On Alleluia and Variations

A bit of clarification from biblical expert Father Michel Remaud on the use of the Tetragrammaton in liturgy.

The original CDWDS document said:

Avoiding pronouncing the tetragrammaton of the name of God on the part of the Church has therefore its own grounds. Apart from a motive of a purely philogical order, there is also that of remaining faithful to the Church’s tradition, from the beginning, that the sacred tetragrammaton was never pronounced in the Christian context, nor translated into any of the languages into which the Bible was translated.

Fr Remaud is correct in the first link above in stating that respect for Jewish practice sheds some light on the directive. Not much is being written song-wise with the Name, not since the seventies, anyway. Most Catholic composers have avoided using the tetragrammaton for a generation, and for the reasons Fr Remaud expressed, not so much the CDWDS’s reasons.


Interesting, though, that through the Roman Rite gospel acclamation, we do proclaim a part of the name, Yah, as part of the Hallelu-Yah, or Alleluia. I suspect it would be much harder to set aside “Alleluia” for any time period much longer than forty days.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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5 Responses to On Alleluia and Variations

  1. Liam says:

    Frankly, the Yah argument in the last paragraph is deeply strained at best.

  2. Todd says:

    Good thing it was tongue-in-cheek.

    The point is that the use of the tetragrammton is nearly defunct, though it may be that a few praise songs are composed and possibly imported into some parishes that use them.

    Perhaps I could have been more direct in my point that there are a lot of more serious issues facing liturgy today. While I’m not suggesting Fr Remaud’s point should be ignored, or loose ends allowed to lie about, I do think the CDWDS can tend to be off point when the interests of good liturgy are at stake.

  3. Liam says:


    When you first presented the Yah argument, I took it as tongue in cheek.

    When it’s dragged up again, it loses it’s humorous energy and seems more like a stab at argument.

    And I think your last sentence in your last comment is a generic truth that is true of almost anyone.

  4. Tony says:

    The nice side effect of this is the bad music that’s going to be eliminated.

    _______, I know you are neeeeeeeeear….

    ______’s people dance for joy….


  5. Todd says:

    Texts only, Tony. The music will probably remain with new editions.

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