Doxology in the LOH

I used this: Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

but in the LOH they use this: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

In Latin: it’s: Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Do we have to use the “new” doxology? It is driving me crazy.

I use the older form when I pray private prayers, but when I’m praying LOH, I pray it as it is written in the book.


Use the Latin and it won’t cause a problem. :wink:

By the “new” one I assume you mean the one in the liturgy of the hours. This is one of the odd times where the current LOH translation is more accurate than the older one (though still not 100% “correct”). Having looked at the new translation for the Psalms and Canticles (the new Abbey Psalms and Canticles) I am curious how the final revised translation will render the doxology.

From a strictly personal prayer stand point you can use either, but …

The Liturgy of the Hours, is exactly what is says it is; the Church’s Liturgy. Just like priest aren’t supposed to make up their own prayers at Mass we aren’t free to change the words of the LOH because it is not our personal prayer, but the prayer of the Church. When dealing with liturgy we are obliged to offer the prayers with approved translations even if we don’t like them. This really is no different than saying I don’t like the NAB translation of readings so I’m making my own lectionary using the Knox Bible.


I say the Glory Be every day and always omit the doxology, simply because it makes no sense to me. I’ve heard David Anders try to explain it but even he is unclear. My prayers just seem better without it but I make no claim to be right in the matter. :slight_smile:

I presume your are using the 4-volume Liturgy of the Hours approved for use in the USA. Here in England & Wales we have the three-volume Divine Office and the English translation of Gloria patri is, ‘Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.’

If you are praying the official liturgy in the USA you will have say what the text in your Breviary says. Howeve, you could, as someone has suggested, say the Gloria patri in Latin.

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I pray the LOTH mostly in Latin and occasionally in French, so I don’t have that issue, but I would say use what is in the English version you are using for your region.

In French, we in fact have three official doxologies to conform with 2, 3 or 4-hemistich per verse psalmody, for those who sing the psalmody.

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Interesting. It’s almost like the US bishops knew that most wouldn’t sing the pslmody and didn’t try. :open_mouth:

I always use the Doxology as printed in the book. “Forever” is sufficiently close to “unto ages of ages” or “forever and ever” which is what “in saecula saeculorum means”.

“World without end”, although traditional, and I do like it, is not for me the best English rendering.

as FYI - my guess is that most likely, the US version will return to the “world without end” once the new version is completed.

Reason, the new African Breviary, uses the 1991 edition of the NAB (which has been rebranded as the “African Bible”) for the readings, plus the Revised Grail Psalms

This below pic shows the prayer from the new African Breviary.


And if it does…that’s what we should all say. Rome has spoken…

That’s what my wife and I were talking about last night.

Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum closely translates to “As in the beginning, and now, and always, and unto the age of ages.” Given that, something like “As it was in the beginning, is now and will be always and forever” would be a fairly close translation. I haven’t figured out exactly where “world without end” came from.

Saecula can also mean “world”, which is where the English term “secular” comes from, i.e. “of the world”.

“ever shall be world without end” doesn’t seem to me an English phrase that makes grammatical sense, although I know precisely what it means. “will be forever” captures it sufficiently, but I would have been happier with “will be, forever and ever”, the same way we end our Collects (“per omnia saecula saeculorum”).

Exactly. If the new translations returns to “world without end” I will gleefully recite it exactly as printed.

The Liturgy of the Hours to me is a “do the red, say the black” thing, which is how I always treat liturgy. It’s not mine to mess with and my “preferences” do not matter.

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I was watching a video (not a free one) about learning Ecclesiastical Latin.

The problem with the American version used in the LOTH is that is totally skips et in sæcula sæculorum

The video says saecula is the neuter, plural form of saeculum. According to Google Translate, saeculum means the following:

While the Church has historically viewed saeculum to mean:

  • the world
  • the universe
  • a time period
  • 100 years

The video said that literal translations would be:

  • in ages of ages
  • in worlds of worlds

The idea was that the both were not the best English translation, so they attempted to group both together. Grouping both together gives you:

  • in worlds of ages
  • in ages of worlds

So eventually, this led to “world without end” in English to represent both the “worlds of worlds” and the “ages of ages” concept. The video ends with explaining that these two concepts combined represent the idea of “in both time & space.”

For me, this is quite amazing, because when “world without end” as translated, no one understood the concept of the Spacetime continuum. But here it is, in the prayer.

In other words, Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen. could mean something like:

  • As it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be forever; throughout space and time. Amen.

An issue is that the phrases in saecula saecorum and εἰς τοὺς αιἰῶνας τῶν αἰνώνων (eis tous aionas ton aionon) are not native idioms to Latin and Greek. The Latin is a literal translation of the Greek which is in itself a Hebraicism, like ‘long in nose’ (אֶרֵךְ אַפִּים erek appayim) to describe patience (e.g. Ex 34:6).

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Well apart from the three doxologies and having the psalms pointed for singing (on God knows what tone, as our LOTH doesn’t include any; I’ve dug some up from monastic sources), there’s precious little else in the French LOTH to encourage singing, though an official French hymnal has been published. I have a copy but I use the Liber Hymnarius in Latin instead.

At least Christian Prayer, the 1-volume English Liturgy of the Hours for US, English Canada, etc., has hymns with music and some psalm tones in it. Nothing of the sort in my French LOTH.

I mean I know where “world without end” came from (specifically it came from the book of common prayer), but normally in Latin “world” might be referred to as orbis or mundus (don’t ask me why mundus means both world and clean though :man_shrugging:) where as sæculum generally referred to a generation or lifetime (originally meant from beginning to end - i.e. a lifetime). I get that the idea is that they both point to eternity, but really was thinking that “world without end” implies a level of commingling worldliness that is not implied in the original Greek or Latin. As @porthos11 says “will be, forever and ever” just resonates in my soul better than “world without end”.

Its usage is dated much earlier. The Oxford English dictionary dates the earliest recorded use outside of translations of Latin liturgical texts to 1295 (which was in Middle English, ‘world abuten ende’).

Here is an example from 1483:

Many benefetes ben gyuen to thonour of our lord Jhu crist whiche is blessed world wythouten ende. (‘Many benefits have been given to the honour of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed world without end.’)

Even prior to its use in the BCP, ‘world without end’ had become a general idiom and ceased to mean, literally, ‘a world which has no ending’ but instead meant, generally, ‘forever and ever’.

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Sorry, I was referring to the specific translation of the doxology, but realize that there were other translations that used the idiom earlier (did not know how early so thanks for pointing it out). I’d have to go look at an etymology dictionary, but seem to remember the word saecula translating to forms of worldly goes back to at least the early 13th century which would match with the date in the Oxford Dictionary. I was mostly thinking about some of the challenges of holding onto idiomatic translations when the basis of the idiom shifts through the centuries.

You may all count me among the disappointed if this does happen. The current version (…will be forever.) is much preferable in my opinion.

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