Wrong Gospel??


Father read a gospel reading that was different than the one in my Missal today…it was still about Jesus being the Good Shepard but it was a few verses off. I’m not sure if he just didn’t mean to do it or he changed it. If it was the latter, is the priest allowed to do that?


It might be that the Gospel book predates the Missal distributed by your church and (as such) comes from a different translation. If the Gospel book is an approved copy, that is acceptable. You might want to point this out to the priest to make him aware of the situation and possible confusion so that he can have an answer ready in case the question ever comes up again in the future. Another option might be to offer to hold a fundraiser to purchase an updated Gospel Book.


I was actually using the Magnificat magazine.
We’ve actually got 2 gospel books and up until today everything has matched. I’m guessing that maybe he had it on the wrong day.


If this concerns you, stop and talk to Father after a daily mass in the morning, or call him on the phone to discuss it.


Sometimes it’s a mistake and they’re using the wrong reading (from either Cycle A or B instead of C). Since this has only happened once, I would work from the charitable assumption that it was simple human error.


The normal Gospel for Sunday 29 April 2007 was John 10:27-30, for Year C.

One justification for changing it would be the Directory for Masses with Children:
"43. If all the readings assigned to the day seem to be unsuited to the capacity of the children, it is permissible to choose readings or a reading either from the Lectionary for Mass or directly from the Bible, but taking into account the liturgical seasons."
This is from Chapter Three “Masses with Children in Which Only a Few Adults Particpate.” But it has at the end of Chapter Two “Masses with Adults in Which Children Also Participate”:
“19. … Wherever the bishop permits, in addition to the adaptations already provided in the Order of Mass, one or other of the particular adaptations described later in the Directory may be employed in a Mass celebrated with adults in which children also particpate.”

Another justification is the 1969 Instruction Actio pastoralis “on Masses with special groups”:
“6. … e. In the liturgy of the word, depending on the actual situation, texts may be chosen that are more suited to the particular celebration, provided they are chosen from the texts of an approved lectionary.”
(Documents on the Liturgy 1963-1979, Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1982, ISBN 0-8146-1281-4, page 674).

Both these documents are endorsed by the 2002 General Introduction to the Roman Missal (GIRM):
“32. Special celebrations of Mass should observe the guidelines established for them: For Masses with special groups, cf. Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, Instruction Actio pastoralis, on Masses with special groups, 15 May 1969: AAS 61 (1969), pp. 806-811; for Masses with children, cf. Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, Directory for Masses with Children, 1 November 1973: AAS 66 (1974), pp. 30-46;”

Otherwise, even the bishop does not have the authority to change this reading. From the 2002 GIRM approved for the USA, which can be accessed from romanrite.com/girm.html :
“374. In cases of serious need or pastoral advantage, at the direction of the diocesan Bishop or with his permission, an appropriate Mass may be celebrated on any day except solemnities, the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter, days within the Octave of Easter, the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day), Ash Wednesday, and Holy Week.”


Sounds like an honest mistake.


I have found another explanation, which allows the priest to use another Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Easter. Instead of using the reading from Year C on 29 April 2007, he can use the reading from Year A.

This is permitted in the liturgical book “Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults”, in the section “PERIOD OF POSTBAPTISMAL CATECHESIS OR MYSTAGOGY”:

“237 Since the distinctive spirit and power of the period of postbaptismal catechesis or mystagogy derive from the new, personal experience of the sacraments and of the community, its main setting is the so-called Masses for neophytes, that is, the Sunday Masses of the Easter season. Besides being occasions for the newly baptised to gather with the community and share in the mysteries, these celebrations include particularly suitable readings from the Lectionary, especially the readings for Year A. Even when Christian initiation has been celebrated outside the usual times, the texts for these Sunday Masses of the Easter season may be used.

The RCIA introductions for England and Wales are at catholic-ew.org.uk/liturgy/Resources/Rites/RiteRitual.html#RCIA .

In the USA edition this paragraph is in n. 247. In the Latin edition it is n. 40. (The Rites Volume One, Liturgical Press, 1990, ISBN: 0-8146-6015-0, page 169).


as a general rule, when it is the priest who is doing or saying something during Mass that deviates from what you expect, assume he is in the right, since he is the liturgist for the parish, and the one whose job it is to know what is right. It is far more likely that he knows what variations are permissible in the context of the feast, season, or rubrics, than that we, who have no special training, are in the right.


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