Summorum Pontificum P art. 6 – lectionary in the vernacular

There is debate about whether in celebrations of the older Mass the new Lectionary, that is, new readings for the Novus Ordo, could possibly be used in celebrations of the older form of Mass.


Art. 6. In Missis iuxta Missale B. Ioannis XXIII celebratis cum populo, Lectiones proclamari possunt etiam lingua vernacula, utendo editionibus ab Apostolica Sede recognitis. 

… (My translation) …

Art. 6.  In Masses celebrated with people according to the according to the Missal of B. John XXIII, the Readings can be proclaimed also in the vernacular language, using editions recognized by the Apostolic See.


Fr. Z's Five Rules of EngagmentThis does not specify approved editions must be editions of readings of the OLDER form. 

The article says "editions recognized by the Apostolic See".  The Lectionary for the Novus Ordo is not excluded.

Years ago, the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" clarified that the new Lectionary, for the Novus Ordo, could be used with the older form of Mass.  It could be used. 

I have no idea how this would be done.  But… there it is.

Personally, I don’t know of any place where that was done. It is hard for me to imagine a group who would want that.

However, I don’t believe that a close reading of Art. 6 bears an interpretatio that only approved editions of Readings for the OLDER Mass and only the older Mass can be used.  The Art. 6 surely includes approved editions of the Novus Ordo Lectionary.


In 1991 the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" issued guidelines to the bishops of the world.  Here is the relevant passage:

5.Following upon the "wide and generous application" of the principles laid down in Quattuor Abhinc Annos and the directives of the fathers of the Second Vatican Council (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, nos. 51 and 54), the new lectionary in the vernacular could be used as a way of "providing a richer fare for the faithful at the table of God’s Word" in Masses celebrated according to the 1962 missal. However, we believe that this usage should not be imposed on congregations who decidedly wish to maintain the former liturgical tradition in its integrity according to the provision of the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei. Such an imposition might also be less likely to invite back to full communion with the Church at this time those who have lapsed into schismatic worship.

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  1. canon1753 says:

    I wonder if it would be allowed to use the pericope from the 1962 Missal in an approved Lectionary form?

    I.E. Use the passage from a current vernacular lectionary.

    The other option might be to use the vernacular from a Biligual hand missal.
    Though, those weren’t per se approved by authority were they?

  2. Seth Brotherton says:

    How would using the new lectionary with the old mass even work? The different calendars almsost never correspond with eachother, so you would have to take readings from another sunday or date and use them for another sunday or date in the old. Would we have to do the whole responsorial psalm thing too? And, the readings in the old lectionary match up with the itroit, communion verse, etc, so putting new readings in their would screw the whole thing up. This doesn’t make any sense.

  3. Geoffrey says:

    I was just watching the “World Over” special on EWTN and it was Fr. Kenneth Baker’s opinion that article 6
    referred to approved vernacular texts, but not the new Lectionary. He and Msgr. Maroney differed on this.
    I suppose the Ecclesia Dei Commission will clear up everything up!

  4. Michael E. Lawrence says:

    What Fr. Baker said was most interesting, and it relied heavily on the word “also” which appears in art. 6. His contention is that the readings in a Mass according to the Extraordinary Form cannot be done directly in the vernacular, but rather they can be repeated in the vernacular after having been rendered in the Latin, as is done now in many places.

    If he is correct, then whatever the vernacular version is, it would have to correspond to the pericopes from the Extraordinary Form. That (among others things: the Calendar, the structure of the rite) presents a difficulty in using the new Lectionary. It does seem possible, however, that for the purposes of obtaining an approved translation, one could simply find the proper reading wherever it may be in the new Lectionary.

    But are there not approved translations from 1965 or even before?

  5. Stephen M. Collins says:

    Remember that we in the USA have a Lectionary translation for our Lectionary. We no longer have the NAB used in our Lectionary. ISTM that the RSV-RC (Ignatious now) and NAB should qualify. The question would be the Douay. While it was used for the bi-lingual hand Missals, and by the priest at the beginning of his Sermon, that was never considered the Liturgical Proclamation of the Gospel, so the Douay was not “grandfathered” in as an “authorized” translation. (Am I correct on that Fr. Z?)

    There have also questions about Prefaces from the New Missal being used (in Latin of course)) with the 1962 Missal. But aren’t they all from previous Missals anyway. And what portions of thepre-1962 Missals can be incorporated into the 1962 – collects, Votive Masses, maybe even some Viggils and/or Octaves? And what about an expanded Proper of the Saints to include saints from various Order and territorial Missals? Some contemporary Ordos actually state that, on a feria or Optional Memorial, a Mass of any saint in the Roman Martyrology may be celebrated. Does that extend to the 1962 Kalendar?

  6. Demerzel says:

    Hmm… maybe this means its possible to have a Douay Rheims lectionary. But personally the issue about the use of the vernacular readings is really not an issue. Before the start of the homily, the Priest proclaims the readings in the vernacular first.

  7. Xavier Wolf says:


    1. How can a Mass said “ACCORDING to the Missal of B. John XXIII” have readings ACCORDING to the Missal of
    Paul VI? Wouldn’t that be a yet another missal, different from the Missal of B. John XXIII?

    2. If the mixing of readings was possible, wouldn’t that in fact create two different calendars for the
    old Missal?

    3. Would you be so kind and show, schematically, how would that have worked, i.e., for the SIXTH SUNDAY
    after PENTECOST?

    Thank you,

  8. Joshua says:

    I have read that in a few places in the U.S. the Ordinary required use of the new Lectionary, and celebration ad populum, which was clearly an abuse against the rightful desires of those wanting the Trad. Mass, although according to the letter of the law the latter is even provided for in the Ritus Servandus, and it is licit to use the new readings acc. to the E.D. Commission (thanks, Fr Z, I didn’t know that until you mentioned it). You can imagine what the SSPX will say about such “dastardly” permissions! Indeed, few if any Traddies want the new Lectionary and Mass versus populum – otherwise they’d stick to Paul VI’s Missal.

    Then again, one prelate I know said that in his private opinion, inserting the new Lectionary into the old Mass, plus a few more Prefaces, would be his preferred form; and certainly a modest expansion of the readings in the 1962 Missal wouldn’t be bad ipso facto if it were done with some care.

    Taking a glance over the fence toward our separated brethren/heretics and schismatics (note use of Pauline and Johannine phrases), the LCMS still maintains, as one option, a one-year lectionary essentially similar to that in the 1962 Missal, since Luther kept the Sunday readings more or less intact when he drew up his own service: yet, to give some more depth, the LCMS has drawn up a matching set of Old Testament readings to accompany the epistles and gospels.

    My very first exposure to the Traditional Mass – when I was an undergraduate – was going along to Fr Wells’ Low Mass, offered late in the morning once a month at his parish church (the present Governor of Tasmania was his server). It was a ‘hybrid Mass’ – Novus Ordo readings inserted in place of the epistle, chants, and gospel. This was part of what made it so boring, looking back: the impact of the “use” is taken away if you have lay readers…

    I prepared myself to attend the old Mass by borrowing Daniel Rock’s “Hierurgia” (1833) from the University Library, and photocopying the Ordinary! I must say Fr’s Low Mass seemed very sombre to me, and didn’t really attract me: all the silence was so unexpected.

    Then (in late 1994) I attended a Solemn High Mass, the first offered in Hobart since the reforms: the music, the liturgy, blew me away, I was in tears. (Fr Oppenheimer, then FSSP, preached on “The return of Christ in dread majesty to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire”.) How could this have been taken away and kept from me? I thought.

    I caught the Traditionalist bug and have been one ever since.

  9. Jordan Potter says:

    I agree with Seth Brotherton’s observations. It is by no means apparent how the Pauline lectionary’s three-year Sunday cycle and two-year daily cycle could fit into the 1962 Missal and calendar. Anyone who wants to do that would have to ask the Church to undertake a major revision of the 1962 Missal.

    Oh, but don’t we already have such a major revision? Isn’t it known as the Pauline Missal?

  10. Serafino says:

    In my opinion, the use of the current lectionary in the vernacular inserted in the context of the Missal of Blessed John XXIII will not work. The chants and the orations of the TLM often reflect the readings in the Missal.

    This point aside, although approved, who would want to hear scripture readings infected by inclusive language and politically correct mistranslations of the Sacred Text? What’s the point?

    The fact that in the past the current lectionary was allowed, doesn’t mean this is going to be the case now. After all, the Commission ED has already been through several “incarnations.” Let’s hope for the best!

    I have here a copy of “Lectionary of the Roman Missal,” The Liturgical Press Collegeville, Minnesota, copyright 1965, was approved for liturgical use by the bishops of the United States. The lectionary contains all the readings in English for the Missal of Blessed John XXIII. What’s the problem?

  11. Jeffery says:

    Father Z,

    I’ll admit I don’t see that possibility. The first part of the sentence makes reference to Mass celebrated according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII. The second section of the sentence seems to me to be contingent on the first. Thus the Reading in the second half refer to those in the ’62 Missal, not the current Missal. Approved editions then would refer to the specific scripture translation approved by the Holy See, not a completely new Lectionary. I see a new cycle of readings being introduced as something very different that permitting the existing reading to be proclaimed in the vernacular. On another point, it is interesting to note that this permission is granted only in cases where it is specifically a Mass with the people. In a priest’s private Mass this would not be permitted. What about where people are admitted to a priest’s private celebration of the Mass, would this be considered a Mass with the people, or is that more of a technical term referring to a public Mass?

    Again I am going by the rubric principle that, only what is approved explicitly, can be done (leaving aside common sense fallacies that are often invoked, such as it doesn’t say for the priest to breath or wear clothes). This is in contrast to the common law principle in many governmental systems which in that “what is not prohibited” is permitted. We have seen the chaos that has ensured when his principle is applied to the liturgy.

    For something as profound as using the new Lectionary with the ’62 Missal, and not mentioning it explicitly, especially when less complex things such as Prefaces are explicitly mentioned, I don’t foresee that being in the mind of the legislator.

  12. Ted Krasnicki says:

    The old lectionary for 1962 Mass seems quite fine to me (in fact it is the new one that seems in need of reforming). It retains the mention of seeds which is proper for both spring and fall (Epiphany, transferred to the last Sundays after Pentecost as needed), as well as the memorial of the 3 fathers of mankind (Adam, Noe, Abraham) as a preparation for Lent (Septuagesima, etc) It has fewer readings but it makes it easier to remember them. What I would like to see eventually is an Old Testament reading added, however. That would make the gradual a real gradual, that is, a time and space for meditating on the OT reading which is what it probably was for in the first place. But please, no responsorial psalm: that would be an archeologism.

    What I find lacking in these discussions is the consideration of the practice that had started quite a while before V2, in which the priest sings/says the readings in Latin as prayers to the Lord, and these would be immediately followed by a vernacular reading of them. That may seem repetitious, but we have here the example of separate lex orandi et lex credendi; one is a prayer, the other is a lesson, the latter being quite important these days.

  13. Jeffery says:


    The MP is quite clear, only the ’62 Missal may be used. There is no reference to permitting anything for any older Missals.

    In regards to new Prefaces and Saints, the PC Ecclesia Dei has already made for such allowances. I refer anyone interested to the following blog, where the author has been kind enough to post scans of replies from the Commission.

  14. danphunter1 says:

    Father Baker stated the case precisely.The readings may be given in the vernacular,like they are already at most indult mass’s,but they must come from the direct translation of what just was read in the Latin from the Classical Rite Lectionary,pertaining of course to the Tridentine calendar.

  15. Michael E. Lawrence says:

    I hope I’m not being a fly in the amber:), but I went looking for statements from the PCED, and this is what I found, thanks to the St. Bede Studio:

    “This pontifical commission sees no difficulty in the celebrant’s reading an approved vernacular translation of the Epistle and the Gospel proper to the 1962 Missal while otherwise adhering to the rubrics laid down in the Ritus Servandus.”

    I respect those who disagree, but for the time being I have to admit that I don’t see how this or the MP makes provision for use of the new lectionary in the Extraordinary Form, save for the possibility of using it merely as an “compendium of useful translations” such that it strictly corresponds with the appropriate pericopes which appear in the 62 Missal and the structure of the Extraordinary Form.

  16. Xavier Wolf: Would you be so kind and show, schematically, how would that have worked, i.e., for the SIXTH SUNDAY after PENTECOST?

    No. I have already stated that I don’t know how this would work. It is, frankly, not something I would hope to see until someone above my pay grade worked it out to my satisfaction.

  17. dan: Father Baker stated the case precisely.

    With due respect to my friend Fr. Baker, whom I esteem and have known for years, I believe he is wrong on the main point.

    No one disputes that the original readings in the older form of Mass can also be read in some approved version of the vernacular. What I am saying is that this article 6 does not make any restriction.

    Based on my knowledge of what the Pontifical Commission had already determined, since there is no restriction mentioned in art. 6, we must assume that the readings from the newer Lectionary could also be used in the older Mass.

    I must point out that the guidelines issued by the Pontifical Commission stated, if I recall correctly, that people’s sensibilities ought to be considered. Frankly, I think it would be folly to try to impose such a practice on groups of people who want the older form of Mass, knowing full well that they are not the sort of people much inclined to accept such an interpolation very serenely.

  18. JohnK says:

    I read the same words but see a couple of alternates. Cassell’s includes the term “certainly” as one possible translation of etiam. It certainly makes sense to me!

    Or you can read it as “also” with the implied “if you prefer” rather than a mandated “do it both ways.” I suspect that the intention of His Holiness was not to lock the readings behind an unknown language while still maintaining the beauty and unifying power of Latin for those parts to which we can become accustomed.

  19. Michael J. Houser says:

    Adveniat Regnum Tuum!

    It seems to me that the plain sense of the article in question is that the readings of the 1962 Missal can be read in the vernacular at celebrations with the people; as is commonly done in references to readings in the liturgical documents, it is made clear that the vernacular translation in question has to be approved. To me, this is no more earthshaking than the statement that priests who celebrate the 1962 Missal must not be juridically impeded: the document has to mention it, but it’s not news. I don’t think anyone would have thought this meant using the 3-year lectionary, if it wasn’t for rumors that had circulated to that effect. Surely, if the Ecclesia Dei commission is charged with determining how to handle new prefaces and saints’ days, Pope Benedict would have made a similar clear provision if he had intended a change as significant as using the 3-yr. lectionary.

    The real ambiguity, if there is one, is whether this means that the vernacular may be used in addition to the Latin readings, or instead of them. The latter would be a novel thing, at least in my experience of the 1962 Missal. The former, on the other hand, would be just more restating of the obvious, and I think it’s the more likely interpretation, given the presence of the word “also”, which implies something in addition to the Latin reading presumed in the Ritus Servandus.

  20. athanasius says:

    The real issue is one of practicality. The readings are chosen to correlate to the Breviary lessons and the antiphons and proper prayers of the Liturgy. If one was to use the lectionary for the Novus Ordo, you would be really doing violence to the essence of what the Traditional Mass is. Even if the article is referring to the priest reading the Epistle and Gospel in the vernacular from the altar, so what? That bothers me little, radtrad though I am, as it is the readings of the Traditional Liturgy. With the 1970 lectionary which I think Monsignor Gamber clearly showed to be utter and complete novelty, you would do more harm than good, and obscure the venerable nature of the ancient liturgy which the Holy Father so extols in Summarum Pontificum.

    Mr. Houser,

    I knew you many years ago in Steubenville. Please e-mail me at

  21. Michael says:

    Few people who want to assist at the Extraordinary Form will want to hear the readings from the 1970 Missal. Nevertheless, lazy priests not wanting to put together more than one sermon will jump at the chance to use the same readings they did at every other Mass, if if this compromises the harmony of the liturgical prayers. Consider this example: February 14th is the Feast of the Martyr St. Valentine in the EF, Sts. Cyril and Methodius in the OF. That means propers from the 1962 Common of a Martyr not a Bishop, readings from the 1970 Common of Pastors. The Sunday after Trinity Sunday: Feast of Corpus Christi in the 1970, Second Sunday after Pentecost in the 1962. The list could go on and on.

  22. Michael E. Lawrence says:

    Thanks for the update, Father.

  23. thetimman says:

    Fr. Z, the word “also”– in context doesn’t that alone require that the vernacular be of the 1962 missal? I mean, how can the Latin be read and then “also” the new lectionary in english?

  24. Demerzel says:

    But why would anyone want to use the Jerusalem Bible or New American Bible translations for the 1962 Missal? The Douay Rheims is so much stronger. Further more the modern translations omit various portions found from the Latin Vulgate and the Douay Rheims. The scriptural text of the 1962 Missal is from the Latin Vulgate, but the scriptural base of the 1970 Missal is the Nova Vulgata. There are differences.

  25. Peter says:

    Fr Z,
    I find it hard to agree with your conclusion with regard to Article 6. With the above update noted, I think that the Motu Proprio reveals no ambiguity on this issue. The Missal of John XXIII is refered to not another issue. Using your argument of “editions recognized by the Holy See” does this really imply the new lectionary or any other edition of readings for that matter? It seems out of character in Summorum Pontificum Cura, for the Holy Father not to have made a distinction in this regard. Especially since it is such a short article and the grammer does not present a new object. It strikes me as a pastoral comment, permitting vernacular readings from appoved editions and not John Doe’s modern hip totally cool rendering of the Sacred Scriptures for the modern man. Remember the one where St Peter became: “Rocco”. :)

    I think it is worth saying again that we should not forget to give thanks and rejoice of this Motu Proprio. As the debates inevitably heat up in different circles we should not lose sight of what has been set into motion by the Holy Father.

  26. Jonathan says:

    “What Fr. Baker said was most interesting, and it relied heavily on the word “also” which appears in art. 6. His contention is that the readings in a Mass according to the Extraordinary Form cannot be done directly in the vernacular, but rather they can be repeated in the vernacular after having been rendered in the Latin, as is done now in many places.”

    I applaud very greatly! (|:) sem. saturno

  27. Jonathan: I agree with Fr. Baker completely that the vernacular can be done “also” in the vernacular. That is what the Latin says. That means it is an option, not an obligation. What would be necessary is that the readings be done in Latin first.

    How this would work with the new Lectionary, I have no idea. I know what the Commission approved in 1991:

    5.Following upon the “wide and generous application” of the principles laid down in Quattuor Abhinc Annos and the directives of the fathers of the Second Vatican Council (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, nos. 51 and 54), the new lectionary in the vernacular could be used as a way of “providing a richer fare for the faithful at the table of God’s Word” in Masses celebrated according to the 1962 missal.

     I suppose this means the priest (deacon, subdeacon) would do the readings first from the Novus Ordo Lectionarium in Latin and the the priest could also repeat them in the vernacular at the usual time. 

    It sounds like a mess.  But that is I believe what is allowed by art. 6. 

    I hope proper authority will clarify this.

  28. Pius VII says:

    Even that 1991 permission seems unclear…does that mean the New readings would entirely replace the Old readings when read in Latin during the Mass? And how would the calendars line up?

    It seems to me maybe Ecclesia Dei (and therefore Benedict?) meant that the readings from the N.O. COULD be read before the homily of the Old Mass, while retaining the Old readings (in addition to, not in place of).

    Cardinal Hoyos, solve the problem!!

    I will say, however, that the FSSP and even the SSPX seem unequivocally happy with this document, and I don’t think they’d be that happy if the permission meant you could use the new Lectionary.

  29. William Young says:

    In a parish where the priest celebrates 4 Sunday Masses, 3 on Sunday itself, the last of which according to the missal of Bl John XXIII, the use of a single set of readings would make sense. The gradual would follow the prophecy/OT reading; the Alleluia or tract would follow the epistle or NT reading. The original “sequence” of lections, antiphons and orations is not sacrosanct and has been disrupted in the past.
    One wonders, perhaps, if there are plans to revise the lectionary for the Mass of Paul VI. This would make sense if called for by the Synod in 2008. The old lectionary in 1962 needed “enrichment”, perhaps. The new has been revised before, in 1981. It can certainly be improved further, perhaps even pruned to make it yield more fruit.
    We need to remember that while mixing of rites is outlawed (though not explicitly mentioned in SP) we are not dealing with two rites here, but the one Roman Rite. For ease of singing a Mass(1962) and using the new lectionary, one might well find the new Gradual a book easier to use. As time goes on, common-sense solutions will be discerned.
    I certainly detect a very forward looking feel to SP. For instance, SP seems to be preparing the way for a new edition of the missal, incorporating into one book what is now permissible, to make it easier to provide our people with REAL liturgy. It must not be rushed (as were the changes after Vat II, perhaps), but with time, we must surely hope for a convergence of rite. Unity need not be uniformity, as seemed to be the case in the recent past. But each approved celebratory form of the rite should be transparently related to all the other legitimate forms of one and the same rite.

  30. Catholicus says:

    Fr Z,

    I believe the Benedictine nuns at Jouques use the new lectionary with the old rite and calendar. A priest I know was chaplain there and said it didn’t cohere at all, as you would expect.


  31. Berolinensis says:

    This was my original take on Art. 6 SP, which I posted over on
    “To be honest, to my mind, the meaning of Art. 6 Summ. Pont. is pretty obvious.
    It says “In Missis iuxta Missale B. Ioannis XXIII celebratis cum populo, Lectiones proclamari possunt etiam lingua vernacula”.
    1) The Mass is celebrated according to the Missal of Bl. John XXIII. This, to me clearly, means that the readings contained in that, i.e. the extraordinary Missal can be read in the vernacular, not readings from the other, ordinary Missal.
    2) They can be proclaimed in the vernacular, not merely repeated. I think exactly the arguments used by Zach show this to be true: If the repeating is already an option in the Missal of Bl. John XXIII, Art. 6 is superfluous. It is an established principle of legal interpretation, that a norm cannot supposed to be without application. The legislator would not have included an extra article (among a very short and concise regulation) to state something (and then only one very specific issue) which already follows from permitting the use of the Missal.”

    Father, you now seem to have come to the opposite opinion on both counts, and while I appreciate your arguments, I still think my first conclusion is correct.
    As for repeating the Lessons, in addition to my systematic argument above, I would say that the wording, i.e. “etiam”, taken in context means “they can also be proclaimed in the vernacular, but don’t need to.”.
    As for the Pauline lectionary, the 1991 permission by the Ecclesia Dei commission you posted is not a clarification, but an introduction of an optional alteration of the 1962 Missal. I therefore think that when the Pope specifically addresses the issue of Lessons in the vernacular, he regulates them parting from the original 1962 Missal, as is the case througout SP, not from later Ecclesia Dei decisions. This, I believe, is corroborated by the fact that the E.D. Commission had also allowed for 1970 Missal prefaces to be used in indult Masses (see the E.D.-document posted on As is made clear by the accompanying letter to SP, this is, as of yet by SP itself, not permitted in Masses according to the extraordinary use, but has to be decided upon anew by the E.D.-Commission.

  32. Maureen says:

    Chant the readings in the vernacular. Everybody will be happy.

  33. Ted wrote:

    “What I find lacking in these discussions is the consideration of the practice that had started quite a while before V2, in which the priest sings/says the readings in Latin as prayers to the Lord, and these would be immediately followed by a vernacular reading of them. That may seem repetitious, but we have here the example of separate lex orandi et lex credendi; one is a prayer, the other is a lesson, the latter being quite important these days.”

    Just as an observation, I have seen this done in Arabic and then in English and it is quite well done. Of course, it is done because we have several native Arabic speakers in our congreagation and they would love to hear the readings and the Gospel in their mother tongue. To the best of my knowledge, no one has suggested that we revive Greek or Ancient Syriac or Aramaic for the readings which I suppose would be our “liturgical language”.

    Thank goodness.

    In ICXC,


  34. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    I know it was the PCED’s opinion at one time that many things about the two Missals could be interchanged…including calendar issues. Norms were drawn up for some of these would-be options, and a few…such as the ones Father mentioned…were indeed published in various letters to episcopal conferences, such as the one to the US bishops in 1991. Others were issued in private letters to various groups; some of these groups received specific permission for certain practices (I speak from personal experience).

    However, I do not think Article 6 envisions the use of the 1981 Ordo Lectionum Missae in the vernacular. The key word seems to be “iuxta” before Missale…the article addresses Masses according to the Johannine Missal. In the context of a document that alleges that it is to be “substituted” for the Ecclesia Dei norms, it seems unlikely it would replace Ecclesia Dei and not various judgments on the interpretation of Ecclesia Dei issued by the competent authority.

    Further, the Holy Father’s cover letter specifically notes the PCED will be looking into some of these sorts of issues (specifically, the Prefaces and new saints) in the future. Strange that one could immediately use the readings, which are hard to insert, but not the prefaces, which are easy and have already been permitted for insertion.

    I think the Article refers to the already common practice in France especially of using the 1962 pericopes in the vernacular. US and UK traditions differed from the French (and Belgian, and Dutch) on this issue. I think that’s what the article refers to.

    A final, personal note. My (quite active once) Tridentine community in graduate school tried to do the insertion thing. It failed miserably…not because people protested…but because it’s far more difficult to do on a regular, sustained basis than one might think. I worked extensively on how the two calendars can be coordinated. It’s next to impossible, without fudging rubrics, etc.

  35. If using the lectionary relies on the “‘wide and generous application’ of the principles laid down in Quattuor Abhinc Annos” and not on the new document’s provisions themselves, wouldn’t it be revoked by the current document’s: “The conditions laid down by the previous documents Quattuor abhinc annos and Ecclesia Dei for the use of this Missal are replaced by what follows”

    Going along with the idea of using the new lectionary… I think the obvious way to do it (and one I think I could live with) would be to use the readings for sundays and feasts from the ’62 missal and use the new lectionary for daily mass on ferial days where the readings are merely duplicative of the previous sundays.

    This would seem to preserve as much as possible the integrity of the extraordinary form while still expanding the variety of readings in accordance with Sacrosanctum Concilium. (which was interested in providing more readings for the faithful , not with making things easier for priests).

  36. Jeffery says:


    The new MP didn’t abrogate the old permission granted by the PC Ecclesia Dei, and until a law or permission is specifically revoked or abrogated it still is in force. For example, the decisions of CDWDS published in Notitiae, aren’t all now revoked because of the publishing of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal.

  37. I also think Fr.Baker’s interpretation of art.6 is not correct.As wasmentioned on another website Pius XII had given indults to certain countries to read (or chant)the readings in the vernacular without them being read in Latin. Another problem I see in the implementation of the MP was mentioned by someone last night-either Fr.Baker or Bishop Bruskevitz-and that had to do with the sacraments.The 1962 books are in Latin but what was in use in the USA was the ritual approved in 1959 that had the sacraments partly in English and partly in Latin.

  38. Janet says:

    I have a question concerning the different lectionaries. The current 3-year lectionary for the N.O Mass has alot more of the Bible included in it, which on the surface would seem to be an improvement over what is covered in the TLM. But I also understand that trying to fit the new lectionary readings into the TLM would render all the hand missals totally useless. Wouldn’t work.
    So, is ‘more’ better actually, concerning scripture readings during mass? To look at the rather skewed USCCB comparison, the TLM doesn’t offer as much scripture readings at mass, and is therefore ‘deficient’.
    I’m not at all inclined to buy into that line of thought, but am trying to work out in my mind WHY more isn’t necessarily better when scripture readings during mass are concerned. Can someone explain to me why the readings placed in the TLM lectionary are a better choice than the 3-yr lectionary used in the NO mass?

  39. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    Some people would no doubt see it as horrific, but personally I’d have been overjoyed to see permission to make optional use of the pericopes of the 1967 ferial lectionary, which provided a proper lesson/epistle and gospel for every feria lacking proper readings in the 1962 Missal.

  40. Tom Weber says:

    It was briefly mentioned in one comment, perhaps there was another — would not the use of the ’65 Lectionary by a priest who wanted the readings chanted or read in the vernacular suffice?

  41. Dr. Peter H. Wright says:

    Many years ago, I occasionally served Mass for a Benedictine monk, who
    celebrated his private Mass, in a private chapel, using the NEW missal
    and the OLD readings !!!
    He celebrated in Latin, “ad orientem” using the 1970 missal.
    However, the Abbey did not own a Latin lectionary, so the priest read
    the epistle and gospel in Latin (facing the altar), using the 1962 missal.
    In other words, he had two missals on the altar at the same time !!!
    Before celebrating, he always consulted the Ordo Missae Celebrandi in the
    sacristy, so (I presume) he knew the feast or feria in the new liturgical calendar.
    The Abbot didn’t tell him to stop it.
    There was no congregation present.
    So, only the priest and the hapless altar server knew about it.
    I don’t suppose the dear Lord was either offended or confused by this
    The priest died along time ago, but I wonder what on earth the
    Ecclesia Dei Commission would have made of it !!

  42. Jeffery says:

    Dr. Fratantuono,

    Now there is an interesting idea. The 1967 Ferial Lectionary, which would respect the integrity of the ’62 Missal, yet would also provide for readings on days which don’t have them.

  43. I express due respect to the naysayers, “nay”, that is, to the interpretation that Art. 6 opens the way also to Novus Ordo readings in also in the vernacular for the extraordinary use. 

    But until official clarification comes forth from the competent authority, I believe we must assume that what the Pontifical Commission provided before in 1991, and what isn’t replaced or contradicted in Summorum Pontificum, must still be permissible.

    The Latin of Art. 6 does not exclude the new Lectionary despite some of the gynmastics performed here.  It says that approved editions of the Readings can be used.  That is what it says.  That means new or old, Latin or also (etiam) vernacular.

    It is really too bad that the Commission will probably recess for the traditional summer break.

  44. danphunter1 says:

    There is even loss of translation between the Douay version of 1962 and the St Josephs missal of same year.
    Just one example:In the Gospel reading for the Transfiguration,the word Tabernacula is translated correctly in the Douay inspired Angelus missal,as tabernacle,but in the St Joseph missal it is translated as “tent”.
    These different translations of the same epistle,and Gospel,between varying prints can confuse the faithful,not to mention misleading them.
    What we need is an exact translation of the Latin text into the Vernacular,which is very close in the Angelus and Baronius missal’s.
    Then Ecclesia Dei can make this law.
    God bless you.

  45. Stephen M. Collins says:

    Comment 1: While the expanded use of Scriptural texts in the New Mass is commendable, I’m not convinced that it is the be-all and end-all! Pre V-II, most Catholic children attended Parochial schools and had daily Mass and Religion classes. This covered more of the Bible, which most of us own a copy, as well as the Catechism. The Mass was, and still is, a ritual act of worship – NOT a decorated “Sunday School”.

    Comment 2: The addition of the O.T. Reading, while a really good idea, had possibly unintended consequences. In many cases the O.T. is just the Introit somewhat expanded. That makes an obvious redundancy in either rite IF the Introit is used in the New OR if the O.T. is added to the Old.

    Question 1: We’ve talked about the Priest re-reading the Lessons from the pulpit prior to the Sermon. Was/is that considered a second Proclamation of the Gospel? IOW should the congregation have stood, and began with the vernacular Acclamations? Or should we have sat and listened to the Reading from the Gospels as in the Office?

    Question 2: If such re-reading of the Gospel WAS considered a “Proclamation”, then why was the verncular translation used at the time an automatically authorized translation to be used immediately in the New Mass? This might sound like nit picking legal stuff, but I think these need a little bit of clarification, and would then actually answer some of the questions that have come up since Saturday!

  46. Breier says:


    Why are you separating “the readings” from the Missal of John XXIII, as if the Missal
    didn’t specify the readings? You seem to be acting as if “the readings” were a separate
    entity from the Missal itself. But there is no Lectionary/Sacramentary dichotomy in
    the Old Rite. It seems that under your interpretation, there would be no established
    readings whatsoever. One could pick any readings from an approved edition. Or do the
    Eastern Catholic readings. I don’t see any justification for such a free-for-all.

    “The readings” aren’t in a vacuum. They’re the readings of the 1962 Roman Missal.

    If the readings are going to be in English, it’s going to be the readings of the 1962
    Roman Missal in English, in an approved edition.

  47. Brian Mershon says:

    6. The two forms of the liturgy follow two diverse calendars, different on the dates of several secondary feasts, and they have two diverse lectionaries. Such differences should not create great difficulties: for example, the Ambrosian rite, celebrated in the Diocese of Milan, has its own calendar and lectionary.

    The explanatory note also highlights several characteristics of the 1962 Missal:

    “It is a ‘plenary’ or ‘integral’ Missal in the Latin language, that is, it also contains the readings for the celebrations (it is not distinct from the ‘Lectionary’ as the later 1970 Missal is).

    This looks like it clears it up to me. Looks like the 1991 document is superseded. Father?

  48. Henry Edwards says:

    An excellent resource for some of these questions is the article “A new look at the old Mass” by Fr. Kenneth Myers (diocesan priest and chaplain of the Pittsburgh TLM community) in the March 2007 issue of Homiletic & Pastoral Review. In regard to the lectionary question he says

    “Yet another complaint lodged against the TLM is its dearth of Scripture texts in comparison with the new rite. I have been celebrating the ancient rite of Mass for fourteen years now so I have some experience with its lectionary and Scripture passages. ….. In fact, my understanding of Scripture and delving into its meaning has never been as keen as it has become through studying the Scripture texts of the Traditional Latin Mass. I might add that the traditional Mass provides a wealth of passages from the Bible in its Introit, Offertory, and Communion antiphons, as well as its Tracts, Graduals, and Alleluias. These deserve study and prayerful reflection and are almost entirely missing from the new rite of Mass.”

  49. Breier says:

    In Masses celebrated with people according to the according to the Missal of B. John XXIII,
    the Readings can be proclaimed also in the vernacular language, using editions recognized by
    the Apostolic See.

    The Readings. What readings? Which readings? Why the readings that take place when the Missal
    of B. John XXIII is celebrated. What are those? Why they’re in the Missal of B. John XXIII.
    So those can be in the vernacular? Yes, if they’re in an edition approved by the Holy See.

    So we see here three things for the Readings:

    1. From the Missal of B. John XXIII
    2. In the vernacular
    3. From an edition approved by the Holy See

    Are there any editions currently approved that contain said readings? Perhaps. Perhaps
    new editions need to be created. Perhaps the Holy See will approved the standard readings from
    hand-missals. But I fail to see how the above is twisted to mean an abandonment of the
    Missal’s liturgical calendar. Readings are not in a vacuum. They are specified by the Missal!

    Regarding Ecclesia Dei’s 1991 remarks, I fail to see how that justifies such an interpretation
    of SP. As pointed out, SP specifically mentions Missal alterations that the Ecclesia Dei commission
    will study for the future, such as new prefaces. This implies that using new prefaces now would
    not be acceptable. These are things that the ED Commission already allowed before, but the former
    respones must be subservient to SP.

  50. Henry Edwards says:

    Though obviously lacking Fr. Myers’ experience as a celebrant, I have attended daily Novus Ordo Mass through a number of 2- and 3-year lectionary cycles, and cannot be quite so restrained in my comparison. Although there are several strong contenders for the honor, I’m not certain the new Mass has (in my view) a greater weakness than its lectionary.

    The celebrant of my indult Sunday Mass — who conspicuously is equally devoted to both the old and new Masses — habitually begins each TLM homily with a mention of where (if at all) that Sunday’s readings appear in the new lectionary. It’s amazing how a Scriptural text seems so crucial that without it the scriptural support of that particular Mass would be sorely lacking, but nevertheless our homilist is reduced to saying something like “While this reading is heard every year in the old Mass, in the new Mass it is heard only every other year on the Thursday of the 17th week in Ordinary time.” Or, especially in the case of some of the “harder” texts (e.g., of St. Paul), that it’s omitted entirely from the new lectionary. In either case, the typical “Sunday-only” Catholic has never in the last 40 years heard it at Mass.

    For many years I blithely accepted the standard claim of the broader scriptural coverage in the new lectionary. Now, being pretty equally familiar with both lectionaries, I believe this claim (however uncritically accepted) to be just about as illusory as the emperor’s new clothes — at least so far as the Sunday readings that the great mass of Sunday-only Catholics hear at Mass.

    In addition, whereas the old Mass readings usually are tightly integrated both within the Mass and with the divine office, in great swatches of the new lectionary cycles the readings from day to day are simply marching through a seemingly arbitrarily chosen segment of the Bible, without any clear liturgical purpose. Perhaps they were chosen for didactic purposes that could be served better served by scriptural study outside of Mass. At any rate, I judge that the new-lectionary percentages we’re hearing come from these forced-march readings rather than from ones that are liturgically directed.

  51. Breier says:

    The Vatican Press Release says:

    “The liturgy according to the 1962 books is celebrated in the Latin language but the readings
    contained in the Missal can be read to the people in the vernacular.”

    This would preclude changing the readings through the use of the New Lectionary.

  52. dcs says:

    The Vatican Press Release says:

    Game, set, match. ;-)

  53. Nick says:

    The article concerns the readings of masses celbrated ACCORDING (iuxta) to the Missal of John XXIII. The New Lectionary is NOT a part of this Missal. What seems implied in this article is that the readings of the older missal may be proclaimed in the vernacular and nothing more. No mention is made of imposing the new system of readings on the older rite, and I think that such a conclusion, previous provisions of Ecclesia Dei notwithstanding, is adding more to what is in fact stated in the article.

  54. RBrown says:

    It’s very simple: The advantage of the new Lectionary contains a broader selection of NT readings.

    But there are disadvantages.

    First, the theme of the mass is often lost. Whereas a 1962 uses the same, appropriate Gospel for celebrating,say, the feast of an abbot, those using the new Lectionary using use consecutive readings. To me this is less liturgical.

    Second (and this comes from Fontgombault friends), the seldom repeated consecutive readings make it harder to memorize Scripture.

    Third, IMHO the readings at most 1970 style masses are much too long.

  55. Breier: That is a quip, not a citation. It would be helpful to have a link to the actual release you are quoting. You have quotations around one part, but not the other. It is impossible to tell what is yours.

    In the meantime, I will stick to what I have written.

    ALL: If you don’t have anything NEW to add, kindly refrain from posting the same thing over and over again. It doesn’t further the discussion.

  56. Bob Zahl says:


    Mr.Mershon stated:

    6. The two forms of the liturgy follow two diverse calendars, different on the dates of several secondary feasts, and they have two diverse lectionaries. Such differences should not create great difficulties: for example, the Ambrosian rite, celebrated in the Diocese of Milan, has its own calendar and lectionary.

    The explanatory note also highlights several characteristics of the 1962 Missal:

    “It is a ‘plenary’ or ‘integral’ Missal in the Latin language, that is, it also contains the readings for the celebrations (it is not distinct from the ‘Lectionary’ as the later 1970 Missal is).

    This looks like it clears it up to me. Looks like the 1991 document is superseded. Father?”

    This is a clarification from the Vatican Press Office concerning this very topic, published the same
    day as the MP, and even though it does not to seem to be binding, it would seem be more binding than
    your speculation. You are creating confusion, Father.

    Why don’t you answer Mr. Mershon’s question?

  57. Janet says:

    your two comments are exactly the type of answer I was hoping someone could provide for me. And not just because it defends the lectionary of the TLM, but because it shows me some concrete examples of why ‘more’ is NOT always ‘better’ concerning scripture readings.
    More such concrete examples and explanations are still quite welcome. (with Fr. Z’s kind permission, of course, since it IS his blog.) :-)

  58. Fr. Anthony Forte says:

    What is being left out of this discussion is that there is already an edition of the readings (N.B. that it says an edition of the readings, and not a lectionary) from the old Mass that has been approved by the Apostolic See. From the Decree of the U.S. bishops dated April 2, 1964: “For the lessons—the version translated from the original languages by members of the Catholilc Biblical Association of America and sponsored by the Episcopal Committee of the Confranternity of Christian Doctrine.” This was confirmed by the Apostolic See on 1 May, 1964. This translation (plus additional translations for the sung Ordinary of the Mass; Ecce Agnus Dei; Domine, non sum dignus; and the sung Propers of the Mass) were published in a Missal of the same year.

    While it could be argued that the indult of Ecclesia Dei allowing the substitution of the reading of the new Lectionary is still in force, I do not believe that this is the intention of Art. 6. Given the preciseness of the Motu Proprio, I would have expected it to say such explicitly if it had so intended.

  59. Jeff says:

    It’s possible that the Article 6 is intended to mean that the New Readings can be used. But it doesn’t in fact say that. A close reading–apart from extrinsic evidence presented by you–pretty much forecloses that interpretation. I’m surprised that a scholar of language and fine distinctions does not see that.

    First of all, it says, “THE readings”. The use of the definite article means that something in particular is being adverted to. “THE readings”, we are then told, can be proclaimed in the vernacular. Nothing at all about a different set of readings or a whole different lectionary being imposed. Compare the language in the 1991 guidelines, which speak about a new lectionary being used. Sorry but “the readings can be in an approved vernacular translation” just doesn’t mean “you can use a whole new set of readings: different accustomed vernacular readings from a completely different lectionary.”

    If there is not definite sense in the Latin, then that would mean that the law is being incredibly broad. In order to get the New Lectionary out of it, you would have to admit that really Article 6 says “READINGS in the vernacular can be used”. That would mean that ANY OLD DARN READINGS can be used. One thing it doesn’t do is particularize the approved LECTIONARY…only approved TRANSLATIONS.

    Perhaps that’s what the Pope meant to say and the 1991 Guidlines are some limited evidence for that. But if so, he did an INCREDIBLY SLOPPY JOB of writing that provision. And since this has all been gone over with a fine tooth comb and the Pope is the most brilliant of brilliant cookies and has a fine sense of distinctions, my prediction is that this has nothing to do with lectionaries at all. If it did it would have been incredibly easy to say so. If you intended to say so, it would be incredibly hard for you to come up with the wording used in Article 6.

    It COULD be true that “THE readings” incorporates the provisions of the 1991 Guidelines. Then it would mean that approved translations of any approved readings are permitted. There are two sets of approved readings: the old lectionary, mandated in the old liturgy, and the new cycle, allowed by the 1991 Guidlines. You can use either in an approved translation.

    But this Motu Proprio supercedes the previous ones. Therefore, it seems illogical to me that it would incorporate Guidlines issued in conjunction with them.

    No, Fr. Baker is wrong, since no permission is needed to proclaim the readings unofficially in the vernacular after the Latin. That has the force of universal custom. What it means is that the old cycle of readings can be rendered in the vernacular instead of Latin, but only using an approved translation. Any approved translation. That would assumedly mean approved for vernacular readings in 1962 or perhaps also the same readings taken from the translation used in the New Lectionary.

    I’m afraid this reading is only a tiny bit more plausible than the idea that Rocco Palmo was under an “embargo” relating to the Motu Proprio.

  60. Geoffrey says:

    In my publications, I requested and was denied permission to reprint texts from the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine edition of the Bible. They instead suggested that I use the New American Bible. Like that was going to happen! So I lean towards the Catholic Edition of the Revised Standard Version.

  61.  Fr. Forte: Thanks for posting the information about the edition approved in 1964.

    That was not, in fact, “left out of the discussion” but it is nice to have a concrete detail.

    EVERYONE: Let me make something clear to people. I am stating my view of Art. 6.

    It strikes me that people mistakenly think I am arguing in FAVOR of using the newer Lectionary.

    I am not.

    Let me be very clear. I am not arguing this position because I WANT it to be so. I am stating what I think Art. 6 bears.  I don’t have a horse in this race.  I wasn’t ordained for a book, no matter how venerable it is.

    It strikes me that people are arguing so excitedly against my interpretation be they DON’T LIKE the idea of an option for the New Lectionary being used, rather than what art. 6 says and doesn’t say.

    Time will tell.

    WDTPRS is NOT the official interpreter of Summorum Pontificum.  A Vatican Press release is not the official interpreter of Summorum Pontificum.  EWTN or CWN of CNS or other blogs are not the official interpreters of Summorum Pontificum.  What I write here is my opinion, take it or leave it, find it interesting or not, consider it stimulating for conversation and useful for digging into the document, or don’t consider it at all.

  62. Demerzel says:

    danhunter1, wouldn’t the 1962 St Joseph Missal be using the Confraternity Text? My 1963 St Joseph uses the Confraternity texts and it uses ‘tents’. Having the Sinag-Tala Confraternity and the 1964 Altar Roman Missal, ‘tents’ is also used there. I would think that having the an official Douay Rheims Lectionary of the 1962 Missal would standardize alot. And hey maybe abit of cross-pollination and the Douay Rheims is used for the English 1970 Lectionary. ;)

    Henry Edwards, my sentiments as well. The quantity of the text from Scripture increased but the quality decreased, important doctrinal verses were omitted and the current English translation is bland.

    Geoffrey, use the Douay Rheims. Copyright has long expired ;)

  63. Breier says:


    Here is the link:

    My emphasis is on the first sentence, particularly *the readings contained in the Missal*. Granted it’s only a press release from the Vatican, but it think it goes to the plain sense interpretation and the mind of the legislator. What follows is all quotation from the document:

    “4. The liturgy according to the 1962 books is celebrated in the Latin language but the readings contained in the Missal can be read to the people in the vernacular. To favor an active participation, the faithful who attend such celebrations are invited to recite together with the celebrant the diverse parts of the ‘Ordinarium Missae’ (Ordinary of the Mass – Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) which, in sung Masses, may be sung and if possible even by the people. When there are faithful present, it is not suitable for the entire Mass to be celebrated in a low voice. It is recommended that the faithful follow the prayers of the Mass with a bi-lingual missal, such as those that already exist and which will certainly be re-edited.

    5. In parishes, in practice, the liturgy being used will not change: instead, it will be possible for the pastor to add to the Masses celebrated in the ordinary form, a second Mass according to the extraordinary form.

    6. The two forms of the liturgy follow two diverse calendars, different on the dates of several secondary feasts, and they have two diverse lectionaries. Such differences should not create great difficulties: for example, the Ambrosian rite, celebrated in the Diocese of Milan, has its own calendar and lectionary.”

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