Holy Ghost versus Holy Spirit?

When (and why) did we stop referring to Him as the Holy Ghost?

If I had to guess, I would say it was about the time that the NAB was officially adopted for use in the Mass (as opposed to the Douay-Rheims.

Ghost would be the English translation of geist, which is the German translation of the Latin “spiritus”. However, “spirit” is the more direct English translation of “spiritus”. Since His name in Latin is “Spiritus Sancti”, “Holy Spirit” would seem to be the more direct (and arguably better) translation in English.

Hmmm, I remember JFK’s funeral mass, and Cardinal Cushing said “Holy Ghost”. That was 11/63. Sometime in the next 3years or so, it became Holy Spirit, 'cause I can remember serving Mass ('66) and it was Holy Spirit.

The Latin word “spiritus” means both “breath” and “spirit” (in the English sense). The same can be said about the Greek equivalent “pnevma”.

The English word “ghost” is related to the word “gust”, as in a gust of wind, and at one time, it meant “breath”. It was also used as the equivalent of “spirit”–“ghostly” was the synonymn of “spiritual.”

However, since “ghost” also picked up certain spooky connotations along the way, “Holy Spirit” is generally preferred among Christians of all churches.

They mean exactly the same thing.

Isabel Hapgood over 100 years ago in her famous Orthodox Service Book used “Holy Spirit,” even though the BCP (until 1797) said “Holy Ghost”. It’s nothing new.

On an amusing note, I heard about a certain Christian group that tried rendering “Holy Ghost/Spirit” into Spanish (properly Espiritu Santo) as “Santa Fantasma”–which would mean Holy Hobgoblin or Sacred Spook.

Hello,

In the good olden days, ghost had the connotation of a soul, a spirit. That is why we have the old idiom - giving up the ghost. But as time progressed and the English language evolved the word ghost turned away from this meaning to mean more of a specter, an otherworldly phantasm - think Casper. So, to prevent confusion the Catholic Church turned to the word spirit, which now has the best meaning to convey the term.

Mid 60’s or so and it spread from there although Holy Ghost was still extensively used up into the 70’s. It is still acceptable to say Holy Ghost.

As the other posters have indicated, it is acceptable to refer to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity as “Holy Ghost” or as “Holy Spirit.” As a singer I have noticed that we use “Holy Ghost” when we want to refer to Him with a one syllable word, and “Holy Spirit” when we need to refer to Him with a two syllable word! For example in order to change “Ghost” to “Spirit” in the well known hymn “Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest,” we would have to change the tune. The most important thing, of course, is that we pray to and honor the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, which ever name we call Him.

I will always say the Holy Ghost.

One of the problems with the word “Spirit” is it is often misinterpreted away from substantial meaning to imply something along the lines of “School Spirit” or the nebulous “Spirit of Vatican 2.” It is defined more as *an attitude one takes *than a person one adores.

Of course, this is strictly an English-language issue. For most other languages they continue to use whatever word was always used.

I think it only differs in translation (English), but both can be used.
Some protestant sects used the word “Holy Ghost” like the pentecostals or some southern baptists.

Pax
Laudater Jesus Christus
Instaurare omnia in Christo

You and Eddie Izzard both (which is why I can’t call him Holy Ghost, I crack up every time I think about it “Ooooh…Holy Ghost…Holy Ghost…Holy Ghost!”)

Yours in Christ,
Thursday

At my parish which is served by the FSSP they only say ‘Holy Ghost’. I see no problem with either translation.

It sounds kind of stupid. Something in a white sheet going wooh, wooh!

Words change their meaning. Probably in the near future “ghost” will end up meaning something serious again and “Holy Spirit” will sound like a sacred bottle of whisky.

Something like this, maybe?
http://static.zooomr.com/images/2986734_2fa1a78a0c.jpg
I titled it “Spirits. . .”

Yours in Christ,
Thursday

It would be very interesting to pinpoint when this change occured. It had to be a deliberate one, since ALMOST EVERYTHING pre-Vatican II had Holy Ghost, and now VIRTUALLY EVERYTHING has Holy Spirit. Now, for such a change to take place there had to be an agenda in action, because of the law of inertia. I tend to think that it was probably promulgated by those who wished to align God with the “spirit” of Vatican II, in an effort to give legitimacy to many of the changes, meaning that the term “spirit of Vatican II” came first. If the spirit of Vatican II demanded the priest to turn around, but the people are unnerved by this new innovation, appeal to their loyalty to God, by playing on the word “spirit”. Today the term Holy Ghost, more often than not, serves as a flag indicating that one holds to traditional Catholicism.

That must be a Russian ghost.:smiley:

I’d still put my money on it being the result of changing from the Douay-Rheims to the NAB in the Liturgy.

I think I remember when saying the Apostles creed I said Holy Ghost. Didn’t we back before VII?

It would be very interesting to pinpoint when this change occured. It had to be a deliberate one, since ALMOST EVERYTHING pre-Vatican II had Holy Ghost, and now VIRTUALLY EVERYTHING has Holy Spirit. Now, for such a change to take place there had to be an agenda in action, because of the law of inertia. I tend to think that it was probably promulgated by those who wished to align God with the “spirit” of Vatican II, in an effort to give legitimacy to many of the changes, meaning that the term “spirit of Vatican II” came first. If the spirit of Vatican II demanded the priest to turn around, but the people are unnerved by this new innovation, appeal to their loyalty to God, by playing on the word “spirit”. Today the term Holy Ghost, more often than not, serves as a flag indicating that one holds to traditional Catholicism.

I hate to break this to you, but the term Holy Spirit was appearing in hand missals increasingly after World War II. Several missals in the mid-1950’s had already done away with archaic *thee *and thou translations, and at the same time began using Holy Spirit.

In fact, almost from the time the liturgy first began to carry vernacular translations in the 1890’s, certain scriptural verses and hymns were translated with Holy Spirit, particularly when it was used as a direct object of a particular sentence*.* People’s hand missals began to do this more frequently in the fifties. I myself have always preferred Holy Ghost, but do not see an agenda in the use of the other term. It is an English language issue only.

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