If "Yahweh" is banned, is "Jehovah" allowed?
  • In 2008 the Holy See banned the use of the name of God rendered as "Yahweh" in Catholic worship. Does anyone know whether this also applies to "Jehovah," which is simply a Latinization of the same word? I serve an Anglican Use parish and the psalm this Sunday (Coverdale version) begins "Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord Jehovah." But this would have implications in all Catholic churches when singing, for example, the hymn "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah."
  • I am not sure about the Yahweh to Jehovah changes, but I do know that with the hymn Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah is often changed to Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer if it is even used in the Catholic Church.
  • SkirpRSkirpR
    Posts: 853
    I believe this would also apply to "Jehovah."

    To my knowledge, the verse you quoted ends in "LORD" in the Revised Grail Psalter - the most recent approved for liturgical use in the English-speaking Catholic world. The capitalized LORD indicating the word was originally a reference to the Tetragrammaton.

    The hymn you mentioned should be altered from "Jehovah" to "Redeemer" in Catholic liturgy.
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,727
    We got a letter from the chancery that said no Yahweh or Jehovah in prayers or songs - period. I said, jumping JHVH! BTW, the letter abbreviations (tetragrammatons) may not be used, either.
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  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    Short answer: NO.

    The latter is a latinised form of the former. Neither are permitted to be sung.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,530
    Where's Grumpy Cat when you need him?
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,282
    Where's Grumpy Cat when you need him?


    I keep him pretty busy, so he's not always available.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,530
    I'll see if I can add a Grumpy Cat generator to the comment editor.
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  • PCampbell -
    Which Anglican Use parish do you serve?
  • 'They', being each one banned, should not even be appearing here. Speaking or printing the Holy Name, the Tetragrammaton, is verboten.
  • MJO, let's not go overboard. The sacred name of God has been banned from liturgical use for Catholics, but no such ban exists in normal use.
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  • In fact, the directive on the matter from Cardinal Arinze uses it numerous times.
  • Well, alright, then. But, it would seem, though, that it being so greatly holy that it must not be spoken during the Holy Mysteries, it should not be spoken at other times. It is either too holy to speak (which is very biblical) or it isn't.
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,727
    Nah, the directive just wanted Dan Schutte to stop using it. ;-) Sing a new song...
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  • But, it would seem, though, that it being so greatly holy that it must not be spoken during the Holy Mysteries, it should not be spoken at other times. It is either too holy to speak (which is very biblical) or it isn't.


    That's fair, and I think it requires consideration by each person. Personally, I don't find it comes up much. In the context of this thread, whether the Latin translation should carry the same respect as the Hebrew, I think it's pretty fair use.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,727
    I think English speakers don't often use either name, Hebrew or Latin, for whatever reason. What about other names of God? I Am, Lord, God, Jesus, the Christ, and so on. There are over 100 names of God given in the Bible. Are those not covered by the ban?
  • SkirpRSkirpR
    Posts: 853
    The directive in question from the CDW: http://old.usccb.org/liturgy/NameOfGod.pdf
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  • The tetragrammaton has always been given special reverence, starting with the Jews. They would use Adonai, but not YHWH. It has special significance as the name given by God to Moses. I can understand why the name has special significance; I'm just not sure that translations of that name should carry the same reverence, especially to non-Jews. After all, we don't avoid the words "I AM" in English, though that is the direct translation.
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  • But, it DOES seem fitting that there should be at least one thing which we should be presumptuous beyond the pale even to utter because of its holiness. This is a sensitivity and spiritual dimension which we have lost, but which the Jews (and numerous other Semites) have kept.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I would also offer than we have the Christ-given mandate to refer to the Almighty as "Abba," by virtue of Word and Incarnation.
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  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 783
    I always thought the ban was on speaking the name aloud, not on using it in written communication. Of course if that were the case, the name could be written into a musical score--but the song could not be sung out loud--which wouldn't be such a bad idea. ;)
  • The ban is on "us[ing] or pronounc[ing]" the name "[i]n liturgical celebration, in songs and prayers." So a person is free both to write a song using the name and to sing it, provided that you don't do so as part of a liturgical celebration. Conversely, a priest is permitted to use the name as part of his homily at Mass, since it is not a song or prayer.

    Of course, the reasons stated in the letter from Cardinal Arinze probably ought to convince people not to use the name as a prudential matter even where it would be permissible to do so under Church law.
  • Jms1994
    Posts: 3
    Lol @ should not even be appearing here. The name has always been *written* in Hebrew. That was never a problem (unless the thing is to be destroyed or erased).
    It is a false line of reasoning to say that if worship is not holy enough for the name, then ordinary speech is even less worthy. As even the directive advises, it only applies to use in worship and not to personal speech.

    There are three instances in the Coverdale where the name or part of it is written out because of context. The bowdlerized Jehovah occurs twice. The Jah in exsurgat dominus seems not to be censored by the Jews, so it would at least stand to reason that it may be left alone, in good faith, by Ordinariate members, since the directive refers to the adoption of the Semitic tradition of censorship by the Church.