The revised Grail Psalter, approved by the US bishops for liturgical use and recently granted recognitio by the Holy See, is copyrighted jointly by GIA and Conception Abbey. This is a rather unique situation: the Church officially requires the use of a liturgical text which is copyrighted by one publisher and one monastery. Jeffrey Tucker has commented on the situation here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here (scroll down below headlines in each case). And see his comments here, here, here, here, and here. I imagine some have tired of Jeffrey’s harping on this issue and perhaps written him off.

But I think he’s right.

I assume good will of all parties here. I don’t see any grand plots or conspiracies. Everyone is out to serve the Church. Abbot Gregory has done excellent work on the Psalter (and here I admit that he shared it with me and asked my feedback a few years ago). GIA is a first-rate publisher (they’re publishing my collection of Latin chant hymns and antiphons as soon as they have the final text of the revised Grail for the English translations). The BCDW (I was on their music committee which recommended the Grail Psalter) and the SCDW are conscientiously trying to provide the best possible liturgical Psalter text in accord with Liturgiam Authenticam.

But it is a problem, I think, when you have to pay a publisher and a monastery to use the Church’s official text.

What’s the solution? I have no idea. It’s complicated on many levels – legal, financial, ecclesiological. I sure hope the train hasn’t already left the station. I sure hope all the concerned parties can put their heads together and find a better way.


Correction: The copyright to the revised Grail psalter is jointly held by the Grail and Conception Abbey. GIA holds no copyright to it. They are, rather, the literary agent who will administer in accord with the wishes of the copyright holders.

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