• Happy Easter, all!

    My wife and I attended Easter Vigil last night, and I noticed that they sang Psalm 51 after the Ezekiel reading. My eyebrows furrowed as I recalled that the Lectionary stipulates that Psalm 51 is for use when there are no baptisms--our parish is quite a large parish, and I glanced over and saw several catechumens, so I wasn’t sure what to think.

    (I mean, the lights were still off, but at least that’s a widespread thing.)

    To my surprise, I checked the Canadian Lectionary and found the following:

    Psalm 42 given without stipulation as to baptisms.

    “Or Isaiah 12 (the response to the Fifth Reading) may be used when baptism is celebrated, if it was not used previously; or Psalm 51 may be used.”

    The Order of Readings says:

    Psalm 42
    vel, quando celebratur Baptisma, Isaiah 12,
    vel etiam Psalm 51

    The above seems to be ambiguous as to whether Psalm 51 may be celebrated when there *aren’t* baptisms, but anyway.

    Then, to make sure I wasn’t just misremembering, I checked my U.S. Sunday Missal. Sure enough:

    Psalm 42 - when baptism is celebrated

    “When baptism is not celebrated, the Responsorial Psalm after the Fifth Reading (Is. 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6) as above may be used; or the following:” (Psalm 51)

    … which I had understood to mean that Psalm 51 is for the non-baptism case. I guess I can see how “or the following” is meant to “escape” the non-baptism stipulation in that phrase; however, usccb.org makes the non-baptism stipulation for Psalm 51 explicit.

    Does anyone know the history here, why the U.S. Lectionary is apparently at near-diametrical odds with the Order of Readings on this one? (And/or: why the Canadians added the stipulation that Isaiah 12 not be repeated?)
  • Here is some history, although no conclusions.

    * In CBW I (1972) it says "If baptism is celebrated, the following psalm [Ps 50/51 vv 12ff] is used in place of 7(a) [i.e. Ps 41]"

    * In the 1978 Lectionary (Jerusalem Bible, Grail 1963 Psalter) it says "...Or when baptism is celebrated, Isaiah 12 (after Fifth Reading) may be used, or" Ps 50/51.

    * In CBW II (1980) it says "One of the following may be sung : [Ps 42-43; Ps 51] or [Is 12] when baptism is to be celebrated this evening and this canticle has not already been sung "

    * In CBW III (1994) it says "One of the following Psalms may be sung" listing only Ps 51 and Psalm 42-43.

    The earlier books use the Vulgate psalm numbering, of course.