The name 'Jehovah'


What is the Catholic Church’s official teaching regarding the name ‘Jehovah’? It appears in the King James Translation 4 times.
(Exodus 6:3, Psalms 83:18, Isaiah 12:2, 26:4)


From the Catechism:

I Am who I Am"

Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you’, and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’. . . this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations."10

206 In revealing his mysterious name, YHWH (“I AM HE WHO IS”, “I AM WHO AM” or “I AM WHO I AM”), God says who he is and by what name he is to be called. This divine name is mysterious just as God is mystery. It is at once a name revealed and something like the refusal of a name, and hence it better expresses God as what he is - infinitely above everything that we can understand or say: he is the “hidden God”, his name is ineffable, and he is the God who makes himself close to men.11

207 By revealing his name God at the same time reveals his faithfulness which is from everlasting to everlasting, valid for the past (“I am the God of your father”), as for the future (“I will be with you”).12 God, who reveals his name as “I AM”, reveals himself as the God who is always there, present to his people in order to save them.

208 Faced with God’s fascinating and mysterious presence, man discovers his own insignificance. Before the burning bush, Moses takes off his sandals and veils his face in the presence of God’s holiness.13 Before the glory of the thrice-holy God, Isaiah cries out: "Woe is me! I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips."14 Before the divine signs wrought by Jesus, Peter exclaims: "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord."15 But because God is holy, he can forgive the man who realizes that he is a sinner before him: "I will not execute my fierce anger. . . for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst."16 The apostle John says likewise: "We shall. . . reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything."17 209 Out of respect for the holiness of God, the people of Israel do not pronounce his name. In the reading of Sacred Scripture, the revealed name (YHWH) is replaced by the divine title “LORD” (in Hebrew Adonai, in Greek Kyrios). It is under this title that the divinity of Jesus will be acclaimed: “Jesus is LORD.”

On the other hand I think the written New Jerusalem Bible at least has Yahweh in lots of places, which means it takes a while to get used to reading the psalms in that translation.


Isn’t Jehovah really a typo of sorts? Seems like I read that somewhere. It had something to do with a mistranslations of the Hebrew, but I’m not clear on the mechanics of it.


I guess what I was asking was whether the Catholic Church recognizes the Name Jehovah as being a valid name for God.


The Church would probably say Yahweh now as we know Jehovah to be a mispronunciation with the vowels wrong. In older translations there is Jehovah as the churches thought that was how it was pronounced.

I may be wrong.

Looking up “Catholic Church” Jehovah on Google, the second site asks this question: “Are Jehovah’s Witnesses merely a replica of the Roman Catholic church?”

I think we can safely give the answer as a resounding NO to that question.


At one point it was determined that we mortals were not worthy of saying God’s name, Yahweh. So, in some texts there were annotations to remind the reader to not say the word. Once those annotations were accidentally thought to be part of Yahweh, making it Jehovah.

Read it somewhere, can’t remember. But it hapened in Spain by a monk.


Does the Church appose the name?


I don’t think the Church opposes that name.

Here is a reference:

The name of God in the Old Testament spelled YHWH, was considered holy, and was not to be read aloud. Instead, when the Hebrews came upon YHWH, they would say ADONAY, which means “Lord.” In order to indicate this substitution, the Massoretes placed the vowels of ADONAY or the English equivalent of e, o, and a underneath the consonants of YHWH. Later some Christian translators mistakenly combined the vowels of ADONAY with the consonants of YHWH producing the word “Jehovah.”

The first recorded use of this form dates from the thirteenth century C.E. Raymundus Martini, a Spanish monk of the Dominican Order, used it in his book *Pugeo Fidei *of the year 1270.


I know that the English translation of Luther’s small catechism states that Jehovah is God’s name.

Do Catholics ever officially use the name?


Not that I know of.


The pronunciation “Jehovah” is of Catholic origin (originated by a Spanish monk in the 1200s).

The following link is a web page that features several quotes from JW publications that acknowledge this to be true:


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