September 22, 2017

Kurt Martens, professor, canon law, published commentary in Our Sunday Visitor explaining the recent change to canon 838 of the Code of Canon Law. He was quoted in a National Catholic Register story on Canon 838.

The Sept. 9 announcement of the motu proprio Magnum Principium, changing canon 838 of the Code of Canon Law, has not generated a shortage of comments and commentaries, not in the least on social media. Some bluntly said that the new English translation of the Roman Missal can simply be substituted with the old translation. That is not how the new canon 838 reads. Others believed that Pope Francis moved the authority to approve translations of liturgical texts into the vernacular completely to episcopal conferences. That too is incorrect.

It is therefore important to clarify a few elementary points to avoid further confusion. Of course the text of the motu proprio is the first point of reference. However, a letter by Archbishop Arthur Roche, the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, gives some background to understand the revision, and another unsigned text — probably also from Archbishop Roche — sheds some further light on the canon. ...

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