USCCB News Release
October 20, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Translation of Psalms, Proper of Seasons, New Blessing for Child in the Womb
on Agenda of November Bishops' Meeting
WASHINGTON—Liturgical items will occupy a prominent place on the Bishops' action item agenda for the annual Fall General Assembly, November 10-13, in Baltimore.
The Bishops' Committee on Divine Worship is requesting a vote on several items including the approval of the Revised Grail Psalter by the Monks of Conception Abbey for liturgical use in the United States. Approval will also be sought for the translation of the Proper of Seasons prayers from the Roman Missal, which failed to achieve the required two-third majority last June, and a new Order for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb, in English and Spanish. All items require a two-thirds majority vote of the Latin rite members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and recognitio (confirmation) by the Holy See.
Presently, two Psalters are approved for and in use in the Dioceses of the United States. The Grail Psalter (1963) is used in the Liturgy of the Hours, while the New American Bible (NAB) Psalter (1971) is in use in all other liturgical books. The revised NAB Psalter (1991) was rejected both by the USCCB and the Holy See in the revision of the Lectionary for Mass in 2000. Meanwhile, the Revised Grail Psalter was developed in consideration of the principles of Liturgiam authenticam, the Vatican directive on liturgical practices. It also enjoys the recommendation of the Bishops' Committee on Divine Worship (formerly Bishops' Committee on Liturgy, or BCL) and the approval of the Subcommittee on Translation of Scripture Text of the Committee on Doctrine regarding scriptural accuracy of the translation.
In a memorandum dated May 8, Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, New Jersey, chair of the Subcommittee, said that "some members expressed disappointment that while being accurate, the NAB Revised Psalter has a tendency at times to lose some of the poetic quality of the Hebrew text."
The Committee on Divine Worship recommends that the Revised Grail Psalter be adopted for liturgical use in the United States for several reasons including that a) it has been recommended by musicians for its musicality and can be easily sung in various musical forms, chanted or recited; b) it is faithful to the Hebrew text in content and form; c) the text is somewhat already familiar to those who pray the Divine Office even with improvements; and d) while being faithful to the Hebrew imagery and anthropology it is critically aware of Christological references.
The Revised Grail Psalter has already been adopted for liturgical use by the bishops of several other English-speaking countries, including those engaged in the International Commission for the Preparation of an English Lectionary (ICPEL).
Regarding the translation for the Proper of Seasons, Bishop Serratelli, also chair of the Committee on Divine Worship, sent all USCCB members the text of the Gray Book in English and Latin along with modifications already accepted by the committee and the body of bishops and the modification form. A "Gray Book" is a second revision of a proposed text by the International Commission for English in the Liturgy, ICEL, which incorporates approved changes after initial consultation and is normally proposed for final vote by bishops' conferences. Proposed modifications were to be submitted to the Committee by September 15. At the November meeting the body of bishops will be presented with the amended text for final vote.
The Blessing of a Child in the Womb, Within Mass and Outside Mass, in English and in Spanish, was prepared to support parents awaiting the birth of their child, to encourage in the parish prayers for and recognition of the gift of the child in the womb and to foster respect for human life within society. Upon approval by the USCCB and the Holy See, it will be incorporated in future editions of the Book of Blessings.
Editor's Note: News media seeking credentials to cover the meeting can download a credential application form from http://www.usccb.org/comm/credentialform.pdf