Rorate Caeli

Notes and events

1. Father Robert Pasley, Rector of the Mater Ecclesiae Personal Parish in Berlin, New Jersey, announces the following event:

The eighth annual Solemn Assumption Mass, hosted by Mater Ecclesiae parish, Berlin, NJ, will be celebrated at 7:00PM on Friday, August 15 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Broadway and Market Streets, Camden, NJ. Dr. Timothy McDonnell, Director of Music at Ave Maria University, Naples Florida, will conduct the polyphonic music for the Mass and Mr. Nicholas Beck, the Music Director of Mater Ecclesiae, will lead the Gregorian Propers of the Mass.

The musical selections are as follows: The Ordinary of the Mass is the Messa della Cappella (1641), by Claudio Monteverdi. Other selections: Canzon XII a 8, Giovanni Gabrielli; Sonata Sopra “Sancta Maria”, C. Monteverdi; Venite Populi and Sonata #12 in C major, K 263, W.A. Mozart; Pulchra est amica mea, Palestrina-Bassano; Ave Maria, Harold Boatrite; Hymns – Repeat My Soul, Walter Greatorex and Sing We of the Blessed Mother, Timothy McDonnell. The preacher of the Mass is Father John Zuhlsdorf, a renowned commentator and the author of the Blog, “What does the Prayer Really Say.” We are also honored to have in attendance, a long time friend of Mater Ecclesiae and pastor of St. Athanasius Parish, Phila., the Bishop Elect of the Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, Reverend Monsignor Herbert Bevard.
2. On the new directives of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments regarding the ineffable Name of God: another problem which the Traditional Roman Rite never had...

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

The CDW directive on the name of God seems to be based on a theologically erroneous principle. Because being God Himself, Christ has every right to mention that Name: indeed it was His use of that name that was the occasion of Caiphas call for His capital punishment.

Being incorporated into Christ Jesus, and knowing God, no longer through veils and types, but face to face and in truth, we Catholics have every right to use this name in our prayers and songs, and it is pleasing to the Most Holy Trinity, whose name this is, to do so. To say otherwise is to subordinate the New Testament to the limitations of the Old.

I would appreciate any quotes from the Fathers of the Church which show a consensus against using this Name. I personally recall no Saint or Doctor whom I have read every mention such a scruple for Catholics.

Br. Alexis Bugnolo
www.franciscan-archive.org

Jordanes said...

Well, this new CDW directive is most welcome. It's about time that the Church reclaimed her longstanding tradition of not transliterating or pronouncing the Tetragrammaton in her liturgy and her translations of Holy Scripture.

Because being God Himself, Christ has every right to mention that Name: indeed it was His use of that name that was the occasion of Caiphas call for His capital punishment.

The Gospels do not show Jesus pronouncing the Tetratgrammaton. Rather, in Matt. 26:63-66, Caiaphas demands that Jesus say plainly whether or not He is the Messiah, the Son of God. In His response, Jesus said, "You say so, but I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven." That is when Caiaphas says that Jesus had blasphemed and called for His death. Apparently the accusation of blasphemy is based on Christ's not only saying He was the Messiah, the Son of God, but going further and saying that the Son of Man is divine -- not only seated at God's right hand but even coming on the clouds of heaven, language that in the Old Testament refers to atttributes of the divinity. The Jews thought, and still think, that it is blasphemy to believe that God could be incarnate. Anyway, it seems Our Lord proclaimed His divinity in ways that did not involve pronouncement of the Tetragrammaton -- not that He doesn't have the right, but out of condescension towards His audience, I suppose.

Joseph said...

This is a very welcome development, and is at least in line with the thought of the Angelic Doctor. In ST Ia, 13, aa. 9 and 11, Saint Thomas mentions the "Tetragrammaton" as, perhaps, the properly incommunicable name of God. This lack of the divine name being transcribed, is perhaps because in order to have it written Thomas would have had to say it to a scribe, but that is just speculation on my part. At the very least, it shows a reverence for the sacredness of the name. Nicholas of Cusa also uses "tetragrammaton" rather than the transliteration of that name.

Also, there is a long line of thought that holds that having the ability to utter a name gives a certain power over the one named. Obviously, we have only the power to petition things from God, and in His infinite condescension, He has revealed to us His Name and the name of His Divine Son, Our Lord that we might call him by name. We should be very careful about how we use the revealed names of God and should treat them with the reverence they deserve.

Eric G said...

Br. Alexis:

As I understand it, it is not impermissible for Catholics to invoke the divine name, Yahweh, in their discussions or in non-liturgical devotions. In deference to her received Tradition, including the usage of the New Testament authors (the Scriptures are liturgical texts, let us remember), the Church refrains from invoking the Divine Name in her liturgy. I'm not sure what individual Fathers taught, but this directive certainly is consistent, so far as I know, with the liturgical traditions of the Eastern and Western Catholic Churches.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jordanes,

I was refering to Mark 14:62, where Christ Our Lord explicitly ennunciates and pronouces the Name of God, whereupon he is condemend for Death. St. Peter having recounted the gospel to St. Mark, this Gospel is the most authoritative on the narration of the trial, because as we can see from the other gospels, St. Peter was withing eye shot of the proceedings.

Therefore, I beg that you are in error in your reasoning.

Likewise, Joseph, because a book of theology can be bantered about and thrown in the dust bin: therefore it is not necessary or proper to write therein the name of God.

The Question here is the CDW ruling, the text of which we have not seen: if it refers to throwaway missals or the like, then there is reason, but as for using the Name in prayer or song, what Christ did, we can do in prayer, because He Himself taught us to pray using His own words.

All the silly talk about the Name of God being used by protestants, jews, or heretics, to obfuscate the Power of Christ's Name is praeter rem. We pray not to suit the fears or errors of jews or heretics, but in assimilation to Christ.

To assert that there is a moral obligation never to pronounced this Name for Catholics is tantamount to judaizing...because this principle is novel after the Redemption, since we by grace have the God who is thus named dwelling in our hearts, Who has made us His adopted sons, it is our right as His children to speak to Him with His Name, and any fear to do so is from Satan and the spirit of the Antichrist....

Anonymous said...

Eric G.,

You are wrong in saying that the Divine Name is never pronounced in Catholic Liturgy, it has been for many years, and has been thus since the Apostles, because whether you name God by pronouncing "I AM" in Hebrew, or Latin, or Greek, which is done whenever the Gospel of St. Mark is read, then you offend God no more or nor less.

Therefore your argument is specious, because it proceeds from the faulty assumption that a Greek or Latin Liturgy does not have a Hebrew word for reasons other than are necessary.

Assuming as most recent scholars do that the Gospels were written originally in Hebrew, then we can suppose that the Divine Name was named by the First Christians. Perhaps that is one reason why the Jews stoned and killed so many for blasphemy.....

Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Jordanes said...

I was referring to Mark 14:62, where Christ Our Lord explicitly enunciates and pronounces the Name of God, whereupon he is condemned for Death. St. Peter having recounted the gospel to St. Mark, this Gospel is the most authoritative on the narration of the trial, because as we can see from the other gospels, St. Peter was within eye shot of the proceedings.

Certainly there is no denying how authoritative St. Mark’s Gospel is, but even so, all of Scripture is inerrant, so any difference between St. Mark and St. Matthew cannot be a factual contradiction. St. Matthew’s “You say so” and St. Mark’s parallel “I am” are equivalent --- they indicate Christ’s affirmation that He is the Messiah, the Son of God. However, if “I am” is intended as an appropriation of the Divine Name, it still is not a pronunciation of the Divine Name, because the Hebrew word “ehyeh” (“I am”) is not the Tetragrammaton (though it’s grammatically related to it). So we cannot affirm that Our Lord pronounced the Name of God before Caiaphas.

The issue here isn’t whether or not one translates the Tetragrammaton into another language, but whether or not one transliterates and/or pronounces it. The Church’s longstanding tradition in her liturgy and Bible translations has been to substitute another divine title, usually Dominus in Latin or Kyrios in Greek, or perhaps to translate the Name, rather than to transliterate the Hebrew consonants.

To assert that there is a moral obligation never to pronounce this Name for Catholics is tantamount to judaizing.

There’s no moral obligation never to pronounce the Name, as if doing so would necessarily violate the commandment against taking the Lord’s name in vain, but I think it is a matter of respect for prior Catholic tradition, motivated by the desire not to use the Name carelessly or casually.

Jordanes said...

FYI, here's the CNS story about this directive:

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0804119.htm

Anonymous said...

Certainly there is no denying how authoritative St. Mark’s Gospel is, but even so, all of Scripture is inerrant, so any difference between St. Mark and St. Matthew cannot be a factual contradiction. St. Matthew’s “You say so” and St. Mark’s parallel “I am” are equivalent --- they indicate Christ’s affirmation that He is the Messiah, the Son of God. However, if “I am” is intended as an appropriation of the Divine Name, it still is not a pronunciation of the Divine Name, because the Hebrew word “ehyeh” (“I am”) is not the Tetragrammaton (though it’s grammatically related to it). So we cannot affirm that Our Lord pronounced the Name of God before Caiaphas.

Your argument is self contradictory.

Either the Divine Name, which is a spoken word signified by 4 Hebrew Letters, is the entire word thus spoken, or it is reckoned as the 4 letters.

Obviously letters per se are not capable of being pronounced, they are only capable inasmuch as they signify sounds.

We are talking abou the Divine Name. Therefore you must admit that that which the 4 letters signify is either licity to speak or not. If the letters themselves are not licit to write, then some of those there have sinned gravely by writing them: which is absured. If they are not licit to pronounce, then the sound itself is somehow sacred, which is absurd. But if they are sacred inasmuch as they signify a sound which inturn signifies an idea "I am", then whatsoever language Christ used, or whatsoever ancient or common form of the 1st person singular of the present active voice of the verb "to be", He spoke the Name.

Your argument is therefore absurd, illogical, contrary to common sense, lingusitics...though it is a common modern twist on the Scriptures, faulty and erroneous as it is.

St. John Chrysostom, as quoted by St. Bonaventure in his Itinerarium, says that the verb "I am" in Greek is the Divine Name, and Bonaventure the same in Latin. Therefore there is no reason to reserve the Hebrew 4 letters, other than mere superstition, because after the Redemption the Old Law in this regard is modified, not retained as before, such that we like Christ can use that name in prayer, and there is no reason to be scrupulous about it, in cases where we use it with reverence and devotion.

Otherwise we would have to say that the Name of "Jesus" ought never be used, because it is no less a Divine Name...

Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Jordanes said...

Either the Divine Name, which is a spoken word signified by 4 Hebrew Letters, is the entire word thus spoken, or it is reckoned as the 4 letters. Obviously letters per se are not capable of being pronounced, they are only capable inasmuch as they signify sounds.

"Letters" or characters that do not signify sounds are not "letters." Words are not just spoken, they are also read and thought.

We are talking about the Divine Name. Therefore you must admit that that which the 4 letters signify is either licit to speak or not.

In Catholic tradition, it has long been regarded as illicit to casually or carelessly speak the Tetragrammaton aloud, and it has never been the custom to transliterate or attempt to pronounce (attempt, since no one really knows its true pronunciation) the Tetragrammaton in the liturgy.

If the letters themselves are not licit to write, then some of those there have sinned gravely by writing them: which is absurd.

Writing is not the same thing as speaking. Not even the Jews have seen it as illicit to write the Tetragrammaton, when copying their scriptural texts.

If they are not licit to pronounce, then the sound itself is somehow sacred, which is absurd. But if they are sacred inasmuch as they signify a sound which in turn signifies an idea "I am", then whatsoever language Christ used, or whatsoever ancient or common form of the 1st person singular of the present active voice of the verb "to be", He spoke the Name.

Well, the sound itself is sacred, because of Whom it refers to. There is holy speech and there is profane speech. But that doesn't mean it is never permitted to pronounce the Divine Name.

It is incorrect to see "I am" necessarily as the Divine Name, though. Sometimes "ehyeh" or its Greek equivalent, or equivalent in other languages, would refer to God, but usually it would just be the first person present tense conjugation of the verb "to be." We just cannot affirm that Jesus spoke the Divine Name during Him interrogation before Caiaphas, nor does it follow that, if He did, there is something wrong with the Church's ancient custom of not pronouncing the Name in her liturgy.

Your argument is therefore absurd, illogical, contrary to common sense, lingusitics...though it is a common modern twist on the Scriptures, faulty and erroneous as it is.

I don't believe you have understood or accurately represented my argument, which certainly is not a modern twist on the Scriptures.

St. John Chrysostom, as quoted by St. Bonaventure in his Itinerarium, says that the verb "I am" in Greek is the Divine Name, and Bonaventure the same in Latin.

It is the Name, in the sense that it is the basic meaning of the Name --- much as "Descent" or "Descender" would be the basic meaning of Jordanes: but Descent is not the same word as Jordanes, even though they have the same meaning.

Therefore there is no reason to reserve the Hebrew 4 letters, other than mere superstition, because after the Redemption the Old Law in this regard is modified, not retained as before, such that we like Christ can use that name in prayer, and there is no reason to be scrupulous about it, in cases where we use it with reverence and devotion.

I don't think it is appropriate to characterise this ancient Catholic tradition as superstition. I believe it is just an attempt to show God special respect, liturgically or symbolically acknowledging His ineffability and immensity and incomprehensibility.

Anonymous said...

Jordannes,

Since your argument, according to your reckoning, was not understood by me (though I believer to have amply refuted it in toto), why not restate your argument....?

Your politeness without such a restatement, does not seem sincere.

As for the Name of God, your asserting that it is the spoken form of the Hebrew Word and not its linguistic equivalent in any other language is absurd, as if God the Creator of All things, in revealing His Name to Moses intended only the Hebrew form of that Name to be His Name, and not the meaning of that Name. If so, we sin by using any othing linguistic form.

Anyhow, "Jesus" itself is nothing mroe than "Yahwey Saves!" and so we sin by pronoucing that Name too.

Your argument is not even Christian.

Your appeal to Tradition is irrational, since the non use of the Hebrew Word, written or spoken, is as easily explained by the fact that the liturgies are not in Hebrew. To say that there is another reason, is unfounded without some specific precept from one of the Apostles or Fathers of the Church, regarding the new Dispensation and the Use of that name. (By supersitition I was refering not to the tradition, but to your interpretation thereof that the Name can never be pronounced.)

There being no, the CDW has no authority to impose such a scruple, so injurious to the dignity of the redeemed in Christ Jesus, God and Yahweh, Lord!

Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Anonymous said...

Oh, BTW, Father Cornelius Lapide, SJ, in his 17th Cen. Commentarium in Sacram Scripturam, commenting on that passage of St. John, where Our Lord pronounces the Divine Name in the Garden of Gethsemane, says that Our Lord did so to rekindle in their minds the memory of the Name which He revealed to Moses on Mt. Sinai, indicating thereby the reason why, when pronoucning it, licitly, they all were forced to the ground and backwards.

Indeed many writers hold this to be 1 of the miracles worked by Our Lord Jesus during His Passion, to signify both His Divinity and His right to command the powers of nature.

Therefore, it seems to say that Our Lord never uttered this Name to be directly contradictory to the ecclesiastical tradition of interpretation of this passage.

Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Jordanes said...

PDF scans of the CDW letter and directives may be downloaded here:

http://holywhapping.blogspot.com/
2008_08_01_archive.html#7576256839744074657

Anonymous said...

Having read the entire text, I will point out that the CDW instruction takes no theologial position per se, and renders a judgment only regarding the liturgy itself, since none of the texts themselves contain the Hebrew Word for the Divine Name.

As for the regulation concering prayers and hymns sung, if the Cardinal is thinking of only the irreverent ones which do this, then he is perfectly just, but it does not seem that one can take his decision out of historical context and say that it is never licit to do so, reverently. Indeed his argument cites nowhere the Fathers nor specifics, he just states that this is the tradition, and gives no proof.

As for the use of other words in the Septuagint, it was written by Jews not Christians, and thus there is no reason to hold that its usage is definitive in such an extreme sense in the New Convenant.

It is rather very practial to continue using the Septuagint's habit of speech, esp. if you are peaching in Synagogues as the Apostles did for quite some time.

Theologically speaking there is therefore no principle or basis to say that Christians ought never pronounce the Hebrew form whether in prayer or in song. And therefore it seems a stretch to interpret the decree in this fashion. But rather reasonable to understand it as aimed at the irreverent singing of recent years....

Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Jordanes said...

Since your argument, according to your reckoning, was not understood by me (though I believer to have amply refuted it in toto), why not restate your argument....?

I’m sorry, but I thought I did restate my argument. Perhaps not clearly enough. There is no cause to doubt the sincerity of my politeness, though.

As for the Name of God, your asserting that it is the spoken form of the Hebrew Word and not its linguistic equivalent in any other language is absurd,

I did not assert that. I made distinctions among speaking the original Hebrew Word, writing it, thinking it, transliterating it, and translating it. I also distinguished among “I am,” “I AM” (ehyeh), and YHVH. These are related, but not identical.

Anyhow, "Jesus" itself is nothing more than "Yahweh Saves!" and so we sin by pronouncing that Name too.

As I have said before, there is no moral prohibition against pronouncing the Tetragrammaton (or attempting to pronounce it). I am talking about what the Church’s tradition has always been in her liturgy and her biblical translations: her custom has been to substitute another divine title rather than to transliterate or translate YHVH.

Your argument is not even Christian.

That seems an extreme and unwarranted thing to say. How is it not Christian to believe that God’s Name should not be pronounced carelessly or casually? For that is what I have argued.

Your appeal to Tradition is irrational, since the non use of the Hebrew Word, written or spoken, is as easily explained by the fact that the liturgies are not in Hebrew.

Why, then, do the Greek Old Testament texts and the Latin Vulgate almost always use “Kyrios” and “Dominus” instead of translating or transliterating the Tetragrammaton? And why has the Latin Rite’s prayers never translated or transliterated it, instead substituting “Dominus”? After all, YHVH does not mean “lord,” it means “Him-Who-Is.”

To say that there is another reason, is unfounded without some specific precept from one of the Apostles or Fathers of the Church, regarding the new Dispensation and the Use of that name.

Okay, but does not this ancient tradition in the Church’s liturgical and scriptural texts count for something?

(By superstition I was referring not to the tradition, but to your interpretation thereof that the Name can never be pronounced.)

Thank you for clarifying that -- but I have not said the Name can never be pronounced. The discussion here is about liturgical and scriptural traditions and their purpose and value. I do not think it can be argued that the Name can never be pronounced. However, it must never be used casually, and the Church insists that her ancient liturgical and scriptural tradition in this matter be retained and respected.

Oh, BTW, Father Cornelius Lapide, SJ, in his 17th Cen. Commentarium in Sacram Scripturam, commenting on that passage of St. John, where Our Lord pronounces the Divine Name in the Garden of Gethsemane, says that Our Lord did so to rekindle in their minds the memory of the Name which He revealed to Moses on Mt. Sinai, indicating thereby the reason why, when pronouncing it, licitly, they all were forced to the ground and backwards.

While it is clear, I think, that Our Lord identified Himself as YHVH when He said “I AM” in Gethsemane, properly speaking He did not actually say “Yhvh,” but if He spoke Hebrew during that episode, He said “Ehyeh,” which can be a close circumlocution for the Tetragrammaton.

Eric G. said...

Br. Alexis:

You're not your usual self today, I'm afraid.

Arguments from silence do not a valid argument make.

I could care less whether Christ ever invoked the Divine Name, and in any event it seems he only uttered Greek translations of it, e.g., ego eimi. And again, this is not relevant to the argument of the Holy See.

The issue is whether the Church is acting consistently with her tradition in seeing to it that authorized Biblical translations and her liturgical texts. The fact of the matter is that no liturgy on record has ever invoked the Divine Name, except indirectly at best. This doesn't mean that the Church could not alter her liturgy so that it might do so, but she is certainly within her rights to maintain the ancient tradition.

Anonymous said...

Jordannes,

Pardon me then for mistaking your argument.

But in saying that there must be a precept not to use this name in the New Dispensation, for there to be a moral argument and reason never to use it in the liturgy, I am saying that the mere non use of something does not establish the moral principle, since as the CDW explains in the document this results not from a precept or theological reason, but from the use of the Septuagint and the tradition thereof. The Jews did write the Name and the High Priests of hold did pronounce it.

As for your assertion that in John and Mark Our Lord did not pronounce it, it does not seem probable, since you give no reason: you ignore the more sound argument that since God is Spirit and we must worship Him in spirit and truth, that He never intended the Hebrew sound to be solely His proper Name, but rather what it signifies essentially, which according to the Fathers is rendered as "I am", "I am who am", "He who is", etc. or "Being".

This being the case it seems not probable that the non use of the Hebrew Word in non Hebrew Liturgies has any reason but for the fact that they are not in Hebrew, and the Septuagint written in OT times caries the OT tradition.

On the other hand, we have the infallible teaching of St. Paul that the cerimonial precepts which governed under the OT have been abrogated, and indeed these refer to liturgical practices which estabilshed quasi moral norms in the OT, on account of the fact that the Jews of old were not the adopted chidren of God, but only His chosen People.

The new relationship with God in the NT means that though we must still be reverent, our right to use the Name of God is greater and more extensive. Whether we use the name Lord, Christ, Jesus, etc. has not difference before God in this, that they all signify Him, and thus equally refer to Him according to the object of their reference.

Therefore we must be as reverent using any Name of God: indeed St. Francis would not even let scraps of paper with any such words or even sacramental formulae to lie upon the gound.

Therefore it is superscrupulous and thus superstitious to avoid using the Hebrew Word in liturgies, for any other reason other than it is not found in an approved edition of the liturgical books.

Or in other words, the Pope can approve the addition or use of such a Name, because other equivalent Names are already found, by tradition, in the Liturgy, and by divine right, Catholics can use such names in their prayers. Indeed the Catholic priest has a unique right and duty to use such Names, reverently, the use of which will make his prayer more efficacious, as he exercises the priesthood of Christ Himself.

For these reasons, it seems the CDW decree is unfounded in sound theology, and should be regarded as refering to nothing more than the liturgical offices of which it speaks, whereas I do not see how there can be any moral obligation to refuse to use the Divine Name reverently in any form in a song or prayer, or to refuse approval for such a song or prayer on this account.

If the Pope or curia or bishops establishe such laws the correct theological understanding of the dignity of Christians among Christians will be obscured, eroded, and damaged.

Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Anonymous said...

Consider the following commentary from Father Michael Gilligan:

www.americancatholicpress.org/Father_Gilligan_The_Tetragrammaton.html

I found the following excerpt from the above-mentioned commentary interesting:

"Perhaps the most direct prohibition of the use of Yahweh is that found in the Ecumenical Guidelines of the Ecclesiastical Province of Chicago.

"This document says explicitly: 'Even apart from services with the Jews, the public use of the name of the Lord in Hebrew (YHWH) should be avoided.'

"While not normative legislation for the whole United States, this is church law for the Catholics of the State of Illinois."