Friday, March 14, 2014

More on the Death of the ESV Lectionary

For more, go here.

Here is the key section:

After 10 years of unsuccessful efforts by ICPELL, it became apparent that the whole lectionary project was in serious jeopardy. It had proved impossible to find a lectionary that suits the Holy See, the copyright holders of the scripture translations, and bishops’ conferences. Another issue was that the Revised Grail psalms, which were planned to be part of the revised lectionary, have also lost support in some quarters.
At the end of 2013 the decision was made to dismantle ICPELL and leave each conference of bishops to make its own decision regarding a lectionary for Mass. Consequently, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference agreed to discontinue its involvement in the international lectionary project and to reprint the existing lectionary. It would contain a slightly modified version of the Jerusalem Bible currently in use and the Grail translation of the responsorial Psalms.
The general opinion is that some poor translations in the Jerusalem Bible are easily remedied and that other required changes to the text can be made fairly quickly.

So, there you have it.  Those who hoped for an ESV-CE can put that dream to rest.  So, what does that leave us with?  Well, from the article above, I would imagine that those other English speaking areas will follow suit and adapt the Jerusalem Bible.   My first question is why not spend a little more time and adapt the NJB.  It is better in almost every way compared to the original.  Also, I do find it interesting that the Revised Grail Psalms had "lost support."  I wonder if that is just in Australia or other places as well, like the UK?  So, then, it is quite possible that at some point we could have a different Psalter being used in the various English speaking territories.  That is just weird, and really I can't find another word to describe this situation.

What about that ever elusive dream of having a Bible, in hand, that actually matches what is read at Mass.  Will the Catholic Truth Society in London create a "new" CTS Bible after the UK bishops adapt the JB?  Will it include the original or revised Grail Psalms?  Is it possible, particularly after all the complaining here in the US, that the American bishops are the ones who actually pull off the unimaginable task of giving us a Bible that matches the lectionary?  It seems clear that the American Bishops are moving forward with the Revised Grail Psalms for future liturgical books, as well as the upcoming revised NABRE.  The revised NABRE NT provides the opportunity to do this.  Let's pray.


Jonny said...

Why not start with the 1971 RSV and adapt from there? This would take no little time and effort, as it would be desirous that the newest critical editions be consulted, as well as the norms set forth in Liturgiam Authenticum. The advantage of starting here is that the 1971 RSV (with or without the older but similar CE NT) is already well known and used among English-speaking Catholics across the globe. There are also several models that could be referenced to make this task easier: the RSV-2CE, the ESV, and perhaps even the NABRE Psalter (originally intended to be a liturgical text, post-Liturgiam Authenticam.)

Your question of why not the NJB Tim, surely lies in the issue of the inclusive language. Restoring the gender nuances present in the original languages results many times in no less than rewriting many passages which become convoluted in inclusive translation. The latest Canadian NRSV lectionary fixed some of the inclusive language issues, but this resulted in an inconsistent use of English. The RSV really hit the sweet spot for Catholic use of gender language... just compare it to the Liturgy and the Catechism!

Benjamin Miller said...

It still baffles me that the Reformed evangelical Protestant ESV would be more favorably considered than the ecumenical NRSV. Worried about gender-neutral language? Modify it, or use a modified RSV-CE. It doesn't take a group of geniuses to change "mortals" to "men" or to change "thee" into "you". The NRSV should not be considered that tainted, and the ESV's origins smack of an evangelical agenda. Maybe I'm just being grumpy, but I'm still so shocked that an ESV-CE was ever so seriously considered in the first place.

Timothy said...


Like you, I am suspicious of the ESV and am not sure why so many are willing to accept it. I did a post many years back comparing some of word choices in the ESV compared to the NRSV and much prefered the NRSV. In some ways, I am glad this ship has sailed.

Anonymous said...

<  It seems clear that the American Bishops are moving forward with the Revised Grail Psalms for future liturgical books, as well as the upcoming revised NABRE.  The revised NABRE NT provides the opportunity to do this.  Let's pray.

Hello Timothy,

Do you, or any of your readers, know anything about the planned revision of the Liturgy of the Hours? I haven't been able to find out how it's progressing and I'm wondering if it's been put the back burner. Especially in light of the NT revision, which presumably would have to come first.


Timothy said...


I haven't heard anything about that. One would think they would wait until the NT revision is complete and approval comes from Rome. Things seem to change often, however, so we'll have to wait and see.

Charles G said...

While the US bishops do appear to be moving ahead with the revised Grail, they apparently want to make some further revisions, according to the Nov/Dec 2013 USCCB Divine Worship Newsletter:

Timothy said...


Thanks for this, very helpful. John this might be of some interest to you.

Dan Z said...

1. Why don't the English speaking countries use Ignatius Press' RSV-2CE?

2. Why don't the US Bishops give a good pitch for the English speaking countries to use the NABRE? Just as they renamed the NAB the "New African Bible" for that continent, they could rename it the "New Anglicised Bible" for the other countries that don't want "American" in the title.

Will we ever get answers to these two obvious questions?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Charles, that was helpful. Judging from what they said, it looks like they're tending towards the later end of the 3 to 5 year time frame they gave back in 2012.


Anonymous said...

Maybe if they had just spent the past bunch of years translating the Latin Lectionary into English...

In any case I hope, hope, hope that the revised JB say full of grace. After all, the the Greek has to do with grace and a fullness/completeness is implied.

Thanks for this news.


Biblical Catholic said...

I frankly find it absurd that anyone would call the ESV a 'Reformed evangelical translation', analysis of the text has revealed that the ESV is somewhere between 95% and 97% IDENTICAL to the 1971 RSV. And 90% of the changes are trivial things like changing 'shall' to 'will' and 'unto' to 'onto'...

You seriously going to try to make an argument that taking an ecumenical translation like the RSV, changing 'shall' into 'will' and 'unto' to 'into' and similarly trivial stylistic changes can make it into a Reformed translation?


Tom said...

It doesn't take a group of geniuses to change "mortals" to "men" or to change "thee" into "you".

Yes, amen!

Theo said...

Dan Z:

Couldn't agree more!

I want answers to those questions!!!!

It's an absolute no-brainer!

James Ignatius McAuley said...

John and Tim,

Happy Sunday of the Holy Cross (Third Sunday of Lent for us Byzantines). The Liturgy of the Hours project is in the works. What is done - As of 2013:
a.) Collects;
b.) Propers of saints since 1991;
c.) Revised Grail Psalms
d.) Three year cycle of antiphons for the Benedictus and Magnificat
e.) many of the translated hymns are to be found in the Mundelein Psalter, and some of these are being retouched.
Many religious orders have revised their supplements to the LOTH - the Salesians for example (the only place you can find the office for Dominic Savio). AS an aside, in my pat as a Latin, I collected the supplements of many religious orders for the LOTH, and found many wonderful feasts and propers - such as the Precious Blood for July 1 (yes, it still exists for the Precious Blood congregation and is probably the most beautiful post Vatican II office I have seen) or the wonderful various hymns and poetry found in the Carmelite and Discalced Carmelite books.