DDW confirms new Lectionary for Great Britain

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has announced that “the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has confirmed the approval by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales for the new Lectionary.” Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland will also share this new edition of the Lectionary for Mass.

Their new Lectionary is based on the English Standard Version of the Bible – Catholic Edition and will use the Psalm translation from the e Abbey Psalms and Canticles.  In this sense the Lectionary will be similar to the edition recently published in India. The new British edition of the Lectionary will be published by the Catholic Truth Society (CTS) and is approved for use from Advent 2024.

As a final note, and forgive me for being pedantic, but allow me to offer a correction to the press release, the new ESV edition of the Lectionary is approved for Great Britain but not the “British Isles.” In other words, it is approved for the regions served by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland. However, it is not approved for use in Ireland, which is served by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

13 thoughts on “DDW confirms new Lectionary for Great Britain

  1. And the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference covers the whole of the island of Ireland, i.e., the Republic and Northern Ireland.

  2. Yes. Ireland is served by a single episcopal conference. The diocesan (and in many cases parish) boundaries predate the recent partition of the island and dioceses in the Northern half of the island usually have territories in both jurisdictions. There has been talk of merging dioceses, but this wouldn’t change this reality.

  3. Arhcbishop-Emeritus George Stack says, in the press release, “The new Lectionary gives us an opportunity to hear that word with fresh ears as we engage with a text which is intended for public proclamation and reflects up to date biblical scholarship.”

    This is disingenuous, to say the least. The ESV text was not designed for public proclamation, and the biblical scholarship is at least 60 years out of date.

    It’s also worth noting that “The Abbey Psalms and Canticles” used in the new lectionary is essentially 55-60% the original Grail 1963 translation, though this fact does not seem to be acknowledged in the copyright ascription, which only mentions the adaptations by Conception Abbey Missouri. Some psalms are almost entirely the original Grail text, and yet USCCB has attempted to claim copyright in them. The Conception Abbey alterations in the new text are considerably wordier than the original and will be more difficult to sing. A proportion of the revisions seems arbitrary and unnecessary, and there will be some problems with snigger-inducing language.

    1. In what way is the biblical scholarship 60 years out of date? This remark reminds me of some the alarmist references to “low church” evangelicals in coverage made by The Tablet. Is it because the ESV is derived from the RSV? My feminist tutor at Heythrop always favoured the RSV, because of its accuracy, over the NRSV because it sanitises some texts. Whatever the arguments I won’t be sorry to say farewell to the JB Lectionary which so often dumbs down the nuances of biblical theology. Mind you, “brethren” is anachronistic.

    2. I’ve been using the Abbey Psalms and Canticles four a couple of years now with the Office and I have to agree with Paul that some of the changes seem pointless. There are some definite improvements (in Psalm 90, “Make us know the shortness of our life” is now “Teach is to number our days”), and the language is slightly more inclusive with regard to human beings, but there are probably an equal number to losses of euphony (in Psalm 36, “Sin speaks to the sinner in the depths of his heart” is now “Transgression speaks to the sinner…”, which does come closer to the Latin Susurrat iniquitas ad impium…, but still). On the whole, I wonder if it was worth the loss of translations that had become extremely familiar.

      1. “On the whole, I wonder if it was worth the loss of translations that had become extremely familiar.”

        Which reminds me that, as for the Lectionary, in the USA the Catholic faithful who care about Bible translations may be united in being familiar with the NABRE Lectionary as the door prize of English-language transations.

      2. mmm, ‘Teach us to number our days’ – a lift from the Coverdale Psalter. Well, would you believe it?!


  4. Goodness me, the Church doesn’t rush… I was in the market for a new Sunday Missal last summer but I held off because I thought this new one was about to materialise, and now they say it won’t be in use until Advent of next year! I’ve just bought a copy of the current version instead.

  5. Not the most Synodal of processes. Some might describe it as top down.
    Does it reflect the latest Vatican documents on the principles of translation? If not, why not?
    Finally …. why?

  6. ” but there are probably an equal number to losses of euphony (in Psalm 36, “Sin speaks to the sinner in the depths of his heart” is now “Transgression speaks to the sinner…”, which does come closer to the Latin Susurrat iniquitas ad impium…, but still).”

    True. Latin speakers would naturally use the resources of their language to convey meaning in a memorable–poetic–manner. English needs to do the same. But euphony and creating a striking impression and all the rest don’t necessarily coincide between the two languages at the ‘literal’ level.

    As all here know, there’s no such thing as a one-to-one correspondence possible when translating between two languages. People make judgements as to what best conveys the many meanings, as well as the form, of the original in a second, target language. And so our troubles begin!

    Needless to say, we want to avoid theological mistakes in translation. More trouble!

  7. Today’s news: Fr. Andrew Menke has been appointed to a 5-year term as Executive Director of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) to replace Msgr Andrew Wadsworth, beginning on November 1, 2023.

  8. For discussion concerning the Psalms, it’s worth referring back to the 2015 article:
    with it’s very useful article by Paul Inwood at;
    (an errata to Fig.11 the Psalm quoted is Psalm 7)

    Personally I use the Revised New Jerusalem Bible which is 2 revisions on from the Jerusalem Bible that we’re familiar with in the present lectionary and included in the Sunday Missal, and I’m not sure how much of the criticisms leveled against these readings have been dealt with by these revisions. I certainly find it good. I believe the Irish Bishop’s Conference thinks so too and will include it in their forthcoming lectionary.

    I still use Grail III Psalms, like their more inclusive language and prefer them to RGP.

    I haven’t seen any discussion on the Ecumenical Grail Psalter

  9. The ESV was not the first choice for the new lectionary. Unfortunately though far too many emendations were needed in relation to the NRSV and/or RSV-2CE. Of course, copyright issues also arose.
    The end result (the cheapest option) : ESV-CE from 1st Sunday in Advent 2024!
    Personally I think it’s a step backwards.
    I’m not completely in favour of the Abbey Psalms & Canticles either. There is some minor improvement here and there but on the whole I don’t think the change was necessary.
    It seems to me it’s just another scheme benefitting the publishers and printers only!

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