From the editor, ‘Pray Tell’:

Avvenire, the daily newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference, reports that the revised translation of the missal for Italy has been approved by Pope Francis. At the bishops’ most recent general assembly, conference president Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti announced that Francis authorized the publication of the  revised translation of the third edition of the Messale Romanowhich the bishops had approved last November. It will be some months before the books are printed and available for liturgical use.

Changes to Lord’s Prayer and Gloria

The Lord’s Prayer will no longer say “and lead us not into temptation” (e non ci indurre in tentazione), but will become “do not let us fall/be abandoned into temptation” (non abbandonarci alla tentazione). This will bring the prayer in line with the translation of this passage in the Italian translation of the Bible the bishops approved in 2008.

The Gloria will also be revised. “Peace on earth to people of good will” (pace in terra agli uomini di buona volontà) will become “Peace on Earth to people beloved by God” (pace in terra agli uomini, amati dal Signore).

In the Revised New American Bible of the U.S. Catholic lectionary, these two passages read:

  • “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14);
  • “and do not subject us to the final test” (Matthew 6:13, Luke 11:4).

“For you and for all”

Of special interest is the contentious issue of the translation of pro multis in the institution narrative of the Eucharistic Prayer. In many countries this was translated after the Second Vatican Council “for all” – in Italian, per tutti.

The 2001 instruction of the Holy See Liturgiam authenticam called for more literal vernacular translations of official Latin liturgical texts, and also gave Rome complete authority over the supervision and approval of vernacular liturgical texts. In 2006, Rome directed that pro multis be translated “for many.” Pope Benedict XVI was particularly insistent on this point.

Sources tell Pray Tell that the forthcoming Italian missal will not alter this text, as Benedict XVI would have wished, but will retain per tutti – “for all.”

Shifting Winds in Translation Policy

In September, 2017 Pope Francis issued Magnum principium, which called for translations which are both faithful to Latin and respectful of the characteristics of the receptor language. It is this second quality which was seen to suffer in the overly literalist translations prepared since Liturgiam authenticam.

More significantly, Pope Francis restored authority over translations to bishops’ conferences, as the Second Vatican Council had decreed, and rolled back the creeping centralism of previous decades at odds with the Council’s decisions. The Holy See no longer gives a recognitio by which it approves vernacular translations; it now gives a confirmatio which confirms the decisions made by bishops’ conferences.

The forthcoming Italian missal has received confirmatio from the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.

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