Here’s a knee slapper from The Remnant

I found a rather funny comment on the site of The Remnant (emphasis mine):

For traditionalist Catholics nothing is more symptomatic of the crisis in the Church than the deliberate mistranslation of pro vobis et pro multis—for you and for many—as “for you and for all” in vernacular renderings of the Latin typical edition of the Mass of Paul VI by local episcopal conferences and the ICEL.  This error, which falsely suggests the universal application of the fruit of the Mass to the elect and non-elect alike, was rightly described as “truly scandalous” by Monsignor Klaus Gamber in his Reform of the Roman Liturgy, to which the current Pope wrote an approving French language preface when he was Cardinal Ratzinger.  For nearly forty years the Vatican tolerated this abuse, while both lay and clerical traditionalists objected to it as a blatant falsification of the very words of Our Lord at the Last Supper—a novelty not even Protestant versions of the Bible had dared to venture.  Yet, over the past forty years, neo-Catholic defenders of the postconciliar novelties in the Church, such as The Wanderer, Catholic Answers (which publishes This Rock magazine) James Likoudis and James Akin, have consistently defended the error,…

ROFL!!

"Defended the error" of the bad translation of "pro multis"?  I think in charity someone ought to send a gift subscription for The Wanderer across town to The Remnant.

This is so weird it is hardly to be understood.  To be fair, the author of the abovementioned rib-tickler really doesn’t dwell on The Wanderer, but he really ought to use a little fairness in regard to The Wanderer and what it accomplished in the WDTPRS project over the last six years. 

I can agree with a great many things The Remnant prints, but sometimes they are simply too bilious.  The overall attitude of the abovementioned article is so sour as to leave you wondering if the author is pleased that Pope Benedict XVI made this decision or if he is really irritated that he now has one less thing to complain about.

In any event, you go over there, read the article yourselves, and get back to me with your take on the matter.

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34 Responses to Here’s a knee slapper from The Remnant

  1. Father: The bilious tone of the Remnant, the occasional sloppy reportage (well
    illustrated here) and the fact that I’m not sure the publishers are loyal
    to the Pope are among the reasons I don’t subscribe to the Remanant.

    The Wanderer does a much better job and they have excellent reporters
    who really do their homework. Not to mention three very good priestly
    columns (one of which is yours).

  2. Ray from MN says:

    Many enjoy the battle far more than they enjoy
    the victory. The victory leaves them with less
    purpose in their life.

  3. Geoffrey says:

    I went to the Remnant’s website and groaned when I saw who authored the article in question. I’ve heard Mr. Ferrara speak twice at a conference held locally by the Keep the Faith organization (publishers of the Latin Mass magazine). The first time I heard him speak was on the topic of Catholic Action, and it was quite good. The second time I heard him speak was about traditon, obedience, etc. He compared the late Archbishop Lefebvre to a reforming saint (whose name escapes me) and the room errupted in applause. The entire row I was sitting in did not applaud, and Mr. Ferrara admitted that his statement was hard to hear.

    Regarding this article, it’s a perfect example of why I subscribe to The Wanderer! :-)

  4. Steve says:

    On behalf of reasonable traditionalists everywhere, I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize for Mr. Ferrara and much of The Remnant as well as a number of others.

    While I believe The Remnant and The Wanderer to likely have some legitimate squabbles (I subscribe to neither), I can’t imagine what justifies the triumphalistic polemicism that characterizes much of the writing and speaking in the trad camp.

    One thing I’ve learned (and maybe it’s because I’m a young trad and less jaded) is that you’ll never prove to people that you’ve got a good point by acting crazy.

    I just found your blog by way of Dale Price, and haven’t read much yet, but your posts on the pro multis issue have been helpful

    Thanks!

  5. Boko Fittleworth says:

    My guess is that the “for all” defenses were offered, not as defenses of the phrase as a good translation or as better than “for many”, but as defenses of the validity of the Novus Ordo in the vernacular. So I side against the Remnant there.

    But the Remnant does get it right on two important points (bear in mind that most of this isn’t explicit; this is just me guessing at what’s going on):

    First, rightly or wrongly, this is tied to the whole issue of universalism, the heresy that states that all men are saved. Some prominent Catholics, from JPII on down, and including von balthasar, and Neuhaus, have flirted with this heresy, and the neo-Catholics, by which I mean those Catholics who (ironically accepting an hermeneutic of rupture) shout down any suggestion that the teaching of the pre-conciliar Church have not been rendered void or moot by JPII’s vast output, have used this as a weapon against traditional Catholics. Suggest that universalism is a heresy and you are accused of judging others and wanting others to be damned. In other words, you are a big meanie! So the Remnant guys, having been accused of being closet jansenists or even double pre-destination Calvinists, are rubbing it in a bit. This is not decisive, but it is a point for those who dare to wonder if some men are damned.

    Second: Pope benedict thinks that “for many” is better than “for all”. Which is what the traditionalists have been saying. And getting beat up for by the neos: “Oh, so you know better than the Pope? I’LL follow the Pope. If it’s good enough for the Pope, it’s good enough for me.” Well, there’s a new sheriff in town, and a lot of us who were troubled by some of JpII’s words and actions, and even more troubled by the fact that we were troubled by what a Pope did, are feeling rather vindicated, and that’s gonna come out in some gloating and “told ya so’s”. And no apologies from me. I’ve been beaten over the head with JPII on too many things (capital punishment comes especially to mind) and it’s nice to be able to see their JPII and raise them a BXVI.

  6. Boko Fittleworth says:

    Please forgive my typos. When I write a comment, half of it disappears off-screen and I have no way of knowing if I hit the right keys until I post.

  7. dcs says:

    I agree that The Wanderer has been unfairly lumped in with the “for all”-defending crowd (which, to be fair, does include Catholic Answers, James Likoudis, and Jimmy [not James] Akin). Other than that, though, I don’t really see anything objectionable about the Remnant article.

  8. Dan Hunter says:

    What heresy did Mr.Ferrara fall into.I must be a complete idiot because I do not see where he is being sinful or promoting sin
    I believe that St.Athanasius is the reforming saint they were referring to.
    God Bless you Father on the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Mother.

  9. dcs says:

    My guess is that the “for all” defenses were offered, not as defenses of the phrase as a good translation or as better than “for many”, but as defenses of the validity of the Novus Ordo in the vernacular.

    No, some of them [the defenses, that is] were actually defending “for all” as a better translation because “exegetes” say that the underlying Aramaic word (which word? how do they know?) really means “for all”. It’s not something that The Remnant imagined.

  10. billsykes says:

    Boko:

    ” … those Catholics who (ironically accepting an hermeneutic of rupture) shout down any suggestion that the teaching of the pre-conciliar Church have not been rendered void or moot by JPII’s vast output … ”

    The people you refer to as “neo-Catholics” (the use of which term, I must say, always makes me want to loosen the safety catch on my revolver)do not, I believe, for one minute, take that stance. That is pure polemics. Unworthy of you.

  11. Jordan Potter says:

    “I agree that The Wanderer has been unfairly lumped in with the “for all”-defending crowd (which, to be fair, does include Catholic Answers, James Likoudis, and Jimmy [not James] Akin). . . ”

    “No, some of them [the defenses, that is] were actually defending “for all” as a better translation because “exegetes” say that the underlying Aramaic word (which word? how do they know?) really means “for all”. ”

    Well, I don’t know what Jimmy Akin has said about this in the past, but he is tickled pink that PRO MULTIS will henceforth be translated accurately, as one can see at his weblog this week.

  12. Boko says:

    bilsykes,

    JPII said and wrote a heck of a lot. Among his words are some that were not completely well thought out and others that, taken out of context (and for which he failed to give the proper context), are problematic. JPII’s remarks on capital punishment in St. Louis (which were patently false), in EV, and in the CCC, APPEAR to conflict with the perennial teaching of the Curch on the subject. I think capital punishment is licit and should be used more often. Neo-caths (you have to call ‘em something, and they, and you, know who I mean) have accused me of dissent, of cafeteria-Catholicism, for this. And have cited JPII as authority. Same with the propriety of women in the sanctuary and the wisdom of certain ecumenical gestures. I say what darn near every Catholic would have said 50 years ago, and I’M the cafeteria Catholic, and JPII is cited against me. You’re not familiar with this phenomenom?

  13. dcs says:

    Well, I don’t know what Jimmy Akin has said about this in the past

    You can read what he has said about it in the past in Ferrara’s article, which quotes This Rock quoting Akin’s book Mass Confusion.

  14. billsykes says:

    Boko:

    You may (or may not) be surprised to learn that I agree with virtually everything you say.

    Son, it’s the way you’re sayin’ it!

  15. Jordan Potter says:

    David, I’m hesitant to draw any conclusions based on The Remnant’s partial quote of Jimmy’s words, since the quote is lacking context that might clarify what Jimmy was saying. I haven’t seen Jimmy’s book or the This Rock article from which the quote came, so I cannot determine if Remnant has correctly interpreted what Jimmy said.

  16. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    The teaching of the Church on capital punishment is the teaching of JPII.Thge church teaches that the state has the right to take the life of a non innocent person.The debate is under what conditions.PJP was with tradition in taking the position that the state does not have an absolute right.It is similarto war.The state has the right to wage war but onky under certain circumstances.The additional wording in the CCC added from EV is a prudential judgement.This was explained by Cardinal Ratzinger when he was Prefect of CDF.I have lived long enough to have read of things many people never heard of.Pope Pius XII was no opponent of capital punishment in traching but he was so in practice.Several times he intervened and pleaded for a convicted person’s life.I remember when he personaly requested President Eisenhower NOT to execute the Rosenbergs convicted of espionage. As for the Remnant I stopped my subcription becayse I could not stand their anti=semitism and the way they mishandle the truth.I recall an alrming article claiming that PJII had renounced the title ofVicar of Christ and taken the title Vicar of Peter.The author then quoted the NO missal,the colect for the mass for the election of the Pope.The truth is that the title of Vicar of Peter is more ancient one than that of Vicar of Christ.Vicar of Christ at first referred to all bishops until the Pope took the title over.In any case the Code of Canon Law refers to the Vicarius Christi ,and as for that collect-the author used the alternative collect fotrthe mass,the regular collect still calls the Pope the Vicar of Christ.But who among its readers had a missal they could go to to prove the writer wrong.Buy many Remnant readers would be upset and actually believe the falsehood.And then there was the charge that the Missionaries of Charity founded by Blessed Teresa of Calcuttta were practicing Hinduism because thety supposedly sit in lotus fashion on the floor.How else are you going to sit when you do not use chairs? So what they say about pro multis I would not give a farthing for.

  17. billsykes says:

    Fr. McAfee:

    Was greatly edified by your comment; however, was also given great headache by the formatting.

  18. dcs says:

    David, I’m hesitant to draw any conclusions based on The Remnant’s partial quote of Jimmy’s words, since the quote is lacking context that might clarify what Jimmy was saying. I haven’t seen Jimmy’s book or the This Rock article from which the quote came, so I cannot determine if Remnant has correctly interpreted what Jimmy said.

    Do I know you from somewhere? or did you just make a good guess at my first name? ;-)

    Anyway, here’s the relevant page from This Rock (which, by the way, Ferrara cites in a footnote):

    http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2000/0005ltrs.asp

  19. Brian Day says:

    I especially liked this sentence:
    Traditionalists have every right to take neo-Catholic spokesmen to task for having helped perpetrate for so long what Msgr. Gamber rightly calls a “scandalous” mistranslation of the Mass.
    Oh, really?
    The Pope, the Magisterium, and the Bishops all answer to “neo-Catholic spokesmen” for the last 40 years.
    Yeah, right.

  20. Kenjiro Shoda says:

    I think much of what The Remnant says is correct, if maybe a bit too shrill and uncharitable.
    Holding up Archbishop Lefebvre as a Saint is not too far off the mark. He had that reputation when He was a missionary Bishop in Africa in the 1950′s, and certainly among traditional Catholics since Vatican II. So much of what He said and acted upon was right. The bad example of some of His followers (Bishop Williamson for example), should not be blamed on Archbishop Lefebvre.
    The Wanderer should also be commended, for it has brought to the attention of all faithful Catholics the many abuses which need to be argued against and overcome.
    “Pro Multis”= “For All” being discarded is one victory which we should all be grateful for, and I think that the Wanderer and the Remnant both deserve credit for frequently running articles against this, and other seriious liturgical abuses and errors coming from Vatican II.
    Hopefull Pope Benedict XVI will live long enough to discard all the abuses one by one.

  21. dcs says:

    Here is another “defense” of “for all” that actually argues that “for all” is a better translation:

    Was Christ’s Blood Shed for Many of For All? by Art Sippo.

  22. Maureen says:

    Kenjiro —

    “He”, “Him”, and “His” should not be capitalized in English in the middle of a sentence — unless these pronouns are referring to God.

  23. Jordan Potter says:

    “Do I know you from somewhere? or did you just make a good guess at my first name? ;-)”

    I used to hang out pretty regularly at Steve Ray’s Catholic Convert Message Board, and I remember you from there. I still stop by there every now and again, but lately I’ve been busy elsewhere.

    “Anyway, here’s the relevant page from This Rock (which, by the way, Ferrara cites in a footnote)”

    Thanks for showing me that. I don’t know why I couldn’t see the footnote hyperlinks. They are kind of small, but I see them fine now.

    Anyway, Ferrara still should have gone to Akin’s book to see what he was actually saying. For all I can see, Akin and the This Rock editor may have been arguing that what is, after all, a mistranslation of PRO MULTIS does not invalidate the Mass and does not *necessarily* imply that all will be saved. I’ve only been a Catholic for six (almost seven) years, but ever since I’ve known of the mistranslation of PRO MULTIS I’ve disagreed with it and hoped and prayed it would be fixed, if for no other reason but that it is pretending that Jesus said something He certainly never said. But I have also been of the opinion that, even though I didn’t buy that “Aramaic word there means all” argument, the words were capable of being construed in an orthodox fashion, and that, since they were capable of an orthodox construal it is obligatory that they be so construed until the mistranslation is finally eliminated. Liturgical graffiti and vandalism is what it was.

  24. Jordan Potter says:

    “Here is another ‘defense’ of ‘for all’ that actually argues that “for all” is a better translation”

    Yes, and that is another instance where I think Dr. Sippo is wrong. But at least he was consistent and said that not only is “for many” wrong but the original Latin of the liturgy was wrong too and should be changed. Me, I happen to think we should just stick to an accurate and faithful translation of what Jesus actually said.

  25. Ekkehard VI says:

    FWIW, James Akin has a post on his blog expressing utter delight that this translation issue will be fixed.

  26. After reading the arguments of the “for all” crowd for many years, I’m left wondering whether this is really about Aramaic, the words Jesus actually used, esoteric translation issues, and the like. Might not this passion for the concept of universal salvation stem rather from the proclivities of many for sinful ways of life, and hence a fervent desire to deny the reality of sin and judgment, as expressed (for instance) by St. Basil in one of the Office readings for the coming Last Sunday after Pentecost:

    “When the inclination of sin comes upon you, I wish you would think of this dread and awful tribunal of Christ, where he will sit and judge on His throne on high. There every creature will appear, and stand trembling in His presence, and there shall we be led one by one, to give an account of the actions of our life. And immediately afterwards those who in life have wrought much evil will be surrounded by fearful and hideous angels, who will throw them headlong into a bottomless pit where in impenetrable darkness burns a fire which gives no light; fear these things and pierced by this dread, use it as a bridle to help your soul from being drawn away by concupiscence into sin.”

  27. I looked at that defense of \”for all\” by A. Sippo which was linked (above).

    Beside being simply wrong philologically, his argument seems mostly founded on the idea that the Church\’s choices are made primarily on account of historical circumstances. Thus, if the circumstances change, the words can change, the doctrine can chance, etc.

    Here is what Sippo wrote (my emphasis):

    It is true that the Catechism of the Council of Trent argued for \”pro multis\” to mean \”the many\” and condemned the understanding of it as \”for all.\” But there was an important context for that condemnation. We must distinguish between the extent of the atonement and its application. Some people in the 16th Century were saying that denying limited atonement necessitated that all men must be saved since the sovereign power of God cannot be resisted. The Tridentine Catechism was trying to deny that notion. It was arguing that the merits of Calvary are only applied to those who are elect. It never denied that they were potentially available to everyone.

    This sounds like the argument used by those who want, for example, to change the Church\’s (infallible) teaching about the impossibility of the ordination of women. Their (lousy) argument would be that since in early 1st A.D., due to cultural circumstances and the relatively lowly state of women, Christ couldn\’t at that time choose women, He would now because the cultural biases no longer exist.

    I am not saying that Sippo wants to affirm heresy. I am merely pointing out that the argument he used isn\’t very good.

  28. dcs says:

    But I have also been of the opinion that . . . the words were capable of being construed in an orthodox fashion, and that, since they were capable of an orthodox construal it is obligatory that they be so construed until the mistranslation is finally eliminated.

    I agree. But there are better arguments for the validity of “for all” than “the word in Aramaic means ‘all’” (try citing St. Alphonsus, for one). That argument leads me to believe that the one making the argument actually thinks that “all” is a better translation. Now, I have not read Akin’s book and I don’t know what he thought of the matter back then, but I am certainly pleased to see his “utter delight” that the mistranslation will finally be corrected.

    The “Aramaic means ‘all’” argument also, in my opinion, falls into the Protestant trap of thinking that translating from the original language must be better (for example, Fr. Fortescue pointed out that “Protestants make quite a fetish of the Massora”). That makes sense insofar as the original language has been preserved. In this case (as in the case of the Massora, which has many errors), the original language has not been preserved — in fact, we don’t even know what the original language really was (it could have been Aramaic, or it could have been Hebrew). All we know is that the inspired writer (in two cases) used the Greek [i]polloi[/i].

    Further mitigating against Dr. Sippo’s argument is that vernacular translations of the Mass existed before the XVIth century. The Glagolitic Mass (a Slavonic translation of the traditional Mass of the Roman Rite), for example, has (or had) been around since the late IXth century (the translation was first authorized by John VIII). I’d be willing to bet that it does not use “for all.”

  29. Jordan Potter says:

    You said it very well, David. It’s just silly to justify the mistranslation of the liturgy by claiming to be translating words spoken by Jesus in a different language. If the Roman Missal were written in Hebrew or Aramaic, that argument might hold water, but it’s written in Latin. So translate the Latin already! (Anyway, the Gospels do not say “all.” They say “many.” If Jesus meant “all,” He could have said “all,” But the Holy Spirit, who cannot lie, made sure the Evangelists wrote “many.”)

  30. RBrown says:

    A. Pro multis is an accurate translation from the Greek peri pollon.

    B. I’ll restate what I wrote earlier. Pro Multis is a dual concept that includes that:

    1. Christ died for all men.

    2. It is possible that the number saved will be rather few–this is the opinion of St Thomas, bolstered by Scripture (e.g., few find the gate).

  31. RBrown says:

    Fr Franklyn,

    Your comments would be easier to read if you would put two spaces between the period and the start of the next sentence.

  32. animadversor says:

    Please forgive my typos. When I write a comment, half of it disappears off-screen and I have no way of knowing if I hit the right keys until I post.

    Comment by Boko Fittleworth — 21 November 2006 @ 8:16 pm

    I too have that problem. I get around it by wrting my posts in a text editor, e.g., Notepad, and then pasting them into the comment box.

  33. A grateful lurker says:

    For those curious about the situation in the Glagolitic liturgy, “pro multis” was always translated as “za mnogije”, which unambiguously means “for (the) many”. Indeed, the official Croatian Church Slavonic translation of the Pauline Ordo Missae, approved in 1974 and used on occasion in Croatia as a sort of successor to the Glagolitic liturgy, has “za mnogije” for “pro multis” in all four Eucharistic Prayers.

  34. dcs says:

    For those curious about the situation in the Glagolitic liturgy, “pro multis” was always translated as “za mnogije”, which unambiguously means “for (the) many”.

    Just as I suspected! Thank you very much for this information.