Two German presbyterates refuse “pro multis”

WDTPRS has soldiered for years on the side of truth and beauty in liturgical translation.  We played a not insignificant role in process whereby the accurate translation of "pro multis" in the consecration of the Precious Blood went up the ladder for the Pope’s signature.  It is now a done deal: all vernacular versions must use some form of "for many" to translation "pro multis".

With a tip of the biretta to SP   o{]:¬)    I present a story from ADISTA (my translation, emphases and comments).

"PRO MULTIS" MEANS "FOR ALL".  IN GERMANY TWO PRESBYTERAL COUNCILS REFUSE THE VATICAN TRANSLATION
(Ludovia Eugenio)

ROTTENBURG-ADISTA The voting was carried out in a democratic way and gave a clear verdict: in the litugical formula for transubstantiation: they will continue to translate the Latin formula pro multis with the expression "for all", and not with "for many" as desired by the Pope.  The "disobedience" to the Vatican prescription to change the translation, desired by Benedict XVI and "commissioned" by him from the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments of Card. Francis Arinze, was – as the German press reports it these days – on the part of two German diocesan presbyteral councils, that of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, and of Augsburg.  Reacting to the letter which Arinze sent last October to the presidents of national episcopal conferences about this question, the Presbyteral Council of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, during a meeting which took place on 25 April last, voted in favor of maintaining the inclusive translation "for all", judging that of the Vatican, "for many", ambiguous "today being as it is". [Doesn’t this sound like the argument of H.E. Donald W. Trautman?]  "The promise of God’s salvation," according to the press release sent out by the same presbyteral council – applies to all persons.  This truth of faith is expressed in the clearest way in the formula "for all" in the prayer".  "The correct understanding" of the text does not depend on comments about it, [Again, this is the Trautmaniac line: a prayer must be easily and immediately understandable.  Thus, language must be closer to the lowest common denominator, rather than the higher, and translation must be changed often as the language shifts.  The problem is, of course, that you really can’t say anything meaningful that way.] the religious of Rottenburg affirmed: the original biblical text affirms that Christ died for all, and every man can and must decide to accept Jesus’ offer of salvation.  [A red herring: Liturgical translation is not equivalent to biblical translation.  The liturgical texts now constitute their own source and must be respected as such.  Liturgical translation focuses on what the pages of the Missale say, not the Bible, even when the liturgical text is rooted in Scripture.  This is especially important with even in the Catechism of the Council of Trent there was a specific paragraph about the "for all" question.]

A month before, the Presbyteral  Council of Augsburg expressed the same choice.  The diocesan presbyteral council asked Bishop Walter Mixa, to "promote with the Vatican and the German Episcopal Conference" the possiblity of continuing the translate the expression in the Missale Romanum "pro multis" with "for all".  Immediately after the vote, Fr. Florian Schuller, President of the Catholic Academy of Bavaria, addressed the presbyteral council, underscoring that the history of the central texts of the liturgy are "profoundly written in the conscience" and that a change such as that prescribed by Rome risks provoking polarizations and protests at the parish level: "That all priests all of a sudden go from ‘for all’ to ‘for many’ is, based on the experience of the last decades, rather unlikely".  [Since when have guys like this been worried about overnight changes that affect what people feel deeply?]

 

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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30 Responses to Two German presbyterates refuse “pro multis”

  1. danphunter1 says:

    Father,
    This is schismatic,isn’t it?
    “Trautmaniac”,is a nice touch.
    God bless you

  2. Patrick Rothwell says:

    Just what are these so-called presbyterates? Are they unofficial groups with no standing like so-called “priest councils” here in the United States? Is this just a self-selected group of malcontents or is this representative of a larger problem?

  3. Andy says:

    The hypocrisy with these non-orthodox (I don’t want to use liberal, because of the political connotation…) is amazing.

  4. Joseph says:

    We are Roman Catholics. Neither our Faith nor our Praxis is determined by majority vote. The Church is NOT a democracy. These presbyteral councils reek of protestantism – or at least protestant tactics.

  5. Diane says:

    This is very sad to watch, but not surprising. The average person in the pew will not know for many many years that this was ever an issue, if at all, in some corners of the west.

    Fr. Z: One thing I have not understood when the “pro-multis” letter came out, was when a priest may implement it in his Mass.

    What is protocol for such things and when would we expect to see it in parishes in the west where pastors are not resistant to it?

    Can a priest implement changes to the Missal based on a letter like that from Arinze, or is there a protocol to follow – such as, through the diocese, or a physical change seen in the Missal itself.

  6. Diane says:

    I’d like to add that I don’t think we will see an end to these kinds of “I’m taking my toyus and going home episodes” until the last of them has retired.

    Are these generally older priests and bishops, or are there younger ones, as well?

  7. Patrick Rothwell says:

    Moreover, am I right that the Germans are going to say “for all” until a new German translation of the mass is made, which would be years and years away? So, isn’t it likely that most of the priests will never, ever have to say the horrid “for many” since they will be retired by that point?

  8. John says:

    According to the Catholic Encyclopedia the Reformation brought disaster on the Diocese of Augsburg. Luther found “enthusiastic adherents” when called there to vindicate himself before the papal legate. It would seem that the spirit of Luther is alive and well in that Diocese.

  9. Diane: Can a priest implement changes to the Missal based on a letter like that from Arinze, or is there a protocol to follow – such as, through the diocese, or a physical change seen in the Missal itself.

    Nothing in Card. Arinze’s letter to Bishops Conferences indicated permission or requirement for immediate implementation. We must way for the release of the new translation.

  10. Janet says:

    Most Catholics have never heard of the debate concerning “pro multis”, and won’t hear of it unless their pastors or their bishops make a point of telling them. For this reason, that issue plus the Motu Proprio issue may never see the light of day if there aren’t some proactive parishioners in each parish to push the issues.

    In my diocese, which doesn’t have a single indult TLM, it’s going to be an interesting challenge finding a pastor willing to stick his neck out far enough to consider offering a latin mass. Basically it will fall to the friars out at EWTN and at the Shrine in Hanceville to offer it. This, to me, is where the actual implementation of the MP gets sticky, and I can see the possibility of bishops and priests ignoring it and hoping that in time the people will forget about it too.

    In my parish, the one priest who really knows latin well enough to be able to offer a Latin Mass is being transferred in a couple of days. Which will leave us with no priest who knows latin well enough to comply with requests even if he wanted to. I can also imagine the response of a theoretical ‘recalcitrant’ pastor of a parish, when presented with a petition signed by many people, wanting the latin mass said. Some pastors would most likely threaten to boot these ‘troublemakers’ out of his parish if they dared go around getting signatures again for something he hasn’t approved of beforehand.

    How to make this MP actually become real on a parish level is an interesting quandary, and it will be up to all of us individual Catholics to be willing to stick our necks out, coax our priests nicely, help them, pray for them, but to be persistent and not give up on what we want. Even with the MP published, I feel the odds are stacked against us “Catholics in the pews”.

  11. Tim Ferguson says:

    While their actions are certainly far beyond their purview, it is important to note that Presbyteral Councils are neither “so-called” nor unofficial. They are mandated groups to be established in every diocese of the Latin Church (cc. 495 – 502) and have well-defined functions, primarily advisory to the bishop, but also with some limited ability to exercise executive power (cf. c. 1742).

    Presbyteral Councils have no authority to determine liturgical praxis in a diocese, let alone to reject something clearly mandated by the Holy Father. They can advise the bishop to seek some recourse against a liturgical law, but it would seem highly imprudent, even if that is done, to make such an action public. If not per se schismatic, a clear and stated rejection of a liturgical law would seem to demand some sort of official reprimand from the Bishop whose advisors they are, and might warrant the investigation of further penal remedies, including removal from office.

  12. paul,south midlands, uk says:

    If a dioscese deliberately uses a word in the translation of the consecration that has been forbidden by the Catholic Church, is that mass then valid?

    [note: I am NOT questioning the current translation of the Mass. If a Pope decided that the current english translation of the consecration was the contents of a local bus timetable then that would be valid because our Lord gave the Pope that authority – thats not to say such a pope would not have some explaining to do when he passed on from this world and met our Lord….]

  13. dcs says:

    If a dioscese deliberately uses a word in the translation of the consecration that has been forbidden by the Catholic Church, is that mass then valid?

    Depends on how and where the word is used, as well as what word it is.

    If a Pope decided that the current english translation of the consecration was the contents of a local bus timetable then that would be valid

    No it wouldn’t.

  14. RBrown says:

    Not surprising. Despite their intelligence and high regard for the academic life, Germans (and my grandfather was from Koblenz) have a tough time in anything but univocal thought. Like Bp Trautman, they think either univocally or equivocally but never analogically. And the pro multis is analogical.

    Univocal – having only one meaning

    Equivocal – having multiple meanings, with those meanings not only having nothing to do with one another but sometimes contradictory. E.g., “It will become our spiritual drink”, and spiritual drink could mean either Transubstantiation or the Protestant denial of Transubstantian.

    Analogical – having multiple meanings, with those meanings not only not contradictory but related in some way. Analogy is the soul of theology. E.g., being is predicated analogically of God and His creatures–He is their cause, we experience them as effects of that cause–and so it is not a direct experience of God. (Contra Scotus, Rosminians, and Rahner).

  15. paul,south midlands, uk says:

    If a Pope decided that the current english translation of the consecration was the contents of a local bus timetable then that would be valid

    No it wouldn’t.

    I would disagree with you there – our lord said what you bind shall be bound in heaven and what you loose etc…however I suspect that any Pope who decided to do anything like that would go the same way as JP the first.

  16. Jordan Potter says:

    I would disagree with you there – our lord said what you bind shall be bound in heaven and what you loose etc…

    The Church has never understood that promise to mean that a Pope has the authority to change what Jesus has commanded the Church to do. A Pope could no more change the words of consecration that he could “bind” the use of french fries and coca cola as valid matter for the Eucharist. Frankly, your understanding of the text “whatsoever you bind on earth” is Mormon, not Catholic. Popes are the servants of Apostolic Tradition, not the masters of Apostolic Tradition.

  17. Different says:

    Using the words “for many” when the current liturgical text in force states “for all” is illicit. At the same time, when the new English translation is issued and “for many” is put in place it would be illicit to continue to say “for all.”

  18. thetimman says:

    how dare they.

  19. thetimman says:

    how dare they.

  20. paul,south midlands, uk says:

    would disagree with you there – our lord said what you bind shall be bound in heaven and what you loose etc…

    The Church has never understood that promise to mean that a Pope has the authority to change what Jesus has commanded the Church to do. A Pope could no more change the words of consecration that he could “bind” the use of french fries and coca cola as valid matter for the Eucharist. Frankly, your understanding of the text “whatsoever you bind on earth” is Mormon, not Catholic. Popes are the servants of Apostolic Tradition, not the masters of Apostolic Tradition.

    Jesus said what he said. However I am sure that if a Pope decided to do something that awful the holy spirit would invoke one of the other things christ said ie “…and the gates of hell will never prevail against it” and the unfortunate pope would die in his sleep before he had the chance to do anything about implementing it,

  21. paul,south midlands, uk says:

    “Using the words “for many” when the current liturgical text in force states “for all” is illicit. At the same time, when the new English translation is issued and “for many” is put in place it would be illicit to continue to say “for all.”

    Comment by Different — 29 June 2007 @ 11:50 am”

    Illicit no doubt – but so was Bishop Fellays episcopal ordination and that was valid. So, certainly illict, but valid?

    Personally speaking, if a priest deliberately used illicit words in the consecration [as opposed to accidentally out of force of habit] I would stand up walk to the end of the pew, genuflect and leave quietly, as I would be left with grave doubts about the priests intention – and the priests intention is crucial to the validity of the Mass.

  22. Prof. Basto says:

    WHERE (THE …..) IS THE CHURCH’S PENAL SISTEM??????
    WHY AREN’T THE PENAL CANONS ENFORCED?

    SINCE WHEN PRESBYTERAL COUNCILS TRANSLATE MISSALS (The article says “…they will continue to translate…”?

    WHAT EXACTLY IS HAPPENING HERE: IS THIS A REQUEST FOR A CHANGE IN THE RULING, A REQUEST FOR A DISPENSATION, OR A DIRECT DECLARATION OF DISOBEDIENCE, A DECLARATION TO THE EFFECT THAT THAT THEY WILL CONTINUE PRONONUNCING THE CANON AS IT STANDS EVEN AFTER THE EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE PROMULGATES THE NEW EDITION WITH THE CHANGE IN TRANSLATON TO “FOR MANY”?

    IF THIS IS A DECLARATION OF DISOBEDIENCE, THEN THOSE FOLKS SHOULD BE PUNISHED BY THE HOLY SEE AS IF IT WAS THE WRATH OF GOD HIMSELF: THOSE REBELS SHOULD BE IN THE RECEIVING END OF A BOLT OF LIGHTENING!

    HOW DARE THEY PRETEND THEY ARE CATHOLICS AND DISOBEY THE CHURCH’S PARAMOUNT FOUNDATION OF OBEDIENCE. THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH, IS NOT A DEMOCRACY. IT IS A MONARCHY PRESIDED BY OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST AND BY HIS VICAR, THE SUCCESSOR OF ST PETER, ASSISTED WITH THE SUCCESSORS OF THE OTHER APOSTLES.

    AND JUST AS I CONDEMN THE SSPX, I THINK IT IS A QUESTION OF NECESSITY FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE LAW OF THE CHURCH, OF THE PRINCIPLE OF OBEDIENCE, THAT ALL THOSE MEMBERS OF THE REBEL COUNCILS WHO VOTED TO DEFY THE APOSTOLIC LORD OUR POPE BE CRUSHED WITH THE PROPER PENALITES OF REMOVAL FROM THE CLERICAL STATE AND EXCOMMUNICATION!

  23. Different says:

    Prof. Basto…

    Whoa. Less caffeine, dude.

  24. RBrown says:

    I would disagree with you there – our lord said what you bind shall be bound in heaven and what you loose etc…however I suspect that any Pope who decided to do anything like that would go the same way as JP the first.
    Comment by paul,south midlands, uk

    The power to bind and loose is considered by Catholic theological tradition to pertain to sin–saying that a certain act is a sin (to bind–ligare) and forgiving sins (to loose–solvere). It would have nothing to do with promulgating a mass.

    St Augustine references this in matins today: Solve per amorem quod ligaveras per timorem–Release (from sin) through love what you had bound (as sin) through fear.

    The Scriptural text for Papal Infallibility (here promulgating a mass) is confirma fratres tuos in fide.

  25. Berolinensis says:

    Several things: As Tim Ferguson has meritoriously already pointed out, there is nothing “so-called” or unofficial about the Presbyteral Councils. While I, like, him, obviously deplore their resolution, it is certainly not schismatic. After all, the article says, they “asked Bishop Walter Mixa, to promote with the Vatican and the German Episcopal Conference the possiblity of continuing the translate the expression in the Missale Romanum “pro multis” with “for all”.” While we may not (and I most definitely don’t) agree with their stance, this is hardly illicit. This is not a matter of faith or morals. The Holy Father himself has said, that there are reasons for and against both translations, so petitioning for the retention now in force is not illicit, much less schismatic. It is such, in all frankness and without meaning offence, hysterical hyperbole, spotting sinister machinations and evil rebellion everywhere that is doing much to discredit our legitimate concerns. I fully agree that it is a blessing that the literal translation has been mandated, and we should explain this issue (like so many others) wherever we have the opportunity, but without acrimony. Many of these priests, while sadly misguided and/or stuck in some confabulated “spirit of VII”, are really well-intentioned. This might sound pretentious, and I – like all of you – know of course about all the frustrations one encounters (liturgical abuses, heterodoxy etc.), and how difficult it is not become bitter, but our maxime must be “in necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas“.
    Also, as I already tried to plead when this was first reported on closedcafteria almost four weeks ago (see: http://closedcafeteria.blogspot.com/2007/06/pro-multis-meets-resistance-in-germany.html), may I, as a German, ask to please not mix up just criticism of dissenting opinions with national prejudices. Germans “have a tough time in anything but univocal thought. Like Bp Trautman, they think either univocally or equivocally but never analogically.” Yes, and we also have a hard time not drinking beer all day long and wearing leather pants. Come on, how can you say such a thing about a people? Just read “Jesus of Nazareth” by our German Pope and you will find analogical exegesis aplenty.
    And as for the question of validity:
    a) No, the Pope could most certainly not decree this. He himself is obviously bound by the depositum fidei. Our present Holy Father has said repeatedly that the Pope is not an absolute monarch. Also, for example, when Pope John Paul declared definitely that only men can be ordained priests in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, he wrote explicitly “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women.” He could not change that.
    b) I won’t make a definite statement, but traditionally the essential (forma sacramenti) words have been “HOC EST [enim] CORPUS MEUM” and “HIC EST [enim] CALIX SANGUINIS MEI”. So, as long as they are there, the Consecration ought to be valid.

  26. BobP says:

    Question: If a priest were to use the “for many”
    instead of “for all” in his consecration today,
    would he be in disobedience? Would his Masses be licit?

  27. RBrown says:

    Personally speaking, if a priest deliberately used illicit words in the consecration [as opposed to accidentally out of force of habit] I would stand up walk to the end of the pew, genuflect and leave quietly, as I would be left with grave doubts about the priests intention – and the priests intention is crucial to the validity of the Mass.

    1. Invalid Sacramental form (words) contradicts the essence of the Sacrament. The Sacramental form is the words that signify the matter: In the Eucharist it is Hoc est corpus meum and Hic est calix sanguinis mei. Although I think pro multis is much better than pro omnibus, the latter doesn’t effect validity.

    2. Re Intention: There is much confusion about this among traditionalists. Minimal Intention is for the minister to intend what the Church intends. This is the same for every Sacrament–it is always general, never specific.

    Thus the Minimal Intention for the Eucharist is to intend what the Church intends. MI is NOT to intend Transubstantiation (which is a specific intention).

    MI for Baptism is the same–to intend what the Church intends. MI is NOT to intend to make the recipient Adopted Sons of God (a specific intention).

    3. It is important to note that the Sacraments are not caused by a Magic Formula. They are caused by a proper minister (i.e., a priest for the Eucharist) using Sacramental Form and Matter with at least minimal intention.

  28. Different says:

    “Question: If a priest were to use the “for many”
    instead of “for all” in his consecration today,
    would he be in disobedience? Would his Masses be licit?”

    Yes, because the current valid liturgical text reads “for all.” Although his intention might be good he should not alter the words of the Mass.

  29. Different says:

    “Question: If a priest were to use the “for many”
    instead of “for all” in his consecration today,
    would he be in disobedience? Would his Masses be licit?”

    It would be disobedient and the Mass would be illicit (well, that action at least) because the current valid liturgical text reads “for all.” Although his intention might be good he should not alter the words of the Mass.

  30. RBrown says:

    I, as a German, ask to please not mix up just criticism of dissenting opinions with national prejudices. Germans “have a tough time in anything but univocal thought. Like Bp Trautman, they think either univocally or equivocally but never analogically.” Yes, and we also have a hard time not drinking beer all day long and wearing leather pants. Come on, how can you say such a thing about a people?
    Comment by Berolinensis

    1. No, Germans don’t drink beer all day long, but they do produce excellent beer–Dusseldorf Alt and Paulaner are among my favorites. On the other hand, I think the Czech Budweiser is probably better than those two.

    2. I am familiar with German thought. And I think there are national character traits.

    No other people comes close to rivaling the German reverence for academics. German libraries are magnificent. I have been in the seminary library for the Archdiocese of Cologne–it is remarkable, a true research library in an archdiocesan seminary. Also the famous Dominican library at Walberberg (which I understand is going to be sold).

    3. Despite all that, Germany has never really produced a great Thomist theologian. Josef Pieper and Martin Grabmann were both excellent, but they were philosophers.

    4. Most important German theologians (e.g., Moltmann) of the 20th century have been liberals or Protestant–and Protestantism rejects the analogy of being.

    5. When German theology of the past 200 years has been good, it usually was an expansion of Fundamental Theology. Thomists use philosophy based on the analogy of being (cf. the 5 demonstrations of God’s existence) as the preamble for theology. But Fundamental theology generally rejects such an approach, instead concentrating on man’s need for religion and the possibility of Revelation, both of which can proceed using a univocal approach.

    Just read “Jesus of Nazareth” by our German Pope and you will find analogical exegesis aplenty

    1. BXVI, who was influenced by von Balthasar (an advocate of the analogy of being), is an exception. You might also keep in mind that JRatzinger has been in Rome since 1981 and was also influenced by the theological consultors at the Holy Office.

    For every JRatzinger, we can also name Josef Fuchs, Bernard Haring, Karl Lehmann, and of course the Grand High Equivocator himself, Karl Rahner, the Doctor Equivocus.

    And, as you well know, he is writing in reply to modern (or more properly, post modern) exegesis, i.e., the historical critical method (which is univocal)–whose most influential proponents, as you also well know, are probably von Harnack and Bultmann.

    ***

    Have you ever read Kirchlich Umschau? The publisher is one of my best friends.

    You seem to be in Berlin. By any chance, do you know Detlef Peitz? He is an old friend from Rome, and I suspect he might attend an indult or SSPX mass. He has been working for the Parliament, first in Bonn, now in Berlin. The last time I saw him we had lunch at the Parliament cafeteria in Bonn.