Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Q. Could you please go over the reason why Catholics do not end the "Our Father" with the words," "For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever"? One Catholic told me that these words constitute a Protestant addition. Is this true or not? And why do some books print the "Hail Mary" with the words, "the Lord is with you," while others read, "the Lord is with thee." Please explain.

A. There are two versions of the "Our Father" (Pater Noster, in Latin) recorded in the New Testament Scriptures. The first, the one used in the Roman Liturgy, is derived from the Gospel according to Matthew (9:13). The other, or shorter version, is found in the Gospel according to Luke (11:2-4).

Neither Biblical version closes with the doxology (declaration of praise): "For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever."

The aforesaid doxology, which is appended to the Pater Noster in many non-Roman Christian communions, does essentially appear, however, in the Mass of the Roman Rite, not as an appendage to the Pater Noster, however, but as a closing sentence to the embolism (i.e., interpolation) which follows the Pater Noster. In the approved English Sacramentary, it reads: "For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever."

This sentence is really quite ancient; it certainly does not constitute a non-Catholic addition of recent happening. It is found in the ancient Didache, for example, a Greek instructional manual of enormous significance. There it appears at the close of the "Our Father." (8.2) The Didache ("The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles") is often dated around 60-70 A.D., or just about 30 years after Christ rose from the tomb. This is the same Didache that contains the most ancient, non-Biblical, specific condemnation of abortion: "do not kill a fetus by abortion" (2.2). (This reference totally negates the suggestion, recently made by a Congresswoman, that the Church’s stance regarding abortion only dates back 50 years. Not so, but back almost 1950 years.)

At any rate, the words, "For thine is the Kingdom," etc., are quite ancient, but they do not form part of the "Our Father."

Regarding the "Hail Mary," the first part is Biblical, taken from the Angel Gabriel’s words to the Virgin Mary at the time of the Annunciation (Lk 1:28); and also Elizabeth’s greeting of Mary at the time of the Visitation (Lk 1:42). The second part of the prayer, beginning with, "Holy Mary, Mother of God," was added by the Church during the 15th century. (The wording developed from the 6th century on, and was finalized in the 16th century.) The addition of the holy name, "Jesus," is often attributed to Pope Urban IV (d. 1264).

The variance between "you" ("Blessed are you") and "thee," is simply due to the English translation. Our American bishops, during the Marian Year observances, published a manual of Marian Prayers using "you"; The Vatican II Weekday Missal, in its treasury of prayers, also uses "you." Either is correct, of course; but consistency is important.