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Legionary priest answers question about "Pro Multis"

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Legionary priest answers question about "Pro Multis"

Post  Guest on Wed May 25, 2011 12:20 am

Translating "Pro Multis"
And More on Exposition on Holy Thursday

ROME, MAY 24, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Readers from several parts of the world have requested commentaries on the new English translation of the Roman Missal. While I have never been directly involved in the project and can boast no technical studies in the art of translation, I hope to offer occasional theological reflections on the new texts.

We have already broached the question of translation in several articles. On June 15, 2004, and then last Sept. 14 and Sept. 28, we dealt with the reasons to prefer translating "Et cum spiritu tuo" as "And with you spirit" rather than "And also with you."

On Sept. 7 and 21, 2004, we explained the reasonableness of translating the "pro multis" in the words of consecration as "for all" in spite of its literally meaning "for many." Although the reasons offered for this translation are valid, from the theological point of view it was still an inaccurate translation. Having consulted widely, Benedict XVI decided that henceforth all new versions of the missal must translate this text literally as "for many." The reasons behind this decision were laid out by the Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in a letter to the presidents of all the national bishops' conferences on Oct. 17, 2006 (Prot. N. 467/05/L):

"In July 2005 this Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, by agreement with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote to all Presidents of Conferences of Bishops to ask their considered opinion regarding the translation into the various vernaculars of the expression pro multis in the formula for the consecration of the Precious Blood during the celebration of Holy Mass (ref. Prot. N. 467/05/L of 9 July 2005).

"The replies received from the Bishops' Conferences were studied by the two Congregations and a report was made to the Holy Father. At his direction, this Congregation now writes to Your Eminence / Your Excellency in the following terms:

"1. A text corresponding to the words pro multis, handed down by the Church, constitutes the formula that has been in use in the Roman Rite in Latin from the earliest centuries. In the past 30 years or so, some approved vernacular texts have carried the interpretive translation 'for all,' 'per tutti,' or equivalents.

"2. There is no doubt whatsoever regarding the validity of Masses celebrated with the use of a duly approved formula containing a formula equivalent to 'for all,' as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has already declared (cf. Sacra Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei, Declaratio de sensu tribuendo adprobationi versionum formularum sacramentalium, 25 Ianuarii 1974, AAS 66 [1974], 661). Indeed, the formula 'for all' would undoubtedly correspond to a correct interpretation of the Lord's intention expressed in the text. It is a dogma of faith that Christ died on the Cross for all men and women (cf. John 11:52; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Titus 2:11; 1 John 2:2).

"3. There are, however, many arguments in favor of a more precise rendering of the traditional formula pro multis:

"a. The Synoptic Gospels (Mt 26:28; Mk 14:24) make specific reference to 'many' (πολλων = pollôn) for whom the Lord is offering the Sacrifice, and this wording has been emphasized by some biblical scholars in connection with the words of the prophet Isaiah (53:11-12). It would have been entirely possible in the Gospel texts to have said 'for all' (for example, cf. Luke 12:41); instead, the formula given in the institution narrative is 'for many,' and the words have been faithfully translated thus in most modern biblical versions.

"b. The Roman Rite in Latin has always said pro multis and never pro omnibus in the consecration of the chalice.

"c. The anaphoras of the various Oriental Rites, whether in Greek, Syriac, Armenian, the Slavic languages, etc., contain the verbal equivalent of the Latin pro multis in their respective languages.

"d. 'For many' is a faithful translation of pro multis, whereas 'for all' is rather an explanation of the sort that belongs properly to catechesis.

"e. The expression 'for many,' while remaining open to the inclusion of each human person, is reflective also of the fact that this salvation is not brought about in some mechanistic way, without one's willing or participation; rather, the believer is invited to accept in faith the gift that is being offered and to receive the supernatural life that is given to those who participate in this mystery, living it out in their lives as well so as to be numbered among the 'many' to whom the text refers.

"f. In line with the Instruction Liturgiam authenticam, effort should be made to be more faithful to the Latin texts in the typical editions.

"The Bishops' Conferences of those countries where the formula 'for all' or its equivalent is currently in use are therefore requested to undertake the necessary catechesis for the faithful on this matter in the next one or two years to prepare them for the introduction of a precise vernacular translation of the formula pro multis (e.g, 'for many,' 'per molti,' etc.) in the next translation of the Roman Missal that the Bishops and the Holy See will approve for use in their country."

Some countries, such as France, have always translated this text literally (in this case as "for the multitude"). Some Spanish-speaking countries have already changed the words of consecration even though the full retranslation of the missal is not completed. Most English speakers will be hearing "for many" by the end of this year and eventually all countries will use this formula.

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Re: Legionary priest answers question about "Pro Multis"

Post  Guest on Wed May 25, 2011 12:22 am

I wonder if the other languages will return to "for many" as well. Spanish is still translated as "por todos los hombres." I have not heard any news about a new Spanish translation. In general the Spanish translation is pretty good....except for the pro omnibus thing.

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Re: Legionary priest answers question about "Pro Multis"

Post  Guest on Wed May 25, 2011 12:45 am

Hey Tornpage do you think that Adam Miller's argument would work with the Spanish translation?

"... que será derramado por vosotros y por TODOS LOS HOMBRES..."

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Re: Legionary priest answers question about "Pro Multis"

Post  tornpage on Wed May 25, 2011 12:52 am

It would have been entirely possible in the Gospel texts to have said 'for all' (for example, cf. Luke 12:41)

Ah, guys, didn't Our Lord say "for many"? Or is he just a character in a book that the human writer of the book had say certain things that he could have had him say differently?

Maybe it's just me.
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Re: Legionary priest answers question about "Pro Multis"

Post  tornpage on Wed May 25, 2011 12:55 am

Hey Tornpage do you think that Adam Miller's argument would work with the Spanish translation?

"... que será derramado por vosotros y por TODOS LOS HOMBRES..."

Very interesting, Rasha. Sort of looks like the sufficiency of the sacrifice there. Does it say, "por TODOS LOS HOMBRES" who will be saved or some such thing in Spanish?
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Re: Legionary priest answers question about "Pro Multis"

Post  Guest on Wed May 25, 2011 1:06 am

TOMAD Y BEBED TODOS DE ÉL, PORQUE ÉSTE ES EL CÁLIZ DE MI SANGRE, SANGRE DE LA ALIANZA NUEVA Y ETERNA, QUE SERÁ DERRAMADA POR VOSOTROS Y POR TODOS LOS HOMBRES PARA EL PERDóN DE LOS PECADOS.

HACED ESTO EN CONMEMORACIÓN MíA.


It says for all men for the remission of sin.... Hmm, actually ... it looks like the same problem we have in English.


I agree with Miller's point that we come to Mass with a "supplied Catholic understanding." In addition the CDF document on the matter basically settles it. I just wish they would have gotten into the theological arguments a bit more like Miller does.




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Re: Legionary priest answers question about "Pro Multis"

Post  Guest on Wed May 25, 2011 1:06 am

tornpage wrote:
Hey Tornpage do you think that Adam Miller's argument would work with the Spanish translation?

"... que será derramado por vosotros y por TODOS LOS HOMBRES..."

Very interesting, Rasha. Sort of looks like the sufficiency of the sacrifice there. Does it say, "por TODOS LOS HOMBRES" who will be saved or some such thing in Spanish?

So the answer is, no it doesn't.

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Re: Legionary priest answers question about "Pro Multis"

Post  DeSelby on Wed May 25, 2011 1:42 pm

tornpage wrote:
It would have been entirely possible in the Gospel texts to have said 'for all' (for example, cf. Luke 12:41)

Ah, guys, didn't Our Lord say "for many"? Or is he just a character in a book that the human writer of the book had say certain things that he could have had him say differently?

Maybe it's just me.

It's not just you.

How common is the belief in "redaction" these days? (Not a rhetorical question.)
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Re: Legionary priest answers question about "Pro Multis"

Post  MRyan on Sat May 28, 2011 11:31 am

I didn’t find the "theological reflections" of Father Edward McNamara entirely convincing. In fact, his reflections are unsettling.

Missing entirely is any explicit mention of the fact that while “for all” is certainly valid, “for many” more accurately signifies the fruit of the Sacrament, i.e., its efficacy, whereas “for all” is a general reference to the virtue of the Sacrament, i.e., its sufficiency. Why do I get the impression that Fr. McNamara considers “for all” and its reference to sufficiency the more “correct interpretation of the Lord’s intention”? Perhaps because he said this:

“Indeed, the formula 'for all' would undoubtedly correspond to a correct interpretation of the Lord's intention expressed in the text. It is a dogma of faith that Christ died on the Cross for all men and women (cf. John 11:52; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Titus 2:11; 1 John 2:2).”

Quite so, but isn’t it also a dogmatic fact that the consecration formula must signify the efficacy of the sacrament since it is the efficacy of the Passion that Christ was referring to in His words of Consecration, as St. Thomas, the Catechism of Trent, and Church tradition tells us?

While Fr. McNamara may imply in paragraph “e” that “for many” more accurately reflects the fruit of the Sacrament, he still leaves the impression that “for many” does not preclude it from being properly understood as being sufficient “for all”, as if the words should signify the sufficiency of the Sacrament because this is the more theologically correct understanding:

"e. The expression 'for many,' while remaining open to the inclusion of each human person, is reflective also of the fact that this salvation is not brought about in some mechanistic way, without one's willing or participation; rather, the believer is invited to accept in faith the gift that is being offered and to receive the supernatural life that is given to those who participate in this mystery, living it out in their lives as well so as to be numbered among the 'many' to whom the text refers.
When all is said and done, it sounds like the real reason for the change is not because “for many” more accurately signifies the efficacious virtue and intention of our Lord’s words, but because this is the “literal” translation and the Church can be a stickler for tradition, especially under Pope BXVI. And you can bet that this is the “explanation” that will be given the Faithful.

Isn’t it funny that the Novus Ordo and its radical changes came down almost without warning and with no preparation like a sledge hammer, yet we need an entire year to prepare the Faithful for a few minor changes and a couple of corrections to the faulty vernacular mistranslations in the Mass.

Incredible.
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Re: Legionary priest answers question about "Pro Multis"

Post  MRyan on Sat May 28, 2011 11:48 am

When all is said and done, it sounds like the real reason for the change is not because “for many” more accurately signifies the efficacious virtue and intention of our Lord’s words, but because this is the “literal” translation and the Church can be a stickler for tradition, especially under Pope BXVI. And you can bet that this is the “explanation” that will be given the Faithful.

Meant to say "fruit" not "virtue".
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Re: Legionary priest answers question about "Pro Multis"

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