DMC 43-45: Choices of Texts

Picking up on the last DMC post, there is a sound option for liturgists and clergy if the readings are unsuitable: change them.

The DMC suggests that other Lectionary or Bible readings can be used. With weekly school Masses, I probably use the Bible option about ten to twenty percent of the time.

43. If all the readings assigned to the day seem to be unsuited to the capacity of the children, it is permissible to choose readings or a reading either from the Lectionary of the Roman Missal or directly from the Bible, but taking into account the liturgical seasons. It is recommended, moreover, that the individual conferences of bishops see to the composition of lectionaries for Masses with children.

I use the Lectionary for Masses With Children (LMC) option mentioned above about a third of the time. The daily Lectionary is usually my first consideration. Sometimes I’ll check for a closer match in a first reading to the Gospel reading, especially if it’s Ordinary Time. But often the particular themes in the LMC seasonal sections are just right.

If, because of the limited capabilities of the children, it seems necessary to omit one or other verse of biblical reading, this should be done cautiously and in such a way “that the meaning of the text or the intent and, as it were, style of the Scriptures are not distorted.” [Roman Missal, Lectionary for Mass, Introduction no. 7 d.]

Sometimes, I find it necessary to add verses rather than subtract them. The homilist may prefer to have the reading explain itself.

Keep in mind the spiritual advantage for the children; quality above quantity:

44. In the choice of readings the criterion to be followed is the quality rather than the quantity of the texts from the Scriptures. A shorter reading is not as such always more suited to children than a lengthy reading. Everything depends on the spiritual advantage that the reading can bring to the children.

A note on Biblical paraphrase:

45. In the biblical texts “God is speaking to his people . . . and Christ is present to the faithful through his own word.” [GIRM 33.] Paraphrases of Scripture should therefore be avoided. On the other hand, the use of translations that may already exist for the catechesis of children and that are accepted by the competent authority is recommended.

Not all clergy I’ve worked with feel this way about paraphrases. Personally, I stand with DMC 45, and would prefer an explanation be given in the context of the homily. Other guys have felt the need to finesse the text, sometimes on the fly. I don’t find that works really well.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Directory for Masses With Children, Liturgy, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

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