Missal change to the Collect ending

The Catholic bishops of the United States say about the collect in the Roman Missal that

the current translation – which concludes “[…] in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever” – is incorrect. There is no mention of “one” in the Latin, and “Deus” in the Latin text refers to Christ. Therefore, the correct translation, which is already reflected in the Missal in other languages (including our own USCCB Misal Romano) is simply: “[…] in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.”

This change is to be implemented on Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021. The words “one God, for ever and ever” are replaced with “God, for ever and ever.”

It is interesting that “when the translation of the Missal currently in use was in progress, ICEL pointed out the discrepancy to the Congregation in Rome, but was told to retain the use of ‘one God’ in the new translation.” The head of ICEL at the time was Archbishop Arthur Roche. He is now the secretary of the Congregation in Rome.

Full story here.


  1. When will “per ómnia sǽcula sæculórum ” be more “literally” rendered as something, “unto [the] ages of ages”…

  2. Might as well jump right in. Cardinal Sarah comments that this will restore the correct understanding that the final Deus refers only to the Son. Is he correct?

    1. I see that I may be misunderstanding Cardinal Sarah. It seems Deus in the closing, since it is in the vocative, (and not some sort of appositive construction), and is accompanied by ‘tecum’ must refer, as Paul has stated in his Oct. post, essentially to the Father. Thought experiment: “through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who, with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, O God, for ever and ever.” I wonder if this formula predates the Arian controversies or arose during them, and whether the use of Deus here should probably be considered in that context.

  3. If this was done by progressives, trads would insist that they were denying the deity of the Holy Spirit.

  4. I doubt this particular revision would make much difference to the average worshipper. I am in favor of translating the Latin as meaningful as possible, though I think some translations do need to be explained to the people. For example,’Haec ergo dona, quaesumus, Spiritus tui rore sanctifica’, translated ‘Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall’ in Eucharistic Prayer II seems to have been inserted in the 2011 revision without any explanation, and as far as I know doesn’t have an equivalent in the pre-reform missal. I know now that it’s a biblical reference to refreshment, and especially to the manna which followed dewfall, but it’s pretty mysterious, and one of the goals of the ’69 reform was surely to make the meaning of the rites clearer.

    1. When we first were introducing the new Missal someone commented on the dewfall at a priest meeting. One of the priests, who grew up in the country, said he found it to be one of the more meaningful additions since his morning experience was one of dew covered grass. It gave me a new perspective.

      1. Two references which I have found helpful are to the “Rorate coeli” and to Gideon’s testing of God in Judges 6: 36-40. An answer to “How quietly and mysteriously does the Holy Spirit descend upon these gifts and transform them into our Lord, without anyone seeing a thing?”

      2. And the sun doesn’t rise, nor does it set. Yet dewfall is an English word, like sunrise and sunset.

  5. I inwardly chuckled when I read this notification. ICEL’s translations began omitting the “one” in concluding doxologies going back to the mid-1990’s. The ill-fated 1997 Sacramentary, canonically approved by the USCCB but not confirmed by the CDWDS, consistently used the formula without the “one.” And, if memory serves me correctly, there was no “one” in the revised ICEL Roman Missal translation approved by the English-speaking conferences of bishops early in the present century. Wasn’t it the Vox Clara Commission which re-inserted the “one” after the bishops’ conferences had approved the text without the “one”?

  6. “Until someone pointed out that dew doesn’t fall.”

    Is it possible that poetry’s gone out of an Irishman, Mr. Flynn?

    Dew does form ‘invisibly’. Still, good one, Gerard. The French half of you must have been speaking.

    1. Not only does dew not actually fall, but in British English “dewfall” is not a word that is commonly used. In my 70+ years as a reasonably literate Englishman I had never heard it before and it still lands on my ears with a thump.

      1. We have it in our U.S. hymnals in Morning has broken: “Sweet the rain’s dewfall,” made popular by Cat Stevens of course. I see that this hymn text is in my 1999 The English Hymnal… but altered for the Brits to “Swee the rain’s new fall.”

      2. It’s very much part of “Morning Has Broken” in the US for 50 years now – second line of second verse. I remember when it debuted; cannot remember a single person ever complaining that its meaning was obscure, abstruse, unintelligible or poor English usage. Of course, Eleanor Farjeon’s text is 40 years older still. It may not have a lot of resonance in moist climates, shall we say, but in arid climates (not just the Holy Land, but I think of the “sky islands” of southern Arizona, and similar elevated places where the recurrence of dew is the foundation of a different biome), it’s impact could have seemed quasi-miraculous in terms of life potential.


      3. Not commonly used perhaps because the subject does not come up much in conversation. But Google’s Ngram analysis shows that ‘abstruse’ is only about 10 times more common (if I counted correctly). Dewfall is about twice as common in British English as in American English, and about twice as common in literature as in other texts.

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