A reader asked:
One of the things I like about the TLM [Traditional Latin Mass] is that we don’t have to pray like the Protestants Our Father. Isn’t the fact that Bugnini and crowd put “For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever” in our Catholic Mass a proof that they wanted to water down the Catholic Mass and make it more acceptable to Protestants?
Funny you should ask that. I have written a weekly column for The Wanderer (for about 11 years now) focusing mainly on liturgical translation. As a matter of fact that column gave rise to and the name to this blog. I just dealt with this issue in a recent column (which I assume you haven’t read or you would already have your answer).
In the WDTPRS print series, we are in the section of Mass called the Ritus communionis, the preparation for and reception of Holy Communion. Here is something of what I wrote for the recent column about the doxology that follows the “embolism” after the Lord’s Prayer.
“For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and for ever.”
The translation of this will remain unchanged in the new, corrected ICEL version.
That said, where does little doxology come from? A doxology, you will recall, is a short exclamation of praise. It was not part of the Roman Rite before the Second Vatican Council. It was inserted by the cutters and pasters of the Consilium. So, the questioner is right about this: it was inserted by “Bugnini and crowd”.
Keep in mind that the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council stated that whatever changes were made in the liturgical reform they mandated, nothing should be done unless it was truly for the good of the people and there must be no innovations unless they are organic developments from previous tradition (cf. SC 23). The insertion of this little doxology was an innovation. Was it of great benefit to the people of the Latin Church? I don’t know. People weren’t clamoring for it. Moreover, it was not an organic development from the previous tradition.
Being a convert from Lutheranism, every time I hear it… every time… it reminds me of how Protestants pray the Lord’s Prayer and how Catholics don’t. I still find it jarring after all these years. I can’t help it. Until I dug into it, it didn’t seem ‘Catholic’ to me.
But… this little doxology does have a history. If we dig far enough back into history we find how Catholic it is … and then isn’t … before it is, again.
The little doxology is not found with the Our Father in the oldest manuscripts of Matthew. It is not considered by scholars to be part of the original text of the Our Father/Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9–13.
However, early non-Scriptural sources such as the Didache (late 1st c. – early 2nd c.) have an abbreviated version of the doxology after the Our Father. There was a liturgical use of this doxology after the Lord’s Prayer. An expanded version is found in the Apostolic Constitutions (c. 375-380). Later Greek manuscripts of Matthew, as well as Syrian and Coptic manuscripts, do include a version of this doxology after the Lord’s Prayer. It is thought that, at some point, a copyist picked it up from a margin note and included it in the text of Matthew itself. That is how down through history it shows up in some manuscripts and not others, and therefore some Bibles and liturgical rites, and not others.
So strong was the connection between the Lord’s Prayer and the doxology that eventually it was thought that the doxology was part of the Lord’s Prayer itself.
The inclusion of this little doxology in the Latin edition of the 1969/70 Missale Romanum after the Council concerns far more than just the English-speaking world. But, for the sake of this column/blog entry and you readers I will confine myself mainly to how we got the English version of the Our Father we have.
Protestant Bibles, such as the King James Version, have this doxology because translators worked from manuscripts which contained the ancient Catholic liturgical interpolation. King Henry VIII, before he shattered Catholic communion in England and broke with Rome, imposed a single version of the Our Father in English on his subjects based on Tyndale’s 1525 translation of the Bible. It did not have the doxology. In 1541, after his break with Rome, Henry again imposed English versions of major prayers. Again, Henry’s version did not have the doxology at the end of the Lord’s Prayer. That English version has remained more or less the way we all pray the Our Father in English even to our day.
The more precious the prayer, the more conservative we tend to be!
In the first Book of Common Prayer of 1549 during the tumultuous time of King Edward VI the doxology does not appear. However, in a subsequent edition during the reign of Elizabeth I, it does appear. It was their desire at that time to distinguish their Protestant manner of praying the Our Father from the Catholic way. The interpolation of the doxology was an anti-Catholic, or rather non-Catholic gesture.
Adding the doxology to the Our Father became the English Protestant way of praying.
Catholics didn’t use the ancient Catholic prayer and Protestants did, in order to be Protestant, which is a ironic.
Therefore, this little prayer of praise arose from our most ancient Christian forebears in their liturgical worship. The Catholic Church, however, stuck to the older Scripture tradition in her liturgical worship. On the other hand, the Eastern Churches have the little doxology as part of their liturgical prayer. This is entirely legitimate, of course, and quite ancient.
As I said, above, the inclusion of the doxology concerns more than merely the English speaking world. There is a non-English history as well. It also concerns more than the Catholic Church’s way of praying.
All in all, traditional Catholics are justified in their hesitation about the inclusion of this doxology in Holy Mass. It was not part of the Catholic liturgical tradition except in the very earliest times. To be fair, in the Novus Ordo of Mass, the Ordinary Form, the doxology is separated from the Lord’s Prayer by the embolism. Still, it is closely related in the Mass to the Our Father, for the embolism itself expands the Our Father’s final petition.
The inclusion of this doxology was an innovation that did not come organically from our Catholic liturgical tradition. It seems to have been interpolated for ecumenical reasons: it harks to how Protestants and Orthodox pray. I don’t think it was just a gesture to Protestants. The Orthodox too, and therefore Eastern Catholics, worked from different sources that included the doxology.
Were Catholics in the pews clamoring to say during Mass what rang in their ears as Protestant? Of course they didn’t know that this was a very ancient Catholic prayer. Its inclusion in the Catholic Mass is also an example of the liturgical archeology or antiquarianism Ven. Pius XII warned against in Mediator Dei. To go that far back and revive an element of ancient worship and then artificially insert it into an order of Mass virtually unchanged for 1500 years is an example of liturgical archeology rather than organic development. This was one of those impositions which, as Joseph Ratzinger pointed out in his preface to Klaus Gamber’s The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: its problems and background, gives traditional Catholics the impression that the post-Conciliar form of Mass constitutes a real rupture in our tradition of worship, that it is “a fabrication, a banal on -the-spot product.”
That said, the little doxology after the Our Father is not banal. It is indeed venerable! I include Ratzinger’s quote to underscore how some elements of the Ordinary Form of Mass constitute a rupture with our tradition. The elements themselves, however, may be of great antiquity and quite Catholic in their origin.
Perhaps knowing more about this little doxology will make it less jarring for those who are sensitive to its inclusion in the newer form of Holy Mass.