Pope Francis gives local bishops more responsibility for Mass translations
Pope Francis today issued new instructions for the approval of liturgical texts, rebalancing the relationship between the Vatican and local bishops’ conferences in favor of greater local control. The pope's order, in the form of an apostolic letter issued motu proprio (that is, on his own initiative) titled “Magnum Principium,” reverses the trend in recent years toward greater Vatican control over the texts used in the Mass. “In order that the renewal of the whole liturgical life might continue,” Francis wrote, “it seemed opportune that some principles handed on since the time of the [Second Vatican] Council should be more clearly reaffirmed and put into practice.”
Earlier this year, Pope Francis had ordered a review of “Liturgiam Authenticam”, which set out the principles governing liturgical translation. Archbishop Arthur Roche, the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and president of the commission reviewing “Liturgiam Authenticam,” has written a “key to reading” the newly issued instructions. In this key, he explains that “the object of the changes is to define better the roles of the Apostolic See and the Conferences of Bishops in respect to their proper competencies which are different yet remain complementary. They are called to work in a spirit of dialogue regarding the translation of the typical Latin books as well as for any eventual adaptations that could touch on rites and texts.”
The full text of the motu proprio, Archbishop Roche's explanatory article, and an explanatory note regarding the specific changes to canon law are available as PDFs attached below.