"You Are Near" song

The deacon at our parish is saying that we cannot sing this song anymore. He says that the Jews do not say the word Yaweh, so in respect for the Jews, we cannot sing this song anymore. Any thoughts, is this a Church’s teaching?

Here are the directives from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Roman Curial office in charge of all things liturgical for the Church:

  1. In liturgical celebrations, in songs and prayers the name of God in the form of the tetragrammaton YHWH is neither to be used or pronounced.
  1. For the translation of the biblical text in modern languages, destined for the liturgical usage of the Church, [Liturgiam authenticam 41] is to be followed…
  1. In translating, in the liturgical context, texts in which are present one after the other, either the Hebrew Adonai or the tetragrammaton YHVH, Adonai is to be translated “Lord” and the form “God” is to be used for the tetragrammaton YHVH [as in the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate].

Even though this clarification and restatement was made in 2008, the original prohibition dates back to 2001 when Liturgiam Authenticam was published. Unfortunately, as I see it, the publishing houses (in this case OCP) probably never read LA and still continued on with the status quo.

The Church has spoken on this and specifically included hymns on things that can not contain the name of God in Mass.

However, there is a simple work around. The translation of this term used traditionally is “Lord”. There is no need musically for the word to be two syllables since the emphasis was on the first syllable. “Lord, I know you are near” works fine.

I am curious though to see what the publisher does with it. For the time being they have simply stopped including it in the missal.

This issue has in fact been dealt with by the publisher, OCP. A list of all the songs once containing the Divine Name that are currently published in OCP’s hymnals and missals and their lyric and melodic revisions have been posted for months.


This is interesting but it doesn’t explain why the church doesn’t want you to say Yaweh, only that you shouldn’t. Is it because it is offensive to Jews? Or, does it specify in the Liturgiam Authenticam? Is there a link to this document? :slight_smile:

This is the relevant article from Liturgiam Authenticam:

[LEFT]41. The effort should be made to ensure that the translations be conformed to that understanding of biblical passages which has been handed down by liturgical use and by the tradition of the Fathers of the Church, especially as regards very important texts such as the Psalms and the readings used for the principal celebrations of the liturgical year; in these cases the greatest care is to be taken so that the translation express the traditional Christological, typological and spiritual sense, and manifest the unity and the inter-relatedness of the two Testaments.[34] For this reason: [/LEFT]
[LEFT]a) it is advantageous to be guided by the Nova Vulgata wherever there is a need to choose, from among various possibilities [of translation], that one which is most suited for expressing the manner in which a text has traditionally been read and received within the Latin liturgical tradition; [/LEFT]
[LEFT]b) for the same purpose, other ancient versions of the Sacred Scriptures should also be consulted, such as the Greek version of the Old Testament commonly known as the “Septuagint”, which has been used by the Christian faithful from the earliest days of the Church;[35] [/LEFT]
[LEFT]c) in accordance with immemorial tradition, which indeed is already evident in the above-mentioned “Septuagint” version, the name of almighty God expressed by the Hebrew tetragrammaton (YHWH) and rendered in Latin by the word Dominus, is to be rendered into any given vernacular by a word equivalent in meaning. [/LEFT]
Finally, translators are strongly encouraged to pay close attention to the history of interpretation that may be drawn from citations of biblical texts in the writings of the Fathers of the Church, and also from those biblical images more frequently found in Christian art and hymnody.

Oh, you should know that the publisher of “You Are Near” changed the opening line back in 1993 for inclusion in the CCCB’s “Catholic Book of Worship III” to “O Lord, I know you are near.” The CCCB had lyrics changed or omitted verses that contained the tetragrammaton.

and the form “God” is to be used for the tetragrammaton YHVH [as in the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate].

Actually, the LXX used KYRIOS and Vulgate used DOMINUS for YHVH.

This is fascinating. Do you have any more information on this, or links to details about that decision or CCCB’s stance?

However, it took the publishing house seven years after the promulgation of Liturgiam Authenticam to finally catch up. This begs the question, something that I have repeatedly raised throughout these forums: Does OCP even read the authoritative documents of the Church? Even some of their composers’ Mass settings (Ferrell, et al) feature wholesale paraphrases of the official texts. The Spanish versions fare none better. Yet, they are still packaged into the song books.

Well, I really don’t know what’s going on over there anymore.

Of late, I’m confused by how in light of the GIRM, they continue to publish (GIA, as well) musical settings of the Eucharistic Prayers and the Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children including refrains and responses found nowhere in the Sacramentary.

No links, sorry.

If the average PIP noticed at the time of publication it was probably just to thing “Oh, look, they changed the word.” My first inkling of what exactly had been done came in the late 90s when I read a column written by a Rabbi questioning why the CCCB had felt compelled to remove the tetragrammaton from hymns. He thought it silly and said no Jew would care what a Catholic sang at Mass. When I queried that in a course on ‘Justice in the Church’ where the subject came up I was told in no uncertain terms that although the Jews might not care we had to out of respect for our Jewish roots.

I misspoke, though, it’s “O God, I know you are near…”

The hymn where they left out a verse is “Sing a new song unto the Lord,…” The “Yahweh’s people dance for joy” verse is omitted.

Actually, I think it would have been more appropriate to say “Father, I Know You are Near.” Even though I don’t particular care for the song, with or without the change (as it sounds like the sappy stuff from the 70s), I wonder why hardly anyone ever references God as Father anymore in song. :shrug:

I was going to suggest the SAME thing, but you KNOW we cannot use Father, it is too sexist. :smiley:

That would sound okay. “O God”??? What were they thinking? It doesn’t fit musically. The accent is on the wrong syllable. I guess that plus the weird way it ends will spell an end for my use of the song. I liked it a lot, but now it just sounds…sloppy.

I’m still a little puzzled as to why the church doesn’t want us use the original Hebrew text where God is expressed as YHWH and instead refer to the Latin or Greek translations. I guess I am wondering what concerns the church had or has for not using Yaweh.

The way I see it is that I would rather trust the knowledge and judgment of the Church on this matter. I took a Bible class last year, taught by my parochial vicar, and he echoed the same concerns that the Church noted in Liturgiam Authenticam. The fact that the Holy Name of God was unutterable should be noted and respected. In fact, the only one who could utter it was Jesus, Himself, because He is God. Furthermore, note that there are no vowels. We would be adding something that is simply not there. In the final anaylsis, my advice is to trust the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on this one.

As we’ve discussed before, paragraph 41 of Liturgiam Authenticam quoted by Phemie in post #6, seems to address translation of the propers. It did not specifically address liturgical hymns. It was not until last year that the CDW came out with its letter essentially saying, “What we really meant was…”

If you could provide evidence that paragraph 41 was widely understood to include liturgical hymns before the clarification in 2008, I think your claim would be more reasonable.

True, but you never learn anything if you never ask? :wink: I suppose like good parents who say “No” and you ask “Why?” and they respond “because I said so, that’s why!” we should trust.

Dan Schutte says it should be changed to “O Lord, I know you are near…” See danschutte.com/revisions.html

However, Dan Schutte is not necessarily known for using the word “Father” in his songs. Just because he’s suggesting it (inasmuch as it is an SLJ song) that does not necessarily make it better. The problem is that we seem to not even want to refer to God as Father. This is not right. He is, after all, the First Person of the Trinity. If Jesus can call God, Father, then it should be good enough for the rest of us. It’s a sad trend over at OCP.

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