By Patricia Zapor Catholic News Service
BALTIMORE (CNS) — Just a year after U.S. Catholics began using the new English translation of the Roman Missal at Masses, the bishops agreed Nov. 13 to have work begin on a revision of the Liturgy of the Hours.
By a vote of 189 to 41, with one abstention, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved beginning work on updates to hymns, psalms, various canticles, psalm prayers, some antiphons, biblical readings and other components of the liturgical prayers used at various parts of the day.
Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans, chairman of the Committee on Divine Worship, said the work would probably take three to five years to complete.
In presenting the request for a vote to the bishops, Archbishop Aymond said the aim of retranslation would be to more accurately reflect the original Latin texts.
In all, the approval covered 23 different components of the Liturgy of the Hours. Actions to be taken range from incorporating psalms from the Revised Grail Psalter to having the International Commission on English in the Liturgy retranslate some antiphons, the updated proper of the saints and the “Te Deum,” a traditional hymn of praise and thanksgiving for the gift of salvation in Christ.
There were short discussions of the issue both when it was introduced Nov. 12 and when the formal vote was taken. Among points raised by some bishops were Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley’s comment about “how pleased I am that the committee wants to revisit the Glory Be,” because laypeople tend to use an older version than the bishops do.
The traditional ending of the prayer is “as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.” The updated version of the Glory Be, used by the bishops at their meetings, for instance, ends: “as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever, Amen.”
The difference causes confusion when groups accustomed to using the different versions pray together, Cardinal O’Malley said.
Bishop Anthony B. Taylor of Little Rock, Ark., noted that since the Liturgy of the Hours was last updated in the 1970s, the revision under discussion would likely be used by the current bishops “for the rest of our lives.”
The item actually was put to a vote twice, getting slightly fewer supporting votes the second time.
After the original vote, which tallied 217-3, with one abstention, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the conference, realized that San Diego Bishop Robert H. Brom had been trying to get his attention.
Bishop Brom said he was opposed to beginning a revision of another liturgical text so soon after the new Roman Missal translation was put into effect.
“The long and the short is: I am hearing, especially from priests, but from laypeople as well, real reservations about the English translations of the new missal,” he said.
Some of the new translations make the missal not sacramental, “but aggravating. It should not be the basis for other liturgical publications,” Bishop Brom said.
After a brief additional discussion, Cardinal Dolan apologized for his haste in calling for the first vote and asked for the item to be voted upon again. The reason for the difference in total number of bishops who voted on the matter — 221 the first time and 231 the second time — was not clear. It could be a matter of more bishops being in the room a few minutes after the first vote.