Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Divine Name

It has been widely reported that an instruction from the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship has announced that Catholic liturgy is no longer to used the vocalised form of the Hebrew divine name YHWH (normally rendered `Yahweh` although the vowels are actually not known). The whole document is interesting and can be read here with accompanying letter sent out by the USCCB. This will mean saying goodbye to a small number of hymns, none of which was among my favourites. I always thought it was a cause of scandal that Catholics started using this name so freely, given that the Hebrew tradition has always been that it is never pronounced out of respect for God and instead Adonai or The Lord was used wherever it occurs in Scripture. I remember being told that Cardinal Heenan had assured the Jews that we would never use the name in this way but I have no source for that claim. However using it in the way it has been used in some Catholic hymns gives great offence to Jews. It is also against out own tradition.
Well it`s a start and long overdue. Next in my sights would be those hymns that refer to the Eucharist as `bread and wine`. as in:
`I am with you for all time,
I am with you in this bread and wine`
While I can see the point of Holy Communion under both kinds so many Catholics speak about `taking the wine` that there seems to have been a huge failure of catechesis. At the very least it points to a weak understanding of the nature of the Eucharist. Personally I think it shows Catholics are not really ready for Communion under both kinds and that there should be a re-think. Another problem is that the daily use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion to distribute the chalice renders them somewhat less than extraordinary and they become ordinary. I know the whole extraordinary/ordinary thing has taken on new dimension with talk of the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Roman rite but surely these words don`t mean the same thing.

1 comment:

gemoftheocean said...

Not "receiving the Precious Blood?"

I think it's more an issue of catechesis.

In the eastern rite they receive under both Species all the time.

[I personally, am not a fan of Communion under both kinds in the western rites and many a time have I assisted. Frankly, I don't like the way our deacon does a poor job in cleaning the sacred vessels, for one thing - and another is I'm not happy with the hygene issues in the age of AIDS this presents. If someone with AIDS receives and has loose bleeding gums, and then you get the cup and also have similar issues.... I don't think *either* should receive, but would 100% of people with a health issue refrain? No....... ]