Can the laity legitimately recite the Psalm during Mass?

I am a lector at my church and have recently been invited to read at an upcoming Vigil Mass at an adjoining parish. What I am concerned about is that at this other church, the congregation are in the habit of reading the psalm while the lector reads the response, the reverse of what normally occurs. Apparently, this was started several years ago by a previous incumbent to allow greater participation by the congregation and to make them feel more “included”. I feel a little uneasy about this so would appreciate a little advice if possible. What I would like to know is,

  1. Is this practice acceptable?

  2. What should I do on the night during Mass, go along with their current practice or recite the psalm and “force” (if that’s not too strong a word) the congregation to pray the response?

  3. Should I approach the priest beforehand and share my unease?

Thank you in anticipation,


can’t find any hard rule against it, except that the reason why its called the Responsorial Psalm is because the people participate through the responses. i think it should go without saying. but thats just me

The Responsorial Psalm may also be sung antiphonally (alternating from choir to people or from left side to right side) without having a response. This is the standard method for praying the Divine Office in monasteries.

From Pp. 61 of the GIRM, “It is preferable that the responsorial Psalm be sung, at least as far as the people’s response is concerned. Hence, the psalmist, or the cantor of the Psalm, sings the verses of the Psalm from the ambo or another suitable place. The entire congregation remains seated and listens but, as a rule, takes part by singing the response, except when the Psalm is sung straight through without a response.”

Personally, I’d find the closest EF and attend. That way you don’t have to be concerned with a possible abuse.

:confused: You always have to be concerned with possible abuse. Especially at a TLM!

  1. Because the EF is 100% error and abuse free, and has been for 2000 years after Jesus Christ Himself spoke Latin and did the EF at the Last Supper. Any and all Priests who regularly say the EF never will lead you astray, and are all totally obedient to the Pope and Rome and will always abide by requests made by the Holy Father. There are never any heresies at the EF, zero abuses, and over all everyone is so much friendlier and faithful and more Catholic than any one out there. No heretics and certainly no “radicals” or schismatic thought.

  2. If you don’t know Latin, I suppose ignorance is bliss. You have to assume the Mass is being said properly because you don’t know what is being said half the time.

Always look on the bright side of life!

I suppose, yes. And those Latin songs and chants…I dunno what the content is all about in them. If I can’t focus on what the words mean due to not understanding them then I guess I should just close my eyes and focus on God…which is sort of what I do at home listening to anything in particular.

Wait a second…

Guess there’s no fully active participation for me. Especially if the ADHD kicks in!

To the OP; talk to the Priest and tell him your concerns. And remember if they are INSISTING you do it “their” way…you don’t have to do it.

Do you know Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, CFR from EWTN? He is probably the most orthodox priest I’ve ever seen. He plans on writing a book and then publishing it afer he’s dead called Why Catholics are So Stupid on the things Catholics do that annoy him.

Anyways, he said when he was first ordained it was the TLM. He said that him and his fellow priests that were just ordained wanted to say the Mass in Latin, not gibberish. He said that whenever he’d go to a Mass the priest would rush through everything and the beautiful Latin words and prayers would be lost in gibberish.

The Mass is a beautiful thing and sure the prayers in fast Latin “gibberish” might be valid, but if the people don’t understand it, what good is it. I think Fr. Benedict’s concern over gibberish TLM is a true concern and a possible abuse I would say.

Thank you very much for all of your replies. As this does seem to be a somewhat grey area, I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt this one time and go along with their current practice. However, I am very uneasy about doing so and I don’t think I will be accepting any further opportunities to read at this parish. The EF does seem more and more appealing when wholesale changes are made for no apparent reason…

Where I go to Mass, there is no responsorial psalm.

We sing the Gradual instead :slight_smile:

I find it quite sad that the vast majority of the parishioners who I have spoken to regarding this change think that it is a positive “innovation”, something to be welcomed and don’t see anything particularly wrong with making changes to the Mass in this way. This is a parish where in the past they have had other “innovations” which have been equally embraced such as being encouraged to recite the “Per ipsum” with the priest (which they did enthusiastically), and being encouraged to take their own host from the ciborium (which continued until the Bishop heard about it). With such a background, perhaps you can now appreciate why I am hesitant to go along with this latest change.


I think the other “innovations” you describe give reasons for concern so I can see why you are wondering about the psalm (at least it sounds like the Bishop steps in when he hears that something is wrong).

Ask to use the option from Pp. of the 61 GIRM mentioned above (“except when the Psalm is sung straight through without a response”). It’s in keeping with the GIRM but allows them to feel included if that’s what they want.

It’s also just plain less awkward than doing the response thing backwards, especially for visitors.

Maybe you can be the pebble that starts a movement in another direction. Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness, etc., etc,…

Now I’m glad I read this, I never knew Jesus spoke Latin at the Last Supper, WOW! All this time I supposed He normally spoke Aramaic and Hebrew. Live and learn.

Please don’t make or respond to off topic remarks, people. Be respectful of the OP’s intentions and stay on topic. Thank you all.

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