Priest ad libbing Ecce Agnus Dei?

Today my school had Mass and at Mass the priest seemed to be ad libbing some parts of the Mass (thankfully he did the consecration right) and during the Ecce Agnus Dei, he did something that struck me as very suspicious. He said something to the effect of

Behold, the Lamb of the God, that [could have been a slip of the tongue] takes away the sin of the world, [something about Jesus/man having a personal relationship], happy are those who are called to His supper.

I found this to be rather suspicious, is a priest permitted to tack things on to Ecce Agnus Dei like that or no?

No! The Church repeatedly says that no one is to add, omit, or alter the words of the Mass. Hence we get the expression do the red and say the black.

Are there any exceptions?

An absolute answer is no. There are occasions when the Missal says “these or similar words” so in this case the priest could adapt the words providing their meaning was not different. An example can be when the Missal may give the words for the priest to say “Dear Brethren” or similar words which means he could say as an alternative “My Dear People” or “Brothers and Sisters”. He certainly should not be changing Ecce Agnus Dei.

They’re not suppose to. I must say though that out of all the things I’ve seen, this one’s probably the most common (adding or changing words of the Ecce Agnus Dei). Priests seem to like to put their own spin this part (substituting “banquet” or “feast” for supper, adding an extra line about God or something).

Nope. As said above, unless it specificly says “this or similar words”, or similar words (pun intended :D), then the priest is to read verbatim the text of the mass.

I found it interesting today in my religion school-work today that in old testament times, I read about how two priests tried to change a small detail in the offical worship of The Lord (in the temple, I believe) and worship God “in their own way”. Guess what happened. The Lord made the fire they were using flame up, and kill both them instantly. No further words are necessary on my part, besides that I think many of our priests and bishops in America need to meditate on this …

Forgive my sarcasm, but you only just noticed this? It, along with various other improvisations, has happened at something approaching every Mass I have attended in the English speaking world for the last 45 years. Which doesn’t make it right.

Sarcasm forgiven :smiley:

I’m pretty sure that Matthew hasn’t just noticed it, and neither have I. The first 2/3 of my life, I got the watered down faith in CCD, a mass full of abuses every Sunday, homilies with less substance than air, etc, etc…

Thankfully, I’ve been able to find an awesome parish, re-align myself to the true faith, a solid liturgy (in both forms, OF and EF, might I add), and the rest of the solid-catholic-awesomeness that’t out there. Due to this, this area is very close to my heart. If I ever say something stupid or over the top against a less that traditional person/practice/idea, call me on it. :smiley: Now, I just need to work on the prudence & self control end of things…

No!:smiley: I didn’t find it sarcastic, anyway.

Plus my post wasn’t a statement as such on my part but an answer to the OP.

TheMc’s quite right, I haven’t just noticed this plus I haven’t just noticed this but also the poor catechism we receive and I’m a member of an organisation in UK that campaigns against the poor standard of RE in our Catholic schools. You must have things better because the campaign wants RE texts from US to be used or at least emulated.

Thanks for your kind response. Obviously, I quoted the wrong post. But it is nice to find a couple of simpatico posters.

Whenever a priest inserts extra wording, changes wording, omits wording … it distracts me from concentration of whatever action he is performing. My mind asks “What did he say”, “Did I get lost?”, or the like. It is distracting.

A personal spin within the wording calls attention to the priest himself, and away from the action of the Mass. The Mass is not about the priest, it is about our Priest, Jesus Christ. That moment is interrupted.

No one is perfect, mistakes do happen. At our parish, it happens with visiting priests, not our dear Fr. Louis.

The most liberal parish in my city has its pastor saying:

This is Jesus, Son of the Father, Source of all goodness and life. Happy are us who are called to receive him.

Glad I don’t go there…This is another reason I’m really looking forward to the new missal, where the scriptural references become evident: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold He who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those who are called to the Supper of the Lamb."

It’s interesting to note that in Canada’s ritual book “Sunday Celebration of the Word and Hours” for lay-led services one of the options for the Invitation to Communion is
“Behold the Lamb of God,
who takes away the sin of the world.
Blessed are those called to the banquet of the Lamb.”

No one, that is, except highly-trained composers, who have free license to play fast and loose with the text (alteration in the agnus dei, repetition in the gloria) where necessary to shoehorn the text into the insipid pablum they’ve composed.

if you don’t have the exact words, to compare to the actual text, then there is really no grounds for suspicion or reason for action. Do you have the Roman Missal in front of you? is this one of the places the priest does have some leeway in the language used?

Does he do it every time? Maybe he just got lost for a moment. I think we can give our priests the benefit of the doubt once in a while.

Benedict XVI wrote in the Spirit of Liturgy that the rite is rite because it is ruled, not ad libitum.

The only occasions for the priest to use his own words is

  • after the greetings, when he may explain the mystery of that particular day,
  • after the Gospel the homily preceded or followed by the announcements,
  • the prayers of the faithful.

All the rest is strictly regulated, and since no one changed the rubrics, intentional change is grave sin.

Simply, no.


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