Vatican City, Sep 3, 2008 / 03:30 am
The Hebrew name for God is not to be used or pronounced in liturgical celebrations, songs and prayers, Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has said in a letter addressed to the bishops’ conferences of the world.
The letter concerns the use of the “Tetragrammaton,” the name which uses the four Hebrew letters YHWH. In English the name is pronounced “Yahweh.”
Cardinal Arinze’s letter teaches that the Tetragrammaton is to be translated as the equivalent of the Hebrew title “Adonai” or the Greek title “Kyrios.” He lists as examples five acceptable translations of the title in five European languages: Lord, Signore, Seigneur, Herr, and Señor.
Regarding translations in the liturgical context, the letter instructs, “Adonai” is to be translated in English as “Lord” and the Tetragrammaton YHWH is to be translated as “God.”