More on pro multis, etc.

As you know, the English translation of pro multis has changed from “for all” to “for many.”

The German-speaking bishops overwhelmingly voted to retain “für alle,” and in fact to retain their current Order of Mass translation because it is sufficiently faithful to the Latin. But at special request of the Congregation for Divine Worship, pro multis will be rendered “für viele” (“for many”).

The Italian bishops voted overwhelmingly to retain “per tutti,” and a representative of the conference reported this in person to Pope Benedict. His response was that his opinion on the matter is well-known, but if that is the consensus of the bishops’ conference, it will have to be respected. I’m not sure this story has reached its end, though.

Meanwhile, Pray Tell is seeking to confirm reports that Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix will be heading up Vox Clara, in the position held until now by Cardinal Pell.

26 comments

  1. Neither me, nor my boyfriend really understands this posting by our illustrious host. What is the point of it?

    To assert that the “English” speaking world was unfairly treated with a heavy handed translation is most likely the understatement of the decade. Perhaps the Holy Father, even in his advanced age, is still on a “learning curve” and saw the mess from Wooooooooooooooooooooostah and thought better for Europe? My boy friend agrees that his best decisions are behind him at this stage of the game with essentially all matters being farmed out to underlings of, shall we say, lower wattage.

    The English mess IS a mess period, featuring week after week of poor translations making sense to really no one, BUT our gold star sponsor. Speaking of our sponsor, apparently Chris Grady was right, differences have been resolved with vox clara and they now make a most fetching duet! …………….look out below!

    http://sendables.jibjab.com/view/TPQ2pW5t7kBRKKmG

  2. Perhaps I have said this eariler, but Vox Clara and associated transmission committees would do well to study “controversial” translation points such as pro multis with multicultural, longitudinal, and multidisciplinary conferences. I would certainly hope that Latinists, Hellenists, modern language researchers, scholars of both the the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, liturgists, and clergy of all Christian communities and Judaism would be invited to submit research within a conference series. Perhaps the conference roundtables should be dragged out into the Piazza given the attendance. Outside of a mechanical knowledge of Latin and Greek, I would not be prepared for such a conference. Should I finish school (a ‘perhaps’) I would be quite interested in this project.

    A vibrant intellectual discussion of pro multis across philological and cultural space and time might not happen given the probably opposition from those who adhere to a strongly roma locuta (better, papa locuta) position, (c.f. Fr. Z on the Italian and German translations). The late antique “pagan” textual evidence for multi mesh in the infancy of Roman Christianity and enrich succeeding liturgical texts, despite those who would rather think that the medieval multi and similarly difficult words such as homines had emerged without late antique contact.

    OT: Fr. Ruff: could you post the German consecratory formula for the wine? I suspect that für alle / für viele are accusative plural prepositional constructions, but I am still interested in the text.

      1. Thank you Jeff.

        I would like to ask more questions about the liturgical semantic relationship between “Kelch” and calix, but that has nothing to do with pro multis. 🙁

      1. Exactly right! Papa is a title for a man, so it is masculine in agreement even though it is declined as a grammatically feminine noun (e.g. agricola). Thanks for pointing this out! Serves me right. I should always check the dictionary for agreement rather than assume by ending.

        This is the ultimate trick question on a Latin class test.

  3. Jordan,
    German doesn’t really have a word as multi-purpose as the English “cup.” I would prefer Becher to Kelch, but even that sounds a bit odd in the context. So unlike the English chalice I am o.k. with Kelch.

    Regarding gender agreement, having been tricked myself about 50 years ago and still remembering the embarrassment, I fully support your characterization of the “ultimate trick question.”

  4. Back to the original story…

    “The Italian bishops voted overwhelmingly to retain “per tutti,” and a representative of the conference reported this in person to Pope Benedict…. but if that is the consensus of the bishops’ conference, it will have to be respected.”

    It is unfortunate we don’t have bishops who actually have a backbone and can stand up to the pope and tell it like it is.

  5. Do the German and Italian bishops have any group like Vox Clara mediating their work, as ICEL does? I’m in agreement about the lack of backbone issue, but also wonder if the issue was seen as dead in the water by English-speaking bishops’ conferences given that it would pass through Vox Clara first? [The conference in the US, I know, has members who firmly believe “for many” is the correct communication of the theology of the sacrament]

    1. That’s a good question Alan and I do not know the answer. However, despite not agreeing w/ the conference, B16 respects their decision. Personally, I think that Vox Clara and B16 have heard the complaints and I think that they may act to make changes if there was some push from the USCCB. But with Dolan in charge and w/ an eye on the prize of chair of Peter he won’t make waves but continue to act obsequiously with sycophantic compliance.

      1. I can’t imagine that Dolan (or any other American, for that matter) would think he had a realistic chance at the chair of Peter.

        There must be some other reason for the obsequious sycophantic compliance.

      2. Fritz, his ego can certainly cloud reality.
        In any event Abp Dolan is indeed a rising star, young, conservative and the head of probably the most powerful archdiocese outside of Italy. Also, and this is important, B16 has n e v e r raised an Abp to prince until the previous cardinal reached 80. However, in this case, and only this case, he raised Dolan but Egan is still not 80. Raised lots of eyebrows. Also, if I’m not mistaken, the largest block of cardinals is Italian, the second largest block, you guessed it, is American. Throw in some ego and a bit of Machiavellian posturing and he might think he has a chance so he is reluctant to “rock the boat”! That is my opinion for his “obsequious sycophantic compliance” 🙂

      3. re: Dr. Dale Rodriguez on January 9, 2012 – 5:44 pm

        I would not read into the elevation of Abp. Dolan to the cardinalate. The Archdiocese of New York is the most prominent see of the United States. I suspect that it is almost pro forma that Rome grant the presiding prelate a red hat, regardless of whether his predecessor is able to sit in a consistory or not.

        I grew up in one of the suffragan dioceses of the Archdiocese. His-soon-to-be-Eminence is not what I would characterize as an ardent traditionalist. Abp. Dolan’s more concerned with maintaining political consensus and doctrinal orthodoxy. EF adherents are well cared for but aren’t a main focus in the archdiocese.

        Fear the rise of a traditionalist pope? Pray that Cdl. Malcolm Ranjith is not elected the next pope. I think he’s higher up in Pope Benedict’s inner circle than Abp. Dolan.

      4. Jordan, where did I even use the term “traditionalist”? And I made no comment concerning my fears regarding the next pontiff.
        I do not believe he has a chance to become the next pontiff and I believe most people don’t think so either but HE might think he does because of circumstances surrounding his elevation and he is therefore loathe to make waves concerning the new/old translation. He is young and popular for a cardinal and possibly thinks he is being groomed. If he successfully survives political intrigue in the loggia he may just have a chance, in his mind at least.

  6. Do I understand this right? The Germans have to use “for many” despite their bishops overwhelmingly lobbying for “for all,” yet Italy (for now at least) will keep “for all” because that’s what that country’s bishops wanted? To throw in another European language here for good measure: Eso no tiene ningún sentido (Spanish: That makes no sense).

  7. Um, Egan will turn 80 in early April, and it’s unlikely, pace the wishes of some, that there will be a conclave between 2/18 and 4/2. The no-dual-electors-from-one-see convention is strong, but not inviolable. And, it should not be forgotten that, in B16’s very first consistory, he elevated Cardinal Sean O’Malley while Cardinal Law remained (until just this past fall, mind you) an active elector and member of several curial congregations; the fig leaf of the archpriest of the Liberian Basilica (so that Law as not merely emeritus of Boston) was precisely that, a fig leaf, and one created by JP2.

    1. As an interesting side note, cardinal Law preached at one of the Anglican use churches recently, I believe it was St. Joseph’s. Apparently he has found kindred spirits among the Anglican ordinariate folks. God help them.

      1. Law was in charge of the Anglican Use for many years after it was established. He oversaw the Roman authorization of the book of worship for that use.

  8. That makes no sense

    It makes sense to me. The difference for the Italians is that a representative of the conference reported this in person to Pope Benedict.

    That’s the deal in absolute monarchies: what happens is determined by who has the ear of the monarch.

    1. Indeed. Italians know the discreet, personal touch. Americans are comparatively not so good at this, lacking the right combination of delicacy with firmness and desire to prevent anyone from losing face. The Italian gift is, in Church culture, often not used to for the common good (indeed, in the abuse scandals, it has been generally the rudder of dysfunction), but that is not to say it is without value, and here is an example where it is.

      1. The fact that people from one culture can manipulate the governing of the Universal Church is an indictment of the current system. I understand that bribery in the form of large donations for Masses is also in use. Both practices are scandalous; it’s just that a whisper in the ear is a little more subtle.

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