Changing up the Eucharistic prayers

many of my friends have told me this is frowed on by the catholic church. The worst I have heard up to yesterday was just a couple of small word changes, like saying blessed instead of happy

but yesterday i went to a mass where the priest completely changed the 2nd half of the Eucharistic prayer

he didn’t mention the pope, or our local bishop, also didn’t mention the saints.

I usually have my magnificat when i attend mass and I couldn’t even find any bit of similarities between this guys prayer and the official catholic prayer

but to my question.

is there anything in cannon law that says priest can’t do this.


Well, Can. 846, not to mention Sacrosanctum Concilium art. 22, 3; General Instruction of the Roman Missal no. 24; and Redemptionis Sacramentum nos. 31, 59. Hope this helps.

Here’s the text of the Canon:

Canon 846 §1

“The liturgical books, approved by the competent authority, are to be faithfully followed in the celebration of the sacraments.** Accordingly, no one may on a personal initiative add to or omit or alter anything in those books**.”

“In sacramentis celebrandis fideliter serventur libri liturgici a competenti auctoritate probati; quapropter nemo in iisdem quidpiam proprio marte addat, demat aut mutet.”

The priest is meant to follow the text of the Eucharistic Prayer as printed, but the man in the pew needn’t be too concerned if he substitutes a printed word with a synonym from time to time (such as “happy” as opposed to “blessed”).

Bear in mind, that in the early liturgy, the Eucharistic Prayer was completely off the cuff. As time went on and priests were required to recite the Eucharistic Prayer as written, bishops still had the prerogative of making up their own. Now, we’re talking the first six or seven centuries of the Church, and I don’t mean to be an antiquarian, but ultimately this question pertains to licitness rather than validity.

That having been said, the rules that the Church has in place, today, are not nearly as free as they were once upon a time, and a priest today must operate in today’s Church, not in the Church of the first century.

It is precisely this sort of “I can do whatever I want” attitude on the part of the modern celebrant that appalls so many liturgically-informed Catholics, the sort of which post on this forum in great numbers. For a priest who blatantly disregards the directives and texts of the Church in favor of his own whims and predilections there can be no justification.

Regretably, those of us in the pews who care about the integrity of the liturgy have little practical choice but to suffer in silence the whims of egotistical celebrants and hope that the next generation of clergy hearken a brighter day for the liturgy.


There are 4 standard Eucharistic Prayers, two for Reconciliation and three for Children. That’s nine total.

One of the ones for children sounds a lot like Eucharistic Prayer 2. Eucharistic Prayer 2 and Eucharistic Prayer 3 sound a lot alike too.

The priest may have used one of the other prayers than what he normally uses.

Before we start accusing a priest of liturgical abuse, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.

are you absolutely sure the priest did not use one of several approved Eucharistic prayers, including one you may not hear very often in your parish?

not real sure i was just reading my magnificat and it didn’t sound anywhere near what it should have been.

I guess a good question to ask, do any of the Eucharistic prayers not mention the pope bishop and saints?

However, even the other Eucharistic Prayers do not omit the name of the Supreme Pontiff and the local bishop. RS clearly states that:

[56.] The mention of the name of the Supreme Pontiff and the diocesan Bishop in the Eucharistic Prayer is not to be omitted, since this is a most ancient tradition to be maintained, and a manifestation of ecclesial communion. For “the coming together of the eucharistic community is at the same time a joining in union with its own Bishop and with the Roman Pontiff”.134

Thus, this is an abuse.

the Magnificat is a small publication and cannot possible have space for all the Eucharistic prayers. are you also absolutely sure you listened to each and every word and might have missed something, or that the priest was simply absent minded?

your right but it was very clear it was liturgical abuse refer to post right above yours

i let small changes like a word or two slide and just don’t worry about it but when a priest leaves out things that are said in cannon law that must be mentioned then I have a problem with it.

There are even other approved Eucharistic Prayers beyond the 9 so far referred to.

Before one jumps to the extreme (and often, inflammatory) claim of “abuse” how about just asking the priest, in a sincere, faithful, and non-confrontational way? He could probably give you a much better response to your question than anyone on this forum. Let’s please assume the best of one another.

your right but i mainly created this thread to get some cannon law and i got it

plus only if i somehow missed it which i don’t think i did he didn’t mention the pope or the local bishop which is against cannon law.

The Eucharistic prayers have to all have the institution narrative and they have to mention the names of the Supreme Pontiff and the local bishop/archbishop. RS is very clear on that. It is an abuse to omit the mention of these names.

Yesterday was the memorial feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi.

It may be that the priest was using a portion of the Mass prayers for Franciscans, which could be different than what your magnificat had. The words of the Consecration should be the same however.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit