Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Update on New Translation of Breviary

This is from a recent issue of the newsletter of the United States Bishops committee on Divine Worship, regarding the progress of the new translation of the Liturgy of the Hours. Nothing earthshaking, but at least signs that progresss is being made:

The project of revising the English translation of the Liturgy of the Hours is still years from completion, but steady progress does continue to be made. The translators with the International Commission on English in the Liturgy continue to work through its various sections; the translators are working diligently. At the present time, they are concentrating especially on the intercessions and on the antiphons for the Benedictus and the Magnificat. In recent years, the Holy See has insisted on unified worldwide English translations of liturgical texts, with the exception of the Scriptural texts. The various Bishops’ Conferences have some latitude in determining the best Biblical translation to use in their own areas. With that in mind, the Conference has been moving forward in preparing Scriptural elements of the revised Liturgy of the Hours. Last November, the Bishops approved a series of further revisions in the Revised Grail Psalms. This was done partly as a “counteroffer” to revisions that the Holy See made to the first draft of the translation, and partly in response to experience gained by several religious communities who have been using these Psalms in their regular prayer. Last June, the Bishops approved a new translation of the Old and New Testament Canticles of the breviary, which were prepared by Conception Abbey. So, together with our existing New American Bible, the Biblical elements of our revised Liturgy of the Hours are falling into place. The last two elements will still require the recognitio of the Holy See. The Holy See has been gently encouraging the English-speaking Conferences to try to come to a consensus on Scriptural translations for the liturgy. The growing ease of international travel and communication and the growing worldwide influence of the English language obviously are factors here. The possibility of finding a Psalter that could be adopted in common will be discussed in the upcoming International Commission on English in the Liturgy meeting. We look forward to hearing the observations that the representatives of various groups will have about this question. This is a project that may or may not come to fruition. Therefore, it is premature to say what impact, if any, it would have on our new breviary.  

Whenever I mention this upcoming new translation, I always get the question: I was about to buy a new four-volume breiviary: should I just wait until the new version comes out? My answer is No, unless you are willing to wait another six years or more.