(Mis)reading the Gospel

About a year ago, our parish had a priest assigned there as a result of one priest leaving to teach at a seminary. My family and I don’t get him as the celebrant each week, but when we have, I’ve noticed something and I find it very upsetting. I have noticed that he changes the words to the Gospel. He adds adjectives and has even changed Jesus’ quoted words when He is preaching, whether it be to the apostles or the public.

I’ve never heard this being done before. At first I thought he may have made a reading mistake but then I realized that he does it every time he reads the Gospel.

My question: Is this allowed? Is it acceptable?


The reading of the Gospel is not open to editing.

Are you sure that you’re reading from the same translation that he is? There’s more than one translation authorized for the liturgy.

i was suspecting this as well

sometimes the Missals are from a different translation from what the priest is reading

this makes me wonder why the Church doesn’t just have one universal approved translation

I’m almost positive that we’re reading the same translation. Every other Gospel read by the other priests matches the words in the Missal.

well the different translations used by the Catholic Church would be about 97% the same in text. i do notice that too, that not every week there is a difference between what the priest is reading and what i’m reading

i don’t even know why a priest would bother to change a word here and there, it takes more effort to do so than to just simply read it. if you want, you can go to bible.cc and then compare the text of the reading your talking about across different translations and see if the priest said anything exactly on another translation

As long as what the priest says doesn’t change the meaning of the reading I wouldn’t worry about it. If he is changing the meaning then I think you should definitely talk to your pastor about it. Since there are different translations, as has already been noted, it may be that he prefers a different version than what is normally used.

If in doubt. Ask.

I find it very perculiar that people would say go and look this different translation or that different translation up; it seems awfully convaluted when you could just spit it out in person, perhaps it is just me…

Honesty and openness are the best policies.


well he could quickly look it up now as opposed to waiting for Sunday to ask the priest
we’re just giving him suggestions. how he proceeds is up to him

While there are several translations allowed for use around the world, each country usually has only one that is licitly used. Canadian parishes can’t licitly opt to use the Revised NAB and the US parishes can’t licitly use the Revised NRSV because their respective conferences have decreed which translation is to be used.

I doubt that parishes would have 2 Lectionaries with different translations.

oddly enough i do experience this here in Canada. perhaps the missals are the ones not in the prescribed translation? i forgot whats on St. Joseph’s Missal, is it NRSV? and the Lectionary of the priest would be in NAB i guess

Are you using the green annual St. Joseph Missal?

The official Canadian Lectionary, in use since Pentecost 2009, has the revised NRSV. I’d have to check my St. Joseph Missal but it seems to me that it uses the official Canadian translation. It’s possible that your parish either didn’t purchase the new Lectionary or you have an old St. Joseph Missal.

For a period between Advent 2008 and Pentecost 2009 we had discrepancies between the Lectionary and the Novalis “Living with Christ” missalettes and annual “Sunday Missal”. They had been published with the new translation but the scheduled promulgation of the new Lectionary had to be postponed from the First Sunday of Advent until Pentecost due to a glitch in the printing process.

That is not necessarily true. He is charged with the obligation of reading the official text in front of him and not making edits along the way to suit a particular idiosyncracy. He needs to use what is licit for the country where he is located.

It’s not about his personal preference. It is what the Church requires.

yes, we’re using the green St. Joseph’s Missal
i can’t remember the last time the text weren’t in sync to what the priest was reading, but whenever it happens i just brush it off as different translations

I had to compare the old and the new Lectionary when the 2008-09 Missals came out to see if the differences in translation between the two were going to cause problems. In most cases the most notable discrepancies occurred between the responses to the Psalms and the beginning of Pauline letters. I didn’t see many differences between OT readings and between most Gospels.

i don’t see a lot of differences too, sometimes its just a phrase in the entire reading. and you’ll quickly see that both whats read by the priest and what on the Missal is the same thing

are the Missals mass produced by a Catholic supply store? which means that even if the CCCB prescribes a translation for official use in Canada, the Missals would possibly contain a different translation if its mean for use in many places besides Canada or it could even have originated in other countries

They’re mass published but, like Novalis, the publisher of the Saint Joseph Missal does one edition for the US market and one for the Canadian market.

I just found my St. Joseph Missal (New Saint Joseph Sunday Missal, Prayerbook and Hymnal) and it says “In Accordance with the New Sunday Lectionary” and inside it says “Canadian Missal”. Checking the Second Readings reveals that they are using the new translation.

so why is there still a difference? the Lectionary is not updated?

That would be my first assumption, particularly if the 2nd reading doesn’t start “Brothers and sisters” most of the time. If you have access to the Lectionaries, the new one is taller than the old one and taller than the weekday ones.

Of course there is always the possibility that your parish purchased its St. Joseph Missals from an American supplier which would mean the translation is the revised NAB.

Thanks for the replies. I don’t think I’ll be attending a mass that he celebrates this weekend but I’ll look into what missal we use. That will give me a start.

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