“I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof...” - theology overload?


Your opinion is different than mine, on both points. What the liturgy is intended to say, it needs to say to everyone, regardless of where you happen to live. As to the applicability of the scriptural passage, I find it very good. I see no irony at all.



I think you have reached ‘analysis paralysis’!

Consider this passage in historical context: I have no idea when this passage began to be used, so just based on what I see in my 1957 missal, we can say it’s been used at least 60 years. Realistically, many more than that. But for the sake of this exercise, let’s say it’s been part of the liturgy for only 60.

If that passage was not appropriate or if it was ironic, there would be much more written and said about it. It probably would not have stood the liturgical reform of Vatican II—in fact, in the EF this passage is repeated three times, while in the OF it’s repeated once. One of the VII changes was the removal of excessive repetition of things like that. We still say it, while the Last Gospel, among other things, are gone from the OF. So, the passage survived the reform, while other parts of the Mass did not. This should say something to the appropriateness of this passage.

So surely the Church and most of Her members consider ‘Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof’ to be entirely perfect for where it is used in the Mass.



Right. It isn’t “dic verbum” but “dic verbo” Subtle difference not noticed in the translation.



Well, it’s not that the passage is inappropriate. It’s that it’s literal translation isn’t necessary, and it’s just confusing if it’s translated word for word. The USCCB’s website says that the prayer is about humility, and that’s the message that the original English translation got across.

I’m not the only one who thinks the new translations were unnecessary.

A new translation of the English-language Mass was completed in 2010, under the auspices of the Vatican-approved “Vox Clara” translation group, which followed the guidelines set out in the document “Liturgiam Authenticam.” That rule required a literal, word-for-word translation from the original Latin text. The change set off concern from some lay Catholics, bishops and priestswho found the translation clunky and awkward. The change in canon law announced Saturday shifts the responsibility for translation from Rome back to bishops’ conferences—though the Vatican will still have the final say over liturgical texts. It is unclear how the new rule will affect the translation used in the United States.

“This motu proprio will effectively reverse some of the actions taken by Francis’s predecessor to centralize control over liturgical translations in Rome,” she wrote. “It returns decision-making power in liturgical translations to the local bishops, as the Council envisioned.”



I get the point. But one has to be careful to not change the theology too much. Just sayin.



The original English translation completely left out the scriptural significance of the prayer. As such, it may have gotten humility across, but did not get across the example of humility given by the centurian, nor called to mind the response he received.
This is really, in my mind, the worse of the old translation and the change that may have been needed the most. The English translation gave up something that was hundreds of years old.

1 Like


I presume by “The original English translation” you are referring to the 1970 translation? I just wanted to make sure I understood. Because the 1964 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine English translation that was in use in the United States prior to 1969/1970 was very similar to our current translation but was (in my opinion, at least) a bit less clunky.

1 Like


It was, according to Cardinal Arinze, mainly because we didn’t have enough Latinists to translate into the more remote vernaculars, such as in Nigeria. English has now become the standard in many countries. Not the ideal situation IMO but it’s worked so far in those countries.

That said Jubilate Deo is still encouraged in every parish.



Yes, that is what I mean. I should have been more precise.



This past Friday’s gospel comes to mind. John 1:35-42 where the first disciples, on first meeting, asked Jesus

“where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.

Can you imagine their thoughts and emotions at recognizing the Messiah, and being invited to his home. With this prayer, we now invite him to come live in us.

“Lord I am not worthy that you should come under my roof”

“Under my roof” is rich in meaning. It is intimate. Having someone come to your home meant accepting them as family. Come to me, live in me as a family lives united under one roof, transform me, be my life, make me like you.



I just want to make sure I understand you here.

Do you mean it’s generally not that important for people to recognize that what they are saying at Mass comes from scripture? Or are you saying that in this particular case people might mistakenly ask for something other than what they should be asking for?

I fail to see the irony in the usage. The Centurion asks for a physical healing (for his servant); We ask for a spiritual healing (from sin, for ourselves.) Both are requests for favor. Both are humble in the sense that the favor requested is acknowledged to be undeserved. Both are bold in that the request is made in spite of of being undeserved.



Looking at the centurions request & statement & Jesus response,
Mt 8:-13

_Centurion: 6: Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress.” _

_Jesus : 7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” _

_Centurion: 8 But the centurion answered him, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” _

Jesus: 10 When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I say to you, not even[c] in Israel have I found such faith. "…13 And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; be it done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.

the Centurion, he’s probably a pagan. He believes in lots of gods. But when he seeks Jesus out, for help, he recognizes by his statement to Jesus, something way more special about Jesus in terms of authority. He recognizes a supernatural authority and power in Jesus. NO ONE not even the centurion could give such an order and have it done. He knew he has no such authority and power to do what he asked Jesus to do. AND he expected Jesus word, to have the results he asked for, and it happened. THAT IS FAITH extrordinaire.


Jesus said He hadn’t seen such faith in ALL OF ISRAEL.

When we also say the words of the Centurion before receiving Jesus into us in the Eucharist, WE exhibit the same kind of faith the Centurion so easily stated, and meant, such that Jesus praised his faith by what he said & meant.



Generally speaking, I guess I can’t speak for the general public. For me, it’s not important for me to know that a particular prayer is based off of scripture.

But anyway, the previous translation contained enough of the scripture.

That seems to be the effect. Although, I’m not sure there’s any harm in it.

I don’t know if you have read this or not, but it’s from upthread. I’ll repost the irony that I see.

I mean to use a scripture, which presents an outsider being granted a favor because of his faith, right before we receive the Eucharist, of which, outsiders are not allowed to receive, despite their faith in Jesus’ ability to spiritually heal them.



The Centurion gave Jesus a proof of sorts that he, the Centurion, understood something about Jesus that no one else had before. He understood that Jesus can simply give a command to heal someone, and it will be done. Jesus doesn’t need to go into his house. That is the Centurion’s faith, or belief.

That isn’t the same thing as praying that we have faith that Jesus will heal our soul without any other qualifications other than faith. The Church does not teach “faith alone”.

But in the scripture, the Centurion is interceding for someone else, he doesn’t just have faith in Jesus, but he’s also doing a work of mercy. That is not reflected in the English translation, but apparently it is in the Latin.

So the previous translation was fine in conveying our humility, which the USCCB website cites as the primary aspect of the prayer. Translating the Latin word for word muddies the water, the primary meaning of the prayer, and it’s clunky.



Did I say it is faith alone? No.

What we say in that statement we then act on it. We receive Jesus. It’s faith + action.

I don’t see the problem. We are making the prayer personal.


After mass often there is a Eucharistic minister who takes the Eucharist (Jesus) to the sick.

It’s not either/or but both



I was referring to the prayer. Not saying that’s what you said. I’m saying that’s what the English translation suggests.



Don’t look at it as a ‘saved by faith thing’ but a ‘saved by grace given by Jesus through the sacraments’ thing.



Ah. I confess to having a bias toward wanting people recognize scripture when it’s there but I feel the same about mathematics and “the X-files” so…

I have been following this post but I guess I did miss that post. I see your concern now. Why would the prayer of an outsider be used for the concerns of people who exclude outsiders?
I do get the sense of exclusion that non-Catholics (and Catholics who are unable to receive) can feel. My husband was not Catholic when we married and it hurt him deeply that he was not being called to the Supper of the Lamb. Or so it seemed to him at the time. He was being called; he just had to follow a much longer path to get to the table.

I suspect all those who pray the centurion’s prayer will receive and are already receiving a healing. But that healing might not be instantaneous from our perspective in time.



How does it suggest this? How do other translations, eg the Spanish, or the official Latin not suggest this? I guess I understand, though I disagree with, your point about the centurion being an outsider. But how is that related to “faith alone”. We admit we are sinners and ask for forgiveness. How is that faith alone?





DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.