The Archdiocese of Westminster has issued a notification, as follows:
Conclusion to Collects
The Congregation on [sic] Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments has indicated that the word ‘one’ before ‘God’ in the full ending of the collect in the prayers of the Roman Missal, and equivalent occasions, is to be omitted (i.e., ‘Through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever’). This change comes into effect from the beginning of the new liturgical year on 29th November 2020.
On 13 May 2020, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, wrote to Episcopal Conferences in relation to a change to the Trinitarian conclusion to the collects in the 2010 Roman Missal. His letter indicated that the inclusion of the word ‘one’ before ‘God’ is problematic in relation to the Latin text Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum.
The inclusion of the word ‘one’ before ‘God’, Cardinal Sarah wrote,
can serve to undermine the statement of the Son’s unique identity within the Trinity which the Latin formulas so strongly convey and, on the other hand, it can also be interpreted as saying that Jesus Christ is “one God”. Either or both of these interpretations is injurious to the faith of the Church.
It is clear from the Latin texts that the doxology emphasises the divinity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son, who intercedes on our behalf, as the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, to the Father and which prayer is made in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Thus the Son’s role of priestly mediation is made clear. To transfer the Trinitarian relational element in unitate as meaning unus Deus is incorrect.
The omission of the word “one” before God will mean that the three possible conclusions to the collects [as outlined in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (2012), n. 54] will read as follows:
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
Who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
A number of points of interest here.
The Australian Bishops’ Conference has already approved these changes to the current Missal text, effective 29 November 2020, though the Bishops of England and Wales have not yet done so (which makes the Westminster notification a little odd). I have not heard that BCDW in the US has implemented these changes either.
The wording of the Westminster announcement appears to be inaccurate. The words ‘our Lord’ do not appear in the collect conclusion (though you quite often hear priests inserting it when on autopilot, presumably through transference from the Creed). Westminster also inserts a comma before the words ‘in the unity’ and omits the comma after ‘God’.
Though Cardinal Sarah does not explicitly state it this way, the rationale for all this appears to be that the Latin Deus in the formula mostly refers to the Father only, and not to all three persons. One wonders why the Congregation has only now decided to adjust our liturgical texts — we have had ‘one God’ in the Roman Missal for 50 years, and the Congregation allowed this to continue in the 2010 Third Edition of the Roman Missal (and see GIRM 54), albeit with some discussion of this point at the time.
We have effectively been affirming our belief in the doctrine of the Trinity in the collect concluding formulae even before the Roman Missal of 1970, and indeed in English at least as far back as the Book of Common Prayer in the 17th century, which already contained the phrase ‘one God’ at this point. Apart from our Anglican and Episcopalian friends, Lutherans and other non-catholic denominations share our tradition of acknowledging the Trinity in the conclusions to collects by using ‘one God’.
One suspects that those in the pews will not understand, nor even care about, the theological niceties involved. In a similar way to the recent pronouncement from the CDF about the validity of baptismal formulae (which incidentally reverses the position of SCDWDS on the very same point in 2003), it seems strange to be requesting such a change at a time of pandemic when people have far larger issues to contend with.