example is the rendering of the response "Et cum spiritu tuo" (literally, "And with your spirit") as "And also with you".

ICEL translations

The new English translation of the Ordinary of the Mass as prepared by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) and adopted by English-speaking Episcopal Conferences has received confirmation from the Holy See and may be consulted at the web site of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The episcopal conferences are still studying draft translations of other parts of the Missal. The timetable envisaged for this work suggests that the complete English text can be presented for the confirmation of the Holy See only at the end of 2010.

2006 circular

The approved new translation of the Ordinary of the Mass is in conformity with the circular of 17 October 2006 from the Congregation for Divine Worship to presidents of episcopal conferences on the translation of "pro multis" in the formula of the consecration of the wine. The Congregation recalled the 1974 declaration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that there is no doubt whatsoever regarding the validity of Masses celebrated using "for all" as a translation of "pro multis", since "for all" corresponds to a correct interpretation of Christ's intention expressed in the words of the consecration, and since it is a dogma of the Catholic faith that Christ died on the Cross for all. However, the Congregation pointed out that "for all" is not a literal translation of the words that Matthew 26:28 and Mark 14:24 report that Jesus used at the Last Supper and of the words used in the Latin text of the Mass: "for all" is rather an explanation of the sort that belongs properly to catechesis. The Congregation told the Episcopal Conferences to translate the words "pro multis" more literally.

Opposition in South Africa

In February 2009, the Holy See instructed that the new texts should not be put into use until the whole Missal is translated and the translation approved. Before the instruction was issued, the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland), on 30 November 2008, put into effect the changes in the people's parts of the Ordinary of the Mass.[2] This provoked protests, with writers in the national Catholic weekly newspaper, The Southern Cross, saying the revised text had defective English grammar and poor theology,[3][4][5] and others complaining about being out of line with other English-speaking conferences.[6] Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenberg claimed that the English-speaking conferences should have withstood the Holy See's insistence on a more literal translation.[7] However, the Bishops' Conference as a whole still wanted to press ahead and decided to appeal the Holy See's instruction.[8]


  1. The "typical edition" of a liturgical text is that to which editions by other publishers must conform.
  2. A pastoral response to the faithful with regard to the new English Language Mass translations
  3. Liturgical Anger, an editorial by Gunther Simmermacher
  4. Letter by Fr John Conversett MCCJ
  5. Coyle IHM. Mass translations: A missed opportunity
  6. SABC response 3 February 2009
  7. Letter by Bishop Dowling
  8. News article in The Tablet

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