QUAERITUR: “The Gospel, the good news, of the Lord.”


From a reader:

After the Gospel, one of our priests pronounces the acclamation by saying “The Gospel, the good news, of the Lord.” It has been quite distracting for me personally when he does this because it is not the norm. I have spoken to others and they have expressed the same sort of distraction. The insertion appears redundant. I am going through qualms about addressing this directly to the priest. Is it appropriate to add the insertion? Perhaps I am over reacting?

Perhaps he thinks you are not very smart?  Does he think he has the authority to change the texts of Mass?

Sometimes clerics slip and do something odd.  But if he is doing it week in and week out, then it is a choice.

After the Gospel the deacon or priest or bishop is to say, in English, “The Gospel of the Lord.”  There is no indication in the rubrics that the cleric may say anything else.

Why is that hard?

That would, over time, be annoying.

Are you over-reacting?  I have no idea.

I would like to assume that everything else that is done is according to the book, that it is this priest alone and in this moment only that the texts are fudged.  If that is the case, then perhaps you can let it slide as you prepare to listen to Father’s no doubt edifying sermon.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Phil_NL says:

    Once a month, we get a student pastor who says Mass instead of our (very solid) parish priest, our parish is closest to the university. This student pastor consitently uses ‘friends’ instead of ‘apostles’ or ‘disciples’, also in the canon. Every time, I need to supress the urge to shout ‘apostles!’. It’s a cross we have to carry (I very much doubt this would end up high enough on the priority list of the diocese, and the priest in question is in fact also the regional superior of his order).

    On the other hand, when I realise in time, I do make an effort to attend Mass in the cathedral or even attend a far away EF with the FFSP instead whenever this priest comes to our parish (his sermons, well to the left in every sense, also made my blood curlde on several occasions). And looking at attendance levels, I’m not alone. These things might be tiny yet irksome in themselves, but, dear reverent Fathers, they do add up over time, and hurt attendance.

  2. Scott W. says:

    You couldn’t ask for a more English word than Gospel. What a rube.

  3. pberginjr says:

    Our pastor does this as well (bet you can guess his age), but the associate does not. The pastor also insists on thanking the assembly for saying “And with your spirit”, as if we are somehow saying something we don’t have to or offering him a gift or something. We are just following the prescribed texts; would that he did the same!

    [He thanks people for their response? As in: “The Lord be with you… And with your spirit… Thank you.” ?!? For dumb.]

  4. NoraLee9 says:

    This reminds me of a bad habit that the increasingly weird Dan Rather adopted for a time. He would finish his news broadcasts, and completely non sequitur, say: “Courage!” His bosses told him to stop and he didn’t, at least not immediately. When interviewed about it later, he proclaimed that he “just liked the word.” Sigh. What’s the frequency, Father?

  5. dirtycopper says:

    Now that I have cleaned up the Mystic Monk coffee I sprayed all over my computer monitor I would like to thank you Father Z for the first chuckle of the day! Jesus facepalm…your killing me!

  6. dirtycopper says: cleaned up the Mystic Monk coffee I sprayed

    My work here is done.

    Buy more coffee.

  7. frjim4321 says:

    “The Lord be with You.” “And with your spirit.” “Thank you.”

    Yup, I’ve heard this in Florida, in Treasure Island to be exact, a number of years ago. Like fingernails on a chalkboard!

  8. Odin777 says:

    When I was studying at Fordham University (at the LC campus which is extremely more secular and liberal than the Rose Hill campus) there was a priest who whenever he said Mass or read the Gospel would end it with, “the Good News of the Lord.” Back then I did not know a whole lot about proper Mass rubrics, etc but his use of that phrase always irked me. It was almost as if it was intentionally said just to be different. But yet again that was not nearly as bad as the “campus ministry” liturgy literally cutting “men” from the Creed (not just a choice by those at Mass but actually cut from the copy the priest would read…which I was able to see when I became an Altar server) and many priests substituting God for He/Him/etc to have more “inclusive” language. I also remember at one point being at a Mass where they had a female Protestant Minister actually sitting next to the priest during the Mass and then giving the homily!

  9. Angie Mcs says:

    On the other side of the coin, why do people get up and leave during the recessional hymn? In our church, it only happens with a few people, but as soon as the priest and altar boys go into the sacristy, usually during the second stanza, these parishioners get up and walk out. Others start putting on their coats, walking over to greet people…. It must be discouraging for a priest or choirmaster to see this as well, after they’ve done their best to offer us a beautiful mass.

    Nobody should feel they have the the right to approach a priest for his missteps until we fulfill our own “say the black, do the red. “.

  10. Will D. says:

    We had a priest (USAF chaplain) that insisted on saying “Thank You” during the Mass. I was so tempted to shout “You’re Welcome!” back to him every time, but two wrongs don’t make a rite.

  11. Lepidus says:

    Happily we don’t have the “thank you”. What we do have (along with a bunch of other violations of “say the black”) is the imposition of the priest’s theology. In the beginning of Mass it “The Lord be with you” as written. However, after communion, it changes to “The Lord IS with you”….so no blessing for us – just a statement.

  12. Phil_NL says:

    Angie Mcs

    The are no rubrics for the congregation. There are certain rules of posture (standing/kneeling etc) but I’ve yet to see one that says “Thou shalt not leave during the recessional hymn”. Especially since in many places, the recessional hymn is used to give the choir, organist or both an opportunity to go full throttle (resulting in overly long, overly loud, overly silly or just plain bad hymns). Under those conditions, I wouldn’t even consider it part of the requirements of decency to remain seated for such a hymn. In fact, I can think of many good reasons (the hymn itself being among them) to take a hike immediately after the priest has entered the sacristy.

    The priest, on the other hand, does have rubrics he should adhere to, and the category of ‘good reasons to deviate’ is much, much smaller.

  13. jbas says:

    Why was it officially translated “gospel” anyway? Shouldn’t it be the same as after the epistle?

  14. sisu says:

    When a priest randomly changes words and stuffs his own verbiage into the prayers, it always feels like he’s trying to shake off the congregation and go solo. It’s nearly impossible to follow along in one’s mind, and the responses are often stilted because the congregation is thrown off the trail. We’ve a priest here that does that – puts in additions and changes dewfall to “early morning dew” and apostles to “friends” etc… – which makes me think he thinks us uneducated rubes, in a college town no less.
    I won’t even start on the priest that says mother-father-god >:(

  15. Lin says:

    mother-father-god? Huh?

    Our current pastor continues to use the rubrics only as guidelines. He does not use liturgical books to say the mass. Rather he uses his notebooks. It would be extremely difficult to know how much he modifies the prayers. He makes sure to pray for our Pope, and adds Bishop of Rome. He did not add the Bishop of Rome when he prayed for Pope Benedict. But then again, he told us in a sermon that JPII and Benedict took us back to medieval times. And now he has added a new twist, in closing, after each closing prayer, he says “Let the church say amen”. Very Protestant. He takes lessons from Father Flagler! The only thing worse than this priest is no priest! Pray for us who are at the mercy of progressive priests!

  16. John 1 14 says:


    May we share that facepalm image? I can think of, oh, so many uses for it…

  17. future_sister says:

    The priest at my home parish slips up on occasion. Most of the time it can easily be excused by the fact that English isn’t his first language. He tends to slip up the most after returning from a trip to visit his family in Poland because he has to get used to speaking English again. Yesterday he said “The word of the Lord” after the Gospel reading, but he had this look in his eye after that said “oops”. I’ve never heard him do that before. The only thing I find annoying he does on a regular basis is even if you’re kneeling praying after Mass if he wants to talk to you he’ll walk over and just start talking to you. I have to be really quick with my prayers of thanksgiving when I’m home, or go talk to Father and then go pray so I won’t be interrupted.

  18. HeatherPA says:

    Our parish has a retired priest that fills in on occasion. He is a great Confessor and has really good homilies, however when he comes to the pulpit to read the Gospel, instead of saying “The Gospel according to St……”, he always, always says “A Proclamation of the Gospel according to St…..”

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