Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 6, 2009
Revised Lectionary to go into use at Pentecost
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA — The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has launched a revised Lectionary of Scripture readings for Sundays and solemnities that will become mandatory on Pentecost, May 31.
The new Lectionary has a “long and tortured history,” joked CCCB president Archbishop James Weisgerber at the volume’s launch March 19 at the CCCB offices.
The Winnipeg archbishop was intimately acquainted with the difficulties surrounding the new Lectionary because the present Lectionary was published in 1992 while then-Msgr. Weisgerber served as CCCB general secretary.
Weisgerber said that under usual circumstance a bishops’ conference does the translation and the Vatican gives its recognitio or affirmation. In 1992, the CCCB chose the New Revised Standard Version because it had been approved for use in the United States.
“We understood we did not have to ask for special recognition,” he said. “Then the Holy See and the publishers of the NRSV determined there were serious problems in that translation.”
The Holy See withdrew the recognitio from the United States, which had not published anything. “When we asked, ‘What about us?’ we were told ‘You never had permission in the first place,’” he said.
After a “period of blame and stand off,” a group of bishops began working on the long list of problems with the text, he said.
That list was slowly reduced as problems were fixed until they reached a translation that was acceptable to the Canadian bishops, to the Holy See and to the American Council of Churches, which holds the NRSV copyright, he said.
Some, but not all, of the problems revolved around inclusive language in the NRSV text.
As an example, Weisgerber said the Psalms are read on various levels, including a Christological level.
“If you say ‘he’ some people get offended, so they were saying ‘they,’ but the moment you say ‘they’ you eliminate the whole Christological reading,” he said.
In some ways, the translators were accused of taking the computer and replacing “he” with “they,” he joked.
The new Lectionary takes advantage of the latest translation tools and the theological, historical and linguistic considerations, he said.
“We’re becoming more sophisticated in reading the originals,” he said. “Sometimes the words mean ‘everybody,’ meaning ‘man and woman,’ but sometimes they mean ‘man.’”