Forthcoming Italian Missal

Avvenire, the daily newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference, reports that the revised translation of the missal for Italy has been approved by Pope Francis. At the bishops’ most recent general assembly, conference president Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti announced that Francis authorized the publication of the  revised translation of the third edition of the Messale Romano which the bishops had approved last November. It will be some months before the books are printed and available for liturgical use.

Changes to Lord’s Prayer and Gloria

The Lord’s Prayer will no longer say “and lead us not into temptation” (e non ci indurre in tentazione), but will become “do not let us fall/be abandoned into temptation” (non abbandonarci alla tentazione). This will bring the prayer in line with the translation of this passage in the Italian translation of the Bible the bishops approved in 2008.

The Gloria will also be revised. “Peace on earth to people of good will” (pace in terra agli uomini di buona volontà) will become “Peace on Earth to people beloved by God” (pace in terra agli uomini, amati dal Signore).

In the Revised New American Bible of the U.S. Catholic lectionary, these two passages read:

  • “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14);
  • “and do not subject us to the final test” (Matthew 6:13, Luke 11:4).

“For you and for all”

Of special interest is the contentious issue of the translation of pro multis in the institution narrative of the Eucharistic Prayer. In many countries this was translated after the Second Vatican Council “for all” – in Italian, per tutti.

The 2001 instruction of the Holy See Liturgiam authenticam called for more literal vernacular translations of official Latin liturgical texts, and also gave Rome complete authority over the supervision and approval of vernacular liturgical texts. In 2006, Rome directed that pro multis be translated “for many.” Pope Benedict XVI was particularly insistent on this point.

Sources tell Pray Tell that the forthcoming Italian missal will not alter this text, as Benedict XVI would have wished, but will retain per tutti – “for all.”

Shifting Winds in Translation Policy

In September, 2017 Pope Francis issued Magnum principium, which called for translations which are both faithful to Latin and respectful of the characteristics of the receptor language. It is this second quality which was seen to suffer in the overly literalist translations prepared since Liturgiam authenticam.

More significantly, Pope Francis restored authority over translations to bishops’ conferences, as the Second Vatican Council had decreed, and rolled back the creeping centralism of previous decades at odds with the Council’s decisions. The Holy See no longer gives a recognitio by which it approves vernacular translations; it now gives a confirmatio which confirms the decisions made by bishops’ conferences.

The forthcoming Italian missal has received confirmatio from the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.

39 comments

  1. Once again the “pro multis” pseudo controversy comes to the fore.
    Is it primarily a translation matter or a doctrinal matter? I contend that this is about the dogma that Jesus Christ shed his blood on the cross so that all might have access to forgiveness of their sins. It is true that not “all” will seek the forgiveness of theirs sins by believing that Christ died for them and rose again so they could experience eternal life. I contend that when “pro multis” made its first appearance in the Missal it was because the leaders of the “”one, true, church” thought that many made more sense than all. The only reason the controversy continues is that we still have some latinists who suppose that all is not a more accurate translation than many for “multis”. Glad to hear the Italian bishops conference stuck to their guns and that the CDW followed the guidelines given by Francis.

    1. In the original languages, “for many” would have meant an indefinite number, a “many” without end. This in response to a 1979 query as published in Notitiae. And while this response was used to justify an English translation “for all,” the criteria set forth in Liturgiam authenticam mandated fidelity to the Latin text, thus “pro multis” was rendered as “for many” in the English re-translation. Whichever is used, the case can be made (and has been) for either translation, and neither in itself would constitute doctrinal error.

  2. The funny thing is contrary directions of these changes/non-changes, as it were. The changes to the Pater and Gloria are ostensibly to align the vernacular liturgical language with their respective scriptural sources. The non-change to the Eucharistic prayer means it would likely remain in conflict with how the Synoptic source passages are rendered in the vernacular lectionary, *if* the Italian lectionary resembles the English in that regard….

    It would just be boon for officialdoms to acknowlege that expressly.

    1. I was thinking the same thing too. Also, with regards to the Gloria, there are roughly three ways to translate Luke 2:14:

      1) And on earth, peace and goodwill to human beings

      2) And on earth peace to people of goodwill. (Which lines up with the Latin)

      3) On earth peace to those on whom his favor rests/beloved of the Lord (the Itailian).

      Of the three, the Itailians chose the translation that arguably is the most exclusionary. The Italian translation can be easily read as implying there are people who are NOT beloved by God.

      1. That’s what I thought at first as well, from reading the English rendering of what the new Italian translation of the Gloria says; But everything depends on that comma in the Italian – “pace in terra agli uomini, amati dal Signore”. By putting a comma after “uomini” (people), it makes it into what in English would be called a non-defining relative clause. Thus it’s not peace to (only) those people on whom God’s favor falls, but to all people, on whom, by the way, God’s favour falls.
        The implications of the other translation, ‘of good will’ are also multiple – it may be read as meaning that God’s peace falls (or we pray should fall) only on those who are of good will. On the other hand, those “of good will” include potentially many people besides Christians/believers. In fact the Church when it addresses a message to all of humanity, not necessarily just to Christians, uses that phrase ‘to people of good will’, presuming that anyone wishing to seek the truth and the good will find the message speaks to them, even if they do not believe it just because it is the Church or revelation that says it.

      2. After seven years with the 2011 English missal texts, I’m inspired by some, comfortable with others, annoyed by rather many, and still furious over a few—especially “on earth peace to people of good will.” It’s just so brazenly wrong. And it comes up on all but ten Sundays of the year.
        Devin Rice and others insist it’s a close rendering of “the Latin.” But the original is in Koine Greek, and “Liturgiam Authenticam” itself (paragraph 24) forbids liturgical use of a translation of a translation of Scripture.
        Rice’s (3) is the choice of nearly all of the New Testaments on my shelf (JB, NJB, NAB, NEB, NRSV, TEV, even Knox); (1) is in AV and its follower, NKJV; only the Douay-Rheims uses (2). Many versions that choose (3) include a note explaining that (2) misleads, because the good will in question is not people’s but God’s. But the translators of the 2011 missal used it anyway. Didn’t a noted Latin Father once say “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”?
        In discussing whether (3) is exclusionary, we have to start by recognizing that it’s the accurate one. I think it’s hard to read it as exclusionary if you affirm that God loves everyone. That interpretation is encouraged, I believe, by the wording in the 1970 Gloria, “and peace to his people on earth.” Though exceedingly paraphrastic in its economy of words, at least it isn’t outright inaccurate.
        Those lucky Italians, whose bishops protect them from incompetent scriptural translations. If only we anglophones were so favored.

      3. FWIW (which might not be much pro multis): the *Gloria* is a Latin hymn, not a Greek hymn. Its opening line is drawn from a Latin translation of a verse of Greek scripture, but the Latin Gloria is an original liturgical source text in Liturgicam Authenticam terms. (Much as Fr Ruff notes about the liturgical version of the Institution Narrative in the anaphora.)

        PS: With respect to the opening line of the Gloria, the 2011 English follows the English of the so-called “interim” vernacular Missal of 1965-70, substituting “people” for “men”. Some of us are old enough to remember that.

      4. Just to clarify Karl’s comment, the “Gloria” is, in fact, used in Greek and Slavonic, in the Byzantine office of Matins/Orthros toward the end, and is called the “Great Doxology.” I suspect that the Latin and Slavonic versions were derived from the Greek.

      5. And the scriptural pundits have told us for many years that the Gloria ultimately derives from a Delphic Hymn to the Sun, so definitely Greek in origin.

      6. The Gloria in its stabilized form has roots in different Latin materials and likely beyond that, Greek. But it’s a Latin liturgical hymn for translation into modern vernaculars in LA terms.

      7. Reply to Karl: So according to LA, when scriptural phrases occur within a Latin liturgical text, the translators of that liturgical text have no obligation to convey the genuine sense of the scriptural phrase—that is, what LA gives in paragraph 24, it takes away elsewhere? Likewise, the liturgical Words of Institution are not found entire in Scripture, but the Latin formula molds them from Scripture. So if all English New Testaments made from the Greek use “cup” instead of “chalice,” the missal translators are free to ignore them? I’m sorry that, after all the discussion of LA in this space over the years, I still have room to be scandalized.
        Liturgists can be very capable people, but they generally don’t have the specific qualifications to translate Scripture and should, I would think, defer to those who do. Is there not a cart-and-horse problem here? Did the implementers of LA care?

      8. Paul

        The opening English (FWIW!!) sentence of LA 24, broken into sense lines to respond your point:

        “Furthermore, it is not permissible that the translations be produced from other translations already made into other languages; rather, the new translations must be made directly from the original texts, namely

        the Latin, as regards the texts of ecclesiastical composition, or

        the Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, as the case may be, as regards the texts of Sacred Scripture.”

        In this scheme, I believe the division of goats and sheep is that the Gloria and most* of the other parts of the Ordo Missae would be “text[s] of ecclesiastical composition”, while the lections (including the psalms and Scriptural canticles properly speaking, et cet.) and propers (well, the overwhelming majority of them, but there are some exceptions) would be “texts of Sacred Scripture”.

        I am not a defender of LA, only pointing out the likely rationales under LA for what was visited upon us. LA’s main virtue from my perspective is that it established the practical principle that translation norms can change over time; it too is subject to change. (My attitude about a lot of these things is that it’s easier to change me than to change others, in terms of who to cultivate resentment at or not. I try to prevent the forces of the translation wars from becoming squatters in the limited space I have in my psyche. My shorter way of putting it: Disc full – oops, there go quadratic equations! I plead Quite Guilty to a certain degree of irenicism about these matters; I had a Boston Terrier, and I know what jealous possession of rights to gnaw on bones looks, sounds and feels like (try lifting one up while it’s gnawing and you’ll know what I mean). When I pray for patience, I realize that what I am likely to be graced with is: very annoying opportunities to practice patience.)

        FWIW: I find “chalice” in English to be quite different from “calix” in Latin – instead of the grativas of the Latin, in conveys a certain prissiness in English to my taste. I strongly prefer the allusiveness of “cup”. But I don’t think “chalice” is therefore an *unreasonable* translation; it’s merely less persuasive to me. Likewise, I would have preferred “of one substance with” to “consubstantial” in the Creed, and I much prefer the revised translation of the Sanctus over what it replaced, and overall I similarly prefer the new Gloria but for the opening line. But these are not things that I permit to interfere with my prayer during liturgy: it’s on me to self-manage that.

        * For quite different reasons, I would not warmly welcome a requirement to change the current translation of the Our Father used in Mass. I am quite aware of its infelicities as a translation. But I view that prayer in a different lens from Scriptural fidelity: I view it as a form of prayerful communion with those who uttered that prayer for centuries in that form, one of the cornerstones of vernacular prayer in a Church that for centuries preferenced non-vernacular liturgical prayer, so it’s part of warp-and-weft tapestry I find immense liturgical value in. In other words, there’s a quite strong populist-progressive liturgical basis to resist flattening that into a mere translation overhaul. Others may reasonably and unreasonably disagree.

      9. I still don’t get why it’s not possible to apply different translation rules for different parts of a long prayer/chant like the Gloria. But I realize that because I may not live to see any change, there’s some argument for just getting used to the offending translation. Fortunately I’m not a cantor and don’t have to lead people in the Gloria.
        There are a few Boston terriers in my neighborhood, Karl, and I agree that their persistence may not be a good model for other mammals with more complex brains. On the other hand: words matter; I’m reminded of these pieces of—in my view—arrogance and irresponsibility every week or oftener; and this post has made me quite jealous of the Italians.
        By the way, I too remember “peace to men of good will” from 1965-1970. It brings back to mind the stirring cadences of Jan Vermulst and Vito Carnevali. Those were the days. (Fortunately they aren’t the days anymore.)

  3. I have lost my reference to this but:
    I looked in the online tomes referenced by Fr Z and Fr Hunwicke for information on multis, and found a couple of very dense pages of commentary and examples which asserted :-
    that multis used as a noun means ‘the multitude’ or ‘the common people’.

  4. Surely Father Feehily, pro multis first appeared in the missal because those are our Lord’s own words a they appear in the Bible (Mark and Matthew) – using the Vulgate which is the Church’s default setting.

    If you go back to the original Greek you find “peri pollon” which has the same meaning – “for many” or “for the many” neither of which equates to “for all”. A hard saying of Jesus’ but not the only one.

    1. I’m not sure this is a hard saying of Our Lord – exegetes are agreed, I believe that “for [the] many]” does NOT mean “not all but many,” it means “not few but a lot.” The contrast is not with “all,” it is with “few.”

      And note, the Institution Narrative is not an exact quotation of any New Testament passage in the old or the new Vulgate. The Scripture original in Greek, or in authoritative Latin translations, are extremely significant but not absolutely decisive.

      awr

  5. So Jesus did not die for all but just for many? I cant be sure of what Jesus actually said, but I am certain that he died that all may live.

  6. Fr. Scagnelli, of blessed memory, used to rave to me about the John Paul II approved scriptural collects added to the Italian Missal, and often included elements thereof in his brilliant weekly sermon notes. I certainly hope that those collects have not been negatively affected by this recent revision.

  7. In the third verse of Verbum supernum, St Thomas asserts that the eternal Word gave his flesh and blood to feed all of humanity.

    Quibus sub bina specie
    Carnem dedit et sanguinem;
    Ut duplicis substantiæ
    Totum cibaret hominem.

    1. ‘Totum cibaret hominem’ (singular) looks more like a reference to the sacrament as a way of feeding ‘the whole man’ i.e., flesh, blood and spirit, rather than the notion of ‘pro omnibus.’

      I too, would regret the loss of the scriptural opening prayers and the extra preface texts that are currently in use.

      Are the ICEL proposed (1998) opening prayers still in print (Canterbury Press)?

      AG

      1. You can purchase the 1998 Sacramentary in a printed book format. I ordered it last year – but the company escapes me at the moment. It’s printed in two volumes and has the look of a larger textbook (no ribbons/tabs.) I find it lovely to have in that format.

        Yes, the collects are available separately: http://www.wlp.jspaluch.com/1234.htm

      1. I don’t need to see it as unchanging; only that it developed for good reasons in the way it did, and that no one, not even the pope, has the authority to reconstruct a rite in the manner in which it was reconstructed after Vatican II, without sinning against the dispositions of divine providence in the life of the Church.

    1. Mr. Whelan,

      I just learned that Lulu will print out the 1998 sacramentary in two volumes for thirty-four dollars +/- each. They do offer discounts from time to time.

      There is also online version.

      1. Lulu may print it out, but someone needs to give it to them first. There are several online sources that will save people the trouble and expense.

    1. Before that, I believe it would be prudent to overhaul how revisions to the Missal are undertaken and, even more importantly, evaluated and implemented. With the current system basically a fruit of a palace regime form of polity (it’s more a function of which liturgical team/tribe’s aristos and “clerics” (expert class) find their way to power at a given point of time), my sense is we’re far from ready for even contemplating those precedential issues – particularly given that broad, deep and enduring feedback from the “commons” may prove more or less orthogonal to the projects defined by a given palace regime.

      One thing that might help in the (possibly quite long) meantime is for those of us sympathetic to the conciliar reforms to identify our own assumptions and framing biases with fresh eyes/ears/hearts and reconsider what’s most important vs what’s less important and what hard evidence we’ve discerned in the past 50 years about the fruits of reform and non-reform and how fitting the liturgy is as a medium for engaging those matters. Rather than continuing discussions that seem more like they’ve just been unthawed from the period before the recent Liturgical Ice Age(TM). (This child of Vatican II admits that might take more generational turnover.)

      If one were to list what one considered the “most important” liturgical-sacramental reforms (defined at neither too broadly nor too narrowly to be helpful in critical assessment/reconsideration), how would one triage that list, and what kinds of hard evidence would we have or be able to gather about how fruitful it has been and in what way(s)?

  8. No matter what the word may be to describe words in the Our Father or that the word “cup” has a greater Pauline use than the word “chalice,” as long as when the Church changes the wording, it has to make sure that the Scriptural lines change so Jesus uses the same words the Church does.

    The LA was created and set in motion by a small group of very powerful men with an agenda.

    1. About compelling Jesus to speak like the Church, may I recycle a comment of mine from September 20, 2017:
      “Are all Pray Tell readers aware that ‘chalice’ got substituted for ‘cup’ in Matthew 20:22-23 in the lectionary (in the gospel for July 25)? I thought our bishops were supposed to protect the integrity of the Scripture we hear in church. (The published NAB still has ‘cup.’)”
      Father Ron Krisman responded:
      “I doubt that the members of the USCCB approved this. The USCCB Liturgy Secretariat staff introduced a number of changes (and errata) into the Lectionary text which the membership of the USCCB never approved.”
      Encouraging, isn’t it.

Leave a Reply

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