Holy See: Recognitio of the Ordinary of Mass – Fr. Z reacts

About a gazillion people have written me e-mails with the story that the USCCB put out a news story about progress on the new translation of the Roman Missal.  I have received scores of e-mails with links to various sites where people are jumping up and down about this.

"Great!", say I.

… ?

"But Father! But Father!", I can hear some of you saying, puzzled at my seeming lack of enthusiasm. "Isn’t this what you have been talking about for years?  Isn’t your blog about all this translation stuff?  Why let all these other people scoop you and put stories up before you do?  Don’t you care anymore? Are you just going to keep writing about Fellay and Kung and wymynpriests and forget your roots?"

Relax.

Yes, I care.

I am also grateful for all the e-mails.  Sometimes I get pretty busy and miss things in the press.  So keep your mail coming in, even if I don’t answer.

And now that the story is out and wide spread I have a few comments.

First, there isn’t much new in the reports that have come out, as far as this blog is concerned.  We have written about these changes, and the schedule before.

Second, the only real news is that the Vatican gave approval to the Ordinary.

Third, I knew about this a couple weeks ago and promised not to say anything about it.

You might remember that not long ago, the Prefect of the Cong. for Divine Worship, Card. Arinze, joined a group of priests I belong to for a annual conference.  During the days he spent with us, I had the chance to speak with him about various issues, including obviously the translation.  We got into some interesting points.

However, on our way in from the airport, I told him that I had taken off my "journalist" cap during his stay, so that he could relax and not worry about everything he said and did winding up on the internet somewhere, unless he said I could print it or blog it. 

Subsequently, when we were talking about the recognitio, I asked him if I could write about it and he told me that he preferred that Bishop’s Conferences not learn about it from the blogosphere before the Holy See had a chance to write to them.

Fair enough!

So, when this story came out, I kept silent so that everyone else could pick it up long before I wrote about it, just to be sure.

However, now that I have explained why I went black on this story, and I am just writing now, let’s consider together the really interesting point in the news coverage.

Various internet news agencies put out stories, all with lists of some changes to common parts of the translation which will affect people directly.

Whereas CWN, for example, reported that in the words of consecration of the Most Precious Blood the priest will say, "poured out for you and for many (pro multis)", which is the single most important change in the English translation, CNS was entirely silent about it! 

The left-leaning news agency of the USCCB was silent about the change to the words of consecration. 

No one can believe they missed that part.

You will recall that since Paul VI made this decision, the Pope reserves to himself the tranlation of sacramental forms.  Benedict XVI determined that a correct translation of pro multis must be included in all the vernacular versions and told Card. Arinze to write to that effect to all the Conferences of Bishops: the form had to be something like "for many", "for the many", "for the multitude" (French has "pour la multitude"), for example.

WDTPRS has four lengthy articles on the pro multis issue. I am happy to report that they played a role in the deliberations about what to do with pro multis.  Also, in my recent PODCAzT I included an an answer to a question put to me in voicemail about this controversial point.  

That said, I observe that the news report said "for many". 

While I am glad that we will have a more accurate translation, I think that the better form would be the more precise "for the many", rather than the less precise "for many".

First, "the many" seems, to my ears, larger.

Second, "the many" sets it off as a group.

Third, "the many" has more of an eschatological direction to it, making the group sound like the body of the Chosen before the throne of God in heaven.

Either way will be an improvement.

However, I will continue gently to lobby in a happy sort of way until the Missal is ready for publication.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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86 Responses to Holy See: Recognitio of the Ordinary of Mass – Fr. Z reacts

  1. Antiquarian says:

    Father, I completely agree with your preference for “the many.” So gently and happily lobby away! (And yes, even “for many” is a big improvement.)

  2. Charles Goldsmith says:

    I think the USCCB press release was just highlighting changes affecting words spoken by the congregation, so I don’t think there was necessarily any devious intent in not mentioning the changes to the words of consecration. [Yah…. right.]

  3. Fr Gregoire Fluet says:

    In a sense I wish, and this is an impossible wish, but who could have imagined Summorum Pontificum but a few years ago, that as an option, we could use the old offertory prayers in the Ordinary Form (multiple Eucharistic Prayers, why not two forms of the Offertory?) That translation could then be included in the new vernacular Missal. Apparently, Cardinal Medina Estevez was quite ready to permit this, but it all ground to a halt, thanks, I am certain, in part to the ghost of Archbishop Bugnini and his faithful followers. This combined with the most important translation of “pro multis,” would be in the very least a powerful witness to continuity.

  4. Johannes says:

    I agree with “the many.” Just the dry “many” makes it sound like 23 or 25 people will be saved.

  5. Tobias says:

    How would one figure out whether “pro multis” means “for many” or “for the many\”? If
    it meant \”the many,\” wouldn\’t \”pro multitudine\” be expected? \”The many\” is
    more precise only if that is what \”pro multis\” actually means here, which
    isn\’t clear to me. [What is clear is that the Latin says pro multis and not pro multitudine.]

  6. “How would one figure out whether “pro multis” means “for many” or “for the many”?”

    In the original context (that is, the event of the Last Supper itself), the term “many” was understood to be infinite; that is, a “many” without end. Therefore, while “the many” would not be as literal a translation, it would be a faithful one. And while “for all” would be a faithful one (as the Holy See maintained at the time, through its clarifications in the journal Notitiae, and elsewhere), it would not be quite as literal. With the arguments that the good Father has presented to us, the sacred liturgy is its own reliable source, and need not mimic the Scriptures. That, and given the underlying criterion of fidelity to the original Latin text, more than justifies a literal translation.

  7. Hidden One says:

    “I am happy to report that they played a role in the deliberations about what to do with pro multis.”

    Oy!

  8. Hidden One says:

    [Or, rather, a similar exclamation with a positive meaning. I need mroe sleep.]

  9. Tobias says:

    “What is clear is that the Latin says pro multis and not pro multitudine”

    Thank you, Fr. I am aware that the Latin says “pro multis” and not “pro
    multitudine.” If it is a matter of precision, “multus” is itself imprecise
    as to number and extent. That is why I see no reason to prefer “for the many”
    to “for many”; “the many” is precise in a way that “multus” is not.

    David L. Alexander:

    Everything you say is true, but it does not address my question. I did not
    say that “the many” was wrong, I simply asked why there would be a preference.
    Fr. Z. has given several reasons, but I think that the precision he prefers would
    be justified only if the Latin used a similarly precise term like “multitudine”
    instead of the imprecise “multis.”

  10. Tobias says:

    Clarification: I meant that “multis” *could* mean either “many” or “the
    many,” but I cannot discern a reason for preferring one reading over the
    other on the grounds of “precision.”

  11. Jordanes says:

    David L. Alexander said: And while “for all” would be a faithful one (as the Holy See maintained at the time, through its clarifications in the journal Notitiae, and elsewhere), it would not be quite as literal.

    Rather, it wouldn’t be literal at all, and translations that are more literal are always to be preferred over “dynamic equivalence,” which is not translation at all, but substitution of an interpretation (whether correct or incorrect) for what the original actually says.

  12. The other David says:

    I too have thought the “pro multis” was best rendered as “for the many,” simply to avoid a Calvinistic understanding of Double Predestination where some were saved, others were damned and it was entirely impossible to repent from what that decision was

  13. FrGregACCA says:

    Greek (NT)= “hoi polloi” = “the many”.

    Latin, however, does not have articles, definite or indefinite. English, however, does, so “the many” should be the preferred English translation.

    However, if the Words of Institution/Consecration are pronounced in Latin (why not Aramaic?) then the whole issue is farily moot.

  14. Brian C. says:

    Okay… someone with a copy of the “approved common parts”: the reports indicate that the Credo was part of this selection given the recognitio, right? So… can someone please tell me if the “approved” Credo has the word “men” stripped from the “for us [men] and for our salvation”, or not? I know it might seem minor to those who are intent on “pro multus”, but isn’t the Credo (and a lack of feminist encroachment) rather important, too?

    In Christ,
    Brian

  15. Another Tom says:

    Does the recognitio apply to the American “variations” of the ICEL translation?

    The most egregious of them was continuing to render “consubstantialem” in the Nicene Creed as “one in being” rather the literal “consubstantial” in the ICEL translation.

  16. This is wonderful news! The “pro multis” issue was one of the biggest reservations I had with the Novus Ordo Mass. Thanks be to God!

  17. Brian C. says:

    Whoops… typo: “pro multUs” should be “pro multIs”, of course…. sorry!

    Anyway… the Credo, pleasepleaseplease…?

    In Christ,
    Brian

  18. Of course, if we’d just do the Novus Ordo in Latin, this really wouldn’t be as big a deal. The transition from one “translation” to the new would be rather seamless. :)

    Like they say: It’s always better in Latin. LOL

  19. Cory says:

    What could be done is to, for the time being, just have the words of consecration in Latin. After priests and the laity have time to absorb and understand what is said, then Latin can be substituted for the vernacular for more of the Eucharistic Prayer. Hopefully we can have a N.O. that is 50% vernacular and 50% Latin.

  20. I personally still have a bit of a promlem with the “Sanctus”.

    It seems we will now have “Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of hosts.”

    While that is better than “God of power and might”, and the once proposed “is” has been left out, the concept is still lost on these translators. This first phrase is a double exclamation, using two separate phrases common in the Hebrew: 1) the “Thrice Holy” – “Holy! Holy! Holy!” if you must include puncutuation; and 2) “LORD-GOD of Sabaoth”. I understand that Latin did not originally have any punctuation, but that we have added it through the centruies. Now, to leave out the third comma simply makes all of the “Holy”s modifiers of “Lord God…”. Maybe this distiction is not all that important when this is spoken. But when musicians get ahold of it, as they did after Vat. II, ALL of those punctuations become a roadmap for the rhythm of their melodies.

    So now, not only have we still lost the use of one of 4 Hebrew words in our Liturgy, (that leaves “Amen”, Alleluia”, and “Hosanna” by my count) we have also continued to stray from 2 significant Hebrew exclamations, and in a liturgical text that is admitted to be from Hebrew tradition!

  21. Matt Q says:

    Overall, things sound great, BUT… BUT… no timeline is involved and so nothing will happen. Arinse says this gives time for the whatnots to prepare. How do you prepare without a timeline? “Yeah, yeah. We’ll get around to it.” Remember, no timeline, no onus to get anything done. Parishes already are resisting the Tridentine Mass. Tell them to tighten up their version of the Novus Ordo, we’ll see how quickly and smoothly this new translation comes around.

    Perhaps this is of the moment, and that later we’ll know more… like the Clarifications to Summorum Pontificum.

  22. Charles Goldsmith says:

    The USCCB press release specifically states “The more significant changes of the people’s parts are:…” So they are obviously only talking about the “people’s” parts. Since the USCCB’s purpose is to begin to educate the laity about the new translations, it seems to me that they just thought that the “people’s” parts were the most noteworthy in a brief summary since that is where the people will be asked to change their behavior at mass. At worst, the omission of any mention of the pro multis change in the press release simply means that they don’t want to highlight a change (i.e., the pro multis translation) at this point that some will consider controversial. The news release doesn’t say that the bishops are not going to allow “pro multis” to be translated as “for many” or “for the many”. While it is true that there has been much perfidy among the Trautmanite bishops in stalling the new translation in the name of “Joe and Mary Catholic”, as seen in the recent bishops’ conference, it seems somewhat less than charitable to blame USCCB for a mere press release that says nothing inaccurate and in and of itself does not hold up the translation process.

  23. Monica says:

    This is an interesting article in our local paper this weekend. One year after the Motu Proprio and the Diocese of Richmond, VA has not added any new Masses in the Extraordinary Form. You would think a tourist destination like Virginia Beach would have a least one parish to offer this for visitors to our area.

    http://hamptonroads.com/2008/07/chesapeake-chapel-rare-saying-latin-mass

  24. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Re: many v. the many

    Perhaps we need to think about the meaning of the preposition “pro” a little more closely. Certainly, it can mean “on behalf of”. It can also mean “in exchange for/in compensation for.” The question that we should be asking is perhaps not why Christ said “many” and not “all” or whether “the many” is intended rather than simply “many,” but rather focus on that Christ’s blood was not being poured out to compensate/atone for ONE person–himelf and his alleged crime–but for many people and their/our sinfulness. Normally the criminal executed dies for the crimes of one person–himself. We see this use of “pro” in other parts of the N.T., though there the object of “pro” is usually sin(s) (peccato/peccatis) rather than people, especially in the Letter to the Hebrews, though also at Romans 8:3 and 1 Peter 3:18 (the Greek preposition in all these passages is “peri”). If the implied contrast is between “one” and “many”, “many” seems less problematic. Just a thought.

  25. Deo volente says:

    Father Zuhlsdorf,

    I have been praying for this change since you brought it up in the Wanderer, the paper copy, some time back. It is a key part of the consecration formula. I thank you for pointing this out to many of us who didn’t see the enormity of the “loose” translation and how it changed a key phrase. I am grateful for your service to the Church in getting this out to the masses. Until you clarify these issue, they seem to remain “unsettled.”

    Ad multos annos!
    D.v.

  26. John says:

    “Does the recognitio apply to the American “variations” of the ICEL translation?”

    I asked a reliable source on this, and he responded, “The
    Vatican and Vox Clara looked at all the proposed amendments by the US
    conference and the other conferences and recommended on their acceptance
    or not. Only the Vatican knows what the final product is.”

    Nothing particularly new, but it lets us know where things stand.

  27. dark_coven says:

    Next stop! Ad Orientem…

  28. Nick says:

    Checked with a local Eastern Rite (in communion with Rome) they use …”for you and for many” in their English translation… [Of course they do!]

    Let’s stay in conformity to our Eastern brothers in Christ, huh? Besides saying that the word changes were necessary to conform to with the wider church would give the bishops a lot of cover — otherwise we are likely to hear a bunch of “forced upon us by a power-mad Pope-throw-back who does not, and who cares not for the (sensitive) pastorial needs of our faith community here at St. Gutless…etc”

  29. Hiberniensis says:

    I too think “for the many” would be better than “for many”. I agree that it sounds ‘larger’. But the fact that the Greek says “the many” is what seals it for me. Fair enough, we’re translating the Latin, not the Greek. But I think it’s safe to assume that the Latin (which is itself a translation of the Greek) would have had the equivalent of “the many” if only Latin had had a definite article. I would imagine “for the many” would also be more acceptable to those who are currently inordinately attached to “for all”.

  30. mpm says:

    “Let’s stay in conformity to our Eastern brothers in Christ, huh?”

    Sounds like a great idea! As to “staying” with them, where have we
    been in the last forty years? ;>

  31. Warren says:

    “For many”, to my ears, better echoes Scripture than “for the many”, and leaves the decision with the Lord, as in “many are called, but few are chosen” (St. Mt. 22:14). “For the many” sounds incomplete, as in “for the many…(who call themselves christian?)”.

    “For” sounds tidier than “for the”. Q. Does the insertion of the article “the” tend to isolate the phrase from the rest of the statement “so that sins MAY be forgiven”? “Many” and “may” go together well, given the reference to St. Mt. 22.

    Perhaps we should make this discussion the basis another “sola” debate? – Many alone? :-)

  32. Larry says:

    At least we now have the most important part of the Missal approved. Of course there is a lont way to go, but this is a significant step. It is interesting the our bishops (US) asked to have the recognitio for each part rather than opting to wait for the whole Missal to be approved at one time. As to time lines we do have a general idea. The final parts won’t be ready for the bishops vote until Nov. 2010, so it is possible that if that time line holds then it is possible for Rome to act sometime in 2011. W in L says perhaps advent 2011. This gives time for musicians to get their act together better than in the riotous days following the Council. This is surely worthy of a few novenas!

    Here a thought; perhaps by then Bishop Troutman and his buddies may have learned enough Latin that they will be celebrating the EF and won’t care anymore about the OF. I mean, the Berlin Wall fell in record time why not hope?

  33. Annibale says:

    At the rate this is going, I’ll be reaching retirement with the current Sacramentary. I won’t have to be part of the supreme waste of time fixing that which is not broken. I won’t have to watch my parishioners suffer through another round of “liturgical catechesis” as we one again change the liturgical fashion.

    Haven’t they figured out that they are ENCOURAGING extemporaneous textual changes? If they were smart, they’d come up with a translation that everyone can live with. We’re just going to have a new round of on-the-fly textual changes by presiders who are not qualified to make them. What a train wreck! As I said, I (and most of these bloggers) be wearing Depends by the time the current Sacramentary is replaced.

  34. “Rather, it wouldn’t be literal at all, and translations that are more literal are always to be preferred…”

    On the assumption that the original meaning is preserved, which is usually is. The issue in defending “for all” was its fidelity not so much to the Latin, as to what Christ himself would have said, consistency with Scripture, and the overall teaching of the Church (which says that Christ died for all, not just some). This emphasis was, of course, eschewed in the end, for the reasons upon which Father Z has elaborated. My point (and I do have one) is that such comprised the official defense until now. At least the one they published, the one that I read.

    But anyway, the Church has spoken. It’s going to be rendered “for many.” I gather that should be to most people’s satisfaction in this forum.

  35. CK says:

    The logical question to follow “many” is… many what, many who? But when you state “the” many you tend to react with “oh THOSE many” as if the conscience and the heart react naturally to the necessary distinction.

  36. David Kastel says:

    “Pro Multis” has been a part of the Catholic Mass since the beginning. In traditional hand missals, and in every English translation I have ever seen of the Bible, this “pro multis” is translated “for many.” The English langauage has been around for 1,500 years, has this phrase, in this context, ever been translated “for ‘the’ many”?

    The definite article doesn’t make any sense in a phrase structured like this anyway, unless it is used in both parts of the phrase…i.e. – for “the” you and for “the” many…”for you and for the many”…either way it sounds stupid. See, you can say “for one and for all”, but you can’t say “for ‘the’ one and for all. Or you can say “for ‘the’ one and for ‘the’ many” but you can’t say “for one and for ‘the’ many.” And if you say “for ‘the’ one and for ‘the’ many, you really are implying “ALL” so there really would be no change in meaning.

    How the French have translated this is irrelevant. Does not ‘the’ French language employ the definite article more than ‘the’ English language does?

  37. andrew says:

    So, I’m a bit confused as to what the Vatican Recognition actually means to the average parishoner… Does it mean, effectively, that the Vatican has overturned the USCCB’s ‘nay’ vote on the usage of this translation of the ordinary, or does it simpy mean the translation has gotten the official stamp of approval. The latter possibility doesn’t make much sense to me, because why would the USCCB vote on whether or not to use something that wasn’t yet approved. And if it were the former possibility, i would have expected to see some more joyful coverage in the blogosphere. Which is it?

    Thanks!

  38. John says:

    Andrew,

    The USCCB did not vote “nay” on this translation of the Ordinary. They voted “nay” on the translation of the Proper of Seasons. Rather than translating the entire Roman Missal in one go, they have broken it up and are doing it part by part. The USCCB gave its approval to this Ordinary in 2006, and the Vatican has now given its approval as well.

    The USCCB would vote to use something before it was approved by the Vatican because in theory, it is the bishop’s conferences who render the translations for their local Churches, because in theory, it is they who know the language and customs of the people. They then get the Vatican’s approval on their translation.

    However, politics and committees and ideologies get involved and things just get messed up.

  39. Kenneth J. Hendrickson says:

    I am a convert to Catholicism. Furthermore, when I converted, I chose the Byzantine Rite. I chose it partly because I could not stomach the horribly bad translation “for all” in the prayer for the consecration of the chalice/blood, which existed in the Latin Rite Novus Ordo.

    Formerly, I was a high-church Anglo-Catholic Anglican. But I was not merely an Anglo-Catholic Anglican; I was a convert to Anglo-Catholic Anglicanism from the “Reformed Faith”. I was previously a Calvinist. I believed in the heresy of double predestination for a time. (For this discussion, it is more important that I believed in the predestination of the elect, than that I also believed in the heresy of the predestination of the damned. I no longer believe that certain men are predestined to damnation.) I believed what I believed, because it was the best possible and most complete explanation of scripture which I had been exposed to so far. (To my great shame, I have still not read much of St. Thomas Aquinas; I have only read snippets of Thomas on theological issues with which I was concerned. But all of the *Eastern* Fathers which I have read have taught me the Catholic Faith, in all of its *Mystery*.)

    Protestants, and all people in general, really *do* seek Truth. As a Protestant, I was seeking Truth. I clung to Truth whereever I could find it. And for that reason, I necessarily clung to the Truth that Christ’s Atonement was efficacious for “the many”. (Mt 20:28, Mt 22:14, Mt 26:28, Mark 10:45, Mark 14:24).

    It is true that the Bible is not the *only* source of authority. As a Catholic, I fully agree. Sola Scriptura is illogical and internally inconsistent; therefore it must be false. But the Bible is *a* source of authority, and it must *never* be contradicted! The translation “for all” directly contradicts scripture; that alone makes that translation unacceptable.

    The translation of the Novus Ordo into English was completely unacceptable from my point of view. (I took Latin for 2 years in High School, and I studied it on my own after High School. Anybody who had presented that translation to my instructors would have *failed* the class!) If I had not been fortunate enough to have found the Byzantine Catholic Church, and their incredibly beautiful (and theologically correct) Divine Liturgy, I might not be Catholic today. I knew from my thinking on authority, and from the Gospel of Matthew chapter 16, that there had to be a supreme authority in the Church, and that that supreme authority had to be the successor of St. Peter. But, to be honest, the Novus Ordo liturgy, as I have seen it, was quite a bit less than the True and Full worship of God which is the birthright of the Christian Church. (I will not even mention the horrible prayer misleading the faithful into thinking that the True Mystery of Faith is that “Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again”, rather than the *Actual Event* which had just occurred on the Holy Altar.) It is clear to me that the Latin Rite followers of the Church have recently gone through a persecution, from within the Church, every bit as harsh and devastating as the Arian event in the 4th century.

    The recent actions of the Pope warm my heart incredibly!! It is very good to see the Latin Rite Catholics return to Truth and Goodness and *Life*!

    The recent actions of the bishops of my own (Byzantine Catholic) Church, however, give me pause. They recently changed our prayers. They took out the word “men” in “for us men, and for our salvation”, in the Creed. It appears that the bishops of my own Byzantine Catholic Church might now be infected with the feminism that has so sorely afflicted the womynpriestess pretenders. I pray that they have not become heterodox, and that my Rite will not be afflicted as the Latin Rite has been afflicted for the last 35 or so years.

    So far, I can fully accept our new version of the Creed as fully Orthodox, but I worry about how people who do not understand English grammar as well as I do, might take it. In English, unless the context forbids it, the masculine includes the feminine. So “For us men and for our salvation” means “for us humans, and for our salvation”. Women are included! It is *not* sexist. Indeed, to remove the word “men” *is* a sexist move, pandering to the feminists. I am praying fervently that the Byzantine Rite will not suffer the trials which the Latin Rite Catholics have had to suffer for the last few decades.

    Language matters!! Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi!! If you pray badly, you will start believing badly. If you pray heretically, you will soon start believing heretical things.

    It appears that the long persecution of Latin Rite Catholics from within the Church might be ending, with the recent actions of Pope Benedict XVI. God Bless him!! But perhaps, a persecution of the Eastern Rites might be beginning. I hope and pray it is not so.

    Lord Have Mercy!
    Kenneth J. Hendrickson

    PS If John Paul II is a saint, then Benedict XVI is even more so! If John Paul II is being called “John Paul the Great”, then Benedict XVI ought to be called “Benedict the Great” even more so. This is my opinion, of course, and not the declaration of the Church. But it is my fervent opinion.

  40. Annibale says:

    “However, politics and committees and ideologies get involved and things just get messed up.”

    Sweet understatement, John. I love it!

    Andrew, it gives you an idea how long this is taking; two years for a recognitio on just one part. I’ll have my cataracts removed by the time the new translation comes out!

  41. Mathilda says:

    While I rejoice at the coming new translations, I have to wonder when they finally do take effect, if the priests will conform or continue as many do now, NOT offering the Mass properly. Remember, there are still hundreds of parishes and churches all over America where many liturgical abuses continue to take place. I guess I’m just skeptical that if they, the priests who commit these abuses, can’t manage to do/say what they are supposed to when they offer the NO in it’s current form, what makes anyone think they will be faithful to these new translations? In the past 40 years Rome has failed miserably at enforcing these things, and continue to let bishops and priests get away with all kinds of liturgical abuses. I thank Jesus every moment for the TLM, and our wonderful and FAITHFUL FSSP priests.

  42. Deusdonat says:

    Kenneth – PS If John Paul II is a saint, then Benedict XVI is even more so! If John Paul II is being called “John Paul the Great”, then Benedict XVI ought to be called “Benedict the Great” even more so. This is my opinion, of course, and not the declaration of the Church. But it is my fervent opinion.

    We share this opinion. Although I would be the first to admit you are far more generous than I on the nomenclature of the predecessor of our current and blessed Pope Benedict (may God grant him 100 years).

  43. Qoheleth says:

    Actually, I agree with the bishops on this one. Using a definite article for the “pro multis” translation seems ungenerous, somehow. Almost Calvinistic, in fact: “It will be shed for you and for one specific, large group of people whom I have already decided upon.” “For many”, in contrast, sounds more like “for a vast multitude of people whom you do not know”, which was presumably what Jesus was getting at. (And, while I do not speak Greek, I have a sneaking suspicion that the evangelist’s use of “??” doesn’t really prove anything. English is a lot more nuanced about article use than most other languages; if the Gospels had been written in French, for instance, we wouldn’t insist on using “the” in every single place where the Evangelists used “le”, “la”, or “les”.)

  44. Annibale says:

    Seems we’ve gone far afield, but as with premature canonizations, why don’t we let a little bit of history unfold before we start heaping accolades on people, including “Greatest.”

  45. dcs says:

    Almost Calvinistic, in fact: “It will be shed for you and for one specific, large group of people whom I have already decided upon.”

    Since predestination is Catholic doctrine it is not Calvinistic at all.

  46. How is ‘calix’ being translated?

  47. EJ says:

    To the writer of the delicately worded cheap shot against Pope John Paul II above, I would just argue that he is “Great” in the hearts and minds of those of us who love him and keep his memory in high esteem, official desginations aside. He is “Great” in virtue of the gift which his life was to Holy Church, the opinions of ungrateful and disrespectful traditionalists aside. I would leave any official designation of that title to a Pope ofcourse. I am so bold as to assert that our present Pope now, who you rightfully call “blessed,” would probably not share your disdain for his predecessor at all – as he has spoken both of his affection for this great friend of his, and on the virtues and holiness evident throughout his life – beginning with the homily he offered at his funeral. And just who was the Pope who approved Liturgiam Authenticam, and ordered its publication?… hmm, I wonder…

  48. Wendy says:

    Qoheleth said:
    Almost Calvinistic, in fact: “It will be shed for you and for one specific, large group of people whom I have already decided upon.”

    dcs said:
    Since predestination is Catholic doctrine it is not Calvinistic at all.

    Perhaps I totally don’t get it, but I always thought of it as “the many” who choose. Some will not.

  49. Geoffrey says:

    EJ said: “I would just argue that he is “Great” in the hearts and minds of those of us who love him and keep his memory in high esteem, official desginations aside.”

    Well said, EJ! Remember that the title of “the Great” needs no official recognition. It comes from constant use. So let those who use it use it, and those who don’t don’t. Time will tell. Many are saying it, however, including Cardinal Pell of Sydney.

  50. Forrest says:

    The missal may change, but you can bet that the missalette used in many parishes will not change. Oregon Press brings us the hideous lounge music and their agenda will result in disobedience.

    Mark my words.

  51. David2 says:

    Kenneth J. Hendrickson, if JPII is “the Great”, Benedict must be “the Greaterest”!

  52. Annibale says:

    Forrest, matters of taste and fashion will always be subjective by definition. Clearly you have the right to like what you do and dislike what you do. OCP is used at our parish and it is well recieved. It is an appropriate choice for us. They’ve done a good job keeping up with the requirements they are given, including redoing their responsorial psalms to conform to the exact lectionary text. You are entitled to make the subjective observation that OCP is not to your taste, but your opinion does nothing to detract from the success of their product and its benefit to parish communities.

  53. David2 says:

    And another thing; why is it that this is sooooo hard to do? When the Holy Father said “change the prayer for the Jews” in the older Missal, we just did it. Like that. No fart-arsing around. No biggie, for 90% of us. On a few weeks’ notice, too.

    Forrest, you have missalettes in the NO in the US? Why on earth? We have ‘em for weddings and funerals and “special” Masses as a keep-sake. But your ordinary Sunday Mass – they say it in a gazillion languages anyway so – sorry, but you’d have to be retarded…or Bishop Troutperson…sorry to the retards out there for that comparison… [Bye for now! – Fr. Z]

  54. David2 says:

    “Forrest, matters of taste and fashion will always be subjective by definition…”

    And, to use some more Hebrew.. “Zivel ze zivel”. Crap is Crap.

  55. Deusdonat says:

    David – I’m assuming you’re Aussie. You may want to clean up the language and raise the bar in your comments. No disrespect, but remember the tone of this blog.

  56. To Kenneth J. Hendrickson,

    Sir, you have written one of the finest posts I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Thank you SO much and may God bless you and yours!

    BEST regards,

    Johnny Womack

  57. “It appears that the long persecution of Latin Rite Catholics from within the Church might be ending, with the recent actions of Pope Benedict XVI. God Bless him!! But perhaps, a persecution of the Eastern Rites might be beginning. I hope and pray it is not so…”

    Well, with the Slovak Catholic Church removing deacons’ doors wholesale from
    their iconostases, the Romanian Catholics of the Byzantine Rite adopting the “ad
    populum” stance and even removing the iconostasis in many churches, and with the
    move in parts of the Ukrainian Church to retain many “traditional” Latinizations….

  58. al says:

    “And just who was the Pope who approved Liturgiam Authenticam, and ordered its publication?”

    Hmmm. As you say, John Paul II approved it. But I also think it probably had rather a lot to do with one Joseph Ratzinger. In fact if I were a gambling man I’d be prepared to put money on the probability that this re-translation project would never have happened without him.

    I’d also like to make sure we remember the courageous witness of Cardinal Medina Estevez, who was the one to stand up to the ICEL bullies in the first place, way back in the nineties before Liturgiam Authenticam was published, when he was in the post now held by Cdl. Arinze. His letter rejecting ICEL’s first attempt at revision of the missal (or in their words the ‘Sacramentary’) was a scorcher and (along with LA) a turning-point in the liturgical renewal.

    The letter is well worth reading – especially for anyone who needs a kind of reality check or a reminder of how bad things used to be!

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/721266/posts

  59. Kenneth J. Hendrickson says:

    In my previous comments, I do not mean to say anything negative about Pope John Paul II. I am only saying something positive about Pope Benedict XVI.

    Kenneth J. Hendrickson

  60. BobP says:

    >However, if the Words of Institution/Consecration are pronounced in Latin (why not Aramaic?) then the whole issue is farily moot.<

    Good suggestions. Does anyone know what the Aramaic words are?

  61. RBrown says:

    Haven’t they figured out that they are ENCOURAGING extemporaneous textual changes? If they were smart, they’d come up with a translation that everyone can live with. We’re just going to have a new round of on-the-fly textual changes by presiders who are not qualified to make them. What a train wreck! As I said, I (and most of these bloggers) be wearing Depends by the time the current Sacramentary is replaced.
    Comment by Annibale

    The only way to discourage extemporaneous textual changes is to remove the picnic table from the sanctuary and celebrate the Eucharist ad orientem. As long as it’s celebrated versus populum, priests will have the tendency to play to the audience.

  62. RBrown says:

    Forrest, matters of taste and fashion will always be subjective by definition. Clearly you have the right to like what you do and dislike what you do. OCP is used at our parish and it is well recieved. It is an appropriate choice for us. They’ve done a good job keeping up with the requirements they are given, including redoing their responsorial psalms to conform to the exact lectionary text. You are entitled to make the subjective observation that OCP is not to your taste, but your opinion does nothing to detract from the success of their product and its benefit to parish communities.
    Comment by Annibale

    What do you mean by “success of their product”? Are you referring to sales figures?

  63. RBrown says:

    Good suggestions. Does anyone know what the Aramaic words are?
    Comment by BobP

    And does anyone know that they were spoken in Aramaic? In so far as this was a Jewish feast, it seems more likely they were spoken in Hebrew.

  64. RBrown is correct. As ritual meal the prayers of the Last Supper were in Hebrew. It is unlikely that Our Lord ever attended a “vernacular litrugy” in his life. As Jews, the Apostles would have continued praying in Hebrew, not in the vernacular Aramaic. Greek probably first appeared with the conversion of diaspora Jews, who had no Hebrew and used the Greek version of the Scriptures.

  65. Jim Dorchak says:

    who cares about the translation?

    “Let them hold hands” (My take on let them eat cake)

    I go to the EF Mass and the translation is, (to quote the reverend Jaaacccckson) moot.

    When ever the UCCCCCCCCCCCCCB meets all I hear (from them) is a loud flushing noise.

    I wonder how they voted on the really important things like; “Farm Subsidies for Illegal Transvestite, Homosexual, indigenious peoples (of color, tho I know not which one), Farmers with less than one child, living in San Diego, with their partner who they married in the Local Catholic Church, with their Bishop officiating?

    No there is an issue where they can help make a difference.

    Jim Dorchak

  66. TJM says:

    Friends, I had an interesting first experience last evening. I went to an all English Mass celebrated Ad Orientem. Funny, but for the first time, I actually heard the words, rather than focusing on the “persona” of the priest, i.e. manner and delivery. It was truly far superior to an English Mass celebrated versus populum. Tom

  67. Little Black Sambo says:

    “For the many, not the few” – immortal words of Tony Blair. So let’s stick to “for many”, which is in any case familiar from St Matthew’s & St Mark’s Gospels in the classical English translations.

  68. FrGregACCA says:

    Churches of the Syriac tradition (including those in communion with Rome: the Maronites for example), have received by tradition that the words were originally said by our Lord in Aramaic and continue to repeat them in same, regardless of the language in which the liturgy as a whole is being celebrated. At the time, Judaism used Hebrew primarily in the Temple and Synagogue. The Last Supper, whether a Passover meal or not, was part of the “home” worship cycle. Now, while it is possible that the rest of the Last Supper seder (using this word, again, does not beg the question of Passover meal, although I am pretty convinced that it was), was said in Hebrew, the Words of Institution were, in the case of the bread, either an interpolation or, if it were a Passover meal, a modification of the words of the Seder, changing “This is the bread of affliction” to “This is my body.” The words over the cup were, in either case, definitely an interpolation and therefore, even if the rest were in Hebrew, it is entirely reasonable that the Words of our Lord over the bread and chalice were in Aramaic. The short form, as used in my Church, is transliterated as follows:

    Over the bread: “Sabu, akolu, hanau paghri.” “Take, eat, this is my body”.

    Over the cup: “Sabu, eshthu meneh kolkhon, hanau demi”. Take, drink it all of you, this is my blood.”

    For clarity, the words are also recited in the vernacular, using a longer form: “…this is my blood, which is shed for you and for the many, poured out for the remission of sins and unto everlasting life.”

  69. steve says:

    Fr. Greg and Hibirniensis,

    Are you sure that the Greek uses the definite article? I just checked Mt. 26, and the Greek for “pro multis” is “peri pollon,” not “peri ton pollon.” So, even though articles in Greek are used somewhat differently than in English, “for many” in general would seem to be a better translation.

    I don’t know any Aramaic or Hebrew, so I can’t form any opinion as to that aspect of that question.

  70. FrGregACCA says:

    Steve:

    Oops.

    You are correct. I stand corrected. I should have checked the texts before I commented. My memory obviously isn’t what it used to be.

  71. With all respect for “traditions” about what was done in the first century, I do not find them, by themselves, convincing.

    For what languages were used in Jewish prayer in the home outside the temple, see E. P. Sanders, _Judaism: Practice and Belief 63 B.C.E. – 66 C.E._ (Trinity Internation, 1992).

  72. RBrown says:

    The Last Supper, whether a Passover meal or not, was part of the “home” worship cycle. Now, while it is possible that the rest of the Last Supper seder (using this word, again, does not beg the question of Passover meal, although I am pretty convinced that it was), was said in Hebrew, the Words of Institution were, in the case of the bread, either an interpolation or, if it were a Passover meal, a modification of the words of the Seder, changing “This is the bread of affliction” to “This is my body.” The words over the cup were, in either case, definitely an interpolation and therefore, even if the rest were in Hebrew, it is entirely reasonable that the Words of our Lord over the bread and chalice were in Aramaic.

    You seem to be saying that it is reasonable that the words were in Aramaic because Christ didn’t know Hebrew.

  73. Deusdonat says:

    Fr. Augustine Thompson – as Fr Greg states, it is tradition within the Syriac church that the words were handed down in Aramaic. This could mean they were said at the actual supper in Hebrew and translated into Aramaic for the less educated (it is said Hebrew was as prevalent to the 1st century Jews as it is among, say American Reform Jews).

    The point is, none of us know for sure. It’s best not to pretend we do.

  74. Annibale says:

    And yet the Anaphora of Addai and Mari – the validity of which is not in dispute and has quite recently been affirmed during the previous papacy – has no words of institution whatsoever; thus the argument of which language was used specifically during the meal blessings at the historic Last Supper is moot.

  75. FrGregACCA says:

    No, RBrown, not at all. His disciples, however, were probably not all that fluent in Hebrew, especially when it came to digesting new concepts, such as what Our Lord was presenting them with in his words instituting the Eucharist.

  76. Deusdonat says:

    FRGREG – that is what I have learned as well. Outside of the standard Seder prayers (which incidentally were different back then from what they are now), the average 1st century Jew would not know, let alone recognise any free-form Hebrew. Thus, while Our Lord may have said it in Hebrew for legitimacy, it would have been most likely translated either “on-the-spot” or shortly thereafter for those who did not understand it (which was probably most of them).

    People seem to forget in these discussions that there was a distinct reason the epistles and gospels were written Greek. Hebrew was a religious/liturgical language, but Armaic was a “bastard” language which was not given much weight or respect at the time (definiteluy not by any Jews living outside Judea). Meanwhle, both Greek and Latin had centuries of literature and form, as well as international reach.

  77. Ioannes says:

    The words of consecration in the Maronite and Syriac liturgy are not in Palestinian Aramaic but in Syriac, the dialect of Aramaic used in the vicinity of Edessa, now in Turkey. The words of consecration come from the Peshitta, which is a Syriac translation of the original Greek text. Although there is a claim that the words of consecration come via oral tradition and not scripture, the fact that Syriac Aramaic differs from Palestinian makes this not entirely convincing; the words cited above are from the Syriac Peshitta verbatim. The dialects are different enough that my one year of Syriac helps me stumble through St. Ephrem, but Palestinian Aramaic is rather opaque. In any case, the word at issue is saggiya, which my Syriac lexicon translates simply as “many”.

    Am not so sure about what language these words would have been in originally–Aramaic or Hebrew. Even in the New Testament the writers sometimes called unmistakably Aramaic words Hebrew, so my hunch is that the difference wasn’t so important for them. What is clear is that the Greek version is the earliest recoverable account of Christ’s utterance upon which others are based.

  78. Ioannes Andreades says:

    BTW, the above comment is mine (forgot the Andreades).

    One thing to keep in mind was that the Seder “script” was written a long time after Christ’s death. We have no evidence that there were set prayers for the Seder at Christ’s time. There is evidence that there were commonly said psalms at the end, assuredly in Hebrew. I don’t expect the Temple had to rule over the Galilean Synagogue Association’s submitted Aramaic translation of the Psalms. Green scroll, gray scroll, oy vey!

  79. Deusdonat says:

    We have no evidence that there were set prayers for the Seder at Christ’s time.

    I believe we are saying the same thing; that the Seder “prayers” were different than the ones we have now. In the time of Our Lord they were most likely recitations from the Torah on the Exodus Story followed by Psalms (once again, most likely in Hebrew).

    I appreciate your summary of Palestinian vs Syriac Aramaic. What is your thoughts on Assyrian Aramaic (liturgical or otherwise)?

  80. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Deusdonat,

    The principal difference I’ve had to deal with is orthographic, as western and eastern (like Chaldean/Assyrian) developed moderately divergent cursive alphabets, and the eastern vowel system is more conservative. All Syriac-using groups frequently use the earliest Syriac alphabet (Estrangelo), which readily avoids vowel marks, so even the minor differences between western and eastern aren’t apparent. Any additional differences are unknown to me, and I have no experience with liturgical Syriac in the east.

    Also, although the Assyrians and Chaldeans claim Assyrian lineage rather than Arabic, the Syriac that these eastern groups use is not a daughter-language of the Assyrian used back in the 7th and 8th centuries B.C. and earlier. This Assryrian is a Northeast Semitic language, whereas Hebrew, Ugaritic, and the dialects of Aramaic are Northwest Semitic.

    Sorry that this has only tangential relevance at best to the original topic, though I will throw in that there are different words in Syriac for all and many.

  81. RBrown says:

    And yet the Anaphora of Addai and Mari – the validity of which is not in dispute and has quite recently been affirmed during the previous papacy – has no words of institution whatsoever;

    The Vatican document says otherwise.

    So the words of the Institution are not absent in the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, but explicitly mentioned in a dispersed way, from the beginning to the end, in the most important passages of the Anaphora. It is also clear that the passages cited above express the full conviction of commemorating the Lord’s paschal mystery, in the strong sense of making it present; that is, the intention to carry out in practice precisely what Christ established by his words and actions in instituting the Eucharist.

    thus the argument of which language was used specifically during the meal blessings at the historic Last Supper is moot.
    Comment by Annibale

    The matter at hand is not which language was used but rather whether it was the vernacular (Aramaic) or the more formal Hebrew.

  82. Jordanes says:

    Deusdonat said: It is said Hebrew was as prevalent to the 1st century Jews as it is among, say American Reform Jews.

    That has been, and I think still is, the general consensus, but I think more recently that consensus is being challenged. I’ve come across the argument that, based on the large number of non-biblical, non-liturgical Hebrew-language texts found at Qumran and Masada, that Hebrew probably wasn’t quite as unknown to first century A.D. Jews as has commonly been thought. It’s a difficult question to answer, because undoubtedly the Bible at least sometimes uses “Hebrew” to refer to “the, or a, language spoken by Hebrews,” i.e. Aramaic. But I would suppose that Jesus could have spoken Hebrew at the Last Supper and been understood by the apostles.

  83. Deusdonat says:

    But I would suppose that Jesus could have spoken Hebrew at the Last Supper and been understood by the apostles.

    You can suppose all you like. And I’ll repeat my previous comment: The point is, none of us know for sure. It’s best not to pretend we do.

  84. Jordanes says:

    Deusdonat said: You can suppose all you like. And I’ll repeat my previous comment: The point is, none of us know for sure. It’s best not to pretend we do.

    Okay, so you agree with me that it is inadvisable to assert that Jesus certainly spoke Aramaic at the Last Supper. Of course none of us knows for sure. We’re talking about interpreting the limited historical evidence available, so we can only speak of probabilities. Somebody offering a proposal with the words “I suppose” is obviously not pretending to know for sure.

  85. Couldn't Resist says:

    “However, I will continue gently to lobby in a happy sort of way until the Missal is ready for publication.”

    When lobbied, St. Anthony has frequently helped with lost articles.

  86. Michael says:

    In the original context (that is, the event of the Last Supper itself), the term “many” was understood to be infinite; that is, a “many” without end.

    From Adam and Eve to the Last Judgment, multitudes of people will have lived, but not an infinite number. It is doubtful our Lord was trying to say He was shedding His Blood for “infinitely many”.