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US bishops adjust liturgical translation following concern of CDW

February 8, 2021 CNA Daily News 9

Denver Newsroom, Feb 8, 2021 / 08:01 pm (CNA).- The US bishops’ conference last week decreed that in the translation of the conclusion of collects in the Roman Missal, “one” is to be omitted before “God”. The conclusions will now read “God, for ever and ever”.

The decision follows a letter sent in May 2020 to Anglophone episcopal conferences by Robert Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, addressing a concern about the English translation.

A Feb. 4 note from the USCCB’s Committee on Divine Worship said the correction will take effect in the dioceses of the US from Feb. 17, Ash Wednesday.

Until now, in the conclusions to collects the Latin words “Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum” had been rendered in English as “one God, for ever and ever”.

The committee’s note said that Cardinal Sarah had observed that “there is no mention of ‘one’ in the Latin, and ‘Deus’ in the Latin text refers to Christ … The Cardinal Prefect has pointed out the importance of affirming this Christological truth amid the religious pluralism of today’s world.”

The note added that English hand missals that preceded Vatican II “reflected the corrected translation … however, when the post-conciliar texts were published in English, the word ‘one’ was added.”

The English-Latin Sacramentary, a missal published in 1966 during the period of transition from the Traditional Latin Mass to the Novus Ordo, omitted the word ‘one’ in the conclusion of collects. The English translation found in The English-Latin Sacramentary was copyrighted by P. J. Kennedy & Sons, and had been approved by the National Conference of Bishops Sept. 3, 1965.

The USCCB committee wrote in its Feb. 4 note that it “should be noted that when the translation of the Missal currently in use was in progress, ICEL pointed out the discrepancy to the Congregation in Rome, but was told to retain the use of ‘one God’ in the new translation.”

The note said that the Latin rite bishops of the US have voted to amend the country’s version of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal to reflect the change, and that it has been confirmed by the CDW.

The most common formula, used when a collect is addressed to the Father, will read: “Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.”

The change is in harmony with the bishops’ conferences of England and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, as well other English-speaking territories.

The same change was effected by the English and Welsh bishops, beginning Nov. 29, 2020.

The decree of the English and Welsh bishops’ conference said that “The addition of ‘one’ before ‘God’ in the conclusion of the Collects could be construed as mistaken and problematic. ‘Deus’ here refers to the earlier mention of ‘the Son’ and is a Christological, anti-Arian affirmation, and not directly Trinitarian in this context.”

The addition of “one” before “God” “could serve to undermine the statement of the unique dignity of the Son within the Trinity”, or “could be interpreted as saying that Jesus is ‘one God,’” an explanatory note to the English and Welsh decree stated.

“Either or both of these interpretations is injurious to the faith of the Church.”

Continuing, the note said that “one” “risks suggesting that Jesus became a god independent of the Blessed Trinity and is one god among many … what we pray needs to express what the Church believes, requiring that, in liturgical formulae, we uphold the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity.”

The Trinitarian doxology that concludes the collects “emphasises the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, who as the Incarnate Son, intercedes on our behalf to the Father … thus, the Son’s role of priestly mediation is made clear.”

The explanatory note says the phrase was adopted in the fourth century “as a means to combat the Arian heresy,” which held that Jesus Christ became God, rather than having been God eternally.

Moreover, the note adds, “one” is not used in the translations of the conclusion in French, German, Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese: “The English translation has, therefore, diverged from those of other major language groups.”

The English and Welsh bishops’ explanatory note said that “since the addition of the word ‘one’” could obscure prayer and thus belief, the Congregation for Divine Worship “has ruled it should no longer be used in the translation of these texts into English.”

The USCCB has been approving new translations of components of the Liturgy of the Hours, a new translation of the Roman Missal having been adopted in 2011.

At its 2019 fall general assembly, the conference voted overwhelmingly to approve the ICEL grey book translation of the hymns of the Liturgy of the Hours.


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U.S. bishops: COVID relief should protect the vulnerable, including the unborn

February 3, 2021 CNA Daily News 0

Washington D.C., Feb 3, 2021 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- U.S. bishops are asking that the next COVID relief bill include “life-affirming policies” and reject abortion funding.


In a letter to members of Congress on Wednesday, several bishops advocated for the next COVID relief bill to include certain emergency aid policies while excluding funding of abortions.


The relief package “should promote the dignity and value of all human life and protect poor and vulnerable people who are most at risk,” the bishops stated.


“Accordingly, we urge you in the strongest possible terms to use the money and policies in these bills to fund and promote life-affirming policies and not to advance the destruction of innocent unborn human life,” they added in their letter.


The letter’s signers included Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, the domestic justice chair of the U.S. bishops’ conference (USCCB); Bishop David Malloy of Rockford, chair of the USCCB’s international justice and peace committee; Bishop Michael Barber of Oakland, chair of the USCCB’s education committee; Bishop Shelton Fabre, chair of the USCCB anti-racism committee; Bishop Mario Dorsonville, chair of the USCCB migration committee; and Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chair of the USCCB pro-life committee.


President Joe Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. Although he met with Republicans on Tuesday, who presented a $600 billion counter-proposal, Democrats appear poised to pass Biden’s proposal with or without Republican support.


Senate Democrats are reportedly using the parliamentary process of reconciliation to pass the relief measure, thus only requiring 50 votes in the chamber with Vice President Kamala Harris available to break a 50-50 split.


Pro-life groups had expressed concern to CNA earlier this month that COVID relief could open up new federal funding of health care without pro-life protections. On Wednesday, the pro-life group March for Life Action tweeted its concern that the bill could include abortion funding.


The bishops on Wednesday reiterated their stance against abortion funding in the relief bill.


“Any public option for health care, or similar efforts to increase access to health care, must include protections against using taxpayer dollars for elective abortions,” the bishops said.


The bishops asked members to maintain increases to food stamp benefits, fund emergency rental assistance, provide for “testing, vaccination, and treatment for COVID-19 for all,” increase Medicaid resources for states, and provide for protective equipment and paid leave for essential workers.


In addition, they advocated for “equitable access” to emergency aid for non-public schools, “legal status and a pathway to citizenship” for essential workers, Dreamers, and TPS recipients and their families, and an expansion of the above-the-line charitable tax deduction.


House Republican Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) has criticized the use of reconciliation to pass the relief measure, saying that it included a $15-an-hour minimum wage among other policies that Republicans are objecting to.


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U.S. bishops deplore Biden’s ‘grevious’ repeal of pro-life policies

January 28, 2021 CNA Daily News 3

Washington D.C., Jan 28, 2021 / 03:00 pm (CNA).- Leading U.S. bishops decried President Biden’s repeal of pro-life policies on Thursday.


President Joe Biden, a Catholic, issued a presidential memorandum on Thursday afternoon repealing the Mexico City Policy. His act allows for the U.S. to again fund international pro-abortion groups through family planning funding and global health assistance.


The U.S. bishops’ conference (USCCB) warned that, under Biden’s order, the U.S. would be contributing to abortions and abortion advocacy in the developing world.

“It is grievous that one of President Biden’s first official acts actively promotes the destruction of human lives in developing nations,” Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City and Bishop David Malloy of Rockford stated on Thursday. Archbishop Naumann is the chair of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee, and Bishop Malloy is chair of the bishops’ international justice and peace committee.


“This Executive Order is antithetical to reason, violates human dignity, and is incompatible with Catholic teaching,” the bishops said.


In his sweeping order “Protecting Women’s Health at Home and Abroad,” Biden stated his administration’s commitment to promoting women’s “reproductive health.”


The Mexico City Policy, named for the location of the UN population conference where it was first announced in 1984, was instituted by President Reagan. It bars taxpayer funding of foreign NGOs that provide or promote abortion as a method of family planning. Presidents traditionally either repeal it or reinstate it as among their first actions upon entering office.


While the policy originally applied to several hundred million dollars of U.S. international family planning funding, the Trump administration expanded it to apply more than $8 billion in global health assistance.


Biden on Thursday repealed those actions and instructed several federal agencies, as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), to begin reaching out to global health partners and instructing them that the previous prohibitions on abortion advocacy or referrals no longer apply.


In response, Archbishop Naumann and Bishop Malloy asked Biden to stop funding pro-abortion groups and work with the Church on “integral human development.”


“We urge the President to use his office for good, prioritizing the most vulnerable, including unborn children,” the bishops stated.


“As the largest non-government health care provider in the world, the Catholic Church stands ready to work with him and his administration to promote global women’s health in a manner that furthers integral human development, safeguarding innate human rights and the dignity of every human life, beginning in the womb,” the bishops said.


Through Biden’s order, the administration is also withdrawing from the Geneva Declaration, a statement signed by the U.S. and 31 other countries in October stating that abortion is not an international human right.


Additionally, the administration will once again fund the United Nations’ population fund (UNFPA). The Trump administration had stopped funding the UNFPA because of concerns that it partnered with China on family planning, and thus was complicit in forced abortions and sterilizations.


Pro-life advocates have long warned that China’s one-child policy—now a two-child policy—had resulted in women being forcibly sterilized or having to abort their child if they had too many children.


In a 2011 address at Sichuan University in China, then-Vice President Biden told his audience that “I fully understand” China’s one-child policy and that he was “not second-guessing” it, while also warning of the demographic challenges it posed.

In addition, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently declared that China was committing genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in the northwest province of Xinjiang; Pompeo cited reports of mass forced sterilizations, birth control, and abortion on Uyghur women in making his genocide determination.


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U.S. bishops praise Biden’s repeal of travel ban

January 21, 2021 CNA Daily News 0

Washington D.C., Jan 21, 2021 / 08:45 am (CNA).- After President Joe Biden on his first day in office revoked a travel ban from certain Muslim-majority and African countries, leading U.S. bishops praised the move.


 “We welcome yesterday’s Proclamation, which will help ensure that those fleeing persecution and seeking refuge or seeking to reunify with family in the United States will not be turned away because of what country they are from or what religion they practice,” stated Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Bishop Mario Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington, D.C., on Thursday.


Cardinal Dolan chairs the religious freedom committee of the U.S. bishops’ conference (USCCB), and Bishop Dorsonville chairs the conference migration committee.


On Wednesday, President Biden had issued a proclamation revoking President Trump’s executive order from 2017, along with several of Trump’s ensuing actions to restrict travel into the U.S. from several predominantly Muslim and African countries. Biden’s proclamation was among his first executive actions while in office.


Biden said that travel bans “are a stain on our national conscience and are inconsistent with our long history of welcoming people of all faiths and no faith at all.”


The initial 2017 action by President Trump– was considered by some to be essentially a “Muslim ban,” a continuation of his promise on the campaign trail to shut down travel into the U.S. by Muslims, purportedly for security reasons.


At the time of the initial ban, the USCCB said it “targets Muslims for exclusion, which goes against our country’s core principle of neutrality when it comes to people of faith.” 


Since the original order, the administration later added other countries to the list that were not Muslim-majority nations, including African countries. The travel ban was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2018.


Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Dorsonville said that reversing the travel ban would help refugees and victims of violence.


“We look forward to working with this new Administration in accompanying immigrants and refugees and continuing the welcoming tradition, which has helped make the United States the diverse and prosperous nation it is today,” they stated.


Other Catholic groups praised President Biden’s proposed actions on immigration on his first day in office.


Anna Gallagher, executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), tweeted on Wednesday of the “Muslim Ban” that “[i]t’s only fitting that this be among the first Trump policies to go.”


“The ‘Document on Human Fraternity’ from @Pontifex and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb calls on us ‘to unite and work together’ and ‘advance a culture of mutual respect in the awareness of the great divine grace that makes all human beings brothers and sisters,’” she tweeted.


Biden on Wednesday began a series of other executive actions on immigration, including the preservation the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and declaring a halt to border wall construction.


In addition, Biden’s transition team promised he would send an immigration bill to Congress that would, among other acts, offer a path to citizenship for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders.


That policy would protect “vulnerable people and families” from countries such as El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti from deportation, said Bill O’Keefe, executive vice president for mission, mobilization and advocacy at Catholic Relief Services (CRS).


“Based on our presence in Latin America and our Church partners there, we know these countries are not prepared to reintegrate their citizens and are overwhelmed from the consequences of natural disasters, insecurity, and COVID-19,” O’Keefe told CNA in a statement.




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US bishops disagree with designation of Cuba as terrorism sponsor

January 14, 2021 CNA Daily News 6

CNA Staff, Jan 14, 2021 / 06:29 pm (CNA).- The US bishops’ chair for international justice and peace has expressed his disagreement with the State Department’s return of Cuba to a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The decision was based in part on Cuba’s provision of haven to Colombian rebel leaders and fugitives from US justice, as well as Cuba’s support of Nicolas Maduro, the disputed president of Venezuela, who is not recognized by the US.

“As Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, I would like to express my profound disagreement with Secretary Pompeo’s decision to add Cuba to the list of state sponsors of terrorism,” Bishop David Malloy of Rockford said Jan. 12.

“As our committee has said many times, we need more relations between the United States and Cuba, not less, in order to construct mutually beneficial trade, cultural, and scientific ties that will yield a lasting prosperity for both our nations. I pray that we never tire of working towards these goals and that both sides recognize the need for friendship and collaboration,” he stated.

“For decades, in conjunction with the Holy See and the majority of the international community, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has urged collaboration and mutually beneficial relations between the United States and Cuba, as well as the full lifting of the economic embargo against the island nation.”

In announcing the designation of Cuba Jan. 11, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it has provided “support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbor to terrorists.”

He cited Cuba’s refusal to extradite 10 leaders of a Colombian rebel group which bombed a police academy in January 2019, and its harboring of at least three US fugitives.

The Secretary of State noted that by May 2020 the State Department had certified Cuba as not cooperating fully with US counterterrorism efforts.

Pompeo added that “the Cuban intelligence and security apparatus has infiltrated Venezuela’s security and military forces, assisting Nicholas [sic] Maduro to maintain his stranglehold over his people while allowing terrorist organizations to operate. The Cuban government’s support for FARC dissidents and the ELN continues beyond Cuba’s borders as well, and the regime’s support of Maduro has created a permissive environment for international terrorists to live and thrive within Venezuela.”

Cuba’s status as a state sponsor of terror “subjects Cuba to sanctions that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with Cuba, restricts U.S. foreign assistance, bans defense exports and sales, and imposes certain controls on exports of dual use items,” Pompeo said.

Cuba had been removed from the list in 2015 by the Obama administration; it had first been placed there in 1982 under Ronald Reagan.

After Sudan was recently removed, only three other countries are included on the list of a state sponsor of terrorism: North Korea, Syria, and Iran.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla condemned the U.S. action in a tweet on Monday, calling it “hypocritical and cynical” and characterizing it as “political opportunism”.