Sandro Magister reports that Italian and German-speaking bishops are resisting new translations which Rome is trying to introduce.
In October of 2006 the presidents of the episcopal conferences all over the world were sent a letter, under the “guidance” of Benedict XVI, from the congregation for divine worship, headed at the time by Cardinal Francis Arinze. It asked that “pro multis” be translated as “for many.” This was done by the episcopates of Hungary (from “mindenkiért” to “sokakért) and of various countries in Latin America (from “por todos” to “por muchos”). The Spanish episcopate is preparing to do so, and the change has already been made, not without very lively discussions even among the bishops, by the episcopate of the United States (from “for all” to “for many”). As for the episcopates of Germany and Austria, they are showing strong resistance to the change from fur alle” to “fur viele.”
As for Italy, the issue was addressed by the bishops during the plenary assembly of the episcopal conference held in Assisi in November of 2010, during the examination of the material of the third Italian edition of the Roman Missal.
On that occasion, the Italian bishops showed tremendous reluctance to introduce “per molti.” During the sessions, in fact, it was insisted that the episcopal conferences of the individual regions were already “unanimous” in choosing the version “per tutti.” And when the bishops of all of Italy were called to vote on this specific point of the Missal, the result was the following: out of 187 voters, in addition to one blank ballot, there were 171 votes in favor of keeping “per tutti,” 4 for the introduction of the version “per la moltitudine” (taken from “pour la multitude,” used in the French Missal), and just 11 for the “per molti” requested by the Holy See in 2006.
It’s an interesting story. But as always, one has to be careful with Magister. His reporting is rather tendentious at times. His version of the present controversy, for example, puts it forth as “disobedience” that the bishops are resisting the Holy See. A more accurate portrayal would be that the bishops are being faithful to the charge given them by the Second Vatican Council. Recall that Sacrosanctum Concilium gives territorial bodies of bishops the authority to prepare and approve translations. The role of Rome, according to Vatican II, is not to correct or change or produce or approve translations, but to confirm that the bishops followed proper canonical procedure in carrying out their work.