USCCB Now Owns the Revised Grail Psalter

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has purchased the copyrights to the Revised Grail Psalter, along with the Old Testament and New Testament canticles, from Benedictine Conception Abbey. Under the title Abbey Psalms and Canticles, it will be used in all official liturgical books such as the Missal, Lectionary, and the Liturgy of the Hours.

Abbot Gregory Polan, OSB, now the head of the Benedictine order in Rome, headed up the translation work beginning in 1998. The Holy See approved the psalter text submitted by the U.S. bishops in 2010, but unfortunately after making several “corrections” to the submitted text. The U.S. bishops then approved a revised version in 2016, which Rome approved this past May. The text of the canticles was also approved, meaning that the definitive form of both psalms and canticles is achieved, at least theoretically.

As Pray Tell reported, previously the copyright on the Revised Grail Psalms was held jointly by The Grail, England, and Conception Abbey, but administered by G.I.A. Publications, Inc. For background on the Revised Grail Psalter, see Paul Inwood’s excellent article previously published at Pray Tell.

The USCCB notes that the guidelines of Liturgiam authenticam are being followed in this purchase, in that conferences are to possess all the necessary rights for texts used in the liturgy.


  1. 341 changes, and I’m not convinced this is significantly better than the last “new” psalms-and-canticle translation we had 25 years ago. That said, I do use it. And the other too.

  2. The problem now is that no one has yet been allowed to see the final translation, which as stated above has been ready since May 2018, because of the issues of copyright ownership. The US Bishops not only reversed the changes that SCDWDS introduced into Abbot Polan’s 2008 “final” text but added other changes of their own for singability, etc. It is these latter changes that have not yet been seen.

    Some commentators have posted in other forums that music settings using RGP that have been published in the past eight years can now be freely used because they set the final text. This is completely untrue. Those settings use the 2010 Rome-corrected text before the reversion to 2008. They do not include the USCCB additional changes because, as already stated, no one knows what those are. It may be that composers and publishers will have to make modifications to their settings to bring them into line with the final text.

    A further ramification has yet to reveal itself. Wherever the current Roman Missal antiphons quote directly from the psalms, the 2010 RGP text is used (first pointed out by me on Pray Tell). The new modifications may mean that some of those antiphons no longer concord totally with the final psalter text. Will this mean that revised editions of the current missal will become necessary? We do not yet know.

    1. Paul,

      Thanks for your work on this topic. Could you tell us how the Ecumenical Grail Psalter fits into all this? Considering that it was never subject to any hierarchical alterations, is it more closely related to the official 2010 text, or to Abbot Polan’s original version?

      1. Doug,

        The EGP is what Abbot Gregory would have published for the RC Church if he had not had the strictures of SCDW to deal with.

    1. Not yet, as far as I am aware. It will be interesting to see if they made use of the original Grail Breviary Psalter, which contained all the OT and NT canticles, as the basis for their work. I fear the answer may be No.

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