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


Here’s what the USCCB says about it:

Q: In the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, why has “one in being with the Father” been changed to "consubstantial with the Father?"

A: The new translation is more in keeping with the ancient Latin text of the Creed and a more accurate translation.

The bishops at the Council of Nicea (AD 325), in order to ensure that Jesus was professed as the eternal Son of God, equal to the Father, stated that he is “the Son of God, begotten from the Father, the only-begotten, that is from the substance of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, the same substance ( homoousion ) with the Father…” The Creed of the Council of Constantinople (381), which is professed at all Sunday Masses and Solemnities within the Catholic Church, similarly stated: “We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of the same substance ( homoousion ) with the Father.”

When these two ancient creeds were translated into Latin, the term " homoousion " was rendered as " consubstantialem, " that is, “the same substance of the Father.” Prior to the Second Vatican Council, the Latin " consubstantialem " was rendered as “consubstantial” within the English translation of the Creed. Many theologians and the Holy See thought that the term “consubstantial” was more in keeping with the Latin tradition and a more literal and accurate translation than the more recent “one in being.”

This is in keeping with the mind of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which published an Instruction, entitled Liturgiam Authenticam . It stated: “Certain expressions that belong to the heritage of the whole or of a great part of the ancient Church, as well as others that have become part of the general human patrimony, are to be respected by a translation that is as literal as possible” (no. 56).


Thank you for the clarification.


“One in being” is not really an example of dynamic equivalence. Dynamic equivalence aims to get the listeners response to be as close as possible to the response of the source language. The case can be made that “one in being” is actually a more literal translation of the original greek (although perhaps it would be more clear with “one in essence”), and consubstantiation is more of a dynamic equivalence, in that the listeners response in both latin or English or any other language is “what exactly does that mean”?

That being said, consubstantial works fine with me. Its not the most important part of the new translation in my mind, but some of the other things that were fixed (the topic of this thread being a prime example) greatly outweigh the clunkiness of this one word in the creed.


I sometimes think that I find Benedict’s preferences in some of his writing. In his letter to Archbishop Freiburg, which you have provided the link, he mentions the “smaller church”, as he has done on other occasions, while explaining the reasoning for using the word “many” instead of “all”. I didn’t find the reasoning he gives to be sufficient enough to overturn a translation which was meant to convey the meaning of a Semitism to a contemporary audience. Although, I see his point, and it’s an important one.

That said, Liturgiam authenticam , which I’m guessing the then Cardinal Ratzinger had a hand in producing, states the following in n.3:

Even so, the greatest prudence and attention is required in the preparation of liturgical books marked by sound doctrine, which are exact in wording, free from all ideological influence, and otherwise endowed with those qualities by which the sacred mysteries of salvation and the indefectible faith of the Church are efficaciously transmitted by means of human language to prayer, and worthy worship is offered to God the Most High.

After reading some of Liurgiam authenticam I am struck by it’s overbearing tone. A prime example of that tone being the multiple declarations of absolute rule, over even a proposed change to a single word, by the Apostolic See.

Another example being the remarkable number of times that hedging is employed to try to balance a fidelity to the Latin (also Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, but primarily Latin) with a vernacular which effectively services the assembly. For example:

  1. Even if expressions should be avoided which hinder comprehension because of their excessively unusual or awkward nature, the liturgical texts should be considered as the voice of the Church at prayer, rather than of only particular congregations or individuals; thus, they should be free of an overly servile adherence to prevailing modes of expression.


Suffice it to say, I think you and Pope Benedict have very different opinions about language for worship.

All the ‘complaints’ I have heard from you are the very same reasons that were given back in 1969 and 1970 as reasons why the language needed to be updated. (We were told that the response, “And with your Spirit,” needed to be changed so that people would know it was ONLY part of a greeting and had no spiritual implication.)

Well, Pope Benedict seems to have rejected the reasoning that was employed the in the 1960s.

Maybe it’s just because I’m a math person but I think knowing the definitions and and history of words and phrases is really important to understanding in the long run (think millennia, centuries, and generations) even if it doesn’t matter all that much in the short run (think years and decades). I bought into the 1960s/1970s reasoning at the time but I think that reasoning has outlived its usefulness.


Jesus claimed that this centurion had more faith than anywhere in israel he had seen, perhaps it is also our hope that in using his words we will be brought closer to the strength of faith he had in our Lord and we will be able to walk in his footsteps in that way. The same as repeating words that a saint has said as a prayer is a great way to open our souls to God :slight_smile:


The liturgy of the mass is independent of the Scripture in the sense that it is not taken literally from it nor it should necessarily be scriptural. If there are parts of the mass that may use some words from the Scripture, fine, but more importantly most of the dialogues in the liturgy of the mass are prayers on their own.

As for the Rite of Communion referenced by you, it is a prayer response to being called to the Lord’s supper. It describes our acknowledgement that it is such a privilege, a grace which we on our own is not worthy of. It is by faith thus when we receive Communion believing that it is the Body of our Lord.

Simple prayer like that can best describe our disposition during Communion, whether we actually come up to receive it or not.

Prayer is from the heart which is sometimes formulated by people. If it happens to sound scriptural, so be it, though it may not necessarily follow that it applies strictly to what it means in the Scripture verse.


So our prayer response during the Communion Rite on being called to the Lord’s supper, to say that we are unworthy and that the Lord can heal us by his command.

This is perfectly in sync what the Communion is all about especially since there are times when we cannot receive it.

We can use the centurion’s prayer but it does not mean that we are him or that our situations are like his as in the Scripture. Nor when we pray this prayer we that must get the same outcome.

More importantly therefore it is an acknowledgment of the Eucharist and our faith rather than about Jesus healing our servants. Receiving the Eucharist is by faith that it is the Lord’s body, which gives nutrition to our souls.


I 100% agree with you OP . The new translation did not alter the meaning… instead it better meets the expectations of some in the Church who were in positions of authority at that time… it costs thousands and thousands of dollars to reprint all of our materials to make this change and, in essence, made a superficial change … a distinction without a difference… same thing with the ‘consubstantial’ change


I think you’re proving his point. If the word RECEIVE in the old translation meant to consume the Eucharist into our bodies, then he believes the old translation made more sense & should not have been changed.

However, by making the translation it appears the Church believes “enter under my roof” is more accurate & he’s trying to understand how that “new” translation fits at that point in the Mass.

Blessed are those called to the supper of the lamb.

We respond, Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof.

Are we having the Lord’s supper in our home? & it’s not necessary for Him to enter our home, but say the word & my soul, which I left at home, will be healed.

Now St Louis de Montford equates one who stays at home to one who meditated on his inward self, his soul. So if we think of our inward, spiritual life as our home… I guess it could make sense.

But I don’t know how “Enter under my roof” expresses that better than “receive you”

Then he has a 2nd issue, if all we need is faith that Jesus’ word will heal us, then why do we need to receive the Eucharist.


I agree that many prayers in the Mass are prayers in their own right and are not from scripture.

But I think it is INCREDIBLY important that people, both those who are Catholic, and even more so, those who are not, that a significant number of the prayers are from scripture or are similar to prayers that were part of Jewish worship.

One of the reasons why we needed the 1970 translation (over the the 1960s translation) was so Catholics and (liturgical) Protestants could worship with the same words. Why would we have wanted to disguise a scriptural reference?


It seems to me your issue is you’re taking things way too literally…

Do you have an Evangelical Protestant background?


No he’s not. He’s right.

The older translation was a paraphrase, not a direct word for word translation.

The current translation is an exact word for word translation of the Latin.

If you take issue with the current translation, it’s because you take issue with the Latin typical edition. If you take issue with the Latin typical edition, you have a problem with the Roman mass itself my friend. It’s as simple as that.


I’m actually with you on this one.

“One in being” or “one in essence” is definitely better than “consubstantial” for English for helping the laity understand the meaning…

Although the Latin literally says “consubstantialem…” So you can’t really say “consubstantial” is wrong… Although overly woodenly literal would be a fair criticism.

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