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The Grail Psalms refers to various editions of an English translation of the Book of Psalms, first published completely as The Psalms: A New Translation in 1963 [a] by the Ladies of the Grail. The translation was modeled on the French La Bible de Jérusalem, according to the school of Fr. Joseph Gelineau: a simple vernacular, arranged in sprung rhythm to be suitable for liturgical song and chant (see: Gelineau psalmody). All official, Catholic, English translations of the Liturgy of the Hours use the Grail Psalms.
The Grail Psalms were already popular before the Second Vatican Council revised the liturgies of the Roman rite. Because the Council called for more liturgical use of the vernacular instead of Latin, and also for more singing and chanting (as opposed to the silent Low Mass and privately recited Divine Office, which were the predominantly celebrated forms of the Roman rite before the Council), the Grail Psalms were utilised as the official liturgical Psalter by most of the English-speaking world.
The Grail Psalms were utilized by ICEL in their translation of The Liturgy of the Hours in 1973. They were also utilized, with some minor alterations, in a parallel translation of the Liturgy of the Hours titled The Divine Office in 1974. As these are the only two officially recognized Roman Catholic translations of the canonical hours in English, the Grail became the de facto liturgical Psalter. Some Episcopal Conferences, such as that of England & Wales, also adopted the Grail for the Responsorial Psalms in the Lectionary for Mass. The Ruthenian Catholic Church, since 2007, has also adopted the Grail Psalms for chanting, in an edition prepared by the Trappist Abbey of the Genesee called The Abbey Psalter.
The ICEL Psalter was meant to replace the Grail Psalms, but the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments did not grant recognitio to the translation, and thus it was rejected for use. In 2001, Pope John Paul II promulgated the encyclical Liturgiam authenticam, which called for a more literal translation of liturgical texts. This led to an interest in updating the Grail. In 2008, Conception Abbey completed a wide-scale revision in accordance with the encyclical, published under the title The Revised Grail Psalms. The 2008 version is used in the ICEL translation of The Liturgy of the Hours published by Paulines Publications Africa, now promulgated for use in every Bishops' Conference of Africa.
In 2010, the Holy See granted recognitio of The Revised Grail Psalms with certain modifications; the current modified edition of 2010 is the one in force for several Bishops' Conferences including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
In the General Assembly of the USCCB of November 2014, the U.S. Bishops voted to adopt a further revision of the Revised Grail Psalms, which if granted recognitio by the Holy See, would constitute another new edition of the Grail Psalms.
Example comparison between the Grail (1963) and Revised Grail (2010)
From Psalm 63 (62):2-9.
|GRAIL PSALMS (1963)||REVISED GRAIL PSALMS (2010)|
|2 O Gód, you are my Gód, for you I lóng;
for yóu my sóul is thírsting.
|2 O God, you are my God; at dawn I seek you;|
for you my soul is thirsting.
- While 1963 is the copyright date for the complete set, some of the psalms were published in other books earlier. For example, the book "Twenty Four Psalms and a Canticle: arranged for singing" has on page 6, "© Ladies of the Grail, (England) 1956". Psalm 2 has slightly different words to the version published in 1963, but Psalms 8 and 22 have the same words.
- "Revised Grail Psalms – GIA Publications". giamusic.com. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- "Buried Treasure Part I - Adoremus Bulletin". 15 March 2001.
- "Liturgical Books In The English Speaking World". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Archived from the original on 14 October 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
- "Abbey Psalter - The Abbey of the Genesee". www.geneseeabbey.org.
- "A New Liturgical Psalter for the United States Would Signal Progress in Reform - Adoremus Bulletin". 15 November 2008.
- "Holy See's 1996 Order to Revoke Imprimatur Revealed in August". adoremus.org. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- "Liturgy of the Hours | Paulines Publications Africa". paulinesafrica.org. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- "Recognitio Received From Rome, Revised Grail Psalter Approved". Archived from the original on 2010-04-23. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- "Bishops Approve Items on Liturgy, Ethical and Religious Directives, Cause for Canonization at General Assembly". www.usccb.org.
- "The Revised Grail Psalms". adoremus.org. Retrieved 17 January 2014.