He who must not be named
If your parish’s musical director has Dan Schutte’s “You Are Near” or “Yahweh, the Faithful One” on heavy rotation, tell him or her to start looking for alternatives. As reported by Rocco at Whispers, Rome says no more calling God “Yahweh” during worship. This won’t require any changes to the rites, but if the Y-word has been slipping in to your hymns and petitions — cut it out. You’re on notice.
It’s been years since I heard any of these songs at mass — but I’ve also never heard anyone object to the use of the Name. So I was surprised to learn that it’s an issue, that it was discouraged officially back in 2001, and that GIA Publications has a “longtime editorial policy against the use of the word ‘Yahweh.’” Has this come up before in your parish or community? Has Catholics’ casual use of the Tetragrammaton been a pet peeve of yours for years?
Also, I wonder, do you agree with our old friend Bishop Serratelli, who frames this as “an opportunity to offer catechesis for the faithful as an encouragement to show reverence for the name of God in daily life, emphasizing the power of language as an act of devotion and worship”? We’ve been talking a lot about “the power of language” in worship lately. Does language get even more powerful if you refrain from using it? In this case, I’ve always felt remembering that God revealed Himself as Yahweh before we called Him Abba is a good way to remind ourselves of our Old Testament roots, and I worry that being discouraged from saying or using the Tetragrammaton will mean forgetting about it entirely. On the other hand, I only recently learned that when English translations of the Bible have “LORD” in all caps, it’s there as a stand-in for “YHWH.” I thought it was just a typesetting affectation. So if this directive does lead to better catechesis, I guess it’s worth losing “And the Father Will Dance” from our liturgical repertoire. What do you think?