The Vatican will not “impose” a specific liturgical translation on bishops’ conferences, but rather is called to recognise the bishops’ authority and expertise in determining the best way to faithfully translate Latin texts into their local languages, Pope Francis has said in a letter to Vatican officials.

In the letter, released by the Vatican on Sunday, Pope Francis said he wanted to correct several points made in a “commentary” which Cardinal Robert Sarah sent him, which was published on several websites in a variety of languages.

The letter said that most of the websites “erroneously” cited Cardinal Sarah as the author of the commentary.

The commentary looked at changes Pope Francis made to the Code of Canon Law in the process for approving liturgical translations. The changes were ordered in his document, Magnum Principium (“The Great Principle”), which was published in September.

Explaining that he wanted to “avoid any misunderstanding”, Pope Francis said the commentary could give an erroneous impression that the level of involvement of the congregation remained unchanged.

However, while in the past “the judgment regarding the fidelity to the Latin and the eventual corrections necessary was the task of the congregation,” the Pope said, “now the norm concedes to episcopal conferences the faculty of judging the worth and coherence of one or another term in translations from the original, even if in dialogue with the Holy See”.

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