Vatican: thou shalt not sing the name of Yahweh

Catholic News Service:

In the not-too-distant future, songs such as “You Are Near,” “I Will Bless Yahweh” and “Rise, O Yahweh” will no longer be part of the Catholic worship experience in the United States.

At the very least, the songs will be edited to remove the word “Yahweh” — a name of God that the Vatican has ruled must not “be used or pronounced” in songs and prayers during Catholic Masses.

two Vatican officials noted that “Liturgiam Authenticam,” the congregation’s 2001 document on liturgical translations, stated that “the name of almighty God expressed by the Hebrew Tetragrammaton and rendered in Latin by the word ‘Dominus,’ is to be rendered into any given vernacular by a word equivalent in meaning.”

“Notwithstanding such a clear norm, in recent years the practice has crept in of pronouncing the God of Israel’s proper name,” the letter said. “The practice of vocalizing it is met with both in the reading of biblical texts taken from the Lectionary as well as in prayers and hymns, and it occurs in diverse written and spoken forms,” including Yahweh, Jahweh and Yehovah.

(Thanks to A Blogspotting Anglican Episcopalian.)

In other news from the Vatican,

Italian activists have petitioned Pope Benedict to stop wearing his ermine-trimmed hat and cape but a former Vatican official says there are more important issues to address.

Italian activists have petitioned Pope Benedict to stop wearing his ermine-trimmed hat and cape but a former Vatican official says there are more important issues to address.

Benedict has revived the use of clothing, including a white ermine-lined cloak and a similarly adorned hat last worn by Pope John XXIII in the 1960’s.

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  1. Donald Schell

    What’s ironic here is that the name YAHWEH made its way back into the liturgy in the 1960’s through the Roman Catholic Bible de Jerusalem and its English version the Jerusalem Bible. The Protestant ecumenical translators group of the RSV were continuing to use LORD (all caps) wherever the Hebrew had YHWH.

  2. William Gilders

    Catholics who come to miss liturgical use of “Yahweh” will, of course, be welcomed in the Episcopal Church, where they will find “Yahweh” firmly established in our Book of Common Prayer: in “The Song of Moses” (pg 85) and in Pss 68:4 and 83:18 (where “the context requires that the Divine Name be spelled out,” pg 584). This, of course, follows long-standing Anglican practice, since the Coverdale psalter has “Jah” in Ps 68:4 and “Jehovah” in 83:18.

  3. William R. MacKaye

    To me one of the most distressing aspects of the new Roman Catholic English liturgical vocabulary is that it sweeps aside–with no ecumenical consultation whatever–all the careful work of the International Committee on English Texts. And the secular media have made no mention of this whatever.

    It’s not just RCspeak to respond “And also with you” to the greeting “The Lord be with you.” Episcopalians say it. Lutherans say it. And a bunch of other less liturgical churches say it as well. More important, perhaps, we’ve been reciting the Nicene Creed and Apostles’ Creed, the Magnificat, the Nunc Dimittis, and on and on, in the same words. No more.

    Roman Catholic contemporary liturgical English, not too hot in the first place, is about to get worse. And to be that church’s alone.

  4. Derek Olsen

    Yes, William, The Name is in BCP. Oddly my copy didn’t come with the appropriate footnote indicating its proper pronunciation: A-do-nai. So I wrote it in myself…

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