The USCCB recently announced a change in wording to the conclusion of the prayers at Mass, from “one God, for ever and ever” to “God, for ever and ever.” A February 4 memo from the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship explained that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments had written to all English-speaking Conferences of Bishops last May, noting that the current English translation of the doxology was inaccurate. “There is, in fact, no mention of ‘one’ in the Latin, and the word ‘Deus’ refers to Christ,” the memo stated. A correct translation is reflected in other languages, including the Spanish translation of the Roman Missal currently used in the United States.
English translations of the Missal for use by the faithful prior to the Second Vatican Council typically included an accurate translation of the doxology, as, for example, in the Saint Joseph’s Missals of the 1950’s. However, when the post-conciliar texts were published in English, the word “one” was added. During the translation of the Roman Missal currently in use, this discrepancy was noted, but it was decided at the time to retain “one God” in the new translation.
In light of the Congregation’s most recent observations in this matter, the Latin Rite Bishops of the USCCB voted to amend the present translation, and the Congregation quickly confirmed their decision. Several other English-speaking Conferences, including those from England and Wales, Ireland, and Canada have also approved this alteration over the past several months. Moving forward, the translation of the doxology will be consistent amongst English-language liturgical books.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should this change take place, and exactly which words are being modified?
This change to the concluding doxology of the orations came into effect on Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021. The words “one God, for ever and ever” are to be replaced with “God, for ever and ever.”
Is there a need to purchase a new Roman Missal?
No. It should not be difficult for the celebrant simply to omit the word “one” when offering the prayer. However, publishers are being informed of this change, and any reprints or new editions of the Missal will reflect the new translation. Other publications, such as participation aids for the faithful, will begin to carry the new text as soon as possible. Many of these are printed well in advance, however, so it will take some time for the change to appear.
Does this change apply to other liturgical books besides the Roman Missal?
Yes. Any time the formula appears in a liturgical book, the new translation should be used. Apart from the Roman Missal, the Liturgy of the Hours is the book where it is encountered most often. The orations in the current breviary are an older translation than what is found in the Missal, but the conclusion is the same, and the new translation can be applied.