Worship and Power website

Fr. Philip Endean SJ is known to PrayTell readers. Here is his website, which has a section on “Worship and Power.”


  1. I apologize for this intemperate comment:
    but, please, just grow up!
    This constant whinnying, complaining, bitching, whathaveyou…about this new translation is just like a bunch of third graders (I did teach school once; I know of which I speak) who didn’t get “their way”.
    For good or for worse, it’s gonna be with us.
    If you don’t like it, use Latin (the irony, the irony!).
    All this b.s. about “pastoral”, “colloquial” language is just beyond the pale.
    I have offered Mass in the Ordinary Form for seven years with the absolutely banal, inadequate and unfaithful translations…yeah, I actually can read and understand Latin; we have the OF in Latin regularly here; and it’s just ga-ga-goo-goo, “God is nice”, “God is loving”, “God is ….” in the present English translation…gimme a break…if Lex orandi, lex credendi is the norm, no wonder so many Catholics have no clue, none whatsoever about the teachings of the Church, the moral norms, the spiritual teachings…
    Okay, crucify me now; the nails are ready!

  2. Fr John Mary, your response is grossly inadequate. We now face the situation where the Roman Missal, for the first time in its history, is turning into an object of ridicule. This will be a scandal equal in deleterious effect to the sex abuse scandals. Those responsible, ALL those responsible, will be facing some embarrassing questions. How did they allow this to happen? As one of the many priests who will not be able to use the new English translations, since they are so bad that they border on heresy in the worst sense, shall be obliged to recite the Roman Canon in Latin –hoping that my congregations will understand.

    1. Well, I don’t think the deleterious effects can be compared to the sex abuse scandal because that is so uniquely bad.

      But I can verify the borderline heresy in the coming missal. In several places it will suggest that our liturgical season made possible Christ’s action (I think it’s the other way around) because someone doesn’t know how to translate a cum-clause.


  3. Joseph, the existing ICEL translation has been an object of ridicule for years. The embarrassing questions you list have been asked for decades already. The (I believe to be exaggerated) accusations of heresy have been out there for a long time too, especially in reference to the existing ICEL translation. The “For ALL” in the consecration of the chalice comes to mind.
    None of this is new. Where have you been Joseph?

  4. I’m not sure I would link the state of liturgical translations and the state of cultural mores. Really?

    ICEL translations have also been praised. We’re really not going to play who’s more Catholic, are we?

    Yes, the current on-going process of translation remains an issue. Even if this missal is a sealed, printed, delivered done deal now it won’t be forever. More importantly the entire corpus of liturgical rites will be retranslated over the years as well – and of course scripture. Obviously this is just an English example. How many other vernaculars did Comme le prévoit and does Liturgiam Authenticum apply to? Thus the magnitude of the English missal project I suspect is one gallon in the global lake. I highly doubt vernacular worship will ever leave the Catholic church now after the Council. That being the case, issues of translation and the ecclesial relationships the process engenders, should and must and will continue to be discussed, evaluated and executed. I’m glad we as Catholics take our worship, our liturgical theology, our ecclesiology and, yes, our English translations seriously. It simply doesn’t suffice to throw up our hands, out of whatever motivation, as if God throws down missals from on high.

  5. “Joseph, the existing ICEL translation has been an object of ridicule for years.”

    It has never been put through so embarrassing a process as the new translations; both in their composition, imposition and subsequent muddled revision. Criticism of the current translation is justified, especially of the preces, is justified, but we would already have a new and better translation ten years ago if the Vatican had not carried on its ridiculous danse macabre with Liturgiam Authenticam and the new translations. Not to mention the 1998 translations in this context is to skew the whole issue.

  6. “For all” is a heresy? Not in the eyes of the Pope. Are you a Calvinist fighting Arminius or a latterday Jansenist? You confirm that despite papal assurance the change to “for many” (an INCORRECT translation; it should be “for the many” or “pour la multitude”) will lead to a resipiscence of the heresies condemned in Unigenitus.

    1. Given the absence of articles in Latin, I think it might be an overstatement to call “for many” “an INCORRECT translation.” It might be a translation with which you disagree, and you might be right in your disagreement, based on nuances of the English language, but it seems to me the point is sufficiently debatable to forestall any blanket declaration of the translation’s incorrectness.

  7. I understand that the original Aramaic would not have been a restrictive “for many (but not all)” but a plenitudinous “for a great number” and I believe Ratzinger has said this. The English “for many” has a restrictive meaning in ordinary use and would thus be not only misleading but incorrect. In fact it is its misleading aspect that is most serious, since it suggests that Jesus died “for many, not for all” which I understand is a position regarded as heretical by the Catholic Church.

    1. The issue is a translation of the Latin, not Aramaic. Everything else that you are discussing here would be a mater for religious education or even a homily.

      1. Sorry, JF – thought I would link to the actual definitive statement from the Vatican itself (1970) per the “most” orthodox EWTN quoting from the Opus Dei mouthpiece, Zenit:

        “According to exegetes, the Aramaic word which in Latin is translated ‘pro multis,’ means ‘pro omnibus’: the multitude for whom Christ died is unbounded, which is the same as saying: Christ died for all. St. Augustine will help recall this: ‘You see what He hath given; find out then what He bought. The Blood of Christ was the price. What is equal to this? What, but the whole world? What, but all nations? They are very ungrateful for their price, or very proud, who say that the price is so small that it bought the Africans only; or that they are so great, as that it was given for them alone.’ (Enarr. In Ps. 95, n. 5)” – your statement is incomplete at best and incorrect at worst.

        “In no way is the doctrine of the ‘Roman Catechism’ to be held outdated: the distinction that the death of Christ was sufficient for all, efficacious only for many, still holds its value.”
        Since the debate continued unabated, the Vatican congregation weighed in with Father Zerwick’s May article entitled “Pro vobis et pro multis effundetur” which expounded the biblical justifications for the change from “many” to “all.” The following text, while sometimes a trifle technical, is sufficiently clear:

      2. +JMJ+

        I think it’s proper to say that Jesus Christ died for all so that sins may be forgiven. I think it’s also proper to say that Jesus Christ died for many for (or unto) the forgiveness of sins. There could be a technical difference between the two. In order for sins to be forgiven, Christ died for all. But the forgiveness of sins thereby attained will be granted to many, not all.

        I think Card. Arinze’s explanation is decent and worth our consideration:

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

        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 own 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.

  8. “The word which we translate as ‘many’ stresses the sense of a great number and does not exclude anyone. . .Jesus certainly makes this fullness of salvation his own and it is the whole of mankind to the end of space and time that he includes in the ‘many’ for whom he was going to give his life as a ‘ransom’ (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45). (Pierre Benoit, O.P. “The Accounts of the Institution and What they Imply,” in “The Eucharist in the New Testament: A symposium”, Helicon Press, Baltimore and Dublin, 1964, page 80.) This is right in line with the great Doctors of the Church, as St. Thomas referencing the other great Doctor, St. Augustine on the issue: “St. Augustine explains ‘multi’ to mean ‘all men’; and this manner of speaking is frequently found in sacred scripture. (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Question 75, Reply to Objection 2).

  9. Philip Endean sees the”dictation from on high” phenomenon of the (currently) final edition of the translation as heralding a reversal of Vatican II. Obviously control has been a central issue in the lengthy process, especially in the “reformation”of ICEL and the wanton discarding of their former re-translation. I say again that the reasoning in Liturgiam Authenticam is anything but transparent, as Peter Jeffery has shown us in Translating Tradition: A Chant Historian Reads Liturgiam Authenticam (Liturgical Press, 2005). Excerpts from this fine book appeared on the PrayTell blog last July 17. Jeffrey describes himself as being “as conservative as one can get without rejecting Vatican II” and thus cannot be construed as “one of those liberals.” Given the intellectual rigor of his comments, which I think eviscerate LA, what are we to see as the real reason for the autocratic methods behind the new translation? No question that it is the desire to get the church back on track, to reclaim the heritage, to let the Mass again be mystical and transcendent. And to have again enough priests to go around. This is not a bad goal, but Jeffrey’s book raises the following ancient question for me: are we now saying that the end justify the means?

  10. Thanks, Fr. Foley – posted on another thread, “What to Look for in the New Translation” on August 28th, #7, at 10:38 AM:

    “Thanks, Fr. Anthony…..well written with concise points and concerns.
    “Pope Benedict is well known for his writings on beauty and reverence and holiness in worship. He has made it a high priority to move the Church toward his vision of liturgical renewal….”

    Prescinding from concerns about translations, words, etc.; your ending brings us back to what all of this means – it leads to ecclesiological questions and am reminded of my high school moral theology class – “The ends never justify the means”.

    Would suggest that curia/episcopal folks need to beware of unintended consequences. This project only weakens the current credibility and trust that the people of God have in curial/papal/episcopal folks…..the means have been secret; conspiratorial; authoritarian; and opposed to many of the highest principles of VII.”

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