Consultation on Common Texts

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The origins of the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT) lie in the somewhat hesitant decision of Vatican II to permit some use of the vernacular in liturgy, with approved translations (Sacrosanctum Concilium 36). This decision led perceptive Protestants to initiate unofficial correspondence with such figures in North American Catholicism as Gerald J. Sigler and Frederick R. McManus, looking toward production of agreed common liturgical texts. The Presbyterian, Scott F. Brenner, writing in 1964, and the Lutheran, Hans Boeringer in 1966, laid the groundwork for a gathering sponsored by the Institute for Liturgical Studies at Valparaiso University in August 1966, attended by representatives from the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship, the Episcopal Church, the United Presbyterian Church, the Worship Commission of the Consultation on Church Union (COCU), and the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) of the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1967, this group sponsored a widely attended meeting in conjunction with the National Liturgical Week of the Liturgical Conference, also at Valparaiso, Ind.; this became the first of several such meetings. A small working group on "Agreed Texts" began meeting semi-annually to prepare English translations of the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles' Creed (released in May 1968), the Nicene Creed and portions of the Ordinary of the Mass (August 1968) and to embark upon the preparation of a common Psalter for liturgical use (November 1968). Its work was first published by the Consultation on Church Union as part of An Order for the Proclamation of the Word of God and the Celebration of the Lord's Supper (Forward Movement Publications, Cincinnati 1968).

In 1969 the working group began using the name "Consultation on Common Texts" (CCT) and concentrated on its Psalter project, leaving the earlier work of translating common liturgical texts to the newly formed International Consultation on English Texts (ICET). Individual CCT members continued to take part in ICET's various translation projects. The Psalter project came to fruition with the publication of A Liturgical Psalter for the Eucharist in 1976. The translator was Dr. Massey Shepherd, Jr., who had been among the founders of CCT and who prepared his translation in close partnership with it.

From 1978 onwards, CCT was asked to prepare an ecumenical lectionary based on the three-year Roman Lectionary (1969), harmonizing the many pericope variations and calendar differences in the various ad hoc adaptations that its member churches had made for their own use. This resulted in the publication of the Common Lectionary in 1983. A revised edition, incorporating the feedback from its member churches was released in 1992 as the Revised Common Lectionary. In 1983, CCT and ICEL jointly organized an international consultation on ecumenical liturgical matters at the Vienna Congress of Societas Liturgica. A fruit of this consultation was the formation of the English Language Liturgical Consultation (ELLC) as the successor to ICET, which had ceased to function in 1975. In the mid-1980s, CCT embarked on a project to prepare original ecumenical liturgical texts for adoption by its member churches. This resulted in the publication of A Christian Celebration of Marriage (1987), and A Celebration of Baptism (1988).

Membership in CTT are drawn from the following churches and agencies: Anglican Church of Canada; Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops; Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); Christian Reformed Church in North America; Church of the Brethren; Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA); Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA); Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; Free Methodist Church in Canada; International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL); Liturgy and Life: American Baptist Fellowship for Liturgical Renewal; Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod; Mennonite Church; National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States (NCCB); Polish National Catholic Church; Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); Presbyterian Church in Canada; Reformed Church in America; Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship; United Church of Canada; United Church of Christ; United Methodist Church.

[h. a. allen/eds.]