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02 Dec 2016 Articles Comments (1)

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Should I complain to the bishop about a priest’s changing the words of the Mass reading?

Full Question

At Mass last Sunday the lector ignored the beginning of the Scripture passage in Ephesians 5:24-33: “Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be subject to their own husbands in everything” and began with the section on the duties of husbands. When I questioned the lector, she said she eliminated it because it was offensive to women. I later found out that the priest gave her permission, and apparently this is not the first time he has given such instruction. Should I contact the bishop?


If you want to contact a bishop about this, always make mention of the bishop’s authority and your obedience to him as Christ’s representative. Give him full particulars: details of the censorship, date, time of service, the name of the parish, and the name of the celebrant if you know it. And pray: Pray for the bishop, for the priest involved, for the lector, for all those who seek to censor the word of God.

Pray also that they come to understand the deep spiritual significance of submission. Only through that submission can anyone find the true joy and wholeness and peace of Jesus Christ.


  1. sixthromeo Reply

    A reading of the Liturgy of the Word can omit whatever parts of the New or Old Testament as it is wished. This event is less offensive than the evangelization of the commentary of Paul which is done by most Christians instead of the evangelization of the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The “Mass” is really the Liturgy of the Eucharist, here we have a difference and the words of the consecration can change as quickly and often as the weather. You can, however, express yourself as much as the Pharisee which Jesus really didn’t appreciate.

  2. CJ Reply

    Sorry friend (above) – from which point of the catechism or church doctrine are you making this point? By what authority are you saying God’s word can be changed or portions editorialized?

    My understanding is that feeding on God’s word (and not just the portions that happen to suit us) is necessary preparation to feeding on Christ. The entire Mass is significant and necessary. Bless you.

  3. s Reply

    Biblically and prudently, we should always go to the priest first to try to work it out. Practically speaking, we wouldn’t want someone to go to our “boss” before giving us a chance to make it right.

  4. Fr. John Cummings Reply

    For that particular reading the Lectionary gives the option of a “long form” of the entire passage Ephesians 5:21-32 or a “short form” 5:2a, 25-32. If the Lectionary offers the option approved by the USCCB and subsequently ratified by the Holy See, then it is a legitimate option. My Lectionary listed both the “long form” and the “short form”.

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