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Expert Answer Forum

by Catherine Frakas 03 Feb 2002

Liturgy QUESTION from Richard McLellan October 18, 1998

Where does the Missal come from? I mean who prints it? Is it from Rome or is it done localy? Also, Is it the same all over the world? Whith the exception of languages of course. ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on October 23, 1998

Dear Richard, Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in responding. Missals for the Latin (Roman)rite are printed by several private companies, and must conform to current liturgical law and cycle. Suitable missals use only translations from the approved Lectionary and the Roman Missal (Sacramentary), not from any unapproved version of the Bible. There are two English language Bible translations which are approved for liturgy in the United States; The Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition (RSV-CE), and the New American Bible (NAB), 1970 Edition. Later editions of the NAB have a revised New Testament and Pslams and uses gender inclusive language. This version is not approved for use in the liturgy. An example of the language used in both the approved and unapproved NAB versions can be found in Psalm 1:1. In the approved 1970 version we find; Happy the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked... In the unapproved 1986 version we read; Happy those who do not follow the counsel of the wicked...
In the Latin rite, the missal is the same all over. This is part of the beauty of the Universal Church. Each day, the same readings and responses are used all over the world. I believe this is true for our beautiful Eastern rites as well. If you attend a foreign language Mass next Sunday, bring your English missal along so you can understand what's being said. I frequently attend services in several Eastern Rite churches, namely Byzantine and Maronite. Their liturgical style is quite a bit different than the Latin rite, which most Americans are accustomed to. It's been my experience so far, that missals with side to side English translations are provided. If you haven't yet experienced the beauty and variety of the Catholic liturgical rites, I highly recommend it. From the 1983 Code of Canon Law for the Latin Rite. Can. 838 §1 The ordering and guidance of the sacred liturgy depends solely upon the authority of the Church, namely, that of the Apostolic See and, as provided by law, that of the diocesan Bishop. §2 It is the prerogative of the Apostolic See to regulate the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, to publish liturgical books and review their vernacular translations, and to be watchful that liturgical regulations are everywhere faithfully observed. §3 It pertains to Episcopal Conferences to prepare vernacular translations of liturgical books, with appropriate adaptations as allowed by the books themselves and, with the prior review of the Holy See, to publish these translations. §4 Within the limits of his competence, it belongs to the diocesan Bishop to lay down for the Church entrusted to his care, liturgical regulations which are binding on all. Only the Holy See can authorize texts for use in the liturgy. Even if the bishops conference approves a new text it must still be confirmed by Rome before it is implemented. The approval of both the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Holy See must be printed in the front of the text where it can be easily seen. I hope this answers your question. Your Servant In Christ, John Miskell Back to Index Page

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