Oct 15, 2001

Lectionary Volume II approved – new books to appear next year

Online Edition – Vol. VII, No. 7: October 2001

Lectionary Volume II approved – new books to appear next year

Final corrections for Volume II of the revised Lectionary for Mass for the United States were accepted at the US bishops’ meeting June 14, and the new sections of the Lectionary will be printed in three volumes to appear in February 2002, according to the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy.

On June 29, 2001, Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, president of the USCCB, signed a decree on the publication and use of the second volume of the Lectionary for Mass. The entire new Lectionary may be used in dioceses of the United States on Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2002, and it will be mandatory on Pentecost, May 19, 2002, and thereafter.

The notice of readying Volume II for publication appeared in the BCL Newsletter (June-July, 2001). The text that follows is available on the USCCB web site, www.usccb.org.

Volume II of the Lectionary for Mass

The second volume of the Lectionary for Mass consists of all readings from the Ordo Lectionum Missae not contained in the first volume. These remaining readings will, in actuality, be published in three volumes (bringing to four, the total number of books which will make up for the entire Lectionary).

Volume I (readings for Sundays and Solemnities) constitutes the first book in this series. Volume II will be made up of three books: the first will contain the readings for Year I along with a complete sanctoral cycle; the second will containe the readings for Year II, again with a complete sanctoral. The third will contain all other readings of the Lectionary for Mass (ritual Masses, Masses for Various Needs and Occasions, Votive Masses, etc.).

Such an arrangement, similar to that adopted by other Conferences of Bishops, will allow for a minimal change of books in parishes throughout the year.

The base texts, principles for translation, and arrangement of the second volume remain the same as for the first (see BCL Newsletter, June, 1997)* . A limited number of changes have, however, been introduced by the Holy See in the light of the recent Fifth Instruction on the Right Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council, Liturgiam authenticam. The manuscript of the second volume (2,736 pages in length, with almost 3,000 readings) has been changed in approximately 800 instances, consisting principally of a single word or letter.

A summary of the changes follows:

1. Conformity to the Neo-Vulgate

Since Liturgiam authenticam [LA] insists upon greater correspondence with the Neo-Vulgate [NV], the following changes have been made by the Congregation:

a. When the New American Bible [NAB] uses the term Israelites where the Neo-Vulgate uses filiorum Israel or a similar phrase, the phrase "children of Israel" has been introduced.

b. In some instances where the word unigentius appears in the Neo-Vulgate, it has been rendered as "only-begotten son" in the Lectionary for Mass.

c. A limited number of words (e.g., Twelve, Eleven, Scripture(s)) have been capitalized in correspondence with the Neo-Vulgate text.

d. Because LA 41 insists that "care is to be taken so that the translation expresses the traditional Christolog-ical, typological and spiritual sense", a limited number of changes have been introduced for the purpose of more clearly expressing typological references as they are found in the Neo-Vulgate. For example, in keeping with the Neo-Vulgate and an acceptable rendering of the Hebrew at Numbers 21:8-9, God will be heard instructing Moses to "Make a saraph and place it as a sign" (NV = Fac serpentem ignitum et pone eum pro signo) instead of "Make a saraph and mount it on a pole".**

e. In consideration of the liturgical context of individual passages (see LA 42), changes have been introduced in individual instances, such as when Jesus asks his disciples, "Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink"? (LFM 232) Here cup will be changed to chalice, as in the Neo-Vulgate.

f. As in Volume I, variations between the NAB and the Neo-Vulgate in the Books of Wisdom, Judith, Tobit, etc., have been reconciled in favor of the Neo-Vulgate. When verses are missing from the manuscript tradition followed by the NAB, the English language rendering of the Neo-Vulgate text has been changed to reflect the style of the NAB as much as possible, sometimes with recourse to the Confraternity Version. This same process was followed in Volume I of the Lectionary for Mass.

2. Pronouns

In a limited number of instances, the Congregation has removed nouns which were previously substituted for pronouns, either by the editors of the Lectionary or the translators of the NAB or the Revised New American Bible [RNAB]. In a letter accompanying the confirmation, Cardinal Medina, Prefect, notes that while the Congregation often "concurs that such an insertion is warranted", in "in a few instances … the insertion of such a word seemed a departure from the original text, so that the text [noun] has been restored…"

3. Prayer texts

In the light of the teaching of LA 41 that "…the words of the biblical passages commonly used in catechesis and in popular devotional prayers be maintained" and in keeping with the policies applied in editing Volume I, the Congregation has introduced changes "with due regard for the norm of fidelity to the original text" (LA 41) in employing the popular vocabulary of liturgical and devotional prayer in the scriptural passages. For example, the version of the Lord’s Prayer would retain the use of trespasses rather than debts.

4. Gender Inclusivity

While the principles observed by the Working Group for the Revision of the Lectionary in regard to gender inclusivity have been maintained, minor modifications have been introduced in isolated instances. For example, when in reference to Jesus, the RNAB text has his guards say, "Never before has anyone spoken like this one" the Congregation has changed it to read: "Never before has anyone spoken like this man".

* The base texts used for the US Lectionary are the 1970 edition of the New American Bible Old Testament and Psalms, and the 1986 Revised [RNAB] New Testament. Editor

** A literal translation of the NV’s serpentem ignitum is "flaming serpent". Saraph is a Hebrew word meaning serpent, or the burning one; it is also the name of one of the highest orders of angels (Lat. and Eng.: seraph).




The Editors