QUAERITUR: Novus Ordo Lectionary with the older Mass, TLM

From a reader:

Is it okay to attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite when the readings are in the vernacular and taken from the Lectionary for the Ordinary Form? I know this was expressly prohibited before Summorum Pontificum and seems to need clarification since.
I ask because there is a small Mass that does this locally. I love Latin and would like to attend, but it seems… fishy… Your advice would be very much appreciated!

A couple things must be clarified.

First, it is indeed "okay" to attend an EF Mass when the readings are in the vernacular from the new Lectionary.

Second, you say that it was expressly prohibited to use the new Lectionary with the older form of Mass.  That is not accurate.  It was expressly permitted.  The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei issued guidelines in 1991 which said:

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.

So, it is permitted, even now, to use the newer Lectionary, but this is not to be done if the sensibilities of the congregation would be against it.

The Motu Proprio of Benedict XVI Summorum Pontificum says.

Art. 6  In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular, using editions recognised by the Apostolic See.

We have discussed this point before on the blog, and come to a conclusion that this refers to the use of the newer Lectionary being used with the older Mass, the readings during Mass being read a single time by the priest in the vernacular from the new Lectionary.

So, from the point of view of the congregation, yes, it is okay to attended these Masses.

However, from the point of view of the priest, it might not be a good idea to do them in this way, if the congregation would be against it.  This would surely be a matter of real controversy.

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  1. Terth says:

    I don’t understand the concept of using the newer Lectionary. How would you line up the Sundays, weekdays, and feast days? They’re different readings, aren’t they?

    I know it would never work this way, but the “we want the vernacular” answer seems so easy. There are a handful (dozens?) of hand missals for use by people at Holy Mass. Those with a Latin-vernacular arrangement have a full translation of all the texts of the Holy Mass and have the approval of ecclesiastical authority for their publication and sale. Just pick one of those! How hard is that?

  2. Roam'n seminarian says:

    While it is certainly permitted, it seems an odd combination (especially when we arrive at seasons that do not exist in the OF). Looking more closely at the OF lectionary numerous other issues tend emerge (especially in light of using the OF lectionary for the EF — perhaps this is an occasion of enrichement from the EF to the Of): 1. the weekday readings do not have any relationship to the Sunday readings, since they are arranged on two different cycles. 2. the jump in ordinary time from the week before Lent to two weeks after Pentecost (and with the transfer of Corpus Christi – three weeks after Pentecost), can it really be said that readings from the fifth week of ordinary time are seasonally appropiate just before Lent and immediately after Pentecost based on the movable date of Easter? These seem like very different “seasons.” Just two things which seem odd, that I have noticed after attending daily Mass for nearly six years

  3. Fr. Michael says:

    Fr Z,

    Regarding the 1991 PCED guidelines. Do you have an online link or a place where I could go to see the entire document that contains the quotation you used? It would be helpful for me in building up my ‘library’ of how to pastorally implement the extraordinary form in a real parish whose primary experience of liturgy is with the post-conciliar form of the Roman Rite. Citing a paragraph from a blog is one thing. Citing the entire document as a primary source is another.

  4. a catechist says:

    I expect this flexibility is to help priests who might have one EF and several OF Masses on a given Sunday, so that he has to prepare only one homily rather than two. This seems entirely reasonable.

    Anecdotally, I often hear that EF-only parishes usually have very good preaching, both in content and rhetoric. If having a single lectionary & single homily in mixed EF/OF parishes functions to raise the bar, that would be a very good thing for many US parishes!

  5. Gloria says:

    This was the case when the pastor of a local parish initiated a TLM in his parish. He studied several months with the FSSP and said a Latin Mass regularly on Sundays. He apologized to the congregants, saying that he said two Masses on Sunday, the other being the NO and had time to prepare only one sermon, which corresponded to his NO Mass of the day, not the Epistle and Gospel of the TLM calendar.

  6. Geoffrey says:

    Very interesting! I didn’t know about those 1991 guidelines!

    I wonder if such a Mass would still be bound by the USCCB rules regarding what lectionary to use? I would love to see the Revised Standard Version (2nd Catholic Edition) as the norm. Oremus!

    Now, I use a hand missal at both the new and old Masses… what on earth would I do in this case?! :-)

  7. James says:

    I admit that I am not a fan of using the Lectionary of the Ordinary Form with the Extraordinary Form Missal; however, my main concern is that I don’t see how it could work. For example, what readings are used for the Ember Days? There could be many examples.

    It seems that in this case the PCED is allowing something without explaining how it is to be done. Everything in the Extraordinary Form is carefully explained. Shouldn’t the PCED give at least some explanation as to how this is to be done?

    I look forward to the clarifying document that was promised by the Holy Father.

  8. JBS says:

    It seems to me that EF Masses offered at the request of the traditionaly-minded faithful should use the older readings, especially those initiated pre-Sum.Pont., but priests introducing the EF into the parish schedule at their own initiative, for the purpose of promoting “mutual enrichment”, should use the new lectionary as a means of demonstrating “organic development”. I think the “one homily” argument is noteworthy, but limited, in itself. The greater goal must be the reconnection of the OF with the EF, and the new lectionary is the perfect tool for this.

  9. Southern Orders says:

    I celebrate the EF Mass each first Sunday of the Month as a High Mass and each Tuesday as a Low Mass. I actually found an English lectionary in my church that has all the readings for the 1962 missal in proper EF fomrate as a separate lectionary does for all the Sundays, Holy Days, saint’s days etc. I believe it was compiled for the 1965 missal that in actuality is the 1962 missal but with some minor changes in rubrics and allowance for the vernacular for the people’s parts of the Mass. At any rate, I have always considered our newer lectionary a marvelous gift to the Church especially here in the Bible Belt where Protestants are so well versed in Sacred Scripture and believe that Catholics aren’t. With the new lectionary if read everyday for three years, almost 90% of the Bible is heard. Most of those who come to our EF Mass are not reactionaries wanting to go back in time to do things exactly as they experienced in the 1950’s, they simply want beauty, solemnity, mystery and some Latin–they love the new Lectionary. I think it is great if this is an option. I’m not opposed to the lectionary of the 1962 or 1965 missal, but having the option is good. You would simply do the readings for that particular day and on days that are in the EF that aren’t in the OF, use the EF readings. It would be great if we could have an indult to use the 1965 missal. I think more Catholics would attend the EF Mass if it had the Vernacular as the 1965 Mass allowed.

  10. Anthony says:

    So could one use the EF lectionary in the Novus Ordo?

  11. Michael says:

    I would think that nobody should object to readings or singing in vernacular of the texts from the old Lectionary. It was a practice in some areas between the two World Wars at the latest, but the priest would read the Latin text before, and in a low voice.

    However, I would agree with all those who object to a hybrid TL Mass, which would be the case if the new Lectionary were used, whether in vernacular or in Latin.

  12. Virgil says:

    I take this as good news. My friends in both my EF parishes often say that the one thing we like about the Novus Ordo is the Lectionary: richer, more complete, more systematic for preaching, and full seasonal weekday readings. But we always say, “It’s a pity that Father can’t use it.”

    Lo and behold, Father can use it! (Unless there are folks really attached to the old, who might be driven mad.) We are completely with you, Southern Orders.

    My question to you, Father Zeta, is this:

    Why don’t very many EF parishes and priests use the newer Lectionary? Is it because:
    * Priests and people don’t know it’s permitted?
    * People really are scandalized by it sometimes?
    * Readings generally are just not important to people, because they’re not often in the vernacular anyway?

    What is it?

  13. moon1234 says:

    I would think that if this were to become widespread you would see many more people flock to the SSPX. The NO is a butcher job of the old calendar and the new. Many readings for the day in the NO have no correspondence to those in the Breviary. Many items in the calendar were moved around for no apparent reason other than to move them around.

    The new calendar and lectionary should be scrapped and a normal organic development of the EF calendar and lectionary should begin just as it had been for the last 400 years before VII. I like the continuity of the old calendar and lectionary. Everything fits together in nice logical order.

    Mass is for the worship of our God and not a time to have bible school. If the people lack catechesis then it is up to the pastor/religious in the community to bring people together outside of Mass to instruct them in their faith.

    In our area the Priests bring the boys and girls together on Tuesday’s (separately) for 3-4 hours in the afternoon for time to pray, teaching and then fun. The kids receive religious instruction, prayer and then a cookout and some type of sport depending on the weather. At the third meeting there were almost 40 boys who came and a smaller number of girls. This, in my opinion, is the better way to motivate children (and possibly some adults) to come and learn about their faith from the primary teachers of the faith.

  14. Pseudomodo says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but can the EF be entirely in vernacular and the OF be entirely in latin?

    My understanding is that the EF (and the OF for that matter) can be 1)entirely in latin, 2) in latin with vernacular readings, and 3)entirely in the vernacular.

    And the priest is free to celebrate in any of these ways?

  15. William says:

    I would interpret the guideline to mean that the OF lectionary could be searched out to find the EF reading and then that translation could be read. As an example, if the epistle of “fortieth” Sunday after Pentecost is used in the OF on the “fiftieth” Sunday in Ordinary Time that translation could be used. The guideline is more for translation rather than for determining readings.

  16. Precentrix says:

    It doesn’t make any sense to me, permitted or otherwise, unless you also follow the new calendar etc. You would lose the integrity of the liturgical action, the antiphons wouldn’t match the readings (in some cases in the OF, they don’t anyway for years B and C, or year 2 on weekdays), and so forth. Read the EF readings in the vernacular if you must – hey, say the whole Mass in the vernacular (and yes, it has been permitted for 400yrs, I believe, but only by indult) – or celebrate the OF in as traditional a way as possible… but mixing the new lectionary and the EF?

    If people want a wider selection of Bible readings, why don’t they read the Bible? Divine Office? Lectio Divina? Study groups? I mean, most people who attend the EF (sweeping generalisation) are more likely to do so than most people who attend the OF (generally because the EF crowd is a small proportion of the small proportion of Catholics who are in any way devout…)…

  17. maurice says:


    Amen! I totally agree with you. As I sat here reading all the comments that seem to be in favor of the NO lectionary, it made me think that not only does it simply not make sense because the two calendars don’t mesh, isn’t it also a symptom of the tendency to “tinker”, to make the Holy Mass fit what “I want”; why not more vernacular in the Tridentine Mass, why not this, why not that…I was thinking that I’d probably end up at my nearby SSPX chapel!

  18. Precentrix says:

    I have been to OF Masses entirely in Latin, including the readings. Never, so far, the homily…

    But the usual method for reading in the vernacular at the EF is simple: the priest uses a layman’s missal, or marks the pages in the Bible. Or the subdeacon sticks photocopied pages in the back……..

  19. Henry Edwards says:

    I wonder how many people, learned Vatican officials included, enjoy the advantage of familiarity with both the old and the new lectionary, each in and of itself, as well as (most important) jointly in comparison with each other. With this advantage myself, I must say that I appreciate and love separate features of both. Each is superior in some ways to the other.

    I pray the complete (new) Liturgy of the Hours in Latin and also (later each morning) morning prayer in English at my parish. Afterwards, I ordinarily stay for OF Mass. Since I have also followed the daily readings in my 1962 missal, I know that it is impoverished in lacking (outside of Lent) the daily seasonal readings that constitute the principal enrichment (especially in “ordinary time”) that the new lectionary exhibits.

    I also attend Sunday EF Masses celebrated by a priest who is extraordinarily devoted to both the old and new forms, and prepares separate sermons for his Sunday OF and EF Masses. A regular feature of his EF sermons that we especially look forward is his mention each Sunday of where (if at all) the epistle and gospel from the 1962 missal appear in the new lectionary.

    More often than not, it’s only on something like every other Thursday in some week of ordinary time, in which case this reading has not been heard from the pulpit at a Sunday Mass in almost four decades. This is virtually always the case with “hard readings” that deal with the wages of sin, the four last things, and the like. And it seems that the very “hardest” readings have not been heard in recent decades at an OF Mass on either a Sunday or a weekday. Or the “hard verses” — like “eat and drink unworthily” warning in 1 Corinthians 11 — have been stripped out in the new lectionary reading, thereby eviscerating the message.

    So whereas it would “work” to use OF readings at an EF Mass on many weekdays of the year, this would not work for many Sundays (where there is ample evidence of the labor of the Holy Spirit over the centuries to get it “right”). In case anyone thinks otherwise, I must wonder about his equal familiarity with both the old and new missals.

  20. Berthold says:

    It may be occasionally necessary for a priest to give a sermon written for the Novus Ordo Mass also at an EF-Mass at the same day, and if the sermon is about one of the biblical readings it makes sense to read this text beforehand. Otherwise, combining the Old-Rite Missal with the New-Rite Lectionary makes little sense. What would the result be? You celebrate Sexagesima with purple vestments but you use the readings of the 6th Sunday of the year, so that the allusion of the collect to the Epistle is totally lost?

    The selection of readings in the 1962 Missal is quite limited (by the way, in the versions before Pius XII it is broader, especially as regards readings from the OT). However, the three-year-system is, I think, not even regarded as very succesful bym quite a few Novus-Ordo-Liturgists, and it presupposes that the people remember on a given Sunday what the readings of the last two years were. So, instead of copying this system one should rather try something new, like reading the synoptic parallels to the Gospel on Sunday ad-lib on the following weekdays, when the memory is still fresh, and broaden the readings (and maybe also chants and collects) for the Common.

  21. Geoffrey says:

    I don’t buy the argument that using the new Lectionary doesn’t mesh with the old calendar. Currently, the 3 year cycle of readings does not match the “presidential” prayers of the new Mass, however they do retain a seasonal quality (Advent, Lent, etc.).

    As for weekdays, in the new Lectionary, proper readings for the feast of a saint are rarely used unless obligatory. Probably where the old Mass is said with the new Lectionary, this occurs on Sundays only.

    I am curious about the rubrics at such a Mass… does the priest read the readings, or a lector? Did the 1991 guidelines say anything about that?

  22. I would oppose the use of the new lectionary in the Extraordinary Form. The new readings would not cohere with the introit, collect, offertory, etc.

    Thumbs down.

    Next attack?

  23. Mark says:

    “Why don’t very many EF parishes and priests use the newer Lectionary?”

    Because it isnt traditional.

    Others here have explained it great.

    No one is saying that more readings might not be added somehow. But the WAY they did it was not good or traditional. For over a millennium, there was a cycle of readings for Sundays, Lenten ferias, Ember Days, and solemnities…that didnt change. That was the same from year to year. Tradition is based on natural cycles and rhythms. The day, the week, the month, the year. “Three-years-on-Sundays-and-two-on-weekdays” just ISNT an organic rhythm, and is very hard to internalize. It is a very artificial, very modern concept, symptomatic of a detached-from-nature literate society in a phenomenon (ie, liturgy) that is supposed to be characteristic of a largely oral culture.

    Previously, every Sunday of the year had a certain reading that would become familiar. Now…it comes around every three years, and it is well nigh impossible to remember 3 years later what the reading for a given Sunday is. No more “Sunday of the…” based on the Gospel reading.

    Now, the fact that so many feasts used the same old readings from the Commons, and that ferias repeated Sundays readings…could have provided room for expanding the lectionary without moving the traditional cycle. For building “within” the old cycle, instead of scrapping the whole thing. Also, the re-institution of the third reading, the Prophecy or Old Testament Lesson…also wasnt a bad idea (though it should have at least made a pretense at being some attempt at reconstructing the original Roman cycle that is thought to have once existed, instead of something drawn up from scratch “logically”).

    We also must remember that Matins used to have a ton of Scripture, whereas now the “Office of Readings” has totally scrapped the old structure of a cycle of lessons, hagiography, and patristic homilies…for a random sampling of various things that really has more of the character of private devotional lectio than of liturgy.

    Ideologically concerned about expanding the amount of scripture (though I doubt the people in the pews really notice)? Then they should have encouraged public celebration of Matins joined to Lauds before Mass. That’s what they do in the East, they have morning prayer immediately prior to Mass.

    The cycle of Sunday, Lenten ferias, and other major days throughout the year (feasts, ember days, etc) shouldnt have been touched. But they could have worked in ferial readings somehow. For example, made a “Common of Seasons” with lengthier passages to be divided based on how many free ferias were going to occur that week. Reading the synoptic parallels of the Sunday gospels on free ferias during the week is also a good idea. Keeping the common readings only for higher ranking feasts, and allowing these ferial readings to take precedence on more feast days (without replacing the rest of the propers) could add diversity. SOME of the traditional readings, depending on their context, could be lengthened. The restored Prophecies would add a lot. During Lent, where it is the Epistle which is missing instead of the Prophecy, the Matins epistles could be moved to Mass and that space at Matins could be filled with even more readings. Matins lessons are especially prone to expansion, as for much of the year they advance from chapter to chapter, book to book through the Old Testament, in a cycle that seems to have been abridged at one point so that only incipits and highlights are read. It could be made at least optional to read through the whole book for that week in a prescribed division among the days. Etc.

    There were lots of ways to expand the lectionary or expose people to more scripture without touching the traditional Sunday cycle or introducing an artificial 6-year (counting all combinations of Sunday three-year and weekday two-year) cycle.

    But, ultimately, it is also an opposition to WHY they did it. Which is a Protestantized attitude about the role of scripture in liturgy. Really, as someone said, Mass isnt Bible-school. The readings at Mass are called “lessons” but really their function is as part of the PRAYER of Mass, which is why they were traditionally chanted. Their purpose wasnt primarily catechetical, but liturgical. Now…well, sung readings are one of the rarest things to see at a Novus Ordo. Because the whole attitude toward scripture (and liturgy as a whole) has changed.

  24. Ted says:

    Now, if the new lectionary is used in an EF Mass, how many readings are used? Is it 2 and the Gospel, or is 1 selected and the Gospel?

  25. Cornelius says:

    Throw in some female altar boys while you’re at it

  26. Fr. WTC says:

    If it is ok to make use of the N.O. lectionary in the TLM, it follows that it is ok to use the traditional lectionary (1964 English lectionary for example)in N.O.

  27. AN says:

    What exactly is ‘richer’ about the new Lectionary? The answer is the same as what makes the New Mass more ‘participatory’ – i.e. nothing. The propaganda has been repeated so often that people just accept it as truth. The only thing that should be added to the old Lectionary are the feasts of those canonized since 1962.

  28. Geoffrey says:

    Participation has nothing to do with it.

    “Sacred scripture is of the greatest importance in the celebration of the liturgy. For it is from scripture that lessons are read and explained in the homily, and psalms are sung; the prayers, collects, and liturgical songs are scriptural in their inspiration and their force, and it is from the scriptures that actions and signs derive their meaning. Thus to achieve the restoration, progress, and adaptation of the sacred liturgy, it is essential to promote that warm and living love for scripture to which the venerable tradition of both eastern and western rites gives testimony” (Sacrosanctum Consilium, n. 24).

  29. Fr W says:

    I offer the EF once or twice a week privately. I love it. But it is rather remarkable how often the same readings are used over and over. The day I’m a pastor, I would like very much to use the NO lectionary with the EF. Many parishioners actually prepare the readings and use Magnificat, etc.

    (There are however, a few problems with the new lectionary. Some of the strongest portions of the Epistles have been strangely omitted – probably didn’t fit with modern tastes. This should one day be remedied.)

  30. Aelric says:


    Perhaps I do not see your point.

    Firstly, as far as I read AN’s comment, he or she did not imply that “participation” has anything to do with the matter, they simply made the claim that facile assumptions regarding the NO Lectionary being “more rich” are no more valid than assertions that the NO is intrinsically more participatory for the laity than the EF (though I apologize if I have misconstrued AN’s intention).

    Secondly, the quote you present seems to suggest that the scriptural basis behind the various parts of the EF – which is precisely what is referred to by “venerable tradition of the … western rite” – is what needs to be promoted. In other words, instead of parts made up by a consilium, perhaps what the OF needs is a return to the deeply scriptural basis of the EF Introits, Graduals, Tracts, etc.

  31. Adam Y. says:

    Finally someone (Mark) has posted a wise, nuanced, and well-reasoned explanation of the issues at stake!

    I am absolutely astonished at the number of posters here who see nothing wrong with scrapping the EF lectionary in favor of the OF. It’s a thoughtless “more=better” mentality, without regard to the real purpose of the readings of the Mass, and what would best accomplish that purpose. The EF lectionary, at least as a starting point, is far superior to the OF, for the reasons Mark illuminates.

    Why are you all interested in the EF in the first place? If the EF lectionary were consigned to the dustbin of history, it would be just as great a loss as any other significant aspect of the EF: ad orientem, Latin, the Roman Canon, dignity and ceremony, etc. — pick your favorite.

    I would add that, of all the liturgical Rites of the Church, eastern or western, ALL have had a one-year cycle of readings, for all of history until 1970.

  32. tired student says:

    No one brought this up — how does the NO lectionary fit into the EF rubrics?

    I could see this happening: the priest says the collect from the missal. Then he turns south to an altar server, reads the old testament lesson and the epistle (back to back), and turns back east to the missal to say the gradual. The altar server goes to the gospel side of the altar and holds the lectionary for the priest to recite the gospel. A priest at a low Mass I attend used to recite the English readings from the 1964 missal using this pattern (save the Old Testament lesson). It was unwieldy at best. Eventually the priest returned to reading the Latin out of the missal.

    Or the priest could say the collect facing east, and then walk to a lectern/pulpit and say the lesson and epistle from the Lectionary, and then return to the altar for the gradual, and then return to the pulpit for the Gospel! That seems even more awkward than the first option. In order to save the priest from running around the sanctuary, this type of setup would require a NO lectionary printed with the EF gradual instead of the Responsorial Psalm, or do a cheat sheet homemade addendum of graduals to read from the pulpit. Seems time consuming.

    In the church I currently go to in Quebec, one priest says the collect facing east, walks to a lectern facing the people, reads the epistle in French out of a hand missal, then goes back to the altar facing east. He says the gradual and Gospel in Latin. Then he re-reads the Gospel in French from the pulpit.

    I’m sure there are many other permutations on the Vernacular Readings Question, but I’ve seen my share of “solutions”.

  33. Matt Q says:

    I suppose it would be entirely logical then to read the Tridentine lectionary at Novus Ordo Masses, but I am venturing the Church’s two-faced one-way streets won’t allow this. Oh, of course, there is that concept of wanting the Tridentine Mass to influence the Novus Ordo… but not really. Beyond Summorum Pontificum just floating around out there in the breeze, what has this Pope done for the promotion of the Tridentine Mass, enforcing the provisions of his Motu Proprio? Nothing! What has he done to bishops who out and out refuse to allow it to be said? Nothing! The Pope doesn’t have the fortitude to say one himself. He did when Cardinal. I’ve read the news and seen the pictures. As Pope, suddenly ew? Very suspicious.

    When SP was issued, right out of the chute, there were all these changes made to the Tridentine Mass, permission to read this and do that. When it comes to changing the Novus Ordo, let’s vote on it, let’s debate it, etc., etc. We’ll see how far this “new translation” sham goes. Let this USCCB vote NO and we’ll see Rome do absolutely nothing. Oh, but let’s keep on deconstructing the EF Masses.

  34. Mike Morrow says:

    This is so bizarre…suggesting the use of a Protestant-ized post-Vatican II novus ordo service lectionary with the traditional Mass. That is shear idiocy that could only be countenanced by those who in truth do not understand and value Catholic *tradition*…those post-1960s “younsters” for whom post-Vatican II nonsense has colored their entire outlook. I’m sorry to see that company seems to include priests. Should one really have any wonder at the reluctance of the SSPX to “normalize”!

    I would walk out of any such faux-EF service that used novus ordo innovations, especially of such fundamentally different form as the epistle and gospel. That is far far worse and more offensive than a pure novus ordo service which, being so distict from traditional Mass, causes little confusion between it and the proper EF Mass.

  35. Mark says:

    Fr W,

    Many people would argue that the repetition is part of what makes the traditional rite, well…traditional!

    The most important readings are the ones you’ll find in the old lectionary, and they are the ones you’ll find constantly in art, quoted by Saints, etc. The formed part of the whole vocabulary of Western Catholic thought and imagery that was deconstructed so aggressively after Vatican II.

    Now, as I said, there could be some way to work in ferial readings or make the Commons used less. Certainly I know the story of the Virgins and the Lamps can get old fast. In recent times there was already a trend of reducing the use of the lessons from the Commons by giving many feasts their own proper readings (rather arbitrarily; I’m not sure that was the best solution). And MATINS needs to be re-emphasized, and possibly re-expanded, as really the place for Lessons as such.

    And yet some level of repetition is what makes tradition tradition, what causes it to be internalized.

    Imagine if suddenly we all decided to only have a Christmas Tree every 3 years, and the other two years to alternate with a nativity creche and a statue of Santa or something like that. At that point…would any of those 3 things be traditional??? No, because the whole point of tradition is that you have it every year, that it is familiar, that the same thing occurs at the same point in the rhythm of the year.

    The Ordinary of the Mass is extremely repetitive day to day too! And yet you arent complaining about that. Why do you expect such “variety” from the readings? Why do the repetitive readings bore you, but the Canon or Creed or Gloria doesnt?

    I think it is because your whole attitude when it comes to what the purpose of the readings is…has been influenced by the modern attitudes. Well, try to remember that those same attitudes towards scripture are also the ones that, ironically, de-emphasize their veracity and try to reduce them to natural materialistic analysis. It is no mistake that the Novus Ordo lectionary in English uses the New American Bible!

  36. Mark says:

    Anyway, the point is, it is naive to think that the people are coming to Mass for the variety. If anything, they’re coming for the familiarity. It is pathetically naive to think that most people come to Mass just itching to hear this week’s readings and be stimulated by new content. No one is being entertained by Mass. And good. That’s not the point. But it just gets patronizing when they try to entertain us. Trust me, if people’s interest isnt being kept by Mass in general, diversity in the readings isnt going to excite them.

    As long as people know the gospel, it is of secondary importance that they know the gospels.

    Catholic liturgy and art and theology was always incredibly Scriptural, but it was a scriptuality, not a textualism. It was a relationship with a tradition, not primarily a text. And that “scriptuality” could be accessed by different members of the Body each according to his own function. The clergy could process it in a literate way, other members in an oral or visual way.

    Treating Scripture as a Text instead of as Word…is one of the huge problems with Protestantism, but a problem that the New Lectionary seems to embrace. It treats Scripture as a text to be studied rather than a honey-scroll to eat.

    If people know the doctrines of the faith, and the story of Jesus…a “direct relationship” with the text is less necessary.

    Scripture should be used to support teaching. Too often these days…homilies seem like lessons awwardly built around a selection of three readings, which are more or less successfully coherent, sometimes with incredible gymnastics, instead of readings being referenced to fit the point. Priests shouldnt have to think up a point or spiritual lesson to fit the scripture. That’s a reversal of the Catholic way, a way reflected in the traditional lectionary, where the scripture was always chosen to support a theme, not the other way around.

    It’s why we get so many forced or contrived or incredibly vague homilies, that seem to exist only to justify the readings. And yet, on any given Sunday, I’d bet you could find a parish in the US using the readings in a million different ways. For one, they will be used to make a point about abortion, at another about Liberation Theology, at another about vague “God loves you” stuff, at another about the need to donate money, at another about the Four Last Things.

    The traditional patristic spin given to the text according to the Four Readings is replaced with a sort of protestant method of interpretation (so much for resourcement), with the only exception that it is (hopefully) within the bounds of orthodoxy.

    But nevertheless, if the readings are so flexible, then it makes them lose credibility, because it comes to look like they dont mean anything objectively, and that the priests can just read into them whatever they want and use them to support whatever points they want (even if within the bounds of orthodoxy). And at that point…why have so much anyway!? If one set of readings is sufficient to demonstrate the whole Catholic faith…then what point exactly does the variety serve? If one parable of Jesus can be used to teach about Purgatory, the primacy of the Pope, transubstantiation, AND a preferential option for the poor (I’ve seen all these interpretations of, for example, the Loaves and Fishes story)…then really…what’s going on?

  37. Sixupman says:

    The ‘New Lectionary’ had the sole purpose of rendering redundant all the TLM Missal, thereby isolating the congregations from their past. An absolute disgrace and part of the Bugnini ploy to destroy The Mass and has he been successful – you can bet your life on that!

  38. Precentrix says:


    At low Mass and a missa cantata, usually the Epistle and Gospel are read (/sung) by a priest. If a seminarian is there, he may serve as lector for the epistle. At High Mass, the epistle is sung by the subdeacon and the Gospel by the deacon. In situations where the trads are more-than-usually-trad (ahem) and the pre ’56 rubrics are followed (usually because it is actually quite hard to find a ’62 missal), sometimes the priest will read sotto voce at the same time, so if for example the readings are done directly in the vernacular, he could read them in Latin simultaneously.

    My anti-spam is ‘maniples now’; haven’t had that one for a long time :)

  39. David says:

    The new lectionary is neither richer nor more complete.

    I agree with those who have posted above that using the new lectionary with the 1962 missal makes no sense without changing all the propers to correspond to the new lectionary. Maybe that’s the goal on the part of some of the wolves in sheep’s clothing? At any rate, the vast majority of those attached to the Traditional Latin Mass could not bear it, and why should they? Most of us came to the TLM initially to escape the new order. We stayed because we fell in love with our Catholic heritage. We won’t tolerate going backward.

    Anyway, no answered the question: Can you sub the 1962 readings in the new order?

    What’s good for the goose ought to be…

    The obvious answer, I’m betting, is “no,” which demonstrated the continuation of the double standards that traditionalists must endure.

  40. Nick says:

    While I don’t rule out the possibility that the new Lectionary may be used in the EF, I was of the understanding that SP gave permission for the vernacular with the intention of have an approved translation of the 1962 Missal being such (such as can be found in the 1964 Missal–which is the 1962, but with translations peppered throughout. Am I wrong in thinking this? Does SP only permit the new vernacular lectionary and NOT the old lectionary in the vernacular?


    Ecclesia Dei seems pretty broad on the lectionary requirements: asking only that they be approved editions.

  41. JPG says:

    I have been following the readings of both the EF and the OF for a while. The danger of using the New Lectionary is the danger which one sees with the OF which is tinkering. Making the Liturgy fit my perceived needs. Fortescue when commenting on the traditional Lectionary says that the rhyme or reason for which reading for which Sunday is lost in time rather than in in other equally ancient traditions the Gospels were read through in a particular order.( The book was The Mass , a study in the Roman Liturgy- Preserving Christian Publications – I would say a must read) This being said one surmises that the reformers took this idea from these eastern Churches for the new Lectionary. THe earlier observation that “objectional” or “difficult” parts of the Epistles were deliberately omitted from the pericopes is correct and is the only practice in that Lectionary that needs to be revisited. The parts omitted usually addressing some sin or practice on the part of the recipients of the Letter(and therefore us as well). This being said, the EF is a seamless garment in a sense and one should resist the desire to change anything. I do not think any priest should change the readings even with this permission. One sees far too much tinkering in the OF as it is. Any alterations should be direct, one time and from the supreme legislator of the Latin Rite, the Bishop of Rome. I think the thornier issue is which English translation is to be read. The DR is lovely but tough. I think some Parishes here use the Confraternity edition from the 50’s. Should the RSV or a corresponding reading from the NAB be used ? ( eliminate the horrific gender neutral alterations however). Remember the NAB may be the version they have at home. I know this last question may provoke a firestorm simply about the NAB, but in one sense with the EF all of us attached or devoted to the EF are in fact missioners for tradition and must use
    whatever means to win back our fellow Catholics. If they have the NAB at home use the NAB. As to any tinkering or alterations of the EF even with the permission of the PCED I would say no. Of interest there is a website devoted to the traditional Lectionaries.
    Fairfield , CT

  42. Ken says:

    Fr Z. wrote: The Motu Proprio of Benedict XVI Summorum Pontificum says Art. 6 In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular, using editions recognised by the Apostolic See.

    There is a very important word missing from your translation: “also”. [Actually, in my translation I rendered the etiam. The translation I included above was that of the Holy See. That etiam as also doesn’t necessarily have the force of “also” in the sense you imply, namely, that the reading of the vernacular is in addition to the reading in Latin. That etiam can have the force of “even in the vernacular”.]

    Art. 6 In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII, the readings may ALSO be given in the vernacular, using editions recognised by the Apostolic See.

    We await clarification, but to many this is a codification of the common practice of re-reading the Epistle and Gospel in the vernacular from the pulpit after they have been read for real in Latin at the altar. Until we hear otherwise, folks should not be making stuff up. [That’s all very nice, but the new lectionary can be used and in the vernacular at that.]

  43. Ken says:

    And as far as 1991 and all of the other wacky PCED letters adding to or deleting from the 1962 missal:

    “It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church.

    “We order that everything We have established with these Apostolic Letters issued as Motu Proprio be considered as ‘established and decreed’, and to be observed from 14 September of this year, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, whatever there may be to the contrary.”
    Pope Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum

    1962 means 1962.

  44. Maureen says:

    It’s fairly clear that the real issue here is one of giving the priest options. Or, if you like, giving the congregation options. If some priest should be asked to say an EF Mass, he doesn’t have to deny the questioner just because he can’t put his hand on a 1962 lectionary. Contrariwise, he can’t use that as an excuse not to fulfill a request.

    Shrug. I don’t care if the priest uses a Milanese lectionary or accesses the USCCB lectionary with his iPhone, as long as it’s not all the time. Emergencies are emergencies. If it was for all the time, I’d hope that there’d be some reasonable thing worked out.

  45. Mark says:

    Maureen, I dont think that makes sense. The old readings are all in one book with the other prayers, ie the Missal. If he can say the 1962 Mass at all, the readings will be there too.

  46. Romuleus says:

    imho, I think the reference to the approved use of the new Lectionary in the EF of the Mass is to provide an approved vernacular rendering of the Epistle and Gospel AFTER these are first read in Latin at the altar.
    This DOES NOT mean the new Lectionary readings are to be read in place of the proper Epistle and Gospel, but as an approved vernacular translation of the proper Epistle and Gospel for the benefit of those who want to also hear the Epistle and Gospel in the vernacular.
    Typically, the Epistle and Gospel are read in Latin at the altar and then the Priest or Deacon will repeat the same in the vernacular using an approved (for liturgical use) translation(Examples: Douay-Rheims, Confraternity, New Lectionary, etc.)

  47. William says:

    You have hit the nail on the head.

  48. Ken says:

    Romuleus and William — I concur, as do many others who have been attending the TLM for more than just two years. But some here make two stretches: 1) the Epistle and Gospel can be read in the vernacular in place of, instead of in addition to, the Latin at the altar (etiam be damned); and 2) one step beyond, even the novus ordo lectionary — on a completely different calendar — can somehow be used with the 1962 missal and Mass.

    In an otherwise sound document, the motu proprio has Vatican II-like ambiguity in Article 6. It ought to be clarified or revoked, as the reform-of-the-reform crowd keep dwelling on this as their chance to muck up the 1962 missal with English in the Latin Mass.

  49. Greg Smisek says:

    Romuleus, William, and Ken: Apparently you missed the link Nick gave above to the PCED response dated 11 April 2008, in which Msgr. Perl affirms:

    Article 6 of the Motu Proprio summorum Pontificum forsees the possibility of proclaiming the readings in the vernacular without having to proclaim them first in Latin.

    As for the use of the Ordinary Form lectionary in a Mass according to the 1962 Missal, Fr. Zuhlsdorf is basing his response on the explicit permission the PCED gave to particular groups and generally through the 1991 guidelines for this practice, prior to Summorum Pontificum. I’m not aware of a response from PCED post-Summorum Pontificum explicitly addressing this practice. As Ken points out, Summorum Pontificum (2007) supersedes previous law, but obviously not all law regarding the older form of the Mass has been superseded, nor all principles of the interpretation and application of that law.

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