Denver Newsroom (CNA) — The U.S. bishops’ conference decreed that in the translation of the conclusion of collects in the Roman Missal, “one” is to be omitted before “God.” The conclusions will now read “God, for ever and ever.”
The decision follows a letter sent in May 2020 to Anglophone episcopal conferences by Robert Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, addressing a concern about the English translation.
A February 4 note from the USCCB’s Committee on Divine Worship said the correction was to take effect in the dioceses of the U.S. from February 17, Ash Wednesday.
Until now, in the conclusions to collects the Latin words Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum had been rendered in English as “one God, for ever and ever.”
The committee’s note said that Cardinal Sarah had observed that “there is no mention of ‘one’ in the Latin, and Deus in the Latin text refers to Christ…. The Cardinal Prefect has pointed out the importance of affirming this Christological truth amid the religious pluralism of today’s world.”
The note added that English hand missals that preceded Vatican II “reflected the corrected translation…; however, when the post-conciliar texts were published in English, the word ‘one’ was added.”
The USCCB committee wrote in its February 4 note that it “should be noted that when the translation of the Missal currently in use was in progress, ICEL pointed out the discrepancy to the Congregation in Rome, but was told to retain the use of ‘one God’ in the new translation.”
The note said that the Latin rite bishops of the U.S. have voted to amend the country’s version of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal to reflect the change, and that it has been confirmed by the CDW.
The most common formula, used when a collect is addressed to the Father, will read: “Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.”
The change is in harmony with the bishops’ conferences of England and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, as well other English-speaking territories.
The same change was effected by the English and Welsh bishops, beginning November 29, 2020. The decree of the English and Welsh bishops’ conference said that “The addition of ‘one’ before ‘God’ in the conclusion of the Collects could be construed as mistaken and problematic. ‘Deus’ here refers to the earlier mention of ‘the Son’ and is a Christological, anti-Arian affirmation, and not directly Trinitarian in this context.”
The addition of “one” before “God” “could serve to undermine the statement of the unique dignity of the Son within the Trinity,” or “could be interpreted as saying that Jesus is ‘one God,’” an explanatory note to the English and Welsh decree stated.