What’s better?

On Facebook I saw a traditional Roman Catholic challenge Cardinal Sarah’s assertion in this article that the three year lectionary is superior to the one year, and that this is a widely held position. The person involved obviously disagreed with the assertion that it was a widely held position. Now, after reading the article myself, it becomes clear that Cardinal Sarah did not directly make the assertion, but the author of the article. Further, the articles reads,


Sarah proposes that efforts be made to have a shared calendar and a shared lectionary, so that both the EF and OF would celebrate more feasts together and have the same Scripture readings at Mass.

That poses a twofold challenge. First, it requires the EF community to acknowledge that some aspects of the OF, particularly its reformed calendar and its lectionary – which includes far more Scripture than the EF one – are actual improvements and possible enrichments for the EF.

Not exactly the same thing. So, without letting this be a post without a point, let me discuss the question of the lectionary itself.

I use a single year lectionary in my parish. I am quite fine with this, as I feel that stretching it out over three years takes away from the formative aspect (as it takes longer to cycle through and I don’t buy the argument that throwing more scripture at people will make them learn more scripture), and a three year lectionary means that one would need to re-do the minor propers (not an issue if you don’t use them, but my parish does).

On the other hand, I like some aspects of the new lectionary. For instance, the inclusion of an old testament lesson. We get around this by having Morning Prayer immediately before one mass and just inserting the OT lesson from Morning Prayer before the Epistle at the second mass. I think that since both Testaments are critically important one ought to preach on both Testaments.

Regardless of which lectionary is used, however, we need to remember that both lectionaries are intended to teach the faith and therefore, to introduce people to Jesus.


As an aside, Cardinal Sarah is the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (Roman Catholic Church), and is the author of Christ’s New Homeland – AfricaGod or Nothing, and The Power of Silence- Against the Dictatorship of Noise.


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