Recently I learned that modern Roman Catholic hymnals include Martin Luther's well-known hymn, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. Investigating further on hymnary.org, however, I find that the song is not found in apparently popular Roman Catholic hymnals from 1851 and 1913.

I am speculating that the inclusion of the song only became possible after counter-reformation bad blood between Roman Catholics and Martin Luther waned. Thus, I'd like to know which was the first popular/official* Roman Catholic hymnal to include the hymn. Bonus points for an answer that takes into account non-English hymnals, but an English-only answer is fine too.

*Note that I do not know how much oversight the Roman Catholic church exercises over its hymnals. I'm looking for a hymnal popular or official enough that it indicates at least broad acceptance of the hymn.

  • 2
    There isn't any "official" Catholic hymnal; I'm not sure whether the various episcopal conferences have any formal oversight bodies for them. And "popular" hymnals, like any other popular commercial product, are generally those which have the best sales and marketing programs :-) Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 14:42
  • @MattGutting Thanks, that's helpful. An episcopal conference-level recommendation or statement of approval would certainly be sufficiently "broad" for me. If that doesn't exist, large numbers of individual priests independently choosing a hymnal would still be interesting. Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 15:01
  • @Nathaniel Let me guess: Oregon "Catholic" Press publishes the hymnal you're referring to.
    – Geremia
    Commented Jul 3, 2015 at 0:17
  • @Geremia I actually heard this second-hand, so I don't know the publication information of the particular hymnal. Commented Jul 3, 2015 at 23:48

1 Answer 1


The Hymnal Worship II, published in 1975 by GIA, and widely used in the Archdiocese of Chicago, includes an English translation of Luther's German paraphrase of Psalm 46 (Vulgate No. 45) in two versions at number 2 and number 3 in the hymnal. That is the earliest attributed publication in a "Catholic" hymnal of which I am aware. I did once see a small hymnal published in an area of the country settled by people of German descent which included the text cited as "Paraphrase of Psalm 45", set to Luther's tune which was not attributed to him. I saw it in a used bookstore, but wasn't able to purchase it when I saw it; when I returned, to buy the book, it had been purchased by another buyer. I didn't take down publication details at the time, so don't know exactly who published it, when, or where.
In my view, Worship II rises to the level of "popular", but the earlier publication, which had a limited press run and distribution, does not warrant that description.

  • Is there any chance the used bookstore would still have info on that book in their system? Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 2:35
  • 1
    The bookstore did not have much of a system at the time I stopped in (Early 1980's), but even so, the last time I went past the location, in the late 1980's, the bookstore had closed.
    – brasshat
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 3:43

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .