Tamil version of Catholic prayer book banned
HENNAI: A civil court here has banned the use of a 1993 Tamil translation of Catholic prayer book ‘Missal’ (‘Thiruppali book’) until prior approval is obtained from the Vatican. Noting that some words had been wrongly translated and some others removed in the Tamil version, the court recently declared the translation as incorrect and against the canonical law.
The Tamil translation of liturgical prayers and texts was first published in 1970 with prior approval from the Vatican. The book was updated in 1975 and underwent some more changes in 1993. Against the last alteration, three suits were filed.
Claiming that the changes had been made without approval from Rome and that the authorities had disobeyed the law, the petitioners said it was a case where “additions and omissions from the prescribed text were made”. Further, the four tenets of liturgy – sacrifice, eternal life, sin and doctrine — were dealt in a superficial manner, they said.
In their reply, the archbishops of Chennai and Puducherry said the petitioners did not have a locus standi as under the tenets of the religion, they did not have a right to question the translations. The prayers “involved spiritual and religious aspects of the church” and “the court did not have jurisdiction to go into the veracity of church’s authority.” If there was a doubt, “superiors and doctors of church” could be approached, they said.
In his order, IV assistant judge T Chandrasekar said it was a mere translation of liturgical book and the priests had failed to prove that the translation had been carried out with approval of the Vatican. If the court was barred from dealing with the matter, “everybody would release translations to suit their convenience,” the judge said.
It also prohibited the translated version of book from being used in churches till prior review and approval was obtained from the Vatican.