Pope issues decree of major significance in Asia

(UCAN) Pope Francis has issued a decree greatly enhancing the authority of local churches that will have special significance in Asia.

The decree, or motu proprio as it is called in church parlance, enables local churches across the world to take a more direct hand in developing and approving the texts used in the celebration of sacraments.

The control of liturgical texts and sacramental formulas has been a matter of considerable controversy to many throughout the church, including bishops’ conferences in Asia such as in Japan.

For the last 20 years, the Vatican has directly challenged a specific directive of Vatican II that had the process of revision and approval of these texts to include local churches and with experts in vernacular language rather than Vatican officials.

This new decree will have a wide ranging impact across Asia. Dated Sept. 3 but only released on Sept. 9, the document as reported by the Catholic News Agency deals explicitly with two specific changes to Canon 838 of the Code of Canon Law, which address the authority of the Apostolic See and national episcopal conferences in preparing liturgical texts in vernacular languages.

The changes introduced were to paragraphs 2 and 3 of Canon 838. [More]