Guidelines for use

A lectionary is a living document for a worshipping community. As such, it should be used with some flexibility. Each year, national/international holidays and events may lend themselves to different readings than those otherwise scheduled in the CCL. Each year, parish or community events may lend themselves to different readings, such as the parish/community feast day, a Baptism during Mass, or a parish/community anniversary liturgy. We encourage the use of religious poetry, or poetry with religious implications, on special feasts such as Easter and Christmas. We encourage the use of sung psalms and/or sung psalm responses where desirable, especially during Advent, the Christmas season, Lent, the Easter season, Pentecost, and special feast days.

If the inclusive lectionary uses a gospel also used in the canonical Sunday lectionary, use of that gospel on the same Sunday is implemented whenever possible.

Gospel readings are coordinated thematically with the New Testament reading and the Hebrew Bible readings whenever possible.

When the language of the psalm is deeply exclusive or promotes violence, revenge, or other values in conflict with Jesus' teaching, the language may be edited or Nan Merrill's rendering of the psalm may be substituted. It is also possible to replace a psalm with other Biblical texts, e.g. a passage from Isaiah, read as a psalm with a refrain, as is done in the canonical lectionary.

In order to accomplish the goal of providing a broad exposure to the Scriptures, canonical gospels are sometimes lengthened or shortened to their essence, or additional shorter gospels, which are thematically or contextually connected by the evangelist, may be combined.

Occasionally, parables with male protagonists are adapted to female protagonists.

Among the biblical readings included in the CCL are "terrible texts" about women, such as the rape Dinah, the rape and dismemberment of the Levite’s concubine, the seduction of Jacob by Tamar, and the rape of David's daughter, Tamar, by her half- brother. Some of these texts are horrific. We include these texts in our lectionary because it's important that believers acknowledge the content of our Bible and because these texts tacitly provide a cultural prerogative for violence against women. For example, "rape must be acceptable because it appears in the Bible which is God's word." The impact of these Biblical texts is often culturally operative despite the ignorance of the text among most members of the culture. When such readings arise in the lectionary, we recommend that the homilist address these readings straightforwardly and connect the reading with contemporary issues (e.g. the rape of women in the U.S.). The canonical Catholic lectionary sometimes includes texts of terrible violence in ancient warfare or texts describing an anticipated ultimate conflict between good and evil. These texts tacitly, if not explicitly, affirm brutality and violence in war as acceptable. This lectionary tends to avoid such texts in order not to promote violence further as a path to God. When or if one of these texts is used, we strongly recommend the homilist address it.