RSV (Catholic Edition) for Ordinariate Lectionary?

Okay… This story has me wondering.

I was under the distinct impression that the favoured translation for the new UK and Australia English lectionary would be the ESV (Oxford Edition). But I found this story in the Catholic Herald, which says that the Holy See has approved the RSV (Catholic Edition – natch) for the Anglican Ordinariate.

The article points out that the RSV is closer to the KJV, and hence more in keeping with the traditional Anglican liturgy. This is most certainly true, and, if it were not for the fact that the bishops commission on the lectionary is currently working on a new translation for the lectionary in the Roman Missal, would not surprise me in the least. But given that the ESV is also in the same family tree as the KJV and RSV – it is in fact very reminicent of the RSV and (in just a few places, such as in the account of the Annunciation, marginally better) – I would have thought that it would have made sense for the Ordinariate to use the ESV as well.

One reason I can think of for keeping the RSV in the Ordinariate and the ESV in the English edition of the Roman Lectionary is that the RSV still contains what would be regarded as “archaic” usage – specifically in the use of “thee”, “thy” and “thou” (along with “doest” and “hast”) for the second person singular. It would perhaps therefore be quite suitable for the Ordinariate BCP English, whereas it would not be suitable for the new translation of the Roman Missal.

Another thought is that the Ordinariate is probably going to be using some version of the historical one-year lectionary rather than the Roman 3-year lectionary, and so in fact the two lectionaries will be quite different beasts in any case.

Thus, despite this news, I remain confident that in a few years we will get an ESV lectionary to replace the current (dreadful) JB version.

Unfortunately, the lectionary itself is not going to be revised. I was horrified a few Sunday’s back when we had the reading of the Binding of Isaac (aka the Sacrifice of Isaac, but I rather prefer the Jewish name for this reading). The story – which is skillfully told in the whole 22nd Chapter of Genesis with much tension and drama – had been cut down to about 10 verses. Had any Rabbis been present at mass on that Sunday they would have been scandalised! I sometimes wonder if person who edited the Lectionary had previously been employed by Readers Digest…

About Schütz

I am Catholic, married to Cathy, father of Maddy & Mia. Since 2002, I have been the Executive Officer of the Ecumenical & Interfaith Commission of the Archdiocese of Melbourne. I was once a Lutheran pastor, but a "year of grace" and soul-searching led me into the Catholic Church. It was a bumpy ride, but with the support of my (still Lutheran) wife, I was finally confirmed on June 16, 2003.
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11 Responses to RSV (Catholic Edition) for Ordinariate Lectionary?

  1. Peregrinus says:

    “Another thought is that the Ordinariate is probably going to be using some version of the historical one-year lectionary rather than the Roman 3-year lectionary, and so in fact the two lectionaries will be quite different beasts in any case.”

    As far as I know, the Ordinariate uses the revised lectionary. First, it’s what they’re used to, coming from the Anglican tradition. Secondly, the rubrics to the newly-issued proper Liturgical Calendar of the Ordinariate seem to suggest that – there is a statement that, e.g., time after Epiphany the propers to be used are the propers for the corresponding Sunday of Ordinary Time.

  2. Peregrinus says:

    “Unfortunately, the lectionary itself is not going to be revised. I was horrified a few Sunday’s back when we had the reading of the Binding of Isaac (aka the Sacrifice of Isaac, but I rather prefer the Jewish name for this reading). The story – which is skillfully told in the whole 22nd Chapter of Genesis with much tension and drama – had been cut down to about 10 verses. Had any Rabbis been present at mass on that Sunday they would have been scandalised! I sometimes wonder if person who edited the Lectionary had previously been employed by Readers Digest…”
    Not a problem that the Ordinariate can avoid by using the old Lectionary, if indeed they do use it.

    In the revised Lectionary, the Binding of Isaac turns up twice – in a edited form on the Second Sunday of Lent in Year B, and in all its unexpurgated glory at the Easter Vigil – which, you’ll have to agree, is a place of particular distinction. But in the old Lectionary it only turned up – unedited, granted – on the Vigil of Pentecost.

    In short, you get rather more Binding of Isaac in the new Lectionary that you did in the old.

    I’m not a fan of the editing that is permitted, and sometimes mandated, in the revised Lectionary, but I do think we have to recognise that it’s one of the tools by which the compilers achieved the inclusion of a far wider range of scripture passages than the old Lectionary attempted.

    • Schütz says:

      Don’t get me wrong, Perry. I am not advocating a return to the old lectionary. I am just complaining about the editing.

      Was the 3-year lectionary mandated in the Church of England, or did they have the option of using the old lectionary as well? Lutherans, in this country and, I believe, in the LCMS in the Satates, have the option of both, but the 3-year lectionary they are using is the Revised Common lectionary, which does away with the editing in the Roman Lectionary.

      • Peregrinus says:

        “Was the 3-year lectionary mandated in the Church of England, or did they have the option of using the old lectionary as well?”

        I’m open to correction here, but I think the Cof E rule is (a) if using Common Worship [the newer, and dominant, prayer book] then use the Revised Common Lectionary, but (b) if using the Book of Common Prayer, then use the one-year lectionary associated with that book.

        But I think that was a completely different one-year lectionary from the Roman one. It was compiled by Cranmer with the stated object of covering “the most part” of the OT every year. Of course, he had both morning prayer and evening prayer every day for the purpose but, still, it required some fairly lengthy readings. The entirety of the NT was to be covered twice every year, once in the morning and once in the evening.

        Obviously in historic, BCP-favouring Anglicanism there is no tradition of daily eucharist. I don’t know whether Roman-leaning Anglicans celebrated daily eucharist and, if so, whether they used the BCP morning prayer lectionary, or the Roman lectionary. The latter would have been, I think, canonically irregular from an Anglican point of view, but that doesn’t mean it might not have happened, and might not have been tolerated. I assume, but I don’t know, that on Sundays even Roman-leaning Anglicans used the BCP lectionary and not the Roman lectionary.

  3. Salve! You might this post offers a clearer picture of the Lectionary situation: http://wp.me/p15nQz-ux . It is word from the top!

    Pax.

    • Schütz says:

      I say, thanks for this, Fr Hugh. ++Mark has been extremely forthcoming in his reply. It is very encouraging news. I too would welcome a proper Catholic edition of the ESV. I have been using it in my teaching and have found it perfect for the job. When I read aloud from it to the class, the students have often compared it favourably to the versions they are usuing (mainly RSV and JB or NJB). My one sorrow is that the new lectionary was not ready for the Sunday Missals (people’s editions) currently hitting the bookshelves.

  4. matthias says:

    Is March the 26th still the date for the Ordinariate to begin?

  5. Adrian Sharp says:

    I agree with your last paragraph RE the “binding of Isaac:” it seemed necessary to not only refer to, but also quote, some of the missing lines in order to preach on it.

    • Schütz says:

      Yes, Father. That was what I was thinking when it was read: “How could I preach on this text without re reading the entire thing in full?” It is the tension in the narrative that carries the meaning of the text.

      Why could the lectionary editors not have provided at least the option for the full story to be read, with the alternative of the shorter version if desired, as is so often done with longer Gospel readings?

  6. William A. Wheatley says:

    I noticed the following in the first paragraph: “the Holy See has approved the RSV (Catholic Edition – natch) for the Anglican Ordinariate.” Of course the Holy See approved the Catholic Edition. It includes the Apocrypha. The Protestant version does not. There is, so far as I can tell, no other significant difference between the two versions.

    • Peregrinus says:

      Apart from the inclusion of the Deuterocanonicals, there are some changes in the New Testament. For example, in the RSV-CE Lk 1:28 the angel greets Mary with “full of grace”, whereas in the RSV it’s “O favoured one”.

      There were other, bigger differences at the time the RSV-CE was introduced. The CE included the story of the woman taken in adultery, for example (Jn 8:1-11) whereas the RSV omitted it; the same goes for the longer ending to Mk. But these differences have been eroded as later editions of the RSV have tended to conform to the decisions made in the production of the RSV-CE. I think the remaining differences are few in number (but not zero).

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