Missal implementation in September in England, Wales

New Mass translation to be used in parishes from September,” reports the Catholic Herald.

56 comments

    1. Great news? What are you expecting the reaction of the British faithful to be when they see their language massacred and their liturgy made meaningless?

      1. ‘What are you expecting the reaction of the British faithful to be when they see their language massacred and their liturgy made meaningless?’

        – To be honest, I don’t think the few remaining British people who go to RC churches will notice or be bothered. They will continue to get on with their rosaries and private prayers, and might be puzzled that we will no longer be allowed to say/sing ‘Christ is risen’.

        Mass will continue to be interspersed with devotional hymns to Our Lady and the Blessed Sacrament. The microphone will remain switched off. The Psalms and Alleluia will remain recited (very badly).

        The people who ARE enthusiastic about the changes will not be using them – they will continue to go to latin masses at the Oratories or wherever.

      2. Joe, I grew up with Irish priests in the Diocese of Savannah. Many said they massacred our southern dialect and many of us had a hard time understanding them. But the southern Church survived by the grace of God.

      3. John?

        Have you had some particularly bad experience?

        “The microphone will remain switched off.”
        Then switch it on.

        “The Psalms and Alleluia will remain recited.”
        Then sing them.

        “The people who ARE enthusiastic about the changes…will continue to go to latin masses at the Oratories”
        So why on earth would they be concerned about which translation is in use?

        John, methinks your glass is half empty. Mine is half full. Cheers!

      4. Interestingly, there is a rather good article posted at Jerry Galipeau’s GSGP blog. Kevin Keil began introducing the new setting of the Gloria. Nobody seemed to notice it was a new translation…just figured it was another song. I thought for sure there would be riots… 🙂

      5. Singing the new translation is a good way of disguising its ungainly nature.

        Proclaiming, listening and understanding the spoken words of the translation is where difficulties lie.

  1. Interestingly, the new translation has been in use for almost two and half years now in my home diocese in the Philippines in Bicol dialect. I was very surprised about its smooth implementation. Accordingly, Bicol was the first translation in the vernacular from the original Latin, much earlier than Tagalog, our national language. This is not to extol any language/dialect, but does this speak of the resilient character of faith vis-a-vis structure of the church?

    Thank you Fr. Edward Foley for sharing your insights into moving forward by presenting the challenges in preparation for a furture re-translation and re-implementation of the NEXT Roman Missal looming in the horizon. I pray and hope it will be in my lifetime.

    1. Chironomo @ Chant Cafe:
      “The orinal (sic) post at PT that spurred this article was so transparently made from the point of view of a discouraged progressive who sees the time of the NewChurch coming to an end, wishing with all her strength that her unlikely predictions might come true. The reasoning goes like this:
      If I think this translation is an abomination intended to solidify clerical power, surely EVERYONE must believe this.”

  2. This might be good news. They could be the guinea pigs, and parishes in the US could learn from their first reactions what works and what doesn’t, just in time before taking the plunge.

    Is there a way to get organized so that we get actual scientific data about how the beginning of the implementation goes, rather than anecdotes colored by individual biases?

    For example, a sociologist could draw a representative sample of parishes, enlist student sociologists to participate in the study by going to Mass in those selected parishes and reporting on what happens in some systematic way (number of people attending, number of regular vs occasional Mass goers, deviations from the texts, polling people after Mass for first impressions, polling the same people at the beginning and again after a month to see if their opinion changed, catechesis, choice of music, interviews of priests, etc.) Then we’d have a chance to know what is actually going on.

  3. Excellent suggestions, Claire.

    I remember how so many people rooted for the Iraq war so enthusiastically in 2003, confident of its salutary effect, and how they later fell silent. But even though the disastrous effect of the war was obvious from its first days (and predicted long before) it took quite a long time for the majority of its supporters to become convinced that they were mistaken. So sociological observations — which cannot really measure spiritual vitality — will be scotched by the diehard supporters of the new translation. What could have been more obvious than the discontent of the South African faithful — and what could have been more dismissive than Cardinal Napier’s response?

  4. As a young parish priest and university chaplain in Johannesburg South Africa I cannot but wonder where this is all heading. It has been my experience that this new translation, which we implemented long before we should have, is simply a linguistic and theological hash. I cannot see how it has had any beneficial effect on the pastoral life of the local church. It has made many people angry (all you have to do is look at what was published in the local Catholic Newspaper to see how upset people were) and others have just settled for it because they have no choice. Often I hear that the “youth” are an issue in the Church – their lack of commitment and participation. Are we surprised when we use such archaic language? Given that most of the students I work with have English as their second or even third language makes words like “consubstantial” even more ridiculous and foreign to ordinary people. We have been using this translation now for a few years, many people have chosen just to continue making responses in the old form and ignore what has been imposed on them. The lack of concern and understanding of our leadership when they are tinkering with the way people express themselves has confirmed for many here that this is not about the people, prayer, or God. It is, sadly, a political agenda thats at work and such agendas are never Good News. This translation isn’t Good News either I am afraid.

    1. “It has been my experience that this new translation… is simply a linguistic and theological hash”

      If celebrants believe the words of the Roman Missal, more accurately translated, approach “theological hash” the problem is not the new translation.

    2. Here is a voice from a first-hand witness. Cardinal Napier scoffed at such voices. But when they are multiplied a thousandfold in Britain in September, something’s gotta give.

  5. I think a sensible policy would be to introduce the order of Mass in September, but allow the current Gloria, Creed and Sanctus to be used until Advent 1. This would allow people not to change their music while learning the new words of the dialogs etc.

    I too am interested in the “theological hash” comment. I am no fan of the new translation, but I can’t think of any theological problems with it (at least not in the ordinary).

    1. FC – I suspect Russell might be referring to some of the theological disconnects and inconsistencies identified by Edward Foley in his recent talk.

  6. Some of the posters here seem oddly ignorant.

    Besides the South Africans which did a terrible job implementing the new translation (there wasn’t even catechesis, and they didn’t even have the final texts when they ran with the new Order of Mass translation), there ARE other regions that have implemented the new translation of the Order of Mass. New Zealand has, since the start of the liturgical year, and Australia might be doing soon, if it hasn’t done so already at the start of the year.

    So has anyone done an unbiased study of the implementation of the new texts over in these regions?

    1. I thought New Zealand had introduced only the people’s responses, not the entire ghastly text.

      “the South Africans did a terrible job implementing the new translation (there wasn’t even catechesis)”

      I heard this lame apologia a hundred times. I see no sign of catechesis in Britain either — do you know of any? And do you really think more words from these clumsy inarticulate oafs is going to make the sow’s ear into a silk purse?

      How does catechesis make the following text a good one?:

      “that a people, formed as one by the unity of the Trinity,

      made the body of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit,

      might, to the praise of your manifold wisdom,

      be manifest as the Church.”

      Or again:

      “Nourishing your faithful by this sacred mystery,

      you make them holy, so that the human race,

      bounded by one world,

      may be enlightened by one faith

      and united by one bond of charity.”

      1. Joe,

        You didn’t seem able to grasp the context in which my comment was made. The UK side will be implementing the new Order of Mass in Sep, and Claire asked for a study on its impact. You pointed to the South Africans. I merely pointed out that the new translation of the Order of Mass has now been more widely introduced in other parts of the world.

        If there is a difference in reception between South Africa and the other dioceses, isn’t that worth a study for a smooth implementation worldwide?

  7. Some theological difficulties are succinctly identified by Edward Foley OFM Cap. There are a number of others which he does not mention: “and with your spirit” we slip back into a body mind dualism here it seems. Some students have already asked me why we only refer to the “spirit” – is it more important than the body? This kind of dualism again seems to rear its head in the “ecce agnes dei” when we say “…only say the word and my soul shall be healed”. To the average person it suggests that the soul or spirit is more important than the body.

    “Consubstantial”conveys no meaning to most people in the pews these days, thats a theological problem and flies in the face of the “noble simplicity” SC of Vatican II calls for. The latest issue of Studies (from St Louis) examines how our language is simply not speaking to people today. It deals with the problems/difficulties of communicating with people in the modern world and (not liturgy as such) makes some excellent points that the translators should have taken note of. Words like “redemption” and “incarnation”, as examples, are not widely understood today. Liturgy should speak to the people and be self explanatory.

    The Pro Multis is a theological issue which many commentators have said needs a rethink.

    In the embolism what does “the blessed hope” mean and “and the coming of our saviour Jesus Christ” Is Jesus not our hope, are we waiting for the blessed hope and Jesus? Are there two different things happening here? It does not make linguistic. or theological sense. It is confusing.

    If we need to explain this to people we have lost, it is certainly not in keeping with the vision of Vatican II which encourages us to take the Christian message to the modern world in language which is appropriate. Students in South Africa are asking these questions already – is anybody really listening to them?

    1. +JMJ+

      Msgr. Bruce Harbert gave a decent explanation of “and with your spirit” in one of his talks on the liturgy.nd.edu web site; he explains why “spirit” here is not used in a dualistic sense… it’s talk #5 or #6.

      Words like “redemption” and “incarnation”, as examples, are not widely understood today.

      I think we should better educate people, then. No need for us to devolve into one-syllable words and grunts. If people don’t know what “incarnation” means, then the use of the word “incarnate” in the Creed is the least of our problems. Do people know what “Christ” means?

      I happen to think the Catechism after the Council of Trent did a good job of explaining what pro multis in the Eucharistic Prayer means, and why it’s not pro omnibus or pro universis.

      The embolism after the Our Father uses “the blessed hope” because it is alluding to St. Paul’s letter to Titus 2:11-14, specifically verse 13: “expectantes beatam spem et adventum gloriae magni Dei et salvatoris nostri Iesu Christi.” I think this is referring to the “hope of glory” (Col 1:27; cf. Rom 5:2) and the coming (advent) of that glory.

      (Is someone going to rudely correct Fr. Russell’s Latin misspellings and make a big deal out of them, or can we just civilly accept a typo?)

    2. As some others have mentioned, most of the theological difficulties mentioned here are not so much difficulties of the translation as they are of the Roman Rite and, in some cases, Scripture themselves (i.e. should peri pollon in Matthew be translated as “for all”?). If we have difficulties with the theology of the Roman Rite then we ought to say this forthrightly, and not blame the translation.

      1. Agreed. And if such basic Christian terms “incarnation” and “redemption” are difficult to use, that’s not the fault of the liturgical text. The liturgy is, after all, not primarily an occasion for moralism (by which I mean exhortation to be a good person and do good things – this is no less true of an emphasis on the “Social Gospel” than it is of an emphasis on piety, purity and obedience).

      2. +JMJ+

        Re: peri pollon in Matthew 26:28 — I’ve said before that I haven’t found a single English translation of the Bible that puts “for all” on the lips of Jesus at the Last Supper. And here some non-English translations of those words:

        por muchos (La Biblia de las Américas, 2007)
        pour plusieurs (Segond, 1910)
        pour plusieurs (Darby, 1744)
        pour plusieurs (Martin, 1744)
        für viele (Luther, 1545)
        für viele (Elberfelder, 1871)
        për shumë (Albanian)
        za mnoge (Croatian)
        za mnohé (Czech)
        for mange (Danish)
        voor velen (Dutch)

        I could go on, but the point is made. We’ve been reading these words “for many” from Jesus for decades and centuries. If we’re going to edit — or “correct” — the translation, let’s start with the Scriptures first.

      3. Incarnation is an abstract word, unbiblical, used by the Fathers only in learned texts. In their sermons they don’t use it much, if at all, preferring “the Word was made flesh”.

      4. +JMJ+

        Fr. Joe, what do you mean by “abstract”? It seems pretty concrete to me! I’m earnestly interested in knowing how you’re using the term.

        As for it being unbiblical, we’ve got an awful lot of vocabulary that is unbiblical. I’m sure you’ve used some in your preaching and blogging. Shall we purge it all in favor of explicitly biblical words and phrases? Or can we accept other terms that are then defined by biblical ones?

        And do you have any statistics on the use of “incarnatus” vs. other phrases, or just the generalization?

        I have nothing against “[Word] made flesh” or “enfleshed”. But there’s no reason the average Christian can’t be exposed to those and “incarnate”, and know what “incarnate” means.

  8. There are a number of others which he does not mention: “and with your spirit” we slip back into a body mind dualism here it seems. Some students have already asked me why we only refer to the “spirit” – is it more important than the body? This kind of dualism again seems to rear its head in the “ecce agnes dei” when we say “…only say the word and my soul shall be healed”.

    Yeah, in no way is this a “theological hash” in the translation. These are both things that are clearly in the Latin. The authors of these bits of the missal knew how to write “only say the word and I shall be healed” and “and with you”, but they didn’t write those things.

    If saying “and with your spirit” causes us to “slip back into a body mind dualism here it seems” you need to explain how this is not the Christian view. “Dualism” can mean a lot of things, some of them are the standard Catholic orthodoxy and the philosophical views of the Common Doctor.

  9. In one of the first articles posted on Pray Tell examining the translation in detail there’s a problem with the collect of the Chrism Mass where the revisers changed established to made Jesus Christ and Lord. I believe the heresy that Jesus was made Christ and lord only at his baptism as the revision puts it is called adoptionism. Just checked it in the leaked version and they didn’t fix it and established is easier than consubstantial to understand. How come they fixed one mistake and not the other.

    1. +JMJ+

      The Latin Deus, qui Unigénitum Fílium tuum unxísti Spíritu Sancto Christúmque Dóminum constituísti, while not quite following Acts 2:36 Dominum eum et Christum Deus fecit hunc Iesum is at least alluding to it. Acts 2:36 is translated as “made both Christ and Lord” or something like it in English translations of the Bible, translating fecit as “made”. From the heresy standpoint, then, I do not think your argument holds, unless the use of ἐποίησεν and fecit in Acts 2:36 is itself heretical.

      However, from a Latin and/or translation standpoint, if the prayer is meant to evoke Acts 2:36 (as I think it is, being the only verse of the Bible with “Christ and Lord” or “Lord and Christ”), I would recommend either amending the Latin (which is a post-Vatican II prayer) so that the translation of “made” is appropriate, or fix the translation because constituísti is not the same as fecit, and “ordained” or “established” is a better fit.

      So I do agree with you that “made” is a bad translation of the Latin, and that it should not have been adjusted; but I do not consider the word “made” to be heretical. It, like many New Testament assertions about God and Jesus, must be understood in context, and may on occasion require a delicate (or nuanced) explanation.

      Just for comparison’s sake:

      The older Chrism Mass collect reads: Domine Deus, qui in regenerandis plebibus tuis ministerio uteris sacerdotum: tribue nobis perseverantem in tua voluntate famulatum; ut dono gratiae tuae, in diebus nostris, et meritis et niimero sacratus tibi populus augeatur.

      The newer Chrism Mass collect reads: Deus, qui Unigénitum Fílium tuum unxísti Spíritu Sancto Christúmque Dóminum constituísti, concéde propítius, ut, eiúsdem consecratiónis partícipes effécti, testes Redemptiónis inveniámur in mundo.

      1. It’s not MY point. The point is in Areas of Difficulty with the Received Text. It’s only one of many points where the Received Text does NOT follow the guidelines set down by the Holy See and obviously does not translate the Latin text accurately. And I think it’s a riot watching WDTPRS, Adoremus, Chant Cafe etc who have spent so much time tearing apart the old ICEL now bending over backwards to praise the new stuff or being silent for the first time in their lives. Double standard? Hypocrisy? Kissing rings? Call it what you want but boy it tells me everything I need to know about the “faithful translation” champions.

      2. +JMJ+

        Jeremy, I didn’t say it was “your point” — I said I agreed with you that the translation is a mistake. I agree that it does not follow LA and the Ratio Trans., which is why I also said either the Latin text or the English translation needs correction to make the other appropriate.

        And yes, there is a double standard in play, and that too needs correction.

      3. But nobody in his or her right piece of mind would call the old ICEL texts “faithful translations”.

        And the new texts ARE more accurate, some points notwithstanding.

        No one on Adoremus, WDTPRS, Chant Cafe etc claimed that the new text is perfect. There’s no need for that ad hominem silliness.

      4. I think I’m still in my right mind, and I would consider them faithful translations. It is a very different notion of faithful, the one found in Comme le prevoit. Faithful here does not mean accounting for every word in the original, in Latinate syntax as much as possible. Faithful means grasping the core message, and being faithful to what people of today (worshiping in vernacular for the first time in c. 1200-1400 years as of 1965) need to hear of the Good News in the message. I’m not necessarily defending this notion of faithfulness, or the quality of how it was carried out by ICEL back them. I am encouraging you to see that not everything is black and white. There was another mindset then which you don’t seem able to grasp on its own terms.

        The old (current) ICEL translations came from a radical carrying out of the Gospel passage we heard this week when Our Lord said that the Sabbath was made for people, and not people for the Sabbath. Its starting point was not that people have to adjust to the liturgy in its pure Latin original form, but that the liturgy is there to help people be faithful to the Good News of the Gospel.

        I sometimes fear that much of the “reform of the reform,” for example the forthcoming translation, is based on the belief that liturgy was not made for people, people were made for liturgy. I see the Catholic Church now in a stage of backing away from the Gospel teachings of Our Lord in some key ways.

        awr

      5. Simon,

        I guess “right mind” must be an obscure term of art. As in “people must have my mind”. Otherwise your comment is either nonsensical or untruthful.

      6. Fr Ruff,

        I agree that faithful doesn’t need to account for every word in a translation – it’s funny how some paint such a silly picture of all who welcome the new translation, but this is symptomatic of the fracturing US society. But I beg to differ from your assessment of the fidelity of the expiring texts. The current texts omit too much from the richness and content of the euchological tradition of the Roman rite. Too often it paraphrases some portions of the original while omitting others; sometimes, it says nothing of what the original said.

        But I suspect you prefer not to be bound by a historical, Latin text, and would prefer liturgical texts to be composed, perhaps with an eye to historical treasures, but with freedom by editors to pick and choose what they wish. But that is not the choice the Church has made at the moment; until then, fidelity of the vernacular liturgical texts will be inseparable from the original text.

        Among the people I know who support the “reform of the reform”, they do so precisely because believe that the liturgy is for the people; thus they want people to be enriched by the liturgical traditions again. There is, of course, a fine line between being enriched by the past/present and being trapped in it.

        Jeremy,

        It hasn’t occured to you that not everyone is bothered by the flaws in the incoming translation everyday? Perhaps some of us don’t thrive on nitpicking regularly. If I were concerned abut the problems in the expiring texts daily, I would probably have lost my sanity. But last I checked, Fr Z, Chant Cafe & Adoremus never claimed that the new texts were perfect; so I think that your accusation of hypocrisy or double-standard overboard. Politics is played out everywhere, even on this blog.

        I didn’t know that the directors of ICEL preferred the EF, could you point out your source to me?

        May the words of St Paul this Sunday take root in our hearts: be united in one mind with one another in…

      7. Simon Ho wrote to me: “But I suspect you prefer not to be bound by a historical, Latin text, and would prefer liturgical texts to be composed, perhaps with an eye to historical treasures, but with freedom by editors to pick and choose what they wish.” NO – the point isn’t my preference, the point is the preference of Comme le prevoit under which the present translation was created. Judging the current translation according to Liturgiam authenticam isn’t fair.
        Simon Ho wrote to Jeremy: “Fr Z, Chant Cafe & Adoremus never claimed that the new texts were perfect; so I think that your accusation of hypocrisy or double-standard overboard.” NO – Liturgiam authenticam requires rigorous faithfulness to the Latin, and the forthcoming translation does not give that. Judging the forthcoming translation according to Comme le prevoit, or according to a very loose (inaccurate) interpretation of Liturgiam authenticam is not fair. Judging the forthcoming translation by the rigorous and exacting standards of Liturgiam authenticam is entirely fair and appropriate.
        awr

      8. If my recollection of LA is correct, it asked that the texts be translated integrally, but acknowledged that there were possibilties for some deviations from the Latin text. The undefined flexibility was probably an example of a bad way to write rules, and left something to common sense and the prudence (or lack thereof) of those who have to implement them. There were other language groups that have translated their texts according to LA, though none that I can read in, do we see a similar difference in what the instruction appeared to say, and how the rules were eventually applied?

        I apologise if I have misunderstood what you have written. But what counts for a good translation must, ultimately, depend on something beyond just the rules governing the translation. Otherwise, the Cotton-Patch version and the Good-as-New translations of the Bible would be considered faithful translations too.

      9. Simon Ho,

        Well said. Regarding the expiring translation and Comme le prevoit, it appears to me that some other language groupings did better in implementing their vernacular translation than did the former incarnation of ICEL so I’m not certain that we can dismiss the paraphrase, omissions of words like “grace” & so many references to supplication by the former ICEL with the old rules vs. new rules explanation. Some may claim that Spanish, being a Romance language, is obviously closer to Latin than is English, however, English does provide for supplication and has a word for “grace” and the incoming translation is indicative of this.

    2. Hey Simon, let me give you Chant Cafe: Mr. Tucker made it clear in a posting yesterday that he is disappointed in both the translation and the music, but that it does represent a giant leap forward.

      Adoremus has said nothing.

      WDTPRS, after an initial, very subtle shot at Fr Anthony Ward’s probable involvement in backtracking on fidelity to the norms of LA and RT, suddenly stopped posting BOTH 2008 and 2010 and reverted to the only comparison that makes the deeply-flawed 2010 look good: the old ICEL vs 2010.

      Only Pray Tell has had the courage from beginning till now to point out the mistranslations and the butchering of English usage.

      And you go right on dismissing the truth about ecclesiastical politics and ambition and incompetence as a silly ad hominem argument if it makes you feel better. Everyone with any familiarity with this process and the personalities involved knows the truth of the matter. And despite your perpetual know-it-all and excuse-it-all attitude, so do you.

      The really amusing thing is that those most loud in their cheerleading of what’s finally come out, or most silent in the face of it, would rather everything be the Tridentine Rite in Latin anyhow, including the two Monsignor-directors of ICEL!

      1. But just because they celebrate Masses regularly in one form or the other doesn’t mean this is their preference. I worship regularly in a parish whose music can sometimes be downright, shall we say unliturgical, (we’ve actually got Josh’s “You raise me up” as a Communion hymn, “Pass it on” as a recessional and “But I wish you Jesus” somewhere too), but that doesn’t mean I prefer these?!

        I find your question on my preference unfortunate, but to satisfy your curiosity, I shall answer them. I prefer the Ordinary Form of the liturgy, although I am comfortable with the EF too. I pray the liturgy usually in English (for the Office, I use the UK’s version cause that’s the approved text in my region), but I pray some of the major bits in the hinge hours in Latin. And yes, I look forward to the new English translation of the Roman Missal.

        Hope this helps!

      1. It’s funny how English idioms and phrases vary across different countries, cultures and traditions, isn’t it?

      2. Both Monsignors have been regular celebrants of the EF while living/working in DC at least according to info posted on the various liturgical blogs by people who claim to have been at the Masses and reading thins they’ve written and Fr Z and ALL the blogs is there any doubt which form they prefer? So did I till I met the nasty people chattering over women with no veils and the poor young priest’s less than perfect doing of the gestures followed by “Oh hello Father what a nice mass!” after they had been tearing him apart when he wasnt there. Come to think of it Simon which rite and language do you prefer?

  10. Before, people could hear “for many” and understand “Christ came, not for just a few but for many” or “many will end up in heaven, thanks to Christ”.

    But now things are different: for 40 years people have been saying “for all” and understanding “Christ came for the sake of all people”. In this new historical context, when they now hear “for many”, people will naturally contrast the words and understand “Christ came for the sake of many, but not all people”. (Which immediately raises the question: who’s excluded?) They are entirely right to protest this new meaning. If the new translation wanted to go back to “for many”, it should have modified the rest of the sentence as well so as to avoid this crucial error.

    The argument about biblical translations does not close the discussion because, when reading the bible, the reader has the neighboring verses and the context to understand “many” as, say, “many beyond those who are now in this room here with me now”. At Mass, in the liturgical context, different company, and a single isolated verse, the meaning comes across quite differently and that can explain the wisdom of translating the same word differently.

    1. Claire,

      I think you have made an important point. In our context it is going to be difficult for people not to hear “many” as contrasting with “all” rather than with “few.” I think that with time they can come to hear it contrasted with “few,” but I suspect some explicit catechesis will be called for.

    2. +JMJ+

      The context is not “Christ came for [many|all]”, but “Christ’s blood is shed for [many|all] for the forgiveness of sins.” I prefer the DR translation here, actually: “for many unto remission of sins.” It makes it clear (to me, at least…) that Christ is speaking about the fruit of His sacrifice: many will have their sins remitted.

      I think part of the problem is people stop processing after the word “all” or “many”, and they don’t consider what else is being said.

      Our current translation tells us for whom and for what purpose Christ’s blood was shed: it was shed “for all”, and it was shed “so that sins may be forgiven.” And we know this to be true: Christ is the expiation of the sins of the whole world, and it is through His sacrifice that forgiveness of our sins is made possible. That’s sound Catholic theology! But it does not follow that the sins of all will be forgiven. That’s not what Jesus said, and that’s not what this prayer says.

      The new translation is sound Catholic theology as well. But here, the who and the why are more directly linked: Christ’s blood was shed “for many” to this end: “the forgiveness of sins.” There are others who will not receive forgiveness of sins. Would this all be helped or hindered had the word “their” been introduced: “for many for the forgiveness of their sins”?

      So, Christ’s blood was shed for all — for many unto the remission of their sins, and for others unto something else. It’s not for us to sit on our hands and play the guessing-judging game of who’s who. It’s for us to go and teach all nations, etc.

      I’d rather teach the people the right context of these words than let them continue to have the wrong impression in their heads.

      1. There are others who will not receive forgiveness of sins.

        This appears to be an unsettled point in magisterial teaching, with at least the current Pope holding that we cannot know whether there will be others who do not receive forgiveness of sins.

    3. Claire,

      I’m curious, how would reading the institution narrative in its context help anyone to understand that “many beyond those who are now in this room here with me now”? In the context of the gospels, Jesus went out to the Mount of Olives shortly after the institution of the Eucharist.

      But you raised one good point without realising it. There IS a context in the Eucharistic Prayer that allows people to realise that the “many” in the words of consecration extends beyond those you can see in the room – mention is made of other people for whom the Eucharist is being offered. Those people who argue that “many” is too narrow have never spoken about its context in the entire Eucharistic Prayer.

  11. Reading the narrative focuses one’s mind on the concrete scene – Jesus is in the room upstairs, eating at the table with the Twelve. It is easy to imagine. If the words “shed for many” had been ommitted, one would wonder whether the sentence was only addressed to the disciples present at that time. Picturing that scene, I imagine that Jesus is careful to specify “shed not just for you but for many”, especially since the disciples, who are often keen on having special privileges such as getting to sit next to Jesus in the Kingdom, often need those reminders. (As an aside, I guess that in that way they are worthy predecessors of today’s Bishops! And that they’d be quite happy to see that, nowadays, being a Pope puts one on the fast track to guaranteed heaven!).

    But during Mass I don’t think only about that narrative, but also about many other facets, one of which is the universal dimension of the Church united by Christ’s sacrifice and aiming to encompass all of humanity across regions and across time. The words “for all” are particularly suggestive in that way.

    That’s simply what I meant: reading the Bible and praying at Mass puts the same words in different contexts and thus gives them a different tone.

    1. Thanks, Claire, for the helpful explanation. It sounds a bit like lectio divina? I was always wondering what imagining yourself at the biblical scene meant – perhaps I’m not gifted at it.

      For me, “for many” doesn’t in anyway lessen the Church’s mission to bring the Gospel to all peoples, tribes and languages, just as “for all” doesn’t in anyway mean that everyone is saved already. But I can see how, after hearing “for all” for so many years, the change to “for many” could discomfort some people and disturb what they are used to. But since the legitimate authority of the Church has decided, 40 years ago in favour of “for all”, and now in favour of “for many”, we will need to work to help these people clarify their concerns.

      Perhaps when we turn more and more of our gaze on Christ, rather than on ourselves, this will be so much easier.

      1. Simon, I agree with everything you say except that I am suspicious of the “legitimate authority of the Church”. Especially since the sexual abuse crisis, I do not trust it. Not at all! But I am willing to follow the cue of people, such as my pastor, who I trust as individuals.

  12. To the experts out there, Simon Ho has posted today but not sure his timeline or comments are accurate but need documentation:
    a) other language groups are using current translations – my info is that their translations were from the time period of the US 1997/1998 attempts. Their MRs were approved (e.g. Italy, French, German?) but not sure it was because their translations were more acceptable, more accurate or true to the “original” latin or if their bishops’ conferences did a better “political” job?
    b) comment about Spanish and Romance language – fact; it is easier to translate latin into various Spanish language groups than it is english (sorry, Simon, you all but gloss over this fact). My memory of Spanish is that it took a number of false starts because the curia felt that only one Spanish translation was necessary ignoring the fact that there is substantial difference in Spanish between national groups e.g. Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Phillipines, etc.
    c) gets to the earlier blog about future posts – what about the German bishops’ conference….they seem to have pushed back; what about Italy….their translation appears to be much closer to the 1998 US version; and the French – same thing?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *