Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Pro multis means "for many," Vatican rules

Vatican, Nov. 19 (CWNews.com) - The Vatican has ruled that the phrase pro multis should be rendered as "for many" in all new translations of the Eucharistic Prayer, instead of as "for all" as it is currently, CWN reports in a news post entitled "Pro multis means "for many," Vatican rules." The article goes on to report: "Cardinal Francis Arinze, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, has written to the heads of world's episcopal conferences, informing them of the Vatican decision."

The translation of 'pro multis' in the ICEL (International Committee on English in the Liturgy) version of the Consecratory formula of the wine in the Novus Ordo runs into problems with the biblical texts of Matthew 26:26-28 and Mark 14:22-24. As The Catechism of the Council of Trent explains, the words "for all" are not used becaused, with the miracle of Transubstantiation, the fruits of the Passion are being referenced alone, and only to the elect did Christ's Passion bring the fruit of salvation.1 The alteration in the Consecratory formula of the wine in the Novus Ordo seems undeniably evident, profoundly altering the heart of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This has now been recognized.

I know some very, very happy people. Count me among them. Long dismissed as a piece of trifling hairsplitting or explained away by deft rationalizations, the problems with the tendentious earlier translations of 'pro multis' as "for all" have now been recognized and their longsuffering critics vindicated. Deo gratias.

  1. Catechism of the Council of Trent, trans. John A. McHugh and Charles J. Callan (New York, 1923; Rockford, IL: TAN, 1982). [back]

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