Priest doing Gospel reading from memory?

I’ve noticed that often priests do not look down at the sacramentary to actually read the reading, except for occasional glances which is usually okay but sometimes results in more of a paraphrase.

This morning I noticed that our pastor’s “errors” (differences from the Missal) seemed consistent rather than random and when I got home it turned out he had either memorised or been reading from the RSV.

Is this kosher? Even if it’s an “abuse” I’d still be for it.

I know this is a minor issue, just curious.

You don’t say what kind of differences and you don’t give any examples, so I can’t give you a full answer. But the Lectionary translation of scripture (1998/2002 edition) corresponds to no separately published English translation of the Bible.

From what I can tell the following is true:

*]The Priest is not reading the Gospel as written
*]That is wrong and shouldn’t be done.

(Say the black, do the red)

Ok, now I understand what you are saying.

The RSV is approved for use in some English-speaking areas such as the Caribbean. He may have been misapplying local norms in doing so.

Please note what RS states:

[61.] In selecting the biblical readings for proclamation in the celebration of Mass, the norms found in the liturgical books are to be followed,136 so that indeed “a richer table of the Word of God will be prepared for the faithful, and the biblical treasures opened up for them”.137

[62.] It is also illicit to omit or to substitute the prescribed biblical readings on one’s own initiative, and especially “to substitute other, non-biblical texts for the readings and responsorial Psalm, which contain the word of God”.138

Even though I personally think that the RSV-CE is a far superior translation, we cannot tinker with the liturgy and substitute something on our own initiative. The priest needs to do the red and say the black.

Thanks for the responses.

I thought the NAB was used for Mass readings so I compared NAB vs RSV. The differences are minor the Samaritan “had compassion for” / “was moved with compassion”, “two gold coins/ two denarii” and like that.

Father is a JLC so I doubt he’s deliberately breaking rules, maybe he uses the RSV as his study Bible :slight_smile:

Maybe priests are told not to break eye contact with the congregation which leads to mistakes or even Reader’s Digest versions.

At this time in there is not a English Bible Translation avalibel that is used in the US lectionary. From what i have heard this is the first time this has happened.

I would rather he not maintain eye contact with us and instead focusing on proclaiming the text as the Church presents it to us. If you notice, the Holy Father does not make very much eye contact when he is preaching.

I can’t stand when lectors pan the congregation after every clause as if we need our self-esteem raised or the Biblical text is their own. You’re reading, not performing. I’m listening, not looking. Just read the text and quit the Broadway-style grandstanding. And the party’s national convention isn’t until summer 2012, so quit playing the skills.

I just dread someone might have the bright idea to use teleprompters at the ambo. :eek: That would be a sad state of affairs indeed. The Holy Father does just fine without one.

Furthermore, if the deacon/priest is going to chant the Gospel, he needs to look down to see not only the text, but the notes. I seriously doubt that he can do this from memory, since the Gospel changes every Sunday.

please assume first that the priest is reading as the selections appear in the lectionary, rather than jumping to the conclusion that he is ad-libbing. Unless you happen to have a lectionary handy you may find some differences even in what is printed in the missalette. Second, if there does seem to be a substantial difference, assume he simply made a mistake, rather than looking for something sinister and abusive. this goes for the Eucharistic prayer and other prayers of the Mass as well. Assume he is reading properly from the proper text and it is just one with which you are not entirely familiar. All this Goober-izing running around making citizens’ arrests during liturgy is neither spiritually healthy nor conducive to full active participation in Mass.

Puzzleannie, while I respect you, I have to disagree with you on some aspects. The priests (and anyone else proclaiming the readings, from the first reading to the Gospel) needs to read the approved text. Deviating from it is a serious abuse and something that we should not triviliaze.

Might I remind you that, according to Redemptionis Sacramentum:

[9.] Finally, abuses are often based on ignorance, in that they involve a rejection of those elements whose deeper meaning is not understood and whose antiquity is not recognized. For “the liturgical prayers, orations and songs are pervaded by the inspiration and impulse” of the Sacred Scriptures themselves, “and it is from these that the actions and signs receive their meaning”.20 As for the visible signs “which the Sacred Liturgy uses in order to signify the invisible divine realities, they have been chosen by Christ or by the Church”.21 Finally, the structures and forms of the sacred celebrations according to each of the Rites of both East and West are in harmony with the practice of the universal Church also as regards practices received universally from apostolic and unbroken tradition,22 which it is the Church’s task to transmit faithfully and carefully to future generations. All these things are wisely safeguarded and protected by the liturgical norms.

[10.] The Church herself has no power over those things which were established by Christ Himself and which constitute an unchangeable part of the Liturgy.23 Indeed, if the bond were to be broken which the Sacraments have with Christ Himself who instituted them, and with the events of the Church’s founding,24 it would not be beneficial to the faithful but rather would do them grave harm. For the Sacred Liturgy is quite intimately connected with principles of doctrine,25 so that the use of unapproved texts and rites necessarily leads either to the attenuation or to the disappearance of that necessary link between the lex orandi and the lex credendi.26

[11.] The Mystery of the Eucharist “is too great for anyone to permit himself to treat it according to his own whim, so that its sacredness and its universal ordering would be obscured”.27 On the contrary, anyone who acts thus by giving free rein to his own inclinations, even if he is a Priest, injures the substantial unity of the Roman Rite, which ought to be vigorously preserved,28 and becomes responsible for actions that are in no way consistent with the hunger and thirst for the living God that is experienced by the people today. Nor do such actions serve authentic pastoral care or proper liturgical renewal; instead, they deprive Christ’s faithful of their patrimony and their heritage. For arbitrary actions are not conducive to true renewal,29 but are detrimental to the right of Christ’s faithful to a liturgical celebration that is an expression of the Church’s life in accordance with her tradition and discipline. In the end, they introduce elements of distortion and disharmony into the very celebration of the Eucharist, which is oriented in its own lofty way and by its very nature to signifying and wondrously bringing about the communion of divine life and the unity of the People of God.30 The result is uncertainty in matters of doctrine, perplexity and scandal on the part of the People of God, and, almost as a necessary consequence, vigorous opposition, all of which greatly confuse and sadden many of Christ’s faithful in this age of ours when Christian life is often particularly difficult on account of the inroads of “secularization” as well.31

The integrity of the Mass needs to be respected. It does bother me when folks triviliaze these things and degrade the faithful who earnestly want a Mass that is celebrated in the manner the Church requies. It’s not about being 'liturgical police". It’s about the integrity of the Mass. Maybe your area is fortunate to not experience such abuse, but, not all of us are as blessed.

Our parish’s longtime parish priest, now retired, started “performing” the Gospel for Sunday Mass after a few years in his post . He would come down from the altar, stand in the center aisle and do a from-memory dramatic oration of the day’s Gospel. It was impressive, but my wife and I were always on-edge that he was going to forget the next part of the Gospel he was performing, and have to retreat to the pulpit (or should I say, lectern) and find his place.

How vibrant.

maybe they should announce whats happening for the people?
i.e. father XXX can’t make it today so will will just have a commuion service or whatever it is. since some dont know if the priest dont show up it’s not a mass. hmm, some people need a RCIA refresher course.

Actually, that is the proper way to do public speaking when you are reading something. The proper way is to look up every once and a while. That’s why if you ever take a class that includes a presentation as a component, you will be marked on eye contact (I get to talk because I’ve taken 2). Looking down and reading the whole time (with respect to the Holy Father, although nobody mentioned whether we’re talking about when he’s speaking english or his native german) is a 0.

We once had a parish priest who was brilliant. He would recite the Gospel from memory, and it was the lectionary version (in French). Maybe the odd slip-up but even those reading the text directly as written can make mistakes.

He was otherwise liturgically correct (and became the diocese’s liturgical director) and was the only priest in our pastoral unit that would use plainchant for the preface and Eucharistic prayer.

So I could tolerate the odd little mistake as they weren’t intentional. He was a bit of a showman but I once used him for confession (he wasn’t my regular confessor at the time) and he was wonderful at pastoral care beyond just absolving me. He genuinely wanted to help. I miss him. If he were still around our parishes, I’d go to Mass in the parish more often. I rarely do now (I go to a Benedictine abbey instead).

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