Missal translation


I feel so ignorant asking this question.

What translation of the Bible is used in the Roman Missal? Thanks for any responses


In the US, the New American Bible.



It isn’t exactly the same, however. The Vatican required some changes in wording of the NAB for use in the Liturgy. If you read the texts side by side each week as I do, you can quickly tell the differences. It seems the actual NAB is too PC in a couple of areas especially in terms of gender neutrality, and in downplaying martial or “violent” language (e.g., “contend” rather than “fight”, etc.).


The translation used depends on what the bishops of a particular country have chosen. As Paul said, in the US it’s a version of the NAB. I believe in England and Wales they use the Jerusalem Bible. Canada used to use the NRSV but I’m not sure if that’s still the case.


It should be noted that the Vatican requires changes to ALL vernacular translations for use in the Liturgy.

The reason is that the readings from Scripture during the Mass come from the Lectionary and not directly from any Bible translation. The Lectionary that all vernacular Mass translations must adjust their wording to is, of course, in Latin. Along with phraseology that aids in helping listeners get the Catholic sense of tradition from the readings, these sections contain what are known as “pericopes” which contain introductions to the Lectionary readings to give us a setting. No vernacular translation reads exactly the way the Lectionary reads in the Latin, not even the RSV:CE 2nd Edition (since it does not have the pericope introductions–called “incipits”–in its text).

It is a common mistake made by many Catholics that the changes required for the NAB to be used for Mass is due to “inclusive language.” The fact is that the changes required to the NAB for Lectionary use are not of this sort. The changes are made to ensure that the reading in the vernacular sounds as close to what is in the Latin Lectionary in the setting of the most familiar or official text in the target language.

I have read here and seen too many Catholics accuse the NAB of using the expression “brothers and sisters,” an expression that causes those who complain to, as one person put it, ‘set their teeth on end.’

Guess what? That expression and others like it in the Lectionary Mass readings aren’t from the NAB!

To illustrate, the reading for today’s Mass, Friday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time is from Romans 7:18-25a, which, in the Lectionary begins:

Brothers and sisters: I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh.

However, the NAB does not use the expression “brothers and sisters” here. In fact, it NEVER does throughout its text as does other newer translations like the NRSV:CE.

Compare the Mass readings with the NAB and you will be surprised that most of the inclusive terms you read or hear during Mass never occur in this often maligned-by-its-own translation.

The preface to the Revised Edition of the New Testament of the NAB states that while the designation “bretheren” can include men and women, “this translation [the NAB] retain the usage brothers.”

The “brothers and sisters” that we hear at Mass comes from the Lectionary and is a translation from the Latin text. You won’t find it in the NAB.

There are many examples, too many to place here, that show that much of the complaints about the NAB being “too PC” are based on readings from the Lectionary and not taken directly from the NAB or the NABRE itself.

Most Catholics are often surprised to learn that the preface to the NAB New Testament and the actual text that follows is not inclusified in the manner they believe. This is sad because it shows that many of us have not read the NAB and the NABRE on its own terms, not even being familiar with the preface.


Yes, Canada’s Lectionary is still the NRSV, with Rome-mandated modifications.

The approval/recognitio is now permanent, no longer interim like it was for a decade.


Thanks for confirming this.


Great post :thumbsup:

Question - if the Lectionary is meant to be phrased to give a more Catholic sense for the listeners, why do we still hear at the annunciation “favoured one” rather than “full of grace”?


I was asked to become a Lector for a parish we joined over 10 years ago. One of the first things I noticed was the difference in lectionaries. The cadence, the wording, was much different than what I was used to. This (United States) parish used the Canadian lectionary. It was much different than what I was used to, and caught me off guard. This parish was the only one in the diocese that used the Canadian lectionary/workbook.


Originally the US had permission to use the NRSV and, based on that, Canada went ahead and printed the three cycle Sunday Lectionary (1992) and the Year 1 & 2 Weekday Lectionary (1994). Before they could publish the Book of Gospels and the Lectionary for the Marriage/Confirmation/Funerals, etc. the Vatican rescinded the permission for the NRSV in Liturgy and gave Canada 5 years to provide Lectionaries from a different translation. 15 years later (Pentecost 2009) we got a reworked NRSV: removal of some of the inclusive language, return of some proper expressions.

But in their contortions to avoid using ‘him’ or ‘he’ when it’s all inclusive, they’ve sometimes resorted to massacring the English language.


I’m not sure if you got it reversed?

The NAB uses ‘Hail, favored one!’
The U.S. Lectionary changes this to ‘Hail, full of grace!’


I heard it at my parish and immediately I thought why in the world are they using this type of phraseology at a Catholic mass?..


The Roman Missal approved for Australia, England and Wales, and Scotland has:

“The English translation of the Gospel readings for the Palm Sunday Procession from the Catholic Edition of the *Revised Standard Version *of the Bible © 1965, 1966 …
The English translation of Psalms 23[24] and 46[47] from The Revised Grail Psalms ©2010 Conception Abbey/The Grail, admin. by GIA Publications, Inc., www.giamusic.com. All rights reserved.
Jerusalem Bible texts on pp. 1489-1490, 1493, 1497 © 1966, 1967, 1968 …”

Despite the Roman Missal in Australia having Revised Grail Psalms of 2010 it has been decided that the “new” Lectionary will have the Grail Psalms of 1963. Liturgy News of December 2013, page 11, reported “… The Australian bishops have withdrawn from involvement in the ICPEL project to produce a new translation for the Lectionary for Mass. They are opting instead to reprint with only minor revisions the current Lectionary which uses the Jerusalem Bible and the Grail psalms. …”.


At our EF only parish we do not use the NAB but mostly the Douay Rheims.


Because favored one is a more accurate translation of the original Greek, rather simple yes? But not traditional. I do know we have all been saying Hail Mary full of grace for many years.

Personally I think it is better to take our beliefs from the scriptures than to place them into the scriptures.


I hear this all the time. I wonder though, had 2014 English been around in the 4th century, if St. Jerome would have translated it that way. After all, he was a Greek and Hebrew scholar.


The translations are a mess. We have a situation where Canada uses a translation that’s explicitly disallowed in the US and the US uses a translation that doesn’t exist outside of Mass and we have the Revised Grail Psalter which is officially approved but not officially used anywhere.


My problem is how they gender-neutered several parts…two comments on that:

  1. “Blessed is she who trusted that the Lord’s word to her would be fulfilled” which Elizabeth said to the Blessed Mother during the Visitation…that got neutered too. Be careful what you wish for, PCers.

  2. “So you are no longer a slave but a son.” from Paul’s letter to the Galatians…not sure whether it’s one of the ones Rome mandated got kept, but I grin whenever I hear that, thinking “You missed one, PCers!”


Not quite true, the RSV-CE2 (Ignatius Lectionary) was approved without changes for use in the Lesser Antilles


Our lectionary is meant to give the hearers a more Catholic sense of scripture in light of our tradition, not an accurate translation of the original Greek. We have brilliant scholars for an accurate translation which is another topic.

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