Scripture commentaries?

In this thread, I asked about the authorship of some Pauline epistles. I asked about this because, at my parish, the lector reads a short explanation or background to the reading. For the past few weeks, when we have the Letters to Timothy, the commentary says that these letters have been traditionally assigned to Paul, but that he probably didn’t write them.

Since the authorship question I feel has been adressed in my previous thread, and in the responses many posters pointed out that lectors reading commentaries before the readings is not allowed, I thought I’d bring that discussion over to a new thread.

So, can anyone give sources, such as the GIRM, that point to why lectors cannot do this? I’m strongly considering mentioning this to my pastor, but I’d like some references.

Also, at my former parish, we had a substitute priest who would do a similar thing before all of the readings: provide background and explanation to what we would be hearing. None of his commentaries cast doubt on authorship of books in the Bible. Is it allowed for the priest to do this?

“…the lector reads a short explanation or background to the reading.”

Gosh that concerns me. Who is the authority on the commentary?

Pope Benedict has written about the dangers of the misuse of the historical critical method and the damage it has done to the public perception of the divinity of Jesus.

That’s pretty crummy.

Let’s look at the GIRM:
31. …] The presiding priest …] may give the faithful a very brief introduction to the Mass of the day (after the initial Greeting and before the Act of Penitence), to the Liturgy of the Word (before the readings), and to the Eucharistic Prayer (before the Preface), though never during the Eucharistic Prayer itself; he may also make concluding comments to the entire sacred action before the dismissal.

  1. After the Collect, all sit. The priest may, very briefly, introduce the faithful to the Liturgy of the Word. Then the lector goes to the ambo and, from the Lectionary already placed there before Mass, proclaims the first reading, to which all listen. At the end, the lector says the acclamation Verbum Domini (The word of the Lord), and all respond, Deo gratias (Thanks be to God).
    The priest is allowed to “introduce” the Liturgy of the Word as a whole, but there is no allowance made for individual pre-reading editorials.

There is also the role (for better or – more likely – for worse) of the “commentator”:
105b. The commentator, who provides the faithful, when appropriate, with brief explanations and commentaries with the purpose of introducing them to the celebration and preparing them to understand it better. The commentator’s remarks must be meticulously prepared and clear though brief. In performing this function the commentator stands in an appropriate place facing the faithful, but not at the ambo.
The commentator would not be the lector, then. And the commentator’s role is to help the faithful understand the liturgy better, not to provide editorials on the Scripture readings. The homily is where the priest should be speaking the congregation about the Scripture readings!

How could casting doubt on the authorship of the Scriptures – and consequently their authority, and eventually their inspiration! – help the faithful understand what they are hearing and accept it as the Word of God?!

I have seen such a thing several times. One time the reader at mass said Saint Luke didn’t write the Gospel of Luke. I was very offended by this. However, I knew this woman and that she had no education when it comes to Scripture. I suspect that she-and often in such a case-the person has been reading some book on the Bible by a liberal Protestant and doesn’t have the discernment to question what she was reading.

The lectors (or readers) ministry is to proclaim the readings. Nothing in the GIRM says otherwise, therefore they should do what their ministry is. Their ministry is to proclaim the Scripture, not offer commentary upon it.

The priest (presider) at Mass can introduce the readings, and/or the particular feast of the mass, as allowed by the GIRM.

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