The new liturgical rules will benefit rich countries over poor ones


Catholic Herald, 14 September 2017

Only wealthy countries have the resources to take full advantage of Magnum Principium

While he was in Colombia, Pope Francis made a significant liturgical change, modifying the canon law which governs approval for liturgical translations.

While the liturgy is not as central a priority for the Holy Father as it was for his predecessor, it would be impossible for a liberalising pontificate not to address some of the grievances of the Church’s liberal liturgical wing. As far as it goes, the canonical change is modest. It mandates no textual changes and keeps intact the governing principles of translation, but gives greater latitude for what national episcopal conferences may do in fashioning their own liturgical translations.

Entitled Magnum Principium (“Great Principle”), the motu propriopublished on September 9 shifts the balance of authority towards national conferences of bishops, opening the possibility of greater diversity in liturgical texts around the world, and even within the major languages, especially English, given the wide range of countries which use it.

Henceforth, the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW) will not play the role it does now in preparing liturgical translations, but will largely limit itself to approving – or withholding approval – the texts prepared by bishops’ conferences.

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