The Ignatius Lectionary

For many, the Ignatius Bible is the “gold standard” among the various Catholic versions of Holy Scripture. The Revised Standard Version of the Bible has a well-balanced combination of scholarship and beautiful language. It is one of the versions listed in The Book of Divine Worship to be used in the Anglican Use parishes, and it is likely to be used as a standard in the Ordinariates.

Some years ago, Ignatius Press published a two-volume Revised Standard Version Three-Year Lectionary. Many of the Anglican Use communities have been using this lectionary, and have found it to be an inspiring and beautiful complement to our liturgy. The text is able to be chanted in a dignified way, and it very much carries on in the tradition of the old Authorized Version of Holy Scripture.

Volume One has 1044 pages and contains the Masses for Sundays and the Holy Triduum. It also contains the Masses for Solemnities of the Lord. It includes an Introduction and a table of Moveable Dates, as well as a Table on the arrangement of the Second Reading on Sundays. There is an Index of Readings, and Index of Responsorial Psalms and an Index of Alleluias and Acclamations before the Gospel.

Volume Two has 2438 pages. This volume contains the following: the Proper of Seasons, the Proper and Common of the Saints, Ritual Masses, Masses for Various Needs, Votive Masses and the Masses for the Dead. There is also a table giving the arrangement of First Readings on the Weekdays. The volume contains four indices: an Index of Readings for the year; an Index of Readings for the special Masses, an Index of Responsorial Psalms and an Index of Saints.

I’m pleased to announce that Our Lady of the Atonement parish has managed to obtain the entire stock of the Ignatius RSV Lectionary, and can provide these two-volume sets at a very low cost. Originally listed at $270.00, we are able to make each set available for just $100.00. The books are beautifully bound in red with embossed covers, making them suitable for carrying in procession. Printed on cream-coloured paper, the print is well-sized for ease of reading.

I have corresponded with the leadership of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, and Msgr Keith Newton would like to obtain copies of the RSV lectionary for the Ordinariate groups there. As we know, the financial situation of the Ordinariate of OLW is difficult at this beginning stage, and I have told Msgr Newton that I would seek to obtain donations so that we can provide fifty sets of the lectionary at no cost to them.

Could you help? If you are able to give a lectionary, it will go to a specific Ordinariate group, and I’ve asked that the priest might offer a Mass for your intentions. This would be great way to forge a bond between you, as an Ordinariate supporter, and one of the Ordinariate groups – and what a privilege it would be to provide a lectionary that will be used at every Mass being offered.

If you would like to purchase one of the two-volume sets for yourself, your parish, or for one of the English Ordinariate groups, please email me at, and I'll send you the details about payment and shipping.

Author: Fr. Christopher Phillips

Fr. Christopher G. Phillips is the pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he has served for the past twenty-eight years. He is the founding pastor of the first Anglican Use parish, erected in 1983 under the terms of the Pastoral Provision. Fr. Phillips was ordained as an Anglican for the Diocese of Bristol, England, in 1975. After serving as Curate for three years at St. Stephen Southmead, he returned to the United States and served in two Episcopal parishes in the Diocese of Rhode Island. In 1981 he left the Episcopal Church and moved with his family to Texas, where he was subsequently ordained as a Catholic priest in 1983. Fr. Phillips and his wife, JoAnn, have been married for forty years. They have five children, all grown and married, and three grandchildren.

37 thoughts on “The Ignatius Lectionary”

  1. Emails are beginning to come in, and I'm impressed with the response already. The lectionaries are in transit to us, and when they arrive I will respond to all those who have requested copies, giving further details — to whom payment can be made, getting your shipping address, etc. I am investigating the cheapest way to ship the books out to you, and there will probably be a modest shipping fee, which I'm sure everyone understands. I have to depend on my own parish staff to take care of getting the shipments prepared and sent out, and we're happy to donate the cost of the personnel to do that, but help with actual shipping costs will be appreciated.

    I'll include all that in an email to those who are placing orders.

      1. Couldn't they all? I mean, I'm pretty sure Ignatius Press didn't publish these things with just the Anglican Use in mind, if they thought of it at all.

        Fr. Phillips is right, by the way – this is an excellent study Bible. My rector brings it to Bible study with him. And we both prefer the RSV as being the most accurate translation available, and as most faithful to the spirit of the King James. It was the first Bible to be used by both Catholics and Protestants. In the sixty years since, we haven't really improved on it.

        1. Others have beaten me to the answer. In the USA, only the NAB translation is approved for liturgical use in the Ordinary Form of the Latin Rite. I don't know about the Ignatius version, but I believe that the RSV in general is approved for liturgical use in other English-speaking countries.

          1. What would happen to a grownup priest and congregation who persisted in using the superior but unapproved version?

            1. They would be called "Protestants." To be Catholic is to admit that we are not, in fact, grown up, and to be obedient to our Mater et Magistra the Church.

            2. LBS, I suggest that you read the Rule of St. Benedict for a very helpful (at least I found it so) understanding of holy obedience, even when we're sure that we "know better."

        2. Some would say that the New American Standard Bible is the most technically accurate English translation of the Hebrew and Greek texts, though I won't argue with your statement that the basic RSV is "most faithful to the spirit of the King James."

          The Catholic Church does have some problems with some of the text of the RSV, which is why it came up with the Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition. There are differences in the text in theologically significant passages here and there, in addition to including the Duterocanonical books, which the Catholic Church correctly insists are inherent parts of the Bible.


      2. I'd love to see the American bishops jettison the NO for the BDW and the Ordinariate's forthcoming liturgy too, but I fear that is just a dream never to be realized.

        1. Probably pie in the sky, Athanasius. However, the lay faithful may do that to some degree, by voting with their feet. Not to use an inappropriate metaphor, but I really think the Holy Father is embracing a free-market approach to the liturgy. As the NO now no longer has a monopoly (with the liberation of the EF and expansion of the AU), only what is truly valuable in each will remain.

        1. Tom ,
          That is an old article, and while I wish it were the case, when the most recent version of the lectionary was promulgated, it was promulgated with the proviso that it was to be the only one in use. At the time (ca. 2000?) Fr. Stravinskas tried to argue that, since the request for its authorization did not ask for it to be the sole version, one could still use the RSV. However, this contention received a negative reply from the USCCB in 2006. So, at the present time, the only English translation authorized by the bishops for liturgical use in the Latin Rite in the U.S. (outside of the Anglican Use parishes, who have special permission) is the present NAB lectionary.

    1. I would like to order the 2 vol. Set of the Ignatius RSV lectionary. Can you pls. Advise how I may do this. Thank you. Fr. Jim

  2. "For better or for worse" (I opine "for worse," because I have always had a preference for the Revised Standard Version/original or Second Catholic Edition–especially over the New American Bible, Revised or "unrevised" Edition , but the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy has explictly disapproved the Ignatius Press' RSV/2CE Lectionary (the only place in the English-speaking world where it is approved for liturgical use is the English-speaking area of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean):

    Approved Editions of the Lectionary for Mass
    The Secretariat has recently received many inquiries
    concerning the use of an edition of the Lectionary
    for Mass based on the Revised Standard Edition of
    the Scriptures and available from Ignatius Press.
    This Lectionary has not been approved for use in the
    Dioceses of the United States of America. Only the
    New American Bible edition of the Lectionary for
    Mass, published in 1998 and 2001 may be used at
    celebrations of the Liturgy in this country.
    –BCL Newsletter, Volume XLII, April 2006

    1. Yes, I think most of us are aware that this is not approved for use in the dioceses in this country; however, the exception was made for the parishes of the Anglican Use, and the RSV is mentioned specifically in the rubrics of the BDW as being a version which can be used. Now, with the advent of Anglicanorum coetibus, it appears highly likely that this will be the usual standard for the lectionary within the Ordinariates.

        1. After serving at the altar and reading the lessons at the Daily Offices as well as the Epistle at Mass (all from the RSV), I now lector (among other things) at my RC parish. Being rather familiar with so much of Holy Scripture, I often find the NAB style surprising, perhaps a bit trite, and cumbersome. It certainly requires some careful rehearsal in advance.
          Let us pray that, over the next few decades, the Church will come to increasingly appreciate this great gift of God, the Liturgy, and with greater understanding and truthful presentation, we may find the way to true holiness.

    2. "(the only place in the English-speaking world where [RSV/2CE] is approved for liturgical use is the English-speaking area of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean)"

      I believe several African conferences are introducing this Lectionary next year as well.

    3. At the risk of being the conspiracy theorist, it's worth noting that the copyright to the NAB is owned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. To approve any other edition (especially a superior one like the RSV with which parishes would clamor to replace the NAB) sure would result in a major loss of monopoly income to the USCCB…

  3. Oddly enough, in many places when the Tridentina is celebrated, the priest, after the Credo, reads the Epistle and Gospel from the old Douai-Rheims before he preaches. I have no idea if the Douai is or will be permissable with the Book of Divine Worship. I wonder if Rome will allow a 'Catholic' edition of the AV. Same about the Coverdale Psalter. Oddly enough, when Rome revised the liturgical Psalter during the '40s, they did follow Coverdale in some respects.
    Concerning Latin Psalters, I add some notes for you. The German Bible Society edition of the Vulgate provides two Psalters: the Gallicanum (the liturgical Psalter done from the Septuagint) and the Hebraica (done by Jerome from the Hebrew). The Biblioteca de los Autores Cristianos edition of the Sixto-Clementine provides two Psalters: the Gallicanum mentioned and the revised liturgical Psalter mentioned above.
    A delightful extra: the BAC edition of the Sixto-Clementine provides a rendering of the Song of Solomon, arranged to be sung by solo vioces and chorus. This is delightful. The Matthews Bible also rendered it in this manner.

    In +,


    1. Yes, Mr. Marder, but, as you probably know, but others may not realize from your post, while it is permissible to read the lessons in the vernacular at a mass according to the liturgy of 1962, only approved translations can be used. In the U.S. only the NAB can be used in place of the Latin lessons. Practically this means that the lesson is always read in Latin at masses according to the 1962 liturgy. The reading of the "lesson" before the sermon is part of the sermon, not the liturgical proclamation of the lesson, and there the preacher can, at his discretion, read any translation he wishes, even one of his own composition, as long as the content is orthodox, because this is part of the sermon — he is actually preaching, elucidating the liturgical lesson, and NOT liturgically proclaiming the lessons. The same rule would apply in the ordinary form of the Roman Rite, one could read the lesson in Latin (the Neo-Vulgate is the Latin text used in the OF) or from the NAB lectionary, but then as part of the sermon, give a different translation, as a means of elucidating that which has already been proclaimed liturgically.

      1. I might add that he can also pray during the sermon, usually at its end. This accounts for the verncular bidding prayers that are commonly found in mediaeval sources. An example of this is found in the bidding prayer in the 1928 Prayer Book, and a similar example is found in the canons of the Church of England. French Catholic books of the 17th and 18th centuries also provide a number of interesting examples. I would additionally note that the possibilities for announcements and for a bidding prayer in covered in the rubrics of both prayer books. The old pattern (not always well brought out by the BCP rubrics) would be for the priest at the end of the sermon to announce any feast days or fasts, the banns of marriage, and any other upcoming needs or concerns of the congregation, the principle being that only those things should be announced that are worthy of the congregations's prayers. Then the bidding prayer(s) proper are read, with some kind of congregational response. In the Middle Ages this was a Pater and an Ave after each petition. This was all part of the sermon, and therefore from the earliest days was always in the vernacular. Those with a little bit of creativity will see the possibilities inherent in this point and the one made in my previous post.

      2. Mike,

        Actually, I have had the experience of many parishes that celebrate the EF to use the 1964 Lectionary with the old Confraternity translation. The NAB readings simply do not translate what is in the Vulgate and I do not know of any parish that celebrates the EF to use the NAB readings. In fact, I recall seeing on a Catholic website a picture of a bishop celebrating the EF using the 64 Lectionary!

        In any event, I hope Father Phillip's "plan comes together!"

        1. Well, while I think it is a better translation, if he was using the Confraternity version in place of the Latin text, then what he was doing was not legal. I wish it were legal, but the norms for Summorum Pontificum state that only vernacular versions currently approved for use in the liturgy by the bishops can be used as liturgical readings. Locally with the 1962 missal, the priest reads the lesson in Latin, then reads the Douai-Rheims translation (or sometimes another version, I am not sure which, but it has thee's and thous'and it isn't the KJV or Douai-Rheims) at the beginning of the sermon.

          1. Mike, with all due respect, I have not met anyone, and I repeat, anyone, who uses the NAB translation with the EF liturgy. The 1964 Lectionary, designed to go with the 1962 Missal, is an approved translation by Cardinal Spellman and the 2006 ruling, in those pre-Summorum Pontificum days, was in regards to the OF only — no one imagined when it was issued that it would be applicable to the EF and I think a good case could be made against the 2006 ruling being applicable to the EF. Those EF masses that I have attended have used this 1964 lectionary.

            If you are willing to open a can of worms, why don't you ask your priest about this? I am sure there is a divergence of opinion on this issue, and I am not saying that I am right. As for the Douai-Rheims, I do not know if this was ever approved to be used as a vernacular translation, though it is found in many older hand missals. Again, why use the Douai-Rheims, if you have the approved 64 Confraternity lectionary?

            I have found that many traditionalists, so called, have a prejudice against things from 1964, such as the Collectio Rituum, etc, all because they come out post-1962.

            As a personal opinion, I have always preferred the Confraternity version to the RSV. The RSV is nice, but it is not all that and a bag of chips.

            In peace,


  4. The Catholic Edition of the Revised Standard Version, the edition copyrighted in the United States in 1965 &1966, is a very good translation. It is much better than the New American Bible. The RSV-CE maintains the dignity of its precursor, the King James Bible (400 years old this year), with the honorific forms for addressing the deity. Yet, at the same time, its language is more contemporary with our time, so as to make it readily "understood of the people".

    1. I agree. The NRSV-Catholic Edition is really nice and it is the text chosen for the superb Navarre Bible (in my humble opinion, the nicest Catholic study bible out there.) It is nice to have alongside the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible – New Testament since the notes in both cover different concerns. The ICSB notes are more historical, and the Navarre Bible's notes are more magisterial with comments from magisterial documents, writings of saints, especially patristic fathers, Ss Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Josemaria Escriva, among others.

      At this time, though, as I understand it, the RSV-CE is only approved for "private use and study," not for liturgical use.

      + Irl Gladfelter

        1. That was a typographical error. I meant the RSV – that is the RSV-Second Catholic Edition, which is the text used for the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament and the (English Language) Navarre Bible.

          Don't get me started on the New Revised Standard Version, which, in my humble opinion, is not at all good for anything.

          Thanks for catching the typo. Proofreading is not my long suit.

          Blessings and Peace,
          + Irl

  5. A new translation of the "New American Bible," the "New American Bible – Revised Edition" was published earlier this year (2011,) with a rescript signed by Francis Cardinal George authorizing it "accord with Canon 825 #1" "for private use and study." It is available now from Saint Benedict Press in the U.S., and from Good Will Publishers in Canada. It will no doubt be soon available from other publishers. I have a copy, and really like it!

    In some places the text is closer to the Latin Vulgate, so I suspect this may eventually be approved for liturgical use by the USCCB if and when a new Lectionary text is authorized to go with the Roman Mass 3rd Edition.

    + Irl Gladfelter

    1. Interestingly, the bishops of the U.S. approved the Revised Grail Psalms (2010) as the 'standard' version for all liturgical use. The recently released edition of the Roman Missal uses that version and presumably as all the other liturgical books from the Lectionary for Mass to the various ritual books are revised like the new Missal was to better reflect the Latin, these Grail Psalms will likewise be incorporated.

  6. The Ignatius Lectionary uses the RSV *Second* Catholic Edition, right, with the archaisms modernized? The RSV-2CE is interesting. Its editors (who have never been revealed) used as their source text the 1965 RSV-CE, which obviously does not incorporate the Greek manuscripts found afterward and used for the revised RSV NT published in 1971. Oxford UP published an updated RSV-CE in 1971 with the updated NT. So, there are really two parallel updates to the 1965 RSV-CE; the Oxford one, which incorporates better sources, but has all the archaisms, and the RSV-2CE, with slightly modernized language but out of date source texts.

    Plus, it's not like the RSV editors didn't know they were using archaisms at certain points in their translation–mainly when God is being addressed directly–and using them in sentences that were themselves conjugated in a more stately "register" than modern English generally tolerates. All Ignatius did was take out the thees and thous, but left rather lofty sentence structures all around them. So, the register of the language is disjointed at points. The ESV editors did a far better job of smoothing out the prose, in my opinion, but they also added in very weak language around the discussion of the office of bishops and the status of the Church.

  7. Very good catch, Brian M. I, personally, would strongly prefer the 1971 RSV-CE over the Ignatius "Second Edition," though the Second Edition RSV is itself superior to the NAB lectionary.

    And, at the risk of making an overly polemical point, were the editors of the Second Catholic editions the same editors from Vox Clara who believed that they understood the English language and classics better than the redoubtable Bruce Harbert?

  8. The 2nd edition of the RSV is the most accurate of the literal translations. Yet it too mistranslates Romans 3: 21-26 — admittedly a dense and difficult passage.

    v. 22 is translated "the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe" (emphasis added). The Greek is "the righteousness of God through faith of Jesus Christ unto all who believe."

    v.25 RSV: "whom God put forward as expiation by his blood to be received by faith". The Greek (roughly): "whom God put forward as expiation through faithfulness [or: "through the faithfulness"] in his blood". I agree with the RSV that the "in his blood" phrase likely modifies "expiation" rather than "faith", inasmuch as Paul is referring to the lid of the Ark of the Covenant, called in Hebrew and the LXX's Greek "The expiation", translated by Luther as "Gnadenstuhl" and by the AV as "the Mercy Seat". The High Priest sprinkles the blood of the animal onto the lid to expiate for sins.

    V26. RSV: "it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus". The Greek: "to prove at the present time that himself is righteousness and is justifying him out of the faithfulness of Jesus.

    The RSV, otherwise a good translation, follows the Protestant teaching on justification by means of the believer's faith. Alas, most Catholic translations into English translate in the same way. Yet the text can also be interpreted to mean that it is Jesus who has the faithfulness (to the Father) and it is in His blood itself that the faithfulness is found, not in the believer's subjective "faith". I agree that genitives ("of Jesus") are ambiguous. And I follow the New Perspective(s) on Paul that in this passage pistis is best translated not "faith" but "faithfulness".

    Still, until we get something better, the 2nd ed. of the RSV is the best.

  9. Father, I would like to buy the whole set of the RSV Lectionary. What is the method of payment? I'm from St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park California. Thank you and hope to receive a reply from you. God bless.

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