BALTIMORE (CNS) – During their
annual fall assembly Nov. 13-14 in Baltimore, the U.S. bishops dealt with pressing
issues of the day, such as racism and immigration reform, but they also paid
close attention to the words used during children's baptisms.
The day after they discussed it,
the bishops Nov. 14 approved the use of a new translation in the baptismal rite
for the first time in 40 years.
In discussing the topic, the
bishops made it clear it was not something they took lightly.
"We need to think about
these things. It's not just the pope or the Holy See that protects revelations,
but us," said Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron.
Retired Bishop Donald W.
Trautman of Erie, Pennsylvania, questioned the need for the change and the
expense of doing it, saying the changes were relatively minor and made the text
In response, Atlanta Archbishop
Wilton D. Gregory, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee
on Divine Worship, who brought the topic up for discussion and vote, agreed the
changes were minor. But he said they were a response to the Vatican's call that
they were part of something bigger and addressed the Vatican's request to
translate liturgical texts into modern languages.
Two hundred bishops voted in
favor of approving a translation of the Order of Baptism of Children for use in
U.S. dioceses from the ICEL Gray Book translation. ICEL stands for the
International Committee on English in the Liturgy.
The bishops' conferences of 11
English-dominant countries make up the ICEL's membership. Since 1963, this
committee has been the resource to prepare translations of Latin liturgical
Twenty-three bishops voted against
the translation and three abstained. The vote required affirmation by
two-thirds of the Latin Church members and is subject to confirmation by the
Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.
discussion came some weeks after an apostolic letter about translating liturgical
texts given "motu proprio" (on his own initiative) by Pope Francis.
The letter, "Magnum
Principium" ("The Great Principle"), called for a simpler
process of translating liturgical texts. It was published Sept. 9 and went into
effect Oct. 1.
The text the bishops want to use
for children's baptisms also reflects principles of "Liturgiam Authenticam"
("The Authentic Liturgy"), a 2001 document on liturgical translations
from the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.