Wiggle room in the Missal for deviation in wording

When I still attended Catholic Mass, we used the “Breaking Bread” Missal and the “Gather” hymnal.

All wording such as the collect and indroit came from Breaking Bread and all songs came from Gather.

My question is, can a priest deviate from those two sources, and it not be considered heresy or something?

In the sense that the Mass structure is the same, all physical movements are the same, but the words spoken are different.

Prayers like the Collect don’t come from “Breaking Bread”. The collects are approved at some higher level and that’s what we use, whether it’s printed in Breaking Bread or on a web page somewhere.


We don’t use either of those books. We use a combination missal and hymnal that has side by side Latin-English translations. So, no, those are not required texts.

There are a series of approved collects that are used in mass. The publication has nothing to do with it.

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Collects are found in the Roman Missal. Those are the only texts that may be used and are then included in publications such as Breaking Bread and the various other missallettes that different parishes use.


Not heresy but perhaps illicit, and could be invalid if the words of the Consecration were changed sufficiently.

My priest ad libs the Eucharistic prayers. He doesn’t use (and I have checked every single solitary available ‘approved’ Eucharistic prayer there is) any approved prayer. What he does it take a few snatches of one (say Eucharistic prayer 3) and say 'from the rising of the sun to its setting" but then go on to talk about the beauty of Mother Earth and Earth’s children (which is not found in ANY approved prayer whatsoever) and then onto things like, "and He blessed YOU, Father, for your kindness, and at the meal he gave bread to His family and His friends and said, “Take this and eat, this is my Body. Receive this as a sign of God’s Covenant” and then he will go on to maybe reference Eucharistic Prayer 2 briefly, with “You give us the bread of life and the CUP (changing from ‘chalice’) of salvation”, and then add in things like, “and so as we gather around your table we thank you for allowing us to be present in the light of your face” etc.

It’s obvious that he knows what the right words are but chooses to use his own paraphrases and tweaks and add-ons because he thinks them ‘superior’ (he once told me not to pay any attention to ‘the song book’ because ‘here we are open to spontaneity and freshness’–although how it can be fresh when for the majority of the time he uses the same ‘paraphrases’ over and over, I don’t fathom–) and because if one follows the weekly collects, when he does a particular collect for a Sunday he uses one or two words or even a sentence FROM that particular collect but then adds on a completely different phrase or sentence that gives an entirely ‘different’ perspective. For example, if the collect had anything about a need to be humble that wouldn’t be mentioned but there would be a phrase about how thankful we are to God for His making us “Holy and chosen and beloved as we are”, etc.

There are so many real, true ‘options’ in the Mass and opportunities to choose (Penitential rite 1, 2 or 3? Apostles Creed or Nicene or baptismal promise renewal? Which setting shall we choose for the Responsorial Psalm? Which Preface? Which Eucharistic Prayer? Sing or Say the Our Father (or Gloria, or Sanctus, etc.), not to mention the entire homily, so I truly, truly do not understand why a priest feels the need to ‘rewrite’ the things in the Mass which are specifically written to be said in exactly ONE way. It’s just --mindboggling, especially in this day and age.

The Introit doesn’t have to be used at all - there are options that can replace it. For the Collect, there are usually two options for Sundays and many Holy Days, but your missalette may not print both. Furthermore, if it’s only a slight deviation from these, it would depend on whether it was intentional or accidental as to whether it would even be considered illicit.

Heresy is a specific thing that we’re not even getting close to approaching with these issues; I’d suggest you look up the Church’s definition of the word.

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Priests are servants of the Liturgy, not its Master.

Leave the ad-libbing about Mother Earth to the homily, or cover that by singing Canticle of the Sun, as one of the hymns.

Deacon Christopher

Say the black. Do the red.

What you’ve described your priest doing is flat out wrong.

A priest who used to say mass at our parish used one of the eucharitis prayers for reconciliation. Beautiful.

The priest doesn’t use Breaking Bread. He uses the Missal and other official liturgical texts which are confirmed as typical by the Holy See and the Bishops Conferences of the respected countries.
All these Breaking Bread or various other pew missals are just adapted from the official texts. They should be true to them.
Word Among Us and Magnificat sometimes have the wrong antiphons or readings etc on feast days if the priest chooses to do a memorial he could use the readings proper to the saint, and also sometimes these texts choose antiphons for the saint when there are various options in the Missal, so they don’t always match. But when they don’t, the priest isn’t deviating at all. Just chose another valid option.

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Unfortunately this is becoming a trend, the rubrics of the mass are there for a reason, to insure that priest don’t inject their own personal spin on things. Though there are areas where options are given, seems more and more evident that priests are deviating from the rubrics and it’s going unchecked.

All of the options are not in the hymnal or missalette.

I’d be worried he doesn’t actually confect the sacrament. Have you contacted the bishop? This is terrible.

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