Mass-goers on Ash Wednesday might have detected a change in the wording during The Collect, the short prayer the priest says prior to the First Reading.
If your discerning ear heard the priest say “God, for ever and ever,” instead of “One God, for ever and ever,” it’s not because he made a mistake.
A change in the wording of the conclusion of Collects in the Roman Missal took effect on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17. The change omits the word “one” before “God.”
The change comes after a letter sent in May 2020 to English-speaking Conferences of Bishops by Robert Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, addressing a concern about the English translation. The letter specifically addresses the concluding doxology of the Collects in the Missal, which also appear in other liturgical books.
Up until now, the Latin words “Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum” had been translated in English as “one God, for ever and ever”.
A Feb. 4 note from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship said 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 said.
The Latin rite bishops of the United States have voted to amend the country’s version of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal to reflect the change.
The note went on to read that the use of the word “one” in the Collects “risks suggesting that Jesus became a god independent of the Blessed Trinity and is one god among many … what we pray needs to express what the Church believes, requiring that, in liturgical formulae, we uphold the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity.”
The note also explains that there is no need to purchase a new Missal to reflect the change, and that publishers have been informed of it, so that new editions or reprints will reflect the new translation. It said celebrants can “simply omit the word ‘one’ when offering the prayer.”
(Photo by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness