I'm not sure of the exact definition, but a doxology seems to be a prayer tagged at the end which consists of some sort of invocation of the Blessed Trinity.

I'm just wondering if the actual words in a given doxology are important or if in prayer books, like the Book of Common Prayer (for the Liturgy of the Hours) the doxology given is just the most common one used, but shortened for some reason.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and shall be forever

The prayer we teach in Religious Ed. is similar, and the one used in praying the Rosary

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and shall be forever world without end.

So, this is a three part question.

  1. Why do we pray a particular version of the 'Glory Be' during the Rosary and another during the Liturgy of the Hours
  2. Is the prayer interchangeable (especially when said in private)
  3. Is the translation likely to resemble the Latin more closely in the future, with the changes to the Mass?
  • 3
    Where I've gone (non-Catholic churches): "...as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be. World without end. Amen. Amen" Also there's "Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise him all creatures here below. Praise him above, ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen". Those are the two I know as "doxologies".
    – Richard
    Oct 19, 2011 at 13:48
  • Fascinating question!! +1
    – Richard
    Oct 19, 2011 at 13:48
  • 1
    No, leave it as Catholicism. It helps the question remain focused. I just thought it was an interesting side note. (Probably should've been made in chat rather than here) ;)
    – Richard
    Oct 19, 2011 at 14:04
  • 1
    This may be useful: Per Cyclopaedia of Biblical, theological, and ecclesiastical literature, Volume 2 By John McClintock, there are three liturgical doxologies of special note, the Gloria Patri (or Lesser Doxology), the Gloria Excelsis (or Greater Doxology), and the Trisagion.
    – Richard
    Oct 19, 2011 at 17:20
  • 3
    Just a quick note: in Spanish, "por los siglos y los siglos" doesn't actually mean "for centuries and centuries;" it's a (rather archaic) idiom meaning "forever," so this is pretty consistent. Something like "as it was in the beginning, now and forever and ever."
    – Mason Wheeler
    Oct 19, 2011 at 18:22

2 Answers 2

  1. and 3. I guess it has just historical reasons, and it will probably be corrected someday. In most languages, there's just one version of Gloria Patri.

  2. In Liturgy of Hours it should still be Gloria Patri, and if you pray it by yourself, the translation shouldn't be important. On the other hand, it shouldn't be replaced by other, though similar, prayers (but I've seen much bigger tresspasses against liturgical rules and AFAIK it doesn't make the whole prayer useless). In Rosary and other uses, it's even more free.


For Protestants, and I suspect Catholics too, a doxology (or "word of glory") is often used as a prayer that we can read together as Christians, as opposed to a prayer that one person is making for the group. The Bible has a few famous doxologies:

  1. Jude 1: 24, 25:

    24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

  2. Ephesians 3: 20, 21:

    20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

And I know the Church of England has doxologies in it's prayer book, as it appears that Catholics have their own books. I can't answer your question in the form of the three questions you've posed, but it appears that at it's heart, a doxology is just a prayer that we can use or not, as we choose. Whether we use a doxology or not, our heart's condition must surely be more important before God than the choice of Words.

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