Missal Defense

The Vatican Issues Rules on Liturgical Translations

by Helen Hull Hitchcock

In a remarkably forceful and far-reaching document, the Holy See issued an “Instruction” presenting the principles to be followed in translation of the Liturgy of the Catholic Church into vernacular languages. The 35-page instruction, titled Liturgiam Authenticam (Authentic Liturgy), was made public on May 7, although Pope John Paul II had already ordered that it come into effect on April 25, 2001.

Liturgiam Authenticam is only the fifth Instruction on the implementation of the Second Vatican Council’s liturgical reform in the nearly 40 years since the council. In process for about three years, Liturgiam . . .

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