There are some folk who say it is derived from “God’s Friday” via an English corruption of the German “Gute” – for God. Sounds plausible. Except the Germans call the Friday before Easter “Sorrowful Friday” (Karfreitag). And the Anglo Saxons, who would be doing the corrupting of German called it ‘Long Friday’.
Those are why it isn’t “Good” but why is it? Well, the Baltimore catechism, on which most Catholics older than mud, like myself, were raised from a very young age, has a clear answer. It may not be the right answer in terms of etymology but, like everything in the Baltimore catechism, it is clear, concise and straight theological party line.
“We call that day “good” on which Christ died because by His death He showed His great love for man, and purchased for him every blessing.”
Wow, I just had a flash back to my grade one class and Miss Vasilinus drilling us on the basics of “What is God” “What is Grace” and why it was important to never read books that had been placed on the Church’s Index or works of theatre or film that did not meet the exacting code.
There are a few very good things about that old catechism but I’m very glad the time came when a very learned Pope (Paul VI) said we are to be guided by our informed conscience. Just in time for my parents to go see Rosemary’s Baby.