RENQTC Question 4: Text of the Bible

Q&A on Traditionis Custodes dropped last month, and in the fourth query, we have word on the Bible. Those who follow liturgy news on this front will know that a Latin language proclamation of Scripture will be phased out. So when this is asked:

In Eucharistic celebrations using the Missale Romanum of 1962, is it possible to use the full text of the Bible for the readings, choosing the pericopes indicated in the Missal?

The answer is:


Here’s the explanation:

Art. 3 § 3 of the Motu Proprio Traditionis custodes states that the readings are to be proclaimed in the vernacular language, using translations of Sacred Scripture for liturgical use, approved by the respective Episcopal Conferences.

For English-speaking Catholics in the US, this is the New American Bible, Revised Edition.

Since the texts of the readings are contained in the Missal itself, and therefore there is no separate Lectionary, and in order to observe the provisions of the Motu Proprio, one must necessarily resort to the translation of the Bible approved by the individual Bishops’ Conferences for liturgical use, choosing the pericopes indicated in the Missale Romanum of 1962.

Most liturgy practitioners of the past half-century have gotten used to separate volumes: one for the Lectionary, and another for the Missal. More recently, the former is split into two volumes at Mass–one for the clergy and one for lay lectors.

For the future, whatever Scripture passage appears in the 1962 Missal will be read from a Bible. No formal book will be forthcoming:

No vernacular lectionaries may be published that reproduce the cycle of readings of the previous rite.

The explanation of the answer to the question includes a brief “catechesis” on the revised Lectionary.

It should be remembered that the present Lectionary is one of the most precious fruits of the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council. The publication of the Lectionary, in addition to overcoming the “plenary” form of the Missale Romanum of 1962 and returning to the ancient tradition of individual books corresponding to individual ministries, fulfils the wish of Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 51: “The treasures of the Bible are to be opened up more lavishly, so that richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God’s word. In this way a more representative portion of the holy scriptures will be read to the people in the course of a prescribed number of years”.

I doubt this paragraph will be received by the most hard core of traditionalists. Too much “Spirit of Vatican II.” The truth is that starting after the Council, some things all began to happen at the same time. Expanded choice of readings at Mass. More Bible studies in parishes. Missions to read the whole Bible in a year via social media. More Bibles, period; and today all over: from bishops to distributions at Mass for Confirmation and RCIA and such. Is that a good thing? Or is it too much to handle? Answer one: yes. Answer two, well, as for the people who think yes, one can think of them as buzzkill at an otherwise rather enjoyable party.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to RENQTC Question 4: Text of the Bible

  1. Liam says:

    I have to say the prohibitions involved here struck me as excessively anti-pastoral and more about control. There is certainly a logic here, but it’s not one I’d promote, and they get in the way of the promotion of the purposes of the Lectionary.

    • The prohibitions are little different than recent others. I struggle to muster sympathy. Yes, it is about control. Spirituality, liturgy, scholarship, compassion? Not so much. As it was with the ICEL Psalter, Roman Missal 2, and any number of other projects. I tend to doubt it will engender a sense of commonality among believers, and more to embed the divisions.

      • Liam says:

        It’s precisely having been on the receiving end of heavy-handed liturgical control (from both sides of this lever) that I don’t have much of a struggle to muster sympathy; indeed, it’s become instinctive in this context.

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