Recognitio for Canadian Lectionary with inclusive language

The Catholic Register in Toronto reports that the Holy See has granted a recognitio for a Lectionary with the NRSV, which has inclusive language.

My emphases and comments.

The Catholic Register: After years of inclusive language war, Bible gets Vatican recognition
By Michael Swan

TORONTO, Canada (The Catholic Register) – Eighteen years into a sometimes divisive debate, the Vatican has put a final stamp of approval on the Canadian lectionary – granting a recognitio to the inclusive language of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible in English.

“That this has come is obviously a positive thing, not just for women but for all people,” said feminist theologian Doris Keiser, a lecturer in theology at the University of Alberta’s St. Joseph’s College. “When we’re moving forward in the world and allowing our understanding to open up, everyone benefits.”  [Everyone except, perhaps those who want to hear what the texts really say.]

Canadians have been reading the NRSV at Mass since 1992, when the first edition of the new Sunday lectionary was published with approval from the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The Canadian NRSV lectionary for weekdays was published in 1994. It was only then that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith objected to NRSV translations.

The NRSV uses inclusive language, referring to both men and women, when the text refers to people. References to God in the NRSV use the pronoun “He.”

In the Pauline letters, this sometimes results in forms of address to a group of people which reads “Brothers” in Greek rendered “Brothers and Sisters” in the NRSV.

Without the recognitio, Canadian Mass texts were left in the position of being the only approved texts for English-language Masses in Canada, but at the same time lacking final Vatican approval. At World Youth Day in 2002, Pope John Paul II used the Canadian lectionary.

“The main issue was not the question of inclusive language,” Archbishop James Weisgerber, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops vice president, told The Catholic Register.

The Vatican’s concern over NRSV translations has been a matter of technical issues and accuracy, said Archbishop Weisgerber.

“There is a concern that when you try to make the scriptures speak inclusively it’s important to be accurate,” he said.

A special committee of Canadian bishops has been meeting regularly with Vatican officials working on the details of the text since 2003. With the recognitio in place, the bishops can begin publishing a second edition to the books already in use, starting with Year B, Nov. 30, 2008.

Though it’s been a battleground between right and left in the church for almost a generation, Archbishop Weisgerber doesn’t think most Catholics will even notice the changes.

“The ordinary person in the pews, the ordinary celebrant, would not even notice it,” he said.  [Doesn’t think beg the question?  Who really wanted inclusive language?]

With most of its inclusive language intact, and an 18-year fight behind it, theologians were careful about the question of who won the language war over the Canadian lectionary.

“I don’t know who won and who didn’t,” said Archbishop Weisgerber. “I actually think it’s kind of a compromise, and kind of a happy compromise between our tradition and more modern kinds of translation.”

“The big question is how it affects people in the pews, because it’s their lectionary,” said theologian Keiser.  [Ummm…. Noooo…. it’s the CHURCH’s Lectionary.  The Church is more than English speaking Canadian people in the pews.]

“It’s an encouraging kind of decision,” said St. Paul University theologian Cathy Clifford.

The slow pace of decision making between the conference of bishops and the Vatican should surprise no one who really knows the church, said Keiser.

“The reality is that the church is not a fast-moving entity. Things take time,” she said. “Even though in my life time 20 years is a long time, in the life of the church it’s a drop in the bucket.”

With the question of which Bible we read in church out of the way, the left and right in the church will likely find new topics for debate, said Archbishop Weisgerber.

“I suspect other issues will emerge and we will divide in similar ways,” said the archbishop.

“If we can’t have that conversation, then there’s something wrong with the way that we’re perceiving ourselves as faithful persons,” said Keiser.  [Does no one use "people" anymore?]

Michael Swan is the associate editor of The Catholic Register.


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  1. danphunter1 says:

    So Father, why did the Vatican allow this if these inclusive language anamolies are a mistranlation of the scripture’s?

  2. Jordan Potter says:

    Does this mean Liturgiam Authenticam is a dead letter in Canada?

    Frankly, I think both Canada and the U.S. desperately need a new Catholic translation of the Holy Scriptures into English, one that takes better account of the Latin Vulgate, of the past 2,000 years of Catholic biblical tradition, and that eschews the ideological inclusive language fad in favor of accurate translation. It would be nice to be able to acclaim the Scripture lessons as “The Word of the Lord” without an asterisk (kind of, sort of, mostly the Word of the Lord).

  3. AM says:

    A tiny example of the issues, easily found in last Sunday’s Gospel: the text at Luke 14.12 says, literally, “he also said to him who invited [to kekletoti] him”. The NRSV text there is needlessly inclusivized to “he said also to the one who had invited him”. The lection we Canadians heard last Sunday says “Jesus said also to the Pharisee who had invited him”. Perhaps the reiteration of the Lord’s name at this point is harmless, but there is no warrant for “the Pharisee” at that point in the text. And so of course it adds a little extra interpretation.

    Thus, this recognition is not just of the NRSV, but of hundreds and hundreds of tiny additional changes, not all of which could possibly have been necessary.

  4. Dev says:

    Let’s just thank God they’re still calling Him Him. Aside from the theological questions that inclusivizing God raises, it causes even more linguistic awkwardness than inclusivizing people does.

    I’ve never really got the whole inclusive language thing. Surely English WAS inclusive until someone declared it wasn’t. “Man” could mean “humankind”; that was an accepted meaning. Then someone decided it could only mean “males” and as a result, now that is becoming the only accepted meaning. But if people hadn’t de-inclusivized the language in the first place, they wouldn’t need to be reinclusivizing it now..!

  5. P says:

    I think this is very sad. We are looking forward to the new translation of the missal and the implementation of Summorum Pontificum, and this seems out of sync with these positive things.

  6. Kim says:

    Wow…my self-esteem has just shot up so much now that women are officially recognized in scripture.

    Before you know it I’ll be officially recognized as a priest by the Vatican and my lesbian trans-gendered, former male partner and I can get married!

    All the sage-burning enneagram sessions have finally come to fruition! Thank God for Myers-Briggs!

    I can hardly wait to tell my Reiki Master, Sister Jo of the Congregation for the Divine Assistance of the Holy Labyrinth.

    Wymyn unite!

    Kim, with tongue planted firmly in cheek :)

  7. P says:

    Speaking of translations, I know a priest who uses “for you and for all women and women” at the consecration. “For you and for many women and men” doesn’t really have the same ring to it, does it? I suspect he’ll have to reexamine his personally adapted canon when the new translation is put in place.

  8. The NRSV is really quite awful because of the gendered language concerns, particularly in the Psalms. Hopefully they don’t use those . In their gymnastics to avoid such horrible words as man, son and he/him/his, they slaughter English as well as the Psalms, a treasure of the Church turned into dross.

    This was, however, not entirely to the liking of various translators on the project, who left in a huff when the changes were implemented by the editors as a requirement of the National Council of Churches, the extremely liberal confundation of former-hippies in Christian-themed social clubs which sponsored the project, and which owns the copyrights to both the RSV and the NRSV translations. There are some very fine renderings in the NRSV, but this gender crap is what makes it unusable. (It is forbidden, for instance, in Eastern Orthodox liturgies and Bible studies.) If someone is so anti-masculine that they can’t even bear to hear such language, their problem lies elsewhere than with those using the language.

    And just to clarify, “inclusive language” technically refers to standard English usage wherein “man” and “he” and related words are used to include also those of the other sex. That the term “inclusive language” is typically used to refer to describe this new phenomenon of actually factually NON-inclusive gender specificity in the translation just goes to show the level of true linguistic ability and intelligence involved. “Inclusive” sounds better, so they use it. The fact is that the former way, the way the language still actually works, for heaven’s sake, is the inclusive way. Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and English, as most modern Western languages, use such inclusive language. These are cultural and linguistic facts that can’t be changed by a concerned feministic or anti-masculinist agenda.

    Theologically, removing the inclusive sense of “he” and “man” has profound implications for an individual’s understanding of salvation as achieved by one particular man, Jesus Christ, the incarnated God as a “he.” The prophecies in the Old Testament that for more than two millennia have been understood as referring to Him are destroyed by this foolish language farce. Subconsciously, inclusion of all humanity in “man” in English usage lends a cultural resonance to this fact of our salvation, and is wiped out by, as the NRSV does, pluralizing the pronouns and entirely wrongly disambiguating the texts. It cuts the NRSV off from the history of Christian theology entirely. Another “fun” bit you’ll notice is that those quotations from the Psalms and such in the New Testament are not altered, so that a person reading in the NRSV an OT quote in the NT who then goes to the OT to read the context, will not find the same passage!

    It’s truly a shame that such fine scholars as Bruce Metzger and the others who worked on the NRSV had to get mixed up with this. It is entirely mysterious to me as to why this is the preferred translation for universities and academic circles. It’s irrational to take an entirely inaccurate translation for a standard.

    Finally, this unfathomable recognitio plays precisely into the hands of the anti-masculinist forces. Look to see the Canadian Lectionary showing up for use in the United States and other English-speaking nations even more now, with the justification that “if it’s okay for Canada, it’s okay for us.” It’s inevitable, this slippery slope. Look for the smarmy, plump, feminized eunuch priests and their manly “extraordinary minister” priestesses to have many a Celebration of Inclusion for their victory! BAH!

  9. Can I just place myself on record right now, as a woman, as declaring that I HATE, DESPISE, AND OTHERWISE CAN’T STAND “inclusive language”; that I find neither the male sex nor male pronouns offensive; that I understand that “he,”, “his,”, “him” and “man” are inclusive terms; that I am offended by these attempts to condescend to me by bastardizing the language; and that I think the inclusive language people need to get a life?

    The liberals decry the stereotype of women as hysterical beings; but they obviously are the ones who think we are hysterical, since it would take hysteria to take offense where none is intended, and to move heaven and earth to avoid the non-existent offense.

  10. Andrew says:

    Thank God for Hungarian, which I speak rather well. The word for brother and sister is the same: “testver”. The word for “he” and “she” is also the same: “o” (with two dots on top). “Ember” is a “human” – no gender implied. Interesting, isn’t it? English can also be somewhat gender neutral at times: “friend” can be either male or female. Not so in Latin: it’s either “amicus” (male) or “amica” (female). I wonder why there is such a linguistic variety as far as gender goes. One of the hardest languages to learn in this regard is German. Even after many years of speaking it and living in Germany some non-native Germans make mistakes in “der, die, das”. Is it because gender differentiation is somewhat of a challenge for us humans?

  11. Maureen says:

    Humans, animals, and many plants have sex.

    Only objects have gender.

  12. Boko Fittleworth says:

    This is so eighties. And not in a good way. More of a Flock of Seagulls hairdo sort of way.

  13. Sorry, but as a Canadian, this is very, very disheartening and I for one
    feel utterly betrayed.

    It validates my thesis that liturgical “renewal” continues to spawn from

    1. Illicitness
    2. Disobedience

    Rather than fidelity to Tradition.

    The Holy See made it clear 13 years ago that this lectionary was

    1. deficient
    2. to be revolked by 1997.

    The disobedience of our Bishops has again WON out over prudence and fidelity
    to Christ.

    Just like altar girls, it sets a horrible precedent that dissent PAYS OFF for
    dissenters and will add gallons of fuel to the fire for the organized drive to
    push for female priests (of which Weisgerber is a chief proponent himself
    …having publicly preached the need for female priests as far back as 1985,
    when he was the rector of the Cathedral here).

    We are talking about a lectionary which translates messianic prophesies such
    as Ezekiel as “behold, I saw one coming like a human being”….instead of
    “I saw one coming like the Son of Man”.

    It also inserts “Dear brothers and sisters” into EVERY single reading from Paul
    even ones which do not mention “brothers” in the actual text.

    This is a very tragic setback for Liturgical Authenticam as well as
    Summorum Pontificum in Canada.

  14. AM says:

    Kevin: in answer to your implied question, In Canada we have two official approved Psalters: the Lectionary one is, yes, the NRSV; but in the (episcopally approved) Catholic Book of Worship the Psalter is (based on) the Grail version. Thus at Mass most people hear the Grail, not the NRSV.

    I think the NRSV is the “preferred translation for universities” for several reasons: one is precisely “inclusive language”, for the many people who cannot bear traditional so-called non-inclusive language; but also because it really is a pretty good modern translation of the literal sense; and it retains some of the gravitas of the Authorized tradition. Much more than the NAB does, for example.

    Yes, of course, “inclusivising” works havoc theological and aesthetic ! But the NRSV is not wholly valueless as a result. I really would rather have NRSV than NAB, which is also seriously flawed, even “entirely inaccurate” in places. (And even the Vulgate has errors, from a linguistic point of view.)

    (But I do wish our official lectionary didn’t add all those other changes, some of which are quite unnecessary.)

  15. Romulus says:

    Maureen — to be picky, only parts of speech have gender. As you say, animate things have sex.

  16. Maureen, “gender” is also the term used to describe language elements which are either feminine, masculine, or neuter. English now restricts gender language to animals and people and a very few other exceptions (ships are generally “she”), but in many other languages, inanimate objects and even concepts are gendered. For instance, in Hebrew the word for wind/breath/spirit is ruach, which is feminine. In Greek, it is pneuma, which is neuter. In Latin, it is spiritus, which is masculine. Why is a breath or wind or spirit of a different gneder or no gender in different languages? That’s just the way it is. Fun, huh?

  17. P says:

    We used the RSV at my university only a couple of years ago, but I think they have started using the NRSV since I graduated. I think the reason is that RSV is hard to obtain, particularly the “Common Bible” (which has the deuterocanonicals and the books/parts of books only used by some eastern churches).

  18. P says:

    Kevin, would you agree with me that the gender of a word doesn’t necessarily mean that its sex must be the same as its gender? I’m thinking in particular of people who call the Holy Spirit “she” because of “ruach” and Wisdom “she” based on Sophia/Hochmah.

  19. gengulphus says:

    Maureen, you are naughty. Again you have committed irony on the wrong side of the water, and again – leadenly – they haven’t got it. I love your posts. More please.

  20. Ave Maria says:

    Just another reason to seek out the extraordinary form of the Mass.
    Personally I hate the inclusive language and the way the lectionary
    falls all over itself to do it, brothers and sisters, I mean brothers and
    sisters, we human beings ..blah blah blah.

    I know of no extraordinary form of the mass coming to my diocese. So
    what else is new–same old, same old. Yes, I have requested if of
    two priests.

  21. Ted Krasnicki says:

    I am fortunate to have still kept my Douay-Rheims!

  22. P, yes, absolutely, they are wrong. In such languages, the gender of the word doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the referent, otherwise one would need to recognize that German tables are female and Israeli nights are male, while both are neuter in America! Whether a referent is male of female in the personal sense is always determined by context in such languages. In the New Testament, pneuma in reference to God the Holy Spirit is referred to with masculine pronouns rather than neuter as expected, and also clearly depicts the Holy Spirit as personal and not just a force of some kind. That usage clearly militates against a female Holy Spirit or a neuter one. The language of the Church in these writings shows us that the Holy Spirit is to be referred to with masculine pronouns. The only people that can suggest and defend and proclaim such a thing are those who’ve cut themselves off from reality linguistically and theologically. They are, however, comfortable in their world-shattering ignorance.

  23. TJM says:

    Well, all I can say thank God for Summorum Pontificem.
    This “recognitio” will definitely push me to attend only
    the TLM in Canada. Lots of luck to the Canadians. I’m
    sure this will pack the “persons” in. Tom

  24. danphunter1 says:

    The question still remains,:Why does the Vatican make what is an abuse at all times, into something licit just for the sake of not rocking the boat.
    First, communion in the hand was condemned.
    Now it is embraced by the Vatican.
    Then altar girls where explicitly condemned.
    Now they are embraced by the Vatican.
    Correct translations of scripture were once a given.
    Now the Vatican grovels before the liberal bishops and mistranslates scripture.
    One can only imagine what the Vatican will allow next.
    I am sure His Holiness had nothing to do with this latest debacle, and he will intervene presently and straighten this mess out.
    God bless Pope Benedict XVI.

  25. Meg Q says:

    How disheartening! WHAT is the Holy See thinking??? Thank God we’ve been going to a Ukrainian rite parish for a year now; I don’t think things are going to get better in the English-speaking Roman parishes.

    Edmonton, Alberta

  26. Belloc says:


    “It’s inevitable, this slippery slope.”

    You’ve struck the nail upon the head.

    I’ve just finished reading Father Z’s latest Wanderer column, which arrived in today’s mail. In it he says, “…it is my conviction that the older form will exert a ‘gravitational pull’ on the newer Missal, in Latin and the vernacular.”

    I know from reading his books that the Holy Father also believes this. I used to believe it myself. I no longer do.

    The Novus Ordo is immune to Tradition. It began in the supreme hubris of Annibale Bugnini, and continues in the supreme hubris of its champions, “the smarmy, plump, feminized eunuch priests and their manly “extraordinary minister” priestesses.”

    Only its complete abrogation will end this tragedy. Like Churchill’s famous quote about Lenin, placed by the Germans in a sealed train and sent “like a plague bacillus” into the heart of Russia, so the Novus Ordo was sent by those who wished to destroy her, into the heart of the Church.

    Rubrics of the Traditional Mass imposed over it could perhaps salvage it, but the sun will rise in the west before that occurs.

    To my mind it’s quite evident that this Canadian Lectionary, which was so strenuously opposed by Rome for so long, has been thrown as a consolation sop for the “sin” of Summorum Pontificum. I wouldn’t be as cynical as this had it historically not happened again and again. One only has to look at the March, 1994, approval of altar girls and the appearance of Ordinatio Sacredotalis in May, two months later, to see the same dynamic.

    How long, O Lord…?

  27. Brian Anderson says:

    I am deeply saddened to hear this news. I have been waiting for many years for
    a change. The publishing site of the Canadian Bishops all these years has
    bragged about its NRSV lectionary. All this in defiance of the 1994 CDF rejection.
    The femonic engineers and their compliant Canadian bishops have won. Will these bishops stubbornly resist,drag their feet and successfully keep that 1973 ICEL translation for Mass? Why not?Wow,have I been naive.

  28. Dale Price says:

    Absolutely horrid. Not to mention mind-boggling. How on earth is this squared with Liturgiam Authenticam? For all of the banalities/general clunkiness in the NAB, and the half-hearted throw at inclusive language in the RNAB, it wasn’t an ideologically-driven project from the start. . Mr. Edgecomb has done a fine job of outlining the problems with it, but I’ll add the most infuriating from my perspective–the rendering of Daniel 7:13, which turns the crucial “son of Man passage into “I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven…” The NRSV does a better job of severing Christ from the Old Testament than Marcion.

    With this approval, I’m afraid that you can certainly kiss the worthwhile Grail psalter goodbye. It isn’t pure enough for the Ministry of Inclusivity–too much doubleplus ungoodthink.

    And this will definitely be an encouragement for the usual agitators here in the US. An Amazingly bad decision.

  29. Berolinensis says:

    I must say I’m baffled. This appears to be in complete contradiction to Liturgiam Authenticam para. 30 and 31. The example with the Son of Man cited above by Matt Robinson is expressly prohibited by para. 31 lit. b.
    Are we absolutely sure the recognitio has been granted? Also, in the article it says “most of its inclusive language intact”. So, apparently the edition wasn’t approved as it was originally. It could be hoped that “most” is used to assuage the “progessives”, while the really bad parts have been eliminated, leaving mainly (which would be bad enough) “brothers and sisters” (which is the only thing mentioned explicitly in the article)? But even so, I must say I’m at a loss.

  30. Commentator says:

    “The NRSV does a better job of severing Christ from the Old Testament than Marcion.”

    That’s a great line.

    But the Vatican decision which provoked it is, indeed, deplorable.

  31. Henry Edwards says:

    Dale: How on earth is this squared with Liturgiam Authenticam?

    It cannot be. Don’t even think about it. But this recalled to mind an off-the-wall (as it seemed then) statement I saw somewhere the other day, about part of the Church in North America having been written off as being in de facto schism, and that Rome’s only concern now is to protect the future by not making it into a de jure schism.

  32. Boko Fittleworth says:

    The de facto schism line, and, more importantly, the danger of de jure schism, held some force in the late seventies and even into the mid-eighties. But de jure schism just isn’t a possibility in North America now, nor has it been for some time. Asked to choose between their local bishop or even a national conference and JPII or BXVI, these EXTREMELY popular popes would win every time. The only people we’d lose are the handful that are trickling out into de jure schism every so often anyway.

  33. “The NRSV does a better job of severing Christ from the Old Testament than Marcion.”


    But if Marcion had the NRSV Old Testament laying around, he probably wouldn’t have minded it so!

  34. Fr. Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R. says:

    Fr. Z. you commented, “Does no one use ‘people’ anymore?”

    Well of course not. Using “people” implies that one is part of a group to which one then has responsibilities. Using “persons” implies that one is an individual responsible to one’s self. No modern liberal thinking person would ever want to be one of the “people.” Then they couldn’t have what they want when they want it and to heck with everyone else while pretending to be the good guys. Oops. I meant good persons.

  35. CarpeNoctem says:

    I thought I heard a year or two ago that the RSV [not the NRSV, being discussed above] was updated (mostly for modern English instead of using ‘thee’s and ‘thou’s) by Ignatius Press and that, essentially, all the work had been done to get it ready for submission to Rome as an alternate lectionary to the awful translation we have now in the States? Didn’t they have the books printed and everything??

    Aha… here it is:
    Wow, the full lectionary is in TWO volumes, instead of the freakin’ FOUR we have to buy now. Now that’s pastoral!

    Hmmm. I see it has been reviewed by Rome for conformance to Liturgiam Authenticam and for liturgical use in the Antilles Bishops’ Conference. (Sorry, but as a stupid American, I had no clue were that was until wikipedia-ing that up.) I can’t imagine that Ignatius put all the $$ into the production of an RSV lectionary for such a small potential audience. (insert wry smiley here) My presumption is that because it has already been reviewed and approved in another conference, all that the US bishops need to do is write a nice letter to Rome and it could be a done deal in no time flat.

    Unforuntately, I also seem to vaguely remember the argument somewhere along the lines someone (USCCB? someone else?) saying that it would be “confusing” to have differing versions of the lectionary, such that the faithful would hear different versions in different parishes, or have different missals, or whatever. Am I missing something, or does this new approval from Rome mean that Canada have two versions of the Lectionary? If this is true that there are now two Canadian-English lectionaries, I think this is a precedent-setter which the friends of good English translations of the liturgy should be aware of here in the USA and elsewhere.

    I, for one, while acknowledging that the RSV is also not a perfect text/translation, would really like to have an option of dispensing with the deadful English texts we have now. But alas, being someone who respects law and order in the Church, I will not be able to replace these texts in my parish until the appropriate approvals come down the chain of command. It’s hard being patient and doing things right, but if this summer’s events are any consolation, when patience pays off (a la Summorum Pontificum) it really pays off.

  36. Fr. J says:

    The Canadian bishops need not worry. The way they are going there will be no one left in the pews to hear anyway. Never give the radical feminists and inch. No wonder Catholics won’t study the Bible. We make it unreadable.

  37. To Meg – The beloved Ukrainian Church in Canada is not immune either….
    they already use the NRSV for some of their readings too (I believe it is for
    the epistle, while the Gospel is from another translation).
    I’ve noticed this attending my parents Byzantine Rite Church many times
    while visiting during the past 2 summers….just listen for the “brothers and
    sisters” bit next time you are at Divine Liturgy….its a dead give-away).

    This is a sad day for all Catholics (remember the original indult for communion
    in the hand was granted under duress to only a few dioceses in Switzerland,
    Belgium and Germany). The NRSV will act as a powerful ally for all the liberal
    Bishops in the other English speaking countries, and sets a horrible
    predecent for us all. Father Z, you may soon have to create another site
    entitled: “What Does the Bible Really Say”? WDTBRS.

    I’m already asking myself what next step “Bishop Jim” as he is called by his
    friends, and the rest of the CCCB are planning to undertake in the wake of
    this landmark victory. Give an inch, take a mile.

    Things like this make me very, very pessimistic that a
    more orthodox English Missal will ever see the light of day in Canada.

  38. Kasia says:

    No, Father, no one uses “people” any more. The first time I heard anyone insist on “persons” was in 2000 in a sociology class. Now it seems to be the height of gauche to use “people”.

    I think the objection originally stemmed from the then-popular phrase “you people” (the objection being that it was supposedly some sort of coded derision). “Persons” is supposed to be more individualized. I don’t care for the trend much, but that’s what I understand it to be about.

  39. A.Mearns says:

    The Canadian Bishops have been getting away with “murder” for many years; certainly since the Winnipeg Statement on Humane Vitae.It occurs to me that they are STILL pulling the wool over the eyes of the Vatican Curia .How much longer long must we endure this ? “Deliver us O Lord” indeed.

  40. David M.O'Rourke says:

    The Canadaian bishops seem to have long been more liberal than their American counterparts and I guess they get what they want. Remember the changes in 1965 which allowed the limited amount of latin permitted by the Council? These changes did not include the Collects Secrets and Post-Communions but the Council said that even these could be in the vernacular if permission was given by Rome. Canada got it and the U.S. didn’t. I was told by a priest at the time that the U.S. bishops asked for permission and Rome said “No” whereas the Canadian bishops simply said to Rome, “here is the translation that we will use for the Collects etc.” and Rome let it go through.

    Now, for all it’s being obnoxious I presume this translation of the lectionary is not heretical but is it singable. Yes! The lessons Are supposed to be sung if possible! In Latin they MUST be sung, even in the Novus Ordo. In all of the other Rites of the Church the lessons have always been sung. Jesus chanted the Lessons in the synaguogue. The Qu’ran is chanted. In short, the Liturgy is meant to be sung.

    Had the English speaking Church in 1965 used the King James or the Douey-Rheims Bible there would have been no problem with chanting. The same was true of the entire text of the Mass. EVERYONE prayed in “Thee/ Thou” English in those days, even in private prayers. Modern English came as a complete surprise and to this day the Pater Noster in English is still said according to the translation made by King Henry VIII (of all people).The modern English broke the tradition of having a LIturgical Language and this had a terrible effect on the Liturgy, said or sung.The sense of the sacred was replaced by the sense of the banal. It is said that the English speaking bishops were afraid of sounding like Anglicans and therefore went for modern English. If this is so, they bit off their own nose to spite their face. One doesn’t have to be an Anglican to appreciate the glorious English of the Book of Common Prayer. Pope Paul VI admired it greatly.

  41. GCC Catholic says:

    Fr. Z,

    Just for curiosity’s sake, who (congregation or person) made the call on this? It seems that all that the article gives is a very ambiguous attribution to ‘the Vatican.’

    It’s far too tempting to call shenanigans on this.

    Thanks and God Bless.

  42. Vincent Uher says:

    Tremendously disappointing and disheartening. Having read this I will return to the sanctuary of my home, my Douay-Rheims, and my Clementina.

  43. Jeremy says:

    This morning at Mass in Ottawa I clearly heard, from the Gospel reading, Jesus tell his disciples “from now on you will fish for people.”

    From the food-provision service Christ clearly intended to a worldwide ecclesial body. How did it all go so wrong?

  44. Meg Q says:

    I’ve been rethinking this along the lines of GCC Catholic. What office is this decision from? When was it issued? Who signed it? Little facts like that would be nice . . .

    IMHO – the Canadians will never use the NAB because it is so banal, and the USCCB will never use the RSV (or anything else) b/c they hold the copyright on the NAB and I’m sure “need” the money now more than ever.

  45. william says:

    This is really shocking. Is there any realistic hope that the Holy Father will overrule this? If not, what the hell was the point in Liturgiam Authenticam? In spite of its undoubted excellence in other areas, there is no way the NRSV can be regarded as LitAuth-compliant (i.e. accurate) regarding gender language.

    Once the principle has been conceded that the plain meaning of Scripture can be “rephrased” (distorted) to suit the current social agenda, there is no particular reason not to apply the same principle to language regarding the Godhead – which then naturally propagates to issues such as female priesthood etc. Sorry to invoke “slippery-slope” arguments, but actually the pass has already been sold.

  46. M Kr says:

    David M. O’Rourke:

    Do you have any ideas why the Canadian Bishops have tended to be so liberal? Is it even something that can be traced to well before the Council?

  47. Robert says:

    None of us has seen the lectionary for which a recognitio has been granted. All we know is that it differs from the one currently in use, but that it is nonetheless based on the NRSV, though incorporating “corrections”

    How extensive these corrections are, we don’t know. The folks quoted in the stories may be trying to spin this as a “win” for inclusive language, but in all likelihood it will curtail the more problematic instances.

    Like AM, I’ll take the often elegant NRSV over the usually clunky NAB any day.

  48. Syriacus says:

    Dear Fr. Zuhlsdorf:

    This is why I oppose having the lections read in the vernacular during the 1962 Mass, even if the Douay-Rheims be used and even if the vernacular follows the Latin. By degrees, it moves us towards what has just happened. In the end, it will lead to the Jeans Bible.


  49. Karen Russell says:

    On one level, Anita Moore, OPL, way up above, expressed my personal feelings exactly.

    On another level, I am profoundly sad. Why, oh why, have they caved in on this?

    Here in Canada, even the Grail psalms have been “sanitized.” I particularly remember that lovely line from Psalm 8 “What is man that you care for him?” which has become “what are men and women that you care for them?” And as I pointed out to my young son that day, the new translation now excludes children.

  50. Cathy says:

    The Bridegroom build a house named Earth and designed a nuptial chamber called Paradise. Then He created His Bride; male and female He created them. And He gave His Bride a name, in Hebrew “Adam”; in English, “Man”. This name contained the full mystery of all that the Bride was in the Eyes of her Bridegroom. Whenever she called herself “Man”, the Bridegroom knew she loved Him; that she was His.

    But a time came when the Bride didn’t want to belong to the Bridegroom, and she grew to hate the name He had given to her that told the world she was His. So she made up her own name; a name which proclaimed to the world what she was in her own eyes. “My name is HUMAN,” she declared. “No one made me; I sprang from the slime; from the humus. I name myself; so belong to no one.

  51. Sharon says:

    Will this permission to use the NRSV in the Canadian Lectionary affect the Vox Clara translation work?

  52. Maureen says:

    I was just listening to the Pope’s visit to Vienna. Austria. They greeted him with a sacred aria, “Tu es Petrus”, in Latin — and with a praise song, “Jesus Christ, You Are My Life”, in English.

    Apparently, other people use our language as a sacred language.

    Why can’t we?

  53. I find inclusive language insulting to me as a woman. It is patronizing, believe it or not. It says to women “I’m so sorry, little girls, we realize that you cannot understand that these words are meant for you, so we’re dumbing it down so you can understand it.” (Pat us on the head.)

    Grrrrrr. Insulting. I hate it, hate it, hate it.


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  55. Belloc says:

    GCC Catholic wrote:

    “Just for curiosity’s sake, who (congregation or person) made the call on this? It seems that all that the article gives is a very ambiguous attribution to ‘the Vatican.’ ”

    The man who signed off on it would be this fellow, who, as you can see, is about to have a very important birthday:

    Francis Cardinal Arinze

    Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

    Born: November 1, 1932

  56. Geri says:

    “This morning at Mass in Ottawa I clearly heard, from the Gospel reading, Jesus tell his disciples ‘from now on you will fish for people.’

    From the food-provision service Christ clearly intended to a worldwide ecclesial body. How did it all go so wrong?”

    Well, Jeremy, in Canada the Church may be a food service, but in the US, it is a rival to, or perhaps a training system such as Colette’s “Gigi” was subjected to.

    “From now on, you will be catching men.”

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

  57. Fr. Paul McDonald says:

    The Register has omitted to mention the many corrections that the CDF
    demanded: e.g. Our Lady was not “engaged” to Joseph (an unwed mother,
    therefore) but BETROTHED. Jesus is, also in Old Testament prophecy, the “Son
    of Man” and not the “human one”. … The Party is playing down these
    corrections. … It is not straight NRSV. … Still not good news, though,
    but a *step* in the right direction.

  58. Pater, OSB says:

    Jeremy and Geri,

    Just a clarification on “catching men” or “fish for people” – catching men (though banal) is a proper translation of St. Luke’s passage – he does not share the pun found in Mt and Mk “fisher of men”.

    Pater, OSB

  59. GCC Catholic says:


    I had assumed it most likely would have come across Cdl. Arinze’s desk, but the article didn’t say it explicitly. That was why I asked.

    And yes, that is an important birthday.

  60. Suzanne says:

    As sad is this makes me, a Canadian, it proves what my Peruvian friend told me: ignore Rome and do what you want, eventually Rome will cave. Then he gave as an example the Spanish translation of the Roman Missal which was unacceptable to South American Spanish speakers (the language was too formal). They published their own without Rome’s approval and eventually, after it had been in use for a number of years, Rome gave its recognitio.

  61. I particularly remember that lovely line from Psalm 8 “What is man that you care for him?” which has become “what are men and women that you care for them?”

    Karen: EEEEEWWWWWW! The new Philistinism. And Psalm 8 is one of my favorites, so that torques me.

  62. chloesmom says:

    Anita Moore, well said! I’m a Canadian, and shudder at the damage done to the language by this inclusive garbage. It springs from a total ignorance of the history of English, how it’s derived from Latin, Greek, and a total cluelessness about the idiomatic structure, e.g., the use of “man” for the whole of humanity, and “mortal”, when the person being spoken to is clearly a man — as in the Book of Ezekiel. I wince at the changes that have been made to the hymns in the Catholic Book of Worship III because of this linguistic butchery as well. FWIW, the Jerusalem Bible is a pretty good version, and I’ve often wondered why that translation wasn’t used. Suzanne, I’ve heard the attitude of “ignoring Rome” from my own parish priest. He says that whenever a document arrives from the Holy See, “we close our eyes”, i.e., ignore it. In my diocese (Valleyfield) there has been absolutely nothing — nada, nihil, zip, bupkes, rien du tout — mentioned about the Motu Proprio since it was issued. This is one “recognitio” that should never have been issued.

  63. Timothy James says:

    Over at The New Liturgical Movement blog they have written an article claiming that the NRSV Canadian lectionary did not receive the recognitio: “the NRSV lectionary presently used in Canada has not in fact been given the recognitio as some have thought…”

  64. George says:

    There is some thoughtful commentary on this over at Athanasius, I believe the blog owner makes comments here from time to time, if its the same Philip Candido.

    Athanasius, Canadian lectionary

    He also has a picture of the feminist “theologian”. A real winner.

  65. Marcus says:

    I asked a priest in England about the lectionary in use there. I travel to England on business occasionally, but never paid much attention. He said on any given day, one might hear the RSV, NRSV, Jerusalem, or New Jerusalem, perhaps with Psalms from the Grail version. And this from the homeland of the language in question. Further evidence that the English are the only people in the world who cannot speak their own language. The priest said it was up to the local ordinary which to use. I suspect it’s up to the parish pastor, in reality.

    Regarding the NAB, it especially chaps me hindquarters that the B.V. Mary’s Magnificat doesn’t even have the word “magnify” in it anymore. What genius came up with that! Consider the theological implications of magnifying God as the “God-bearer” versus simply proclaiming his greatness.

    I use the RSV, which is what the Pope seems to prefer quoting from in his writings in English.

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