Some folks have incorrectly speculated that the late Pope John Paul II, in Ecclesia de Eucharistia, wrote "pro omnibus" instead of "pro multis".
I have been hammering at this issue harder than anyone else for the last six years, so I can provide some information that will clear this whole thing up. I wrote about it at length in the WDTPRS series. Here is one thing:
The Latin text of the Holy Father’s encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia (EdE) became a battlefield in the pro multis wars being waged in the halls of the Holy See. You might remember what happened.
In that encyclical the late Pope referred to the words of "institution" (that’s "consecration" for me and you). He used, in the English, “for all” rather than “for many.” This also appeared in the unofficial Latin of the encyclical at the time of its release. "ARRRGGH", quoth I. Then I got down to work to figure out what had happened.
In my WDTPRS columns I went through all the Scripture and showed also that, probably in their haste, the people in charge of the release of the encyclical had made mistakes in the Biblical citations. “Mt 14:24” should have been either Matthew 26:28 or Mark 14:24.
Can you believe that? That shot red flags up the pole for me, I can tell you. Something was very very fishy about this whole thing.
If that wasn’t bad enought, the Latin version of the Encyclical, at the time of its first release said: “qui pro vobis funditur et pro omnibus in remissionem peccatorum” which changed the words of Scripture and thus the Mass formula!
Mind you, the citation was clearly a paraphrase of the account and not a direct quote: it was cited with a confer (“cf.” or “cfr”) reference, so they have an out. However, that was in fact, in black on white, the text at the time of the public release of Ecclesia de Eucharistia.
But wait, there’s more. The certified text of any papal document is always promulgated in the official monthly publication of the Holy See called Acta Apostolicae Sedis (AAS). Very often, after big documents come out with a great bang and splash, some months later the real text is issued, and it is different - and no one knows it because no one reads the Latin anymore.
When you look now at the official AAS text of the EdE 2 wherein the Pope supposedly changed pro multis to pro omnibus we find that a correction has been made (cf. AAS 95 – 7 July 2003 – p. 434). The pro multis is back in its proper place, the errant Scripture citations are cleaned up, and the bad pro omnibus is not to be found.
Someone, God bless him, put the smack down on pro omnibus in EdE 2.
A Polish colleague of mine verifies that on the Vatican’s website, the Polish version of EdE says “za wielu…for many” in the controverted spot.
Draw your conclusions as you will, someone, if not Pope John Paul himself (or a future Pope), had the clout to get this changed. Since this was clearly a DOCTRINAL issue, I wonder who else could have been involved. Hmmmmm…..
My spies told me back then that a couple heads rolled for this little bit of Scriptural and liturgical hijinx.
Now it seems that on the Vatican’s website, in the archived documents of John Paul II, the link for the Latin version of Ecclesia de Eucharistia has been killed. Look for yourself:
The funny thing about this is that the Latin was there once. Here is what I wrote in a WDTPRS column back in 2003:
Last week I wrote in reference to the Holy Father’s new encyclical letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia (EdE) that “the Holy See’s website inexplicably did not provide the Latin text, but only the English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish).” I am happy to report that the Latin text has been added and is now available online.
Interesting, no? I also wrote back then… O my prophetic soul….
Now, before any traditional Catholics freak out completely and accuse the Pope of “changing Scripture” (mark my word some will do exactly that), please note that the citations are in the form of a “confer” abbreviated as “cf.” or (in Latin) “cfr”, which mean that the reader is to “bring together for comparison” the referenced texts. “Cf.” does not indicate an exact quotation. What the Pope did in EdE is offer a paraphrase, not an exact quotation.
Keep firmly in mind that the version in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis is the ONLY OFFICIAL VERSION of the document. The website does not provide official versions. The language versions at the time of the original release of the document to the world are not the official versions. All the vernacular language versions that came out, were issue before the text appeared in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. You would think that the vernacular versions would be double-checked and revised and even republished after the release of the official text, right? But Noooooooo……
The problem is, who goes to actually look at the Latin in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis and, if they do, how many can read it?