By Barb Arland-Fye
Bishop Martin Amos said translation of liturgical texts being prepared for use in English-speaking countries was the most important issue he and fellow bishops addressed at last week’s spring meeting.
The bishops approved two liturgical texts, but five sections of the Roman Missal failed to receive the necessary two-thirds votes during the June 17-19 meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in San Antonio.
“They came pretty close to passing,” Bishop Amos said of the five sections, which largely deal with prayers that priests say during Mass.
The 55 bishops who did not attend the spring meeting will be polled by mail on the five parts that failed. Bishop Amos expressed confidence that the USCCB will get the two-thirds majority it needs once the remaining bishops have been polled. “I’d be really surprised if they didn’t pass.”
The two texts that were approved were the Mass for life, first proposed nearly 20 years ago by Cardinal John O’Connor of New York, and the Spanish-language Lectionary. Both now go to the Vatican for confirmation.
Bishop Amos said the Mass for Life will be celebrated Jan. 22 — the date marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
The bishops also discussed five priority areas: strengthening marriage, cultural diversity, faith formation and sacramental practice, vocations, and life and dignity of the human person, Bishop Amos said. A committee dealing with those priorities identified outcomes it would like to see achieved by 2012, he added. Among those goals: increasing weekly attendance at Mass and mobilizing the Catholic community to prevent the erosion of policies dealing with protection of the unborn and conscience protection rights.
Bishop Amos also noted that the bishops had a closed-door discussion concerning the controversial decision of the University of Notre Dame to award an honorary degree to President Barack Obama. Following their discussion, the bishops issued a brief statement affirming support of Bishop John D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., for his “pastoral concern” for the university.
“We probably need to be in dialogue with the presidents of Catholic universities so we’re all on the same page,” Bishop Amos said. “The issue is: What does it mean to say you’re Catholic? Can you say you’re Catholic and do things that are contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church?”
That is a question for the local bishop to address, if and when it arises in his diocese, Bishop Amos believes.