Does the ban on the word, "Yahweh," apply to settings other than liturgy-worship-music?

I belong to a canonically established Catholic community whose name includes the word, “Yahweh.” The name was arrived at more than 25 years ago after a lengthy period of prayer, discernment, and confirmation. Our community’s named identity has also been ratified and affirmed by high level authorities with proper competence, including the local ordinary, the presiding provincial of a religious order, and other ecclesial officials, along with secular officers from a bank and the US Treasury Department (non-profit status, filings…). In June 2008, Cardinal Francis Arinze’s sent a letter to the world’s bishops in which he instructs them to oversee the replacement of the word, “Yahweh,” with “the Lord” or “God” in liturgical-worship-music settings. Recently, a couple of people have told us that we should change our community’s name. We’re eager to be obedient and humble followers of the Church’s legitimate authority, but we do not take the changing of our community’s name lightly, especially given it’s prayerful and Spirit-guided origins. Those raising the issue include a parish priest and a couple of visiting members of a national leadership council to which our community reports. Although we respect these people, we question their competence with respect to the matter of interpreting the intent or the scope of Cardinal Arinze’s directive, or of the letter sent by US Bishop Arthur Serratelli (chairman of Committee on Divine Worship) to his fellow American bishops. We have read both of these documents. Can you help us with this challenge? Thanks so much. – With reverence for the Most Holy Name of the Most High, “Vir Catholicas”

Does this mean we can ban that awful “hymn” “Yahweh, I know You Are Near…” from our hymnbooks now?:wink:
(What happened to that thread about your pick for the worst or cheesiest hymns?)

It is my understanding that it is only unspeakable during liturgy. Outside of liturgy, it should be fine.

Why the sudden popularity in the word “Yahweh”? Those who really get into this sort of thing say they like it because they want to “get back to the way things were done in the early Church”. Well, I don’t hear them calling for public penances yet- so I don’t think it’s so much a desire to get back to the early Church as it is a desire to rebel against tradition as it was relatively recently (before the late 60’s or so).

If the name was part of a canonically-established community before this instruction was given, it’s probably ok to keep it (the bishop will tell you if it isn’t). It should not be used in the liturgy anymore though- and new communities should avoid it.

See here (pg. 29) for the USCCB’s original announcement and here (pg. 34) for their explanation.

I would like a staff apologist to respond to this important question regarding the scope and intent of Cardinal Arinze’s and Bishop Serratelli’s directives regarding the ban on the use of the word, "Yahweh." The issue is formulated in my original question, which several of you have read and offered comments on. Before asking my question in this Forum, I had already read the original documents – including those pointed to in NEED TO KNOW’s links… I really need to have someone with theological and ecclesial competence speak to the matter because the authoritative answer will be very consequential to the community in question: the answer will mean that a community’s name will either have to change or not have to change, In case the issue in question has been lost, it is not so much about the philology or etymology or linguistics of the Holy Tetragrammaton. It is about the intent and the scope of the 6/29/2008 directive… Here is the issue, as I originally posted it, hoping that one of the staff apologists would be able to reply: ‘I belong to a canonically established Catholic community whose name includes the word, “Yahweh.” The name was arrived at more than 25 years ago after a lengthy period of prayer, discernment, and confirmation. Our community’s named identity has also been ratified and affirmed by high level authorities with proper competence, including the local ordinary, the presiding provincial of a religious order, and other ecclesial officials, along with secular officers from a bank and the US Treasury Department (non-profit status, filings…). In June 2008, Cardinal Francis Arinze’s sent a letter to the world’s bishops in which he instructs them to oversee the replacement of the word, “Yahweh,” with “the Lord” or “God” in liturgical-worship-music settings. Recently, a couple of people have told us that we should change our community’s name. We’re eager to be obedient and humble followers of the Church’s legitimate authority, but we do not take the changing of our community’s name lightly, especially given it’s prayerful and Spirit-guided origins. Those raising the issue include a parish priest and a couple of visiting members of a national leadership council to which our community reports. Although we respect these people, we question their competence with respect to the matter of interpreting the intent or the scope of Cardinal Arinze’s directive, or of the letter sent by US Bishop Arthur Serratelli (chairman of Committee on Divine Worship) to his fellow American bishops. We have read both of these documents. Can you help us with this challenge? Thanks so much. – With reverence for the Most Holy Name of the Most High, I submit to the mind of the Church on this matter under my name as a new Catholic Answers member, Vir Catholicas…’

If you would like a staff appologist to answer, you should post your question in the “Ask an Appologist” forum. You can also call them and speak to someone. The number is on the Catholic Answers page.

If the name of the community was adopted under the advice of “the highest authority” which I assume is the local ordinary or superior general, then it should only be changed under that authority. Ask for a ruling and follow it.

in my former diocese we were instructed over 25 years ago not to use the Name in worship or in names for groups or events, published material and so forth because our area was blessed with a high proportion of Jews, and it was felt possibly because of some objections from their leadership, that what was perceived as too casual use of this Name was offensive to them. At the same time parishes were instructed not to hold public “seder” meals that copied a Jewish ritual, and for the same reason.

Actually, the declaration did not come from Francis Cardinal Arinze. The Prefect Emeritus for the CDWDS was merely restating what was already in Liturgiam Authenticam:

c) in accordance with immemorial tradition, which indeed is already evident in the above-mentioned “Septuagint” version, the name of almighty God expressed by the Hebrew tetragrammaton (YHWH) and rendered in Latin by the word Dominus, is to be rendered into any given vernacular by a word equivalent in meaning.

Thus, in essence, neither Cardnial Arinze nor Bishop Seratelli were saying anything new. They were simply reminding us of what has been in place since 2001.

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