The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has published a decree giving effect to the dispositions of can. 838 of the Code of Canon Law, concerning the translation of liturgical texts. The measure follows the promulgation of Motu Proprio Magnum Principium on 3 September 2017, by which Pope Francis modified §§ 2 and 3 of Canon 838, thus stipulating that “art. 64 § 3 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus as well as other laws are to be interpreted, particularly those contained in the liturgical books concerning their revision”. At the same time, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments was encouraged to modify its own regulations and take the necessary steps to implement the new discipline. With the decree Postquam Summus Pontifex, the Congregation gives effect to these provisions, clarifying and defining the norms regarding the editing, recognitio and confirmatio of liturgical books – operations that involve both the Episcopal Conferences and the Apostolic See, according to their own competences.
The document, which takes the form of an executive general decree, is made up of two parts, preceded by an introduction. The first part, entitled Norms and Procedures, reiterates, interprets and amends the norms and procedures regarding the translation of liturgical books into vernacular languages. “First of all, the responsibilities and competences of the Episcopal Conferences are defined, both in assessing and approving liturgical adaptations for the territory for which they are responsible, and in preparing and approving translations of liturgical texts”, Prefect Arthur Roche explained in L’Osservatore Romano. “Various issues are then addressed, including the language to be adopted in the liturgy, the complex process of translating the texts, the drafting of the liturgical book and its approval, the request for ‘confirmatio’ and ‘recognitio’ from the Holy See, and, finally, the publication of the book”. The second part of the decree is “operative”, indicating some “variations” to be introduced in the new editions of liturgical books.divine