Roman Missal vs Sacramentary

The 3rd edition of the Roman Missal is called exactly that but why isn’t it being called the Sacramentary as the current one is?

The 1962 missal is right to be called Missal because not only does it contain the prayers before and after communion but it also contains the readings for the appropriate day.
The new “Missal” doesn’t contain the readings for the appropriate day so why isn’t it going to be called a Sacramentary?

Personally I prefer the word Sacramentary.

I guess I look at it as the whole “Hebrew Scripture” vs. “Old Testament” thing. For a while, a group of folks thought it would be better to break from tradition and use some new terminology. But now the Church is drawing us back to the traditional verbiage.

But maybe I’m wrong. :shrug:

I think it makes sense to be more consistent in the language. I know for myself, for a while I had no idea of the link between the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and the Sacramentary. I thought this Roman Missal must be some other separate thing and I wondered why I’d never seen it and what it was used for. :o

Both Sacramentary and Missal have long histories of use as titles of liturgical books in Catholic liturgical history. However, in this case the simple answer is that the official ICEL translators of the second edition of the Missale Romanum translated the title as “Sacramentary,” this translation was approved by the Vatican, the ICEL translators of the third edition, that is due to be published in the coming months, translated the same title as “Roman Missal”, this new translation of the title was also approved by the Vatican. From a point of view of the function of the book, an argument could really be made that Sacramentary is a better description. However if you are looking at a true translation of the Latin title then Roman Missal is better. In addition, outside of the US, most other English speaking countries used the same ICEL translation of the second edition, but the book was titled “Roman Missal.” Another factor is that the current Roman Missal is published as a collection of a few books, the Lectionary for Mass (in its various volumes) and the Book of Gospels are also technically part of the Roman Missal (whereas the Scripture readings were contained in the same book as the Mass prayers in pre-conciliar editions of the Missal). In this case it might be better to give the book the title “The Roman Missal: The Sacramentary.” But as this is not the title of the Latin editio typica, that is being translated, and given the fact that it took many years to translate the volume that will appear before Advent, it is very unlikely to change title. In any event, it is much more important to receive the new volume of the Roman Missal and to use it well to enhance our liturgical celebrations than to worry about the aptness of the actual title.

Interestingly enough, to my knowledge, the other language commissions do not have a word for “Sacramentary.” In Mexico, it’s Missal Roman. All of the other language groups use Missl, except for the English contingent.

Historically, The Sacramentary was written For Bishops, Abbots use; today for Priests also. It is for the Celebrant. [LIST] The Missal is for us Congregants; each type having different inclusions. Our Parish paperback annual Missals at Church have the Weekend Readings, and hundreds of Hymns and Prayers; even has Funeral Masses, and Special Masses of all kinds.

[LEFT][LEFT]From the March 16, 2002 Observations on the English-language Translation of the Roman Missal (review of the new translation of the First Edition)

I. General observations regarding the layout of the book, the disposition of its texts, and the inclusion of newly composed texts
A. The word “Sacramentary”, evidently chosen to distinguish this book containing the prayers of the Mass, on the one hand, from the Lectionary, on the other, seems nevertheless to have had the adverse effect of furthering a mistaken conception of this “Sacramentary” as a new and somewhat autonomous liturgical book for the English-speaking world. The term “Sacramentary” is not characterized by a linear historical development, and the present book also contains antiphons and other elements that were not in the ancient or medieval books commonly designated sacramentaries, at least in academic usage. Accordingly, the Congregation asks that from now on the book be referred to in English as The Roman Missal, and that the official use of the word Sacramentary be discontinued in reference to it.


Not true. Only the Americans and Canadians, and those parts of the world influenced by them, use the term “Sacramentary”.

In the UK, India and other parts of the world, the title printed on the spine of the book and in the title page actually is “Roman Missal”.

So it’s not English contingent thing, it’s really an American anamoly.

In my UK parish they both have Sacramentary written on then. But they are published in America.

Because, unfortunately, the UK edition of the Roman Missal was out of print and many parishes have to purchase new books to replace their old ones which were falling apart…

Oddly, Neale reprinted the old Roman Altar Missals more recently, after the Apostolic See called for liturgical texts to be retranslated. I wonder what they are going to do with their stock of old altar missals now.

Two points based on comments in other posts in this thread. First, the second edition of the Mass was translated into English but the Holy See never approved it. Secondly, I think Sacramentary is an American usage rather than an American one. In the British Isles it is called the Roman Missal. The only sacramentaries found here are published in the US.

Thanks for the answers. In Advent when the new Missal arrives I will have to remember to call it a Missal rather than a Sacramentary.

Interesting enough to the best of my recollection its only Catholics in United Sates and Canada that reference the Missale Romanum as the Sacramentary both being one in the same.

Personally I like the original name Roman Missal or Missale Romanum.

Is the French book presently in use in Canada called “Missel Romain” or “Sacrementaire”?

Qui; Le Sacramentaire est un livre Liturgique Catholique applicables a l’ensemble du Canada français catholique.

We have Italian Mass once a month in our parish for our Italian community with the Archbishop officiating.
The priests book on the Altar is still called Missale Romanum.

Once again, The Sacramentary is the Priest, the Celebrant’s book. The Missal is for the Congregation, as they are in most of the world. The 2 are quite the Opposite, therefore. What do you mean they are the same in the USA? [LIST] Never in my life have I heard the Missal of the Congregation called the “Sacramentary”; We always knew that is for the Priest to use; and they are Quite Very different.
[/LIST] Please see Post 5 history and dedfinitions and history of use.

In most parts of the English-speaking world:
Priest’s altar book for Mass is called “Missal”
People’s hand book for Mass is called “Missal”.

In the USA and Canada,
Priest’s altar book for Mass is called “Sacramentary”
People’s hand book for Mass is called “Missal”.

I think the poster was saying that the Priest’s altar book, called the Roman Missal in many parts of the world, is called Sacramentary only in the USA and Canada.

Again, Rome has already indicated that what is used on the altar is not a sacramentary, which is a very different book, and is not to be called that. It is to be called “Roman Missal”.

I like “Roman Missal” better because it has “Roman” in the title and therefore highlights that there are other non-Roman Rites within the Catholic Church.

**Well, you boys have pretty well finished “beating a dead horse” on this subject…
But I just wanted to add KUDOs to Bruce in Iloilo for his 2 April 12 posting.
He hit the nail right on the head!

It turns out the Roman Missal is a sacramentary, but not all sacramentaries are Roman Missals.

For instance, Eastern Rite Catholics have a Byzantine Liturgicon for their sacramentary. Anglican Rite Catholics use the Book of Common Prayer as their sacramentary. And so forth. Only the Latin Church’s sacramentary is entitled “The Roman Missal.”

Hope this helps clear things up!**

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