Cambridge students axe tradition of saying grace before dinner as it is 'too religious'

Students at a Cambridge University college will no longer say their traditional Christian grace before dinner - because it is ‘too religious’.

In a move described as ‘hard to stomach’ by one of their Classics professors, the all-women undergraduates of Newnham College have scrapped the Latin verse and replaced it with a secular version to reflect their multi-faith make-up.

Traditionally diners thanked ‘Jesum Christum dominum nostrum’ which translates as ‘Jesus Christ our Lord’ at the start formal evening meals held once a week in term time.

The new grace, penned by students, reads: ‘Pro cibo inter esurientes, pro comitate inter desolatos, pro pace inter bellantes, gratias agimus’.

It means: ‘For food in a hungry world, for companionship in a world of loneliness, for peace in an age of violence, we give thanks’…

Who are they thanking for these things?

Are those that want to thank the Lord God for their food denied this right now?

Seems like they are still saying grace, just not the older form. Sounds pantheistic to me.

How would that happen? Can they read a person’s thoughts?

My family and I say our blessing when we are out in public. We do the “sign of the Cross” say our blessing out loud and again do the"sign of the Cross". Where two or more are gathered we pray aloud. If my family of seven or when out extended family are at a restaurant we refuse to hide our respect for what God has given us. Only if I am alone do I not say the Blessing out loud. I still do the “sign of the Cross”.

So can those that wish to continue to say the Traditional Blessing out loud still do so? Say if two or more of them are sitting at the same table.

We do this as well - and when a bunch of friends get together we can be quite a sight at a bar on a Friday night all saying the traditional Catholic grace, as well as the prayer for the dead and crossing ourselves, out loud over our fish and chips. And we really don’t care who hears us. :wink: :thumbsup:

Funny thing happened to me yesterday. I was at work and a colleague IMd me to ask if I had a second. He wanted to tell me that he was impressed that I prayed publicly last week at a team luncheon where there were about 70+ people (I also bow my head to pray quietly but cross myself when alone). He was really impressed and went on about it. I told him thank you, but please don’t be impressed, just be inspired. He’s not Catholic (he’s Christian he said, and I had to remind him that Catholics are Christians too :rolleyes: ), but he said that he thinks he’s going to start praying before meals publicly too. :smiley: That pretty much made my day.

So sad to hear the story in the OP. :frowning:


I guess this may have something to do with geography; I know any number of people, Catholics and protestants who consistently say grace before they eat whereever they may be; some cross themselves others don’t. When they are with a group that isn’t saying grace, they will say grace for themselves and cross themselves.

It sounds like the grace being discussed is a formal moment before dinner. I don’t imagine that if someone wanted to say their own grace before or after the community “prayer” that they’d be stopped. But not being a student at Cambridge, who knows.

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