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Online Edition
Vol. IV, No. 8
December 1998/January 1999

Questions on the New Lectionary

On the First Sunday of Advent many parishes in the United States began to use the revised Lectionary for Mass, the Scripture selections read at Mass. It has been the subject of several years of scrutiny, and careful revisions by the US bishops and Vatican scholars.

The US Lectionary is based on the New American Bible [NAB]. A final version was approved last year by the Vatican (Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith and for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments), and subsequently by the US bishops.

Following are some questions we have received about the new Lectionary:

Q: Is use of the revised Lectionary mandatory?

A: Not yet. This is only the first volume (Sundays and Holy Days). When the second volume is published, probably next spring, the president of the NCCB will set a date when use of the revised Lectionary will be mandatory.

Q: Our missalettes do not match the new Lectionary. What is the reason?

A: Although the approved text of the Lectionary was sent on disk to publishers months ago, some printed the old version in missalettes. Others published the new.

Q: Will the new Lectionary be permanent?

A: It has been approved by the bishops for a period of five years. This revision will be reviewed at the end of that period.

Q: Can I buy a Bible that will correspond to the Lectionary?

A: No, sad to say. The New American Bible currently in print contains a defective Book of Psalms in which the translators employed so-called "inclusive language". The Vatican rejected this Psalm translation for liturgical use. It was unusable even as a base text for the Lectionary.

Unhappily, this defective Psalm version is included in the current editions of the NAB. This is an anomalous situation which we hope will be soon corrected, perhaps by the withdrawal of the US bishops' imprimatur for the defective version of the Psalms.

Q: In my workbook for readers, the readings are given for both the NAB and the New Revised Standard Version [NRSV]. Can we use either one?

A: No,we cannot. The NRSV was rejected for liturgical use by the Holy See. The Canadian Church alone was given temporary permission to use a lectionary based on the NRSV, because the Canadian bishops had already printed books without securing the necessary Vatican approval.

Currently, the NRSV Lectionary is in print only in the Workbook for Lectors and Gospel Readers, published by Liturgy Training Publications of Chicago. We hope this very confusing situation will be corrected soon.

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