The Irish Catholic bishops met for their Spring General Meeting last week. As is normally the case, the end of the meeting saw a flurry of press releases. Among these was one piece of liturgical news, the bishops issued a Call for submissions on a new edition of the Lectionary for Mass for Ireland.
The fact that the Irish bishops are “considering using the Revised New Jerusalem Bible as the basis for a new edition of the Lectionary for Mass” is probably not earth-shattering news for readers of this blog. However, what might be of interest, is the fact that the Irish bishops are “seeking submissions from interested parties” on the matter.
Perhaps readers can furnish me with other such examples, but I personally can’t remember any other occasion when the Catholics of a nation have been consulted by their bishops, BEFORE a new liturgical translation has been adopted.
Readers should note that this is a fairly specific consultation. It is addressed to the Catholics of Ireland and the bishops are not asking for considerations on the Lectionary in general or which Bible translation is the best for liturgical use. They are asking what Irish Catholics think of the proposal to revise the current 1969 edition of the Lectionary (slightly revised and reprinted in 1981) based on the 1966 Jerusalem Bible with a new edition based on the 2019 Revised New Jerusalem Bible. The full press release is below:
Call for submissions on a new edition of the Lectionary for Mass for Ireland
The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference considered a revision of the Lectionary for Mass during their Spring General meeting earlier this week.
The Lectionary for Mass is the liturgical volume from which God’s Word is proclaimed during the celebration of the Eucharist. It is usually taken from an existing translation of the Bible and is edited for ease of proclamation during the liturgy.
The current Lectionary is based on the 1966 edition of the Jerusalem Bible and has served the Church in Ireland well for over fifty years. However, in line with new understandings in relation to fidelity to the texts in their original languages and developments in the English language over the last fifty years, the bishops recognise a need for a new edition. Other English-speaking Bishops’ Conferences are making various decisions. The Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales, along with that of Scotland, have opted to use the English Standard Version Catholic edition. Some other countries are seeking to use the 2019 edition of the Revised New Jerusalem Bible.
The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference is considering using the Revised New Jerusalem Bible as the basis for a new edition of the Lectionary for Mass. The Bishops’ Conference is now seeking submissions from interested parties to its secretariat for liturgy, and these can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.