Priest, publisher, calls “pro multis… for many” heretical

On the site of UCANEWS.com Fr. William Grimm (Tokyo-based publisher of UCA News, former editor-in-chief of “Katorikku Shimbun,” Japan’s Catholic weekly) opines about the new, corrected English translation.

My emphases and comments.

Small word, big problem

Published Date: September 10, 2010
By William Grimm

People who have studied English as a second language tell me that three of the biggest challenges they encounter are pronouns, prepositions and articles.

Articles (a, an, the) are the most difficult. Which one to use or even whether to use one or not causes them anguish. The use or non-use of such a short word can make a huge difference in the meaning of a phrase or sentence.

One example of the problem can be found in the translation of the Mass that Rome has recently declared must be used for celebrations in English[The writer makes a good point.  Rome made this decision.  That's it.]

That is relevant to the Church in Asia because in large parts of the continent, English is often used in worship. In South Asia and other parts of the former British Empire as well as in the Philippines, English remains a living language[I suspect this "living language" point is important to Grimm, much as it is for Bp. Trautman.  In that camp, the translation of Mass should be changing to match language trends.  The norms used to correct the translation state that we need a sacred style, which means that it must not be constantly shifting.]

In just about every country of Asia, overseas workers from the Philippines worship in English. English is also the language of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, [1] the FABC. [Perhaps they should have Latin.  That would solve a lot of problems.  Why would it be so hard for people who congregations in which there are so many languages to read the other side of the page.]

The new translation has been criticized on many points. In an attempt to follow as closely as possible a Latin original, the English is stilted, verbose and at times nonsensical because of poor grammar. [I suspect he is simply parroting what he picked up from the other wagons he has been following on the trail.]

The whole process of its development has been marked by secrecy and by spinelessness [?] on the part of most of the world’s English-speaking bishops who acquiesced in the destruction by non-English speakers of generally acclaimed new translations prepared a decade or more ago. [It was not generally acclaimed.  First, no one except a few insiders knew about it.  Second, Rome didn't acclaim it.  Rome shelved it.  Not long after, Rome restructured ICEL.]

Tens of thousands of Catholics have signed a petition asking that the new translation not be imposed until after a period of trial to see if it “works.” Of course, the petition has been ignored by the bishops and curia. [Of course.  The decision has been made.]

An ancient principle of theology is “lex orandi, lex credendi.” The way we pray is the way we believe. [Not quite.  There is a reciprocal relationship.] If our prayer is not in accord with the faith of the Church, it will lead people away from that faith.  [Closer.  Yes.  And the fact is the older, incorrect ICEL translation has done just that.  The corrected translation will slowly provide a corrective to the distortions we have experienced for decades.]

[This is where the write postively goes to the ZOO.  Get this...] The worst problem of the new translation is that it will, in fact, bring heresy into the Mass, and all because of an article[Fr. Grimm say the new, corrected translation is... heretical.]

Currently, the words over the cup during the Eucharistic Prayer speak of the Lord’s blood being spilled “for you and for all.” That translates the idea of the probable Aramaic words of Jesus and the Catholic faith that God’s will is that all be saved. The Latin text reads, “pro multis,” which also implies all-inclusiveness.  [First, we don't know the words in Aramaic spoken by the Lord, or if he used Aramaic.  The writer is apparently unaware of how thin Joachim Jeremias's argument was.  Second, if God willed that all be saved, then all will be saved.  God has a prescriptive will and a permissive will.]

Ever since the currently-used English translation appeared, some people have objected to its inclusiveness. I have run across those who object precisely because they neither believe nor want God to desire the salvation of all[I think that isn't true.  I suspect he made that up.]

When the new translation was being prepared, it was decided by someone [by the name of Pope Benedict XVI] that the word “multis” must be rendered literally as either “many” or “the many.” [Only the Roman Pontiff approves the translations of forms of sacraments.  How poorly informed is this fellow?]

There are two possibilities because Latin does not have articles.

The secrecy of the whole process precludes knowing who made decisions or what their qualifications to do so are, but apparently because Latin does not use articles, the English translation will not do so, either.

Good Latin but heretical English will have priests proclaiming that Christ shed his blood “for you and for many.”

The problem arises from omitting that three-letter word, “the.”

In English, “many” without the article is an indeterminate word. It can mean a handful, a few dozen, a few thousand. It never means, however, the majority, let alone everyone[I actually agree.  I argued on this blog that the translation should be "for the many".  But I argued that "the many" could indicate a vast number, even nearly all, but leaving open the probability that not every soul who ever lived was actually saved.]

On the other hand, “the many” can mean everyone. In order to be slavishly faithful to Latin grammar, Rome is telling us that we must pray heresy, saying in effect that Jesus shed his blood for quite a few, but certainly not all. [This is embarrassing.  The Church says clearly that Christ shed His Blood for all.  The Church clearly teaches that not all will in fact be saved.  The Church believes that many, not all will actually be saved.  I hope that Fr. Grimm simply doesn't understand what he is talking about.  He has accused the Church of heresy?]

That presents priests with a dilemma. We can obey men who obviously do not know what they want us to talk about or we can continue to proclaim the actual faith of the Church. [Again, the decision about the consecration form was made by the Vicar of Christ.  Fr. Grimm is suggesting that people defy the POPE in the matter of the valid form for the consecration of the Precious Blood.  Who. Does. He. Think. He. Is?]

I have talked with priests about this and find that many (the many?) say that fidelity to the faith of the Church and their mission to proclaim God’s love will force them to disobedience [Get that?  Force them to disobedience.  Remember when I said that it was only a matter of time before certain figures began to urge disobedience?] to the liturgical rule [not just liturgical] of that same Church.

None are happy about that, not least because it might result in their suffering at the hands of their bishops[Well... well... the shoe is on the other foot, isn't.  How many conservative priests who tried to be obedient to the Church and to the regula Fidei suffered at the hands of their liberal bishops?  Where was Fr. Grimm then?]

There is, however, reason for these priests to take heart. Though he certainly did not intend it, Pope Benedict has shown the way to go. [He showed you the way to go with giving us a correct form of consecration, too.]

In his apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum [THIS should be interesting...] broadening the use of the 1962 Latin Mass he says, “in some regions, no small numbers of faithful adhered and continue to adhere with great love and affection to the earlier liturgical forms” and goes on to say that such dedication (and some 40 years of defiance that accompanied it) deserve to be rewarded[ROFL!  Can you see where it is going?   Please, someone, tell me that he has been having us on!  Is he really about to suggest that people appeal to continue to use the incorrect lame-duck translation because it is a tradition, like unto the use of the form of Mass used for centuries?  Didn't I predict this?  Also, that "rewarded" is not really right, is it?  Let these folks come back in 30 years and ask for a special permission to use the lame-duck translation.  After they have had a little pain, perhaps Benedict XIX will "reward" them.]

The clergy and laity of Germany have refused to accept a newly-translated funeral rite and the bishops there reported to Rome that “the new ritual must be considered a failure.”

The result is that the new translation of the funeral rite has been abandoned. This is probably just the beginning of a movement in the Church, a movement that may be of the Holy Spirit[I'm sorry.  But that is just plain dumb.]

It appears to me that when the new English Mass translation becomes mandatory, many priests, if not the many, will continue to proclaim the good news that Christ died for all[Just plain dumb.]

The Church today, as in every age, will have new insights into the meaning of the Lord Jesus’ Sacrifice. New insights must be in harmony with and deepen the previously defined and clear teachings in our Tradition and Magisterium, not confuse them.

Look at it this way: if the Pope or a new Council chose to explain a new emphasis using a document of sufficient weight and authority, and if the Holy See then changed the Latin of the Missale Romanum to say “pro vobis et pro universis”, then there would be a linguistic justification for saying “for all” as an accurate translation of the Missale Romanum.

But the Church cannot change the Latin from pro multis to pro universis.

That would explicitly contradict the Church’s teaching as expressed in Latin by the Council of Trent (cf. Catechism of the Council of Trent, Part II, 4).

Such a change would contradict doctrine and not simply change emphasis about an aspect of that doctrine. Clear English must reflect the clarity of the Latin.

Many arguments have been forwarded to justify the choice to translate pro multis as “for all”. 

In Latin pro multis means “for many”.  All the Latin rites, historical or modern, have pro multis and not pro omnibus or pro universis

The English translations of the Eastern Catholic Rites say "for many".

We get “pro vobis et pro multis … for you and for many” in the formula of consecration from a blending of the accounts in Mark 14:24 (translated from Greek: “this is my blood of the covenant (diatheke) shed for many (tò peri pollôn)”) and Matthew 26:28 also says “for many” together with Luke 22:20 (translated from Greek: “Likewise also the cup, after the supper, saying ‘This cup is the new covenant (diatheke) in my Blood which will be poured out for you.’”  

The choice to fuse these together had theological significance. 

Our patristic sources, such as the writings of the 4th c. Doctor of the Church St. Ambrose of Milan, when describing the words of consecration in the Eucharistic liturgy, has pro multis and not pro omnibus, etc.  The liturgical formulas were from Scripture.  The 4th c. Doctor of the Church St. Jerome, who translated from Greek and Hebrew texts into Latin giving us a Bible translation called the Vulgata, chose to use pro multis when translating the Greek tò peri pollôn (genitive plural of polus) in describing Jesus’ words at the Last Supper.  

In Greek polus means “many” or “much” or even “most” as in the majority: it does not mean “all”.  In the ancient Church, no one said “for all” instead of “for many”.  In the Greek Gospel accounts of the Last Supper, Jesus uses a form polus “many”.   The liturgical rites of the East retained a form of polus.  The rites of the Latin West have ever used pro multis.

The Lutheran Scripture scholar Joachim Jeremias, whose philological fan dance formed the basis for the claims that words in Greek meant something they have never meant in the history of Greek because of his guess about what Jesus may have said in Aramaic, said in the Scripture dictionary article on this matter that he was trying to avoid an interpretation he considered offensive.  He tailored his article according to his predetermined idea.

“This is the question whether the broad interpretation of polloí­ corresponds to the original sense of Mk. 10:45; 14:24 or whether we have here a secondary and more comprehensive understanding designed to avoid the offence of a restriction of the scope of the atoning work of Jesus to ‘many’” (pp. 543-44).

The foundation for our present translation was the Lutheran Jeremias’ rereading of Scripture so as to avoid the offense in Catholic doctrine.

Theological challenge, especially heresy, forces us to reevaluate our doctrines and their formulations. Theological revolt and heresy constrain Catholics to go deeper.  Disputes bear great fruits in the long run. 

During the 16th c. the Church was compelled to battle the Protestant heresies concerning the Eucharist, grace, and justification, the nature of man, etc.  The long process of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) deepened our understanding of the faith and gave clear expression to what we believe.  We find the Church’s teaching enunciated succinctly by the Roman Catechism or Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566), the practical guide for pastors of souls.  

This is what the Roman Catechism says about the pro multis topic. 

But the words which are added for you and for many (pro vobis et pro multis), were taken some of them from Matthew (26: 28) and some from Luke (22: 20) which however Holy Church, instructed by the Spirit of God, joined together.   They serve to make clear the fruit and the benefit of the Passion.  For if we examine its value (virtutem), it will have to be admitted that Blood was poured out by the Savior for the salvation of all (pro omnium salute sanguinem a Salvatore effusum esse); but if we ponder the fruit which men (homines) will obtain from it, we easily understand that its benefit comes not to all, but only to many (non ad omnes, sed ad multos tantum eam utilitatem pervenisse).  Therefore when He said pro vobis, He meant either those who were present, or those chosen (delectos) from the people of the Jews such as the disciples were, Judas excepted, with whom He was then speaking.  But when He added pro multis He wanted that there be understood the rest of those chosen (electos) from the Jews or from the gentiles.   Rightly therefore did it happen that for all (pro universis) were not said, since at this point the discourse was only about the fruits of the Passion which bears the fruit of salvation only for the elect (delectis).   And this is what the words of the Apostle aim at: Christ was offered up once in order to remove the sins of many (ad multorum exhaurienda peccata – Heb 9:28); and what according to John the Lord says: I pray for them; I do not pray for the world, but for those whom you gave to Me, for they are Yours (John 17:9).   Many other mysteries (plurima mysteria) lie hidden in the words of this consecration, which pastors, God helping, will easily come to comprehend for themselves by constant meditation upon divine things and by diligent study. 

(My translation and emphasis. Part II, ch. 4 (264.7-265.14) from the Catechismus Romanus seu Catechsimus ex decreto Concilii Tridentini ad parochos ….  Editio critica.  Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1989, p. 250. Cf. The Catechism of the Council of Trent.  Cf. trans. John A. McHugh & Charles J. Callan. Joseph F. Wagner, Inc.: New York, 1934, pp. 227-28.)

So… now Fr. Grimm say that the new, corrected translation is heretical.

People will start pressing for continued use of the lame-duck ICEL translation because it is a) not heretical and it is b) their tradition.

It is too strange to make up.

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110 Responses to Priest, publisher, calls “pro multis… for many” heretical

  1. Supertradmum says:

    Sadly, this priest sounds like he is moving himself out of the Catholic Church. The heresy of “universal salvation”, a Modernist heresy, is probably behind this tortuous article. I have found missionaries in the South Pacific, one a dear friend and ex-teacher, to be all-too-ready to ignore Rome on this and other things. The excuse is always “culturalization”, to which this priest is appealing as well.

    Rubbish, but dangerous rubbish…As to Jeremias, I thought he was discredited years ago?

  2. aemmel says:

    My only question for Fr. Grimm is that when he says many will be lead into heresy by the new translation….is that multis, omnis or universalis? ;)

  3. Jack Hughes says:

    ?

    someone clue me in on what of earth is going on

  4. Andrew says:

    Dear Fr. Z:

    I think you have pretty much wrapped this up. Can everyone who is still entertaining some angst about this, read the above and move on?

  5. Faith says:

    There’s a problem with Europeans translating text to Americans. We Lay Dominicans ran into this in 2008, and there are still murmurings. We use to be the Third Order of Saint Dominic. On August 8 (Feast of St. Dominic), 2008, the Master General declared that everyone involved in the Dominican Family are all O.P. All well and good. However, we Lay Dominicans are to be called the Lay Fraternities of Saint Dominic. It’s the FRATERNITIES that went up us, sideways. To us, FRATERNITIES, are a men’s club. Evidently, that’s not how it’s interpreted in the rest of the world.

  6. DavidJ says:

    In theory, if a priest deliberately changed the words “for many” to “for all”, would that make things invalid? What if it were an accidental slip due to years of saying it the other way?

  7. TJerome says:

    Nice to know Japan has its own version of Fr. McBrien. From looking at Father Grimm’s photo, it looks to me like he’s the same vintage as McBrien. Based on his photo, I would say, things are looking “grim” for Father Grimm in terms of his years left on this earth to propogate further nonsense. This article should be reviewed by the Holy Office (I prefer that term, is that ok Father Grimm?) and appropriate action taken. I bet he’d make a dandy greeter at Walmart!

  8. twherge says:

    If someone wants to talk about what Jesus said in Aramaic, someone should talk to the Maronites. And I think one really has to consider that in the translations of the other rites in the Church, the words are ALWAYS translated, whether from Greek, Old Church Slavonic, what have you, as “for many.”

  9. Supertradmum says:

    I took a minute to read some of his other articles online and the priest is, very sadly, continually in divergence with the teaching of Rome on liturgical practices. As we say in England, Father Grimm has a “bee in his bonnet” about cultural adaptations on the ground, rather than unity. He also sees the Institutional Church, the great gift from Christ, as merely a corporation. Read this tidbit:

    “However, it does no good to simply gripe about curial officials. After all, they are bureaucrats, and so perhaps it is natural for them to be as insensitive as Humpty Dumpty toward those who seem to misunderstand “which is to be master.”

    The bigger problem, perhaps, is right here in Asia, with our bishops, our clergy and our laypeople. Are we too willing to defer to those bureaucrats?”

    I quite giving to the Maryknolls twenty years or more ago because of reading nonsense like this.

  10. Ted Krasnicki says:

    If Michael Davies was right in claiming that the words of our Lord at the Last Supper were not in the vernacular but in liturgical Hebrew (The Catholic Sanctuary, P. 5), then perhaps Latin and only Latin should be used by the entire Latin Church for those most Holy words of consecration.

  11. Panterina says:

    I agree with Andrew, Father Z. sums it up nicely once and for all.

    Father Z., may I suggest tagging this piece also with the category “PRO MULTIS”, so that it will be easier to find?

    I expect a lot of catechesis to be done on this point when the new translation comes into effect, and your explanation is very clear.

  12. B.C.M. says:

    @Davidj -

    I actually wrote my thesis on that question, and the wider question of whether ‘for all’ was valid in itself. My research and conclusion, with the help of many scholars, is this: Though the change of terms can distort the theology and mess with the people’s understanding and thus be scandalous it’s not actually an issue. For the Sacred Body, the consecratory words are ‘hoc est enim corpus meum.’ – ‘This is my Body.’ That’s it. Similarly, though the other words are important and add greatly to the mystery and rite, the only necessary words are ‘haec est enim calix sanguinis mei.’ – ‘This is the chalice of my Blood.’

  13. TNCath says:

    I do agree that “for the many” rather than “for many” would have been a better translation, but, then again, I’m not the Pope. The article “the” gives the indefinite pronoun “many” the connotation a group of a large number of people, but not necessarily everybody. This shows the importance of articles in English, which many liturgists and “church people” love to omit when they speak of “being church” and “celebrating Eucharist” that drives me crazy.

    As for Father Grimm, it seems to me that he is creating “fairy tales” in his own right regarding the new translation, very similar to those who held that the Novus Ordo was heretical. In fact his statement, “We can obey men who obviously do not know what they want us to talk about or we can continue to proclaim the actual faith of the Church” sounds very similar to comments made by a certain archbishop from France.

    I do think that the new translations might actually move the Church in the U.S. to use more Latin at Mass. Personally, I think the Novus Ordo in Latin is just fine, with the readings and perhaps the Collect, Super Oblata, and Post-Communion prayers properly translated in the vernacular. But, of course, Father Grimm has already indicated that he will do as he pleases. Unless somebody in charge starts enforcing the rules, I am afraid he won’t be the only one.

  14. catholicmidwest says:

    Just more whining. So sad, too bad. Get out the 1/2 inch violins.

    This is really all about whether people believe in universal salvation or not. The Church does not believe in universal salvation, and never has. If we are Catholics, neither do we. The Church holds that there is a hell, so there is always at least the possibility that someone will go (or has gone) there.

    [Personally, I think that it's far, far greater than a possibility. I think, no matter how you shake it, at least half the human race is going to end up there, but maybe that's just me.]

  15. catholicmidwest says:

    Let’s be honest. Those for whom this isn’t about whether universal salvation is the issue or not are just whining either because a) they have to change their habits and learn something (poor stupid baby), or b) they feel bad because the Vatican has told them they have to do something and they don’t like to be told what to do.

  16. Revixit says:

    I thought Lutherans believed in sola scriptura. I suppose they really believe in sola scriptura when it suits their purposes and isn’t “offensive.” At least this is what the Lutheran Jeremias seems to believe.

    According to Fr. Grimm, Jeremias “said in the Scripture dictionary article on this matter that he was trying to avoid an interpretation he considered offensive.”

    Fr. Grimm does not explain why Catholics should consider the opinion of the Lutheran scholar Jeremias. More importantly, why should Catholics consider such a silly opinion?

    How is it offensive to say that not all will be saved when Jesus Himself told us this in all four Gospels? Matthew 22:14 may be the shortest and easiest to understand: “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Jesus died to obtain salvation for all but not all will accept the offer of salvation and He knew it.

  17. The “solution” has been right under our collective noses for 40+ years as TNCatholic has already alluded; the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. Two of the most ignored prescriptions found in Sacrosanctum Concilium can fix this pseudo-dilemma immediately: just use the Latin and provide liturgical instruction.

    The latter is required regardless of language, of course, and the forthcoming translation is already providing good fruit in that regard. Previously ambivalent (or at least comfortably ill-informed) people are starting to get pulled into the conversation and are now being exposed to more liturgical catechesis than they have ever encountered in the past.

    As this continues, the humble will allow Holy Mother Church to guide them into a deeper understanding of the liturgy while the proud just dig their heals in deeper and deeper. The corrected translation of the Missal is already serving as a pretty effective winnowing fan, no?

  18. medievalist says:

    To my mind, the ‘for all’ argument is basically Protestant since it denies free will. God wills salvation for all people but, since He also bestowed on us free will, He does not force salvation upon us. We must choose it. God does love all, as taught by the Church, but we must choose to love him in return. It

  19. Cavaliere says:

    Not only in the Eastern rites is “pro multis” translated as “for many” but also in the French traslation of both forms of the Latin Rite “pro multis” is translated as “pour la multitude” both pre and post Vatican II. La multitude clearly does not mean “All”

    I don’t have a Spanish or German missal but would be interested to know how they translate it.

  20. Cosmos says:

    I am confused here. I know that there is a kind of slim “theological” hope for universal–or near universal–salvation, based on God’s infinite mercy and a few passages of Scripture, but when did this hope become the norm? It is one thing to say a small strain exists in the Tradition which offers such a possibility, it is another thing to so easily dismiss the much larger consensus within the Tradition that the road is narrow and many will be lost. The latter seems to be central to the spirituality of so many saints and so much of the scripture- including many of Jesus’ admonitions. Jesus’ teaching’s lose a lot of their urgency if we can so easily explain what he says away because we apparently no that it does not, in fact, end as he warned us it will.

    This whole move seems like it is not so much a development of doctrine but exactly the kind of opinion you would expect from a distracted, lukewarm, and overly-comfortable generation. It shows that Catholics are losing a sense of what it really means to have a “Tradition” and are importing more a more legalistic view where everything, from liturgy to spirituality, can be neatly tucked into a mandatory or non-mandatory categories.

  21. catholicmidwest says:

    Revixit,

    Maybe Fr Grimm is a closet Lutheran.

  22. Roland de Chanson says:

    The situation is even grimmer than Grimm the Pharisee thinks: Many are called, but few are chosen. “Few” is less than many, though in Aramaic, it probably meant “all.”

    Cf. the French translation of the Vetus Ordo (i.e. Verus Ordo): Car ceci est le calice de mon Sang, le Sang du testament nouveau et éternel : mystère de foi : qui pour vous et pour un grand nombre sera répandu en rémission des péchés.

    pro multis is “a great number.” But in Aramaic …. all?

    But more ominously note the lack of an actual article before “mystery of faith”! Is it “the” mystery of faith? or “a” mystery of faith? Oh those Gallican heresiarchs! Let us just be thankful the articleless Japanese don’t pray in French.

    Would it be uncharitable, given TJerome’s prediction of the imminent snuffing of Fr. Grimm’s Lebenslicht (as recounted in the Grimm Märchen) to speculate that he has a vested interest in universal salvation ahead of his encounter with the Grimm Reaper?

  23. catholicmidwest says:

    Cosmos,
    About 30 years ago, right after Vatican II, when such things were fashionable. [circa mini-skirts, go-go boots and 3"-wide white ties, you had to be there]

  24. Sandy says:

    TJerome, my first thought also. The picture of “Father” Grimm and the lack of the title “Father” in the byline, tells us quite a bit. Yes, it immediately reminded me of “Father” McBrien! May the holy priests soon replace all those who are not!

  25. dans0622 says:

    Fr. Grimm says “… the English is stilted, verbose and at times nonsensical because of poor grammar.”

    Then he says “The whole process of its development has been marked by secrecy and by spinelessness on the part of most of the world’s English-speaking bishops who acquiesced in the destruction by non-English speakers of generally acclaimed new translations prepared a decade or more ago.”

    Maybe it’s just me but it took four or five reads to understand this sentence. Stilted, verbose, and at times nonsensical because of poor grammar, indeed.

    Dan

  26. robtbrown says:

    Same ole same ole.

    First, he uses the 16 year old girl MO (EVERYONE is doing it!)

    Second, he is yet another example of someone pouring out theological opinion who cannot think analogically (thus he cannot think theologically). And so he cannot understand that the value of pro multis (in addition to being an accurate translation of the NT Greek is that it includes two concepts: a) That Christ died for all men, and b) That it is not only possible that all will not be saved but that it will be few (oligoi) Mt 7:14.

    Third, he doesn’t seem to understand that the phrase “for all” can lead to the heresy that the damnation of certain angels is temporary not eternal.

  27. Ernesto Gonzalez says:

    Cavaliere:

    Unfortunately, the Spanish translation is also in need of some correction:

    Por vosotros y por todoslos hombres.

    That is “for you and for all men” (please remember that in Spanish, “men” when referring to a group may mean all human persons in the group).

  28. Shadow says:

    Pro multis = for many. Because even though God wants us all to be ultimately joined forever with Him in His Kingdom, not everyone is going to end up there because of their deiberate abuses of their own free will. Hence not “all” will be saved because they will have refused, through their own voluntary choices, to work on their personal salvation. Of course the liberals scream wildly at this but reality remains reality, regardless of whether it is politically correct or otherwise.

  29. TJerome says:

    Ernesto Gonzalez,
    OH MY GOD. The hated “men” word. You should notify Father Grimm so he can begin attacking all of the Spanish speaking bishops for their lack of “sensitivity”!!!!

  30. sejoga says:

    This griping over single words, like “cup” instead of “chalice”, or “all” instead of “many”, is what some might call: Grasping At Straws.

    As catholicmidwest pointed out, the fact that these people are up in arms over minute changes shows not their dedication to the mass, but that they feel bad because the Vatican has told them they have to do something and they don’t like to be told what to do.

  31. Fr_Sotelo says:

    I wrote in a previous thread that some priests have said, “I hate this new translation. If Lefebvre could reject the 1969 Missal in favor of the 1962, then I have the right to reject this new translation in favor of the 1969 Missal.”

    I would not be surprised to see many priests continue using the present translation and then use Summorum Pontificum to justify this. LOL!

  32. Randii says:

    Cosmos – a very orthodox theologian, the late Von Balthusar, wrote a book about this last century. Titled ‘Is There Hope For Universal Salvation?’ it goes over some of the Scriptural support for this as well as some early Christian thought on this.

    Just yesterday this was mentioned on Catholic Answers Live.

    In part this can be construed from the Bible passage that God desires all men to come to salvation. God is infinite therefore one could presume his desire in effect becomes fact.

    At the very least, most orthodox Catholic theologians today teach that visible unity with or membership in the Catholic church is not necessary for salvation. Based on God’s desire that all men come to salvation. Clearly so many, most in history, never heard of Jesus or the Bible or the Catholic church. So other roads must be available to salvation. As they often say on Catholic Answers, men can’t constrain what God does or whom God chooses to save.

    In point of fact this is a good example of the development of doctrine and grows easily out of the early church concept of “baptism of desire”. Giving it a much more universal and broad-based understanding.

    Catholic Answers is big on this with Fr. Pacwa, Patrick Madrid, John Martononni, Jimmy Akin and other prominent EWTN hosts/guests teaching this.

  33. Randii says:

    “I wrote in a previous thread that some priests have said, “I hate this new translation. If Lefebvre could reject the 1969 Missal in favor of the 1962, then I have the right to reject this new translation in favor of the 1969 Missal.””

    Fr-Sotelo, I live in an affirming/progressive diocese and the hints I am getting is that indeed many/most priests here will not use all of the new translation. The “for many” is a big stumbling block here and I’d guess in the end many priests will simply refuse to use the changed word.

  34. The Norwegian translation has ‘for de mange’, i.e. ‘for the many’ with an article. It would not be common to put an article in if one just were to translate for many people, so ‘for the many’ in Norwegian is slightly different than the ordinary expression meaning ‘for many’.

  35. catholicmidwest says:

    Randii,
    Von Balthasar also wrote “Raising the Bastions,” that “programmatic” and completely dated little book which turned out to be wrong, wrong, wrong.

  36. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr Sotelo, it’ll be interesting seeing what happens. I attend church in a variety of places, so I’ll probably be surveying around to see who’s on board and who’s not. I’m interested to see the “lay of the land.”

  37. MikeM says:

    For what little my amateur opinion is worth, I would have preferred “for the many.” At first I was actually rather bothered by the translation, but then (actually just about a week ago) I happened upon the section of the Roman Catechism which says that that part of the Mass is, in fact, meant to refer to the elect, not to God’s desire for all to be saved. Given that, the translation “for many” is, at least, doctrinally correct. Additionally, my sensibilities aside, the major english language translations of the Bible use the word “many” without an article in the last supper narratives in both Matthew and Mark. I think one could certainly make the argument that sticking closer to the language the faithful would find in their own Bibles is of value (though it obviously can’t be the only concern, as we could see with the issue of “the precious chalice” which Fr. Z posted about recently.)

  38. Rich says:

    The author explains, “If our prayer is not in accord with the faith of the Church, it will lead people away from that faith.” And that, my friend, is EXACTLY what has happened for the last 40 years. Given the statistics of Mass attendance from 1970 until now, the author is displaying either ignorance or sheer dishonesty to think, after making this point, that the Church would be better served in maintaining the 1970 translation.

  39. mwa says:

    @cavaliere – the German states: “fur euch und fur alle,” for you and for all.

  40. Panterina says:

    Cavaliere:
    You will find the German translation in a comment by Andrew in this old post by Father Z.: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2006/06/pro-multis/

    Andrew also kindly gives the Italian, French, Portuguese, Slovak and Hungarian versions. What’s interesting is that several languages rendered “pro multis” as “for all.”

    I read somewhere that the Italians will revert to “per molti” in response to Cardinal Arinze’s 2006 letter on this matter (see http://www.cal-liturgy.org/2007/2006_Report_of_BCL_to_CAL.pdf, para. 4. at the very end).

  41. Randii says:

    Rich – the falling off in religiousty among Catholics can’t necessarily be correlated to the Novus Ordo.

    There has been a major social/cultural transformation these past 40/50 years. IMO even if the Latin Mass had remained as is there would still have been a sharp falling off of practice among Catholics.

    The Orthodox churches in the US retained their histporic liturgy during this time but they too have seen a large drop off in practice and younger folks leaving the faith. The Orthodox chiurches are growing again in the US but that is largely from immigration from Orthodox countires which has surged in the last 2 decades – and ironically conversion of catholic to Orthodoxy.

    I am reading The Development of The Liturgical Reform by Cardinal Antonelli and it is full of surprises. How there was widespread dis-satisfaction with the litury in the 40s and 50s and a liturgical reform movement was under way years before V2.

    One very surprising thing noted in the book was the concern of the church in the drop-off in vocations and that in part was one reason to streamline some of the liturgical elements. Freeing up time for over-worked priests so to speak.

    I take from that the collapse of vocations in Europe anyway was already starting to manifest years before V2.

  42. catholicmidwest says:

    mwa,
    Yeah, and we all know what condition the german church is in, don’t we?

  43. Sid says:

    Once the multis issue is resolved — and resolved it is –, the really more theologically thorny issue is peri. It usually means “concerning” or “about”. Yet it often seems to drift into the meaning of hyper, which is the word that Paul uses (“Christ died for us while we were yet sinners”). hyper means “on account of”, “on behave of”, or the English refinement “in behalf of”, as when a lawyer represents in behalf of his client — thus “vicariously”. hyper is by far the most commonly used word in the NT’s soteriology.

    Many of our Protestant friends, esp. Calvinists, and all who believe in the soteriological theory of Penal Substitutional Atonement, judge that peri and hyper mean “in place of”, “instead of”, “as a substitute for”, “in exchange for”, and “in return for”. But this Greek preposition is anti, and is used only once in a soteriological context, Mark 10:45 (copied by Matthew 20:28), in the context of the Ransom Theory of soteriology — a theory that the Fathers thought wanting.

  44. annieoakley says:

    Japan needs to be re-evangelized. The state of the Catholic Church there is dismal. The Franciscan Chapel, which is the Catholic Church in Tokyo, is notable for its lack of connection to Rome.

    Yes, they do say Mass and provide the other Sacraments. But it’s a forlorn outpost withering on the vine due to lack of attention. Most of the congregation is made up of ex-pat Americans. There are a very few Japanese. The Japanese you do see are usually the non-Christian ones who are married there because they want the look of a Western wedding. That’s right, they marry couples when neither the bride nor groom are Christian, let alone Catholic. They say it’s a way to proseletyze because the couples have to go through marriage counseling in which the Catholic view of marriage is explained to them. The Japanese, though, are only going through it because it’s the only way to get the chapel, but one of the priests there admitted to me that none of them ever showed any further interest in the Catholic faith after that.

    The only outreach I saw into the community in the 4 years I was there was an inter-faith community food assistance program with a Protestant church. We would make rice cakes with fish in them and pass them out to homeless people in Shinjuku Station at 4am, before it opened up for commuters. It was certainly a good deed but the homeless didn’t have a clue who we were.

    The two main groups of priests there are Franciscans and Maryknolls (who sometimes temporarily stay there). One Maryknoll told us that we were all saved because we had been baptized and not to worry about sins because they couldn’t be serious by the mere fact that we were sitting there listening to him, because if we did have serious sins we wouldn’t be sitting there. He was loopy but sincere.

    It must be said though that being a priest in Japan is a pretty thankless (and lonely) task. I don’t think most of them even know where to begin or how to reach Japanese people who are a pretty group-think society. It’s hard to get individuals there to step out of their consensus-with-the-group identity and be a Christian. As a result, I think some of the priests get a bit desperate and maybe this Fr. Grimm is kidding himself that inserting the word “the” in the liturgy is going to bring them in to the Church in droves and that omitting the word “the” that will keep them away. It’s totally loony but like I said, priests there are pretty isolated. The Protestant missionaries there have had a lot more success – perhaps because they’re there with their families and so have each other. Also, their children attend Japanese schools which provides an entry point into the Japanese family.

    We need to figure this out so that we can bring Japanese people into the Catholic faith. The diocesan priest model – where we wait for Japanese people to ring the Church’s doorbell and say they want to become Catholic – isn’t working. I don’t think a celibate priesthood is a problem because they have Buddhist monks who are celibate and they are revered. But the Buddhists have gorgeous temples and tradition on their side. Perhaps if the Catholic Church sent monks to Japan to build beautiful monasteries of their own and then went out into the marketplace (in their traditional habits) and chanted prayers and sang Gregorian chant (why not? – it would certainly get their attention) and blessed people and invited them into their monastaries for contemplation we’d have more success. Also, the Tridentine Mass would need to be offered at regular intervals, because there’s so much visually that the Latin Mass in its proper setting has in common with Buddhism (the sanctuary, incense, candles, statues, flowers, votive candles, etc.). The Japanese love the beautiful and the contemplative and, imho, they would be drawn to settings that are as lovely as their temples. We need to connect their culture with ours if we are to have any chance of converting them and it’s the traditional liturgy and music and settings that can do that.

  45. catholicmidwest says:

    annieoakley,
    You know what’s really tragic about that? The word “the” doesn’t really exist in Asian languages like Chinese & Japanese. When people from there learn English, they struggle with a, an, the, his & hers. Some of them never get these words right.
    Whether the word “the” is in the translations or not isn’t going to matter one iota to Japanese or Chinese speakers. They won’t get it in a million years.

    I think you’re 100% correct on using our structure and the beauty of our churches and masses. For some cultures it will be the only thing that will work.

  46. catholicmidwest says:

    The other thing to understand is that Asians label Christianity and Judaism as “Western” religions. They tend to think of our appearances as fashion, even when we don’t think of it that way.

    But when it comes to belief, many of them think they can’t possibly be Christian because they’re Eastern and Christianity is Western, so they just dismiss it right out of hand.

    In order to reach them, we will have to present them with beauty that defies that line, order that defies that line–so as to blur that line between East & West. The Church is universal and they must come to see that. THEN the door will be open because many of them really hunger for truth and there will be many converts.

  47. Randii says:

    I agree that the view that Christianity is Western hinders evangelization in Asia but still that doersn’t explain the increasing success of Protestants in Asia.

    Take Nepal – a Buddhist monarchy till recently which has seen massive conversions to Christianity in the last decade.

    There are over a million Christians in Nepal now – the shocker is that of those less than 10,000 are Catholic.

    So to explain the failure of the Catholic church in Asia to win many converts, and in places like Japan and India it is shrinking in numbers or not growing as fast as the general population (India) simply on it’s being Western doesn’t explain the increasing success of Protestants in countries like Japan, Nepal, India and most especially China. It’s hard to get good figures on the number of Chinese Christians but many say it’s well over 100 million now – but again Catholics make up a tiny fraction of that number – probably no more than 5%.

    If trends continue the 3rd millenium could see Asia transform to having a large percentage of Chritians from where it stands now but that Christianity will be overwhelmingly Protestant.

  48. catholicmidwest says:

    Perhaps they are able to approach people in more casual way, which connects with them. And also, the Chinese are very interested in knowledge. It’s a cultural attribute. Perhaps the protestant tendency to detailed attention with respect to scripture is an attraction.

    Also perhaps they are able to offer material advantages in some areas, health care and so on. Most people in that part of the world are still very poor by Western standards. And many of them are very opposed to the one-child policy even though they won’t admit it in public for fear.

  49. catholicmidwest says:

    The Catholic church, in general, has huge obstacles to evangelization, most of which are of its own making.

  50. Randii says:

    “The Catholic church, in general, has huge obstacles to evangelization, most of which are of its own making.”

    I agree catholicmidwest. But I don’t agree with the “established” explanation among conservative Catholics that it is all because of V2. I don’t see how that can be argued in the light of history and what was going on prior to V2.

    I note one fact – Jewish converts to Christianity have over time n overwhelmingly become Protestant and not Catholic. Rosalind Moss is the rare exception but even she has acknowledged this.

    What makes it doubly interesting is that Jews who convert come from a liturgical tradition which has reflections in much of Catholic liturgy yet they become non-liturgical Protestants instead. Part of the explanation is the anti-Semitism of the Catholic church in the Middle Ages but I don’t find that a totally compelling explanation.

  51. catholicmidwest says:

    Randii,

    There are huge number of reasons why people don’t convert to Catholicism, and once here, often don’t stay. I’m not sure I want to go through all of them here but…I do think the great majority of the most serious ones, although not all, are post-vatican II.

    I do know that there are huge numbers of ex-Catholics. According to the Pew Report, 1 in 10 Americans is an ex-Catholic.

    I’m not sure how many Jews convert to Christianity; I am under the impression that it’s a small number, simply because only about 2% of the American population calls itself Jewish.

  52. catholicmidwest says:

    Randii,

    I would be more inclined to think that the Holocaust would be a reason rather than the old cultural anti-semitism of the European ghettos. Most of Germany was, after all, Christian, running up to WWII–not like it stayed that way, but still.

    And there are cultural things, like the cultural things with the chinese. Cultural attitudes & habits can be huge when it comes to things like conversion to another faith.

  53. Randii says:

    There are huge number of reasons why people don’t convert to Catholicism, and once here, often don’t stay. I’m not sure I want to go through all of them here but…I do think the great majority of the most serious ones, although not all, are post-vatican II.

    I do know that there are huge numbers of ex-Catholics. According to the Pew Report, 1 in 10 Americans is an ex-Catholic.

    I’m not sure how many Jews convert to Christianity; I am under the impression that it’s a small number, simply because only about 2% of the American population calls itself Jewish.

    catholicmidwest, I agree there are a myriad of reasons. I just think there are other reasons as significant as post-V2 stuff for this.

    I know about the high attrition rates among those who convert to catholocism. Something more than half leave the Catholic church within a few years of converting. I beleive the Catholic church has the highest attrition rate among converts of any Christian group.

    Jews are a tiny percentage of the US population (there are likely more Muslims in the US now than Jews) but I am referring to that group of Jews among the tiny Jewish population who convert – it is like 90% to evangelicalism.

    If you go to any city in Israel you’ll find Hebrew Christian congregations that have newly started up in the past decade or so. The old Catholic and Orthodox presence in Israel proper is stagnant but what conversion to Christianity is going on there, and it’s small as Israel is pretty much a secularized society, is to Protestanism.

  54. Dave N. says:

    “pour la multitude”

    An excellent translation of the Greek text.

    We’re all Calvinists now.

  55. catholicmidwest says:

    Dave N,

    Because?

  56. Mitchell NY says:

    All the more reason Veterum Sapientia should be fully implemented and a Latin Consecrations should be used for the NO and Tridentine Mass. No problems with translations, keeps the Latin in the Mass as ordered by Vat II’s SC, and also shows continuity between the 2 Masses. Peoples in the Orient or in Africa that have no knowledge of English can be taught Latin just as easily. And it would bring all peoples of the world together. Latin is the unifier in the Catholic Faith. When will people and Church officials and Priests see that? Imagining a NO ICEL indult is just ridiculous, especially obtaining it through disobedience. Does anyone know if the old ICEL translation has gone through a full, clear abrogation in its’ formal sense? Similiar to what was told to us about the 1962 Missal which turned out to be untrue? For many seems to make more sense because there are many people who refuse to be saved, deny the Faith, and practice religions or cults directly opposed to the faith right to the very end of their lives. As much as we may “wish” it to be for all, it most likely isn’t and never was.

  57. Dave N. says:

    Dave N,

    Because?

    Limited atonement.

  58. Supertradmum says:

    Dave N

    In the Catholic Church, there is the idea of Predestination. I highly suggest Garrigou-Lagrange’s excellent book by the same title. The book is online and also available through St. Benedict’s Press under the Tan name. http://www.thesumma.info/predestination/index.php and http://www.amazon.com/Predestination-Reginald-Garrigou-Lagrange/dp/0895556340/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1284249450&sr=1-5

  59. joan ellen says:

    Fr Sotelo, it’ll be interesting seeing what happens. I attend church in a variety of places, so I’ll probably be surveying around to see who’s on board and who’s not. I’m interested to see the “lay of the land.”

    Comment by catholicmidwest — 11 September 2010 @ 12:51 pm

    I attend a variety of places as as well. Because of fear of hearing non-compliance, I am not as eager to see the “lay of the land.” Hopefully my fears are unfounded.

    RE: Protestants having more success with Aisians and Jews in their conversion to Christianity, could one say that since the NO Catholics should be just as successful? Or just what is it about Protestantism that makes the difference?

  60. I have read Fr. Grimm’s commentaries before. Sound the alarm! Like other UCANews writers, Fr. Grimm is bordering on the dissenter side. Looks like UCANews wants to be like the Fishwrap, NCR!

  61. J Kusske says:

    Randii estimates that perhaps only 5% of Christians in China are Catholic, but that figure is considerably low. No-one knows for sure just how many there are altogether, but reputable figures place underground Catholics at least double the official number, for a total on the order of 12-15 million. Even assuming 100 million total Christians, that would nearly treble the figure. Underground Protestants (“house churches”) are certainly easy to spread and multiply, and that has led to great success for them, but also to heresies and eventual falling back from faith like the sprouts choked by the thorns. Materialism is every bit as much of a problem here as it is in the developed West and Japan. Against that threat the Church is a more sure rock than the disorganized Protestant congregations. With time, the slower but surer development of the Catholics will hold its own versus the fast but less solid Protestant spread. I am fairly upbeat about the future of the Faith in China (God grant it be so!)

    As for Japan, where I also used to live, everything said so far is true: it certainly needs re-evangelization. Modern materialism has been running roughshod there for 50 years, and carried all before it. A friend of mine in Nagasaki, the Mexican Jesuit Fr. Jose Aguilar, was one of the first missionaries to come out after the War, and he told me what optimism there was in those days and how they hoped to win over the Japanese after the failure of the Japanese Empire and its militant ideology of Emperor worship. Now fewer than 1% of the total population is even Christian, let alone Catholic, and those hopes have long withered. It doesn’t help that they embraced the modern “Spirit of Vatican II” and eliminated Latin and all traditional practices. The Japanese bishops conference also took it upon themselves to do some monkeying with the text at mass and eliminated “it is right and just” for example from the Japanese translation, perhaps even a step beyond what ICEL took it upon themselves to do. When in 2008 there was a Latin mass for the visiting Papal delegate there for the beatification of the 188 Martyrs, the congregation didn’t know any of the responses in Latin; this in Nagasaki, the core of Christianity and Catholicism in Japan. It’s a sad state of affairs, but God willing the Church can re-evangelize Japan in the best tradition of St. Francis Xavier, Alessandro Valignano, Matteo Ricci, and the other great early missionaries to the Far East, and China can help evangelize it along with Korea and the Philippines.

  62. JonM says:

    I agree with Father Z that “for the many” would have been superior to “for may.” But just as the Novus Ordo is entirely valid, so is this translation (and compared to the current 1st grade edition translated by the ICEL folks, far superior.)

    The contention that “for many” indicates that some must be damned is just another grasp at imaginery straws meant to stall a long overdue liturgical fix. Father Grimm is way off base when he claims that “for many” is heretical. Universalism, far from an acceptabled doctrine, has been condemned by the Church. While we don’t know the population of hell, there is no good reason to assume it is zero.

    But this is besides the point.

    As Father Z has stated, even if a really huge number are saved — even if it is everyone every made — “for many” does not contradict this.

    Frankly, this smacks of desperation to cause (the predicted) chaos by refusing the new liturgical norms for the Novus Ordo.

    Regarding the discussion of the state of the Church in Japan…

    Yes, it is tragic that the Church is in such shambles. Jesuit missionaries were making greak progress prior to the Buddhist persecutions of Christians. As MidwestCatholic stated, many of the obstacles are of the Church’s own making.

    Apparent universalists like Father Grimm (necktie and all) and inane ‘dialogue’ committees that blur doctrine serve only to utterly convince industrious, organized, and technologically advanced Japanese that the Catholic Church is another sociological construct that is ‘adjusting’ to modernity. Therefore, there is no reason to dramatically change one’s course of life (although, asside from SSPX, it appears the Catholic leaders in Japan do not urge any change in order to be ‘Catholic.)

  63. J Kusske says:

    One other minor point: Buddhist clergy in Japan actually can and do get married and have children. They had their own kind of Reformation and adopted that practice centuries ago (Nichiren was one of their guiding lights as I recall, though it’s years since I read about it, and someone who does know more please correct me and fill it out further).

  64. Randii says:

    “RE: Protestants having more success with Aisians and Jews in their conversion to Christianity, could one say that since the NO Catholics should be just as successful? Or just what is it about Protestantism that makes the difference?”

    Catholics – and in particular clerics and bishops – don’t believe maybe?

    The “right wing” station in the Bay Area – KSFO – had a memorial segment over 3 hours on Barbara’s Simpson’s show today.

    She had guests on re: 9/11 including a firefighter who was there on that day.

    She chastised an Archbishop (I listened late so I didn’t get his name and she referred only to the archbishop and Catholic bishops while I listened) who she said said Muslims believe what they believe and that is that. I am paraphrasing but her show will be up on KSFO shortly and you can listen. It was during the second and third hour. I assume she named the archbishop in the first hour which I did not hear.

    Anyway, several callers called in critical of “Catholic bishops” as part of the problem. She had a guest in the final hour and signed off by asking him what is the problem with the Catholic hierarchy.

    Anyway, I think part of the answer to all this is simply answered during Barbara Simpson’s show – they don’t believe. That is my impression anyways and listening to this admittedly right-wing radio station today that appears to be the impression of the Catholic church by some (many?) on the right of the political spectrum.

  65. catholicmidwest says:

    joan ellen,

    It’s not “what there is about Protestants” that makes the difference; it’s what there is about Catholics that doesn’t. And N.O. Catholics are much less like Protestants than anyone thinks. They’re more like pagans.

  66. joan ellen says:

    Catholics – and in particular clerics and bishops – don’t believe maybe?

    Randii – Maybe. Maybe it is the degree of believing that makes the difference on whether or not we are helpful in others making their decisions re: conversion.

    But,then, I wonder is the success of Protestants in this regard due to Sola Scriptura? Is it the rapt attention given to the Holy Scripture that makes the difference? If it is…then perhaps Catholics should give rapt attention to the 7 Sacraments. Would that help us to make a difference? Of course, we would have to really believe in those 7 Sacraments. So again, maybe it is a matter of belief…in Holy Scripture or in the 7 Sacraments that makes a difference in conversions.

  67. Randii says:

    Randii estimates that perhaps only 5% of Christians in China are Catholic, but that figure is considerably low. No-one knows for sure just how many there are altogether, but reputable figures place underground Catholics at least double the official number, for a total on the order of 12-15 million. Even assuming 100 million total Christians, that would nearly treble the figure.

    Yes but J. Kusske – taking your numbers and going with 100 million Christians (which is really a low estimate) that makes Catholics less than 15% of all Christians in China.

    Some say that China is the future of Christianity – well right now about 60% of all Christians are Catholic – a falloff to 15% is a massive change. Far more significant than the change in numbers after the Reformation.

    This is why the third millenium will end with Christianity being predominately pentecostal, non-hierarchchal and “local”.

    This was the premise of a fairly recent book – and the author’s name escapes me now – but Christianity in Asia as it evolves will possibly transform Christianity in a way that makes the Reformatiom pale by comparison.

  68. Randii says:

    “But,then, I wonder is the success of Protestants in this regard due to Sola Scriptura? Is it the rapt attention given to the Holy Scripture that makes the difference? If it is…then perhaps Catholics should give rapt attention to the 7 Sacraments.”

    Joan, I think it’s mostly the witness of individuals. I know of several young Hispanic men – gangbusters – who as Catholics led lives not at all Christian. They then had a born again experience and are now witnessing to Hispanics and their witness – their lives have been transformed – is drawing other young Hispanics – mostly males – to evangelical congregations here.

    Yes, there are the sacraments and supposedly they impart graces – but, truth be told, you don’t see that in the typical Catholic. It’s a paradox that can be ignored but can’t be denied.

  69. joan ellen says:

    “And N.O. Catholics are much less like Protestants than anyone thinks. They’re more like pagans.”

    Comment by catholicmidwest — 11 September 2010 @ 9:14 pm

    A pagan has no belief, right? So,Randii is right. It must be about belief. And since there is no belief, there is no degree of belief which could make all the difference in the world.

    So, then I ask how did Catholics get to this point? Can’t remember if it was above or another post where one comment suggested that it was not VII, but rather, the culture that changed things. Of course, that would be the materialistic, pagan culture. And then that leads me to think that the Evangelical Protestants, often, not always, live more detached from the culture.

    Poor Fr. Grimm, perhaps we will help him most with a prayer, asking God, if it be His will that Fr. will return to his belief…his understanding of Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition.

  70. Gail F says:

    “And N.O. Catholics are much less like Protestants than anyone thinks. They’re more like pagans.” (catholicmidwest)

    Oh please. In my experience, the typical NO parish is made up of all sorts of Catholics, from the extremely devout to the quasipagan. Let’s not be so harsh to our fellow Catholics.

    As far as “for many,” “for all,” and “for the many” goes, I think it’s a big nothing. “For all” doesn’t really mean that everyone is going to be saved, although plenty of people could theoretically think so. I don’t see that “for many” is going to be any more of a problem, which is to say, any problem at all.

  71. catholicmidwest says:

    Okay, I’m going to get flamed but I’ll tell you what some of the problems are. Don’t come after me with your pitchforks though. I’m Catholic. I’m staying Catholic, but I”m going to say this because it’s true:

    Many Catholics don’t know exactly what it is they believe. When they try to explain it, they’re wordy and confusing and they go off on all kinds of tangents that don’t have much to do with Christianity–ancient, modern or anyplace in between. All that “telling your story” stuff that’s in current vogue in the church is completely trite. Most cradle Catholics don’t have much to say about their “story,” and it’s best if they keep some of their attitudes to themselves, if you want to know the truth. Some of it is downright superstitious and pagan, insular and defensive.

    They don’t understand the points of view of non-catholics or even their own converts, rather putting words in their mouths to fit their own paradigms, so they don’t ever learn anything. They trot us converts out regularly just to reassure themselves that they’ve been born into the right tribe. Seriously, sometimes it’s just atrocious. YOu’ve all heard it, I”m sure.

    They tolerate each others’ serious sins, from priestly child abuse and homosexuality barely concealed to Mafia membership, while making a big deal of each others’ holiness (which is damn scarce, if you want to know the truth). Did you know that the rate of abortion is almost exactly the same as the rest of the country, yet it’s forbidden for Catholics supposedly to the tune of ex-communication, yet it doesn’t stop anyone from doing anything ever? And many nuns approve of all this and yet we support them financially. Figure that out if you can.

    And Catholics fight constantly because the Catholic system since VII is a sit-up-in-bed-and-scream nightmare and they’re all trying frantically to get what they need or alternately, trying frantically to keep someone else from getting it.

    Catholics have a lot of baggage. If a group of Catholics did confront a group of completely innocent native converts-to-be, what exactly would they say?

    Never mind, it’d probably be the smart-aleck mess I was told: “If you’re still interested in 2 weeks, call me back. I’m busy.” [This was 26 years ago. I kept trying because I already knew more than most converts, in fact more than anyone on the RCIA team, and I insisted. Most people are not like that, and are not going to do that.]

  72. joan ellen says:

    Comment by Randii — 11 September 2010 @ 9:31 pm

    “…I think it’s mostly the witness of individuals.” and “…Yes, there are the sacraments and supposedly they impart graces – …”

    Randii, so maybe you are saying that we could give indiviudal witness as Catholics about the tremendous amount of graces we receive from the Sacraments, and maybe that would make a difference in our success as Catholics in our family/friends in need of conversion…or anyone else Protestants, Jews, Asians, or etc.

    This seems hopeful. More than trying to match our Protestant friends with Scripture verses. Not to say that we should not know verses, rather, how do we help convert them by citing verses with them, for then aren’t we Protestant like? Unless we cite the Sacrament verses… the Spiritual Work of Mercy…instruct the ignorant. Thanks. This is helpful.

  73. catholicmidwest says:

    Gail F,
    I’m not so sure that something that’s repeated in every English language mass in the world every day could be a “big nothing,” as you say. Words matter and they should be correct. We’re talking about the holy sacrifice of the Mass here.

  74. Be careful of flooding the combox.

  75. joan ellen says:

    Comment by — 11 September 2010 @ 9:52 pm

    “Many Catholics don’t know exactly what it is they believe.”

    catholicmidwest –

    Isn’t your statement above saying what Randii was saying. So is it the result of poor catechesis for the last 40-50 years…and if so then how do we catechize the Catholics of today? How do we aid them in their conversions? Is it the same way we do for anyone else?

    I’m just asking because my methods don’t work, at least on the surface. I’m more like this description “When they try to explain it, they’re wordy and confusing and they go off on all kinds of tangents that don’t have much to do with Christianity—ancient, modern or anyplace in between.”

    How do we help stop the erosion of Catholic belief? And please exuse me while I ‘flame’…women thinking that head coverings have been abrogated, along with skirts, dresses, and jumpers. And recently in one of the NO parishes I go to, 2 men…in their 60′s… told me they think women priests are the answer to the priest shortage. Please, Lord, help us.

  76. Rich says:

    Randii:

    Your argument can work both ways. When Father Grimm explains, “If our prayer is not in accord with the faith of the Church, it will lead people away from that faith,” he is setting up an article-long suggestion that the new translation will lead people away from the faith for its “heretical” and accurate translation of “pro multis”. His argument points to the new translation’s potential of leading others away from the faith, as compared to the 1970 translation; he thus suggests the 1970 translation is somehow superior or better than the new one. I am simply taking his own argument and flipping it around by means of eliting the reality that there is no honest or knowledgable method of determining that the 1970 translation has done anything to prevent the leading away of others from the faith. His argument defers solely to the efficacy of one translation over another in keeping people in (or, leading others away from) the faith. So does mine.

    If we are going to start pointing out other sociological elements as effecting a Mass exodus during the past 40 years then, again, the only way to remain intellectually honest is to concede that sociological elements may cause others to be led away from the faith with the implementation of the new translation. It is not intellectually honest to say that other sociological elements, and not the 1970 translation, have to do with the decline of Mass attendance since 1970, but at the same time to then maintain that the new translation based on its own merits has the potential of leading others from the faith, while also maintaining, at least implicitly, that the same sociological elements in play will now suddently have nothing to do with leading people away from the faith.

    Either way, one can say other sociological elements have led others away from the faith regardless of which translation is in question.

  77. catholicmidwest says:

    All of that stuff in your last paragraph really isn’t for any layperson to worry about at all. It’s all intrasystem nonsense that’s plagued us for 40 years. Let it go. Those old men probably talk about a lot of things that way. Old men do that. It’s okay to let them ramble. So what? Does it really change anything? Nope.

    The work of a layperson is to realize the GOSPELS and LIVE them in daily life. Who is God? (1 sentence, like the Baltimore catechism, not to open a can of worms!) Who is Christ? What is Christmas? What is Easter? Who is the HOly Spirit? What exactly (in 1 sentence) is Holy Communion? What are the 10 Commandments and the 2 laws of the New Testament based on them? Why do you care? What difference does it make? What basic moral things does that tell you? When you can answer those questions and a very few others, very simply and directly, there you are. Talk about that, very simply, (without interjecting a lot of abstract stuff you’re not sure of, or a lot of flowery stuff to satisfy your own emotions). Just talk about it simply and truly. Half the world doesn’t even know about these basic things and they need to know. They suffer in their ignorance.

  78. catholicmidwest says:

    Sorry, Fr Z. I’ll read for a while.

  79. Cosmos says:

    Randii,
    I think you are missing the point. I am not claiming that the concept of universal slavation bears no relation to any accepted Christian principle (you mention baptism of desire) or that scriptural passages cannot be used to support it. Nor would I argue with a Calvinist that there version of predestination does not derive from key theological concepts(like god’s soverignty and omniscience) and many, many scriptural passages. I would, however, argue that the kind of predestination that they cocieve is not in line with either the totality of revelation or the living Tradition (as in, what is handed down) of the Church. Such a doctrine could not “develop” because it is contrary by too many voices in the tradition. I would say the same about universal salvation.

    The problem is that development of doctrine as it is presently concieved is approaching the faith with a lawyer’s logic, not a theologians. It comes from an understanding of scripture where each generation–really each person– reads the Bible, studies the sources, and creates the faith anew for himself. All “data” is seperated into absolutely binding or absolutely open for debate- no inbetween. As long as a subject is not dogmatically defined- have at it!

    Development of Doctrine does not mean we get to make it up as we go. It is also not some evolutionary concept where all ideas are constantly flowering. It is, rather, an limited explanation of how newer concepts can arrise in so long after the apostolic period. read Newman’s explanation of it, it more humble than you might imagine.

    Many 20th Century theologians, even loyal ones, are going to have to explain why they were so darn confident in their re-interpretations of everything on Earth, even as they stood against the great sea of witnesses throughout history.

  80. amicus1962 says:

    I find it quite ironic that Fr. Grimm would attack the proper translation of “pro multis” as “for many” in English, but in Japan where he is based, “pro multis” has always been rendered as “for many” in the Japanese Novus Ordo. Like Latin, the Japanese language does not have the article “a” and “the,” so the Latin “pro multis” is translated precisely in Japanese without any confusion as to whether “the” is needed or not. Of course he does not inform his non-Japanese speakers this incovenient truth.

  81. catoholic says:

    amicus1962,

    I don’t think it is quite correct to say that the Japanese renders “pro multis” as “for many.” The Japanese is:?????????????????????????????????????????????????????Literally: “This is the wine-cup of my blood, which will be made to flow for you [plural] and for many people and which is the blood of the new and eternal promise/contract for the forgiveness of sins.” Of note: the word “wine-cup,” sakazaki, is a very unusual word which I have only ever heard in the context of Mass. I think it corresponds nicely to “chalice.”

    I live in Tokyo and we all agree that Japan needs a new evangelization. One of my regular prayers is, “Come, Holy Spirit, and reawaken the Japanese people.” But I don’t think the situation is as dire as annieoakley suggests above. It sounds like she only has experience of the Franciscan Chapel Center, which is a small church in an expat-heavy area, catering specifically to expats. My church, and the dozens of other churches in the Tokyo area, are majority-Japanese. And there is real passion for the Lord here, like candles in the smog of ignorance! The Japanese “do liturgy” with deep reverence and humility. Mantillas are common sights at Japanese-language masses. Taking the Latin Mass away from these people was a deeply felt trauma. Cradle Catholics here are justly proud of the often unsung, but “leavening,” lifegiving, four-century-and-counting Catholic contribution to Japanese society. You might be surprised to know how many prominent Japanese today and in the past are / were Catholic! They just don’t talk about it in public because there is indeed a perception that Christianity is “un-Japanese.” This is the legacy of Japan’s poisonous far-right nativist political movement. The legacy of the Church here, ironically, reaches much father back into Japanese history than any form of Japanese nationalism.

    I could go on! Japanese Catholicism is not “withering.” It is a precious and (astonishingly) enduring part of Mother Church. But we are being swamped by the filthy tide of mindless materialism and moral relativism. St. Francis Xavier, pray for us.

    That said, the tide of mindless am

  82. catoholic says:

    ???????? = Japanese script that did not come out legibly; sorry!

    Also, please overlook the unedited half-sentence at the bottom; I got carried away by zeal ;)

  83. Tradster says:

    Why waste time on a dissenting priest who doesn’t use the title of Father in his byline, nor dresses as a priest, and apparently distains the Church? He’s just another in the long line of modernist “religious” (male and female) to whom a vocation means nothing more than having a permanent job with great benefits, like in the government or military. A real (as opposed to valid) priest would not be spouting this nonsense.

  84. robtbrown says:

    Pro multis = for many. Because even though God wants us all to be ultimately joined forever with Him in His Kingdom, not everyone is going to end up there because of their deliberate abuses of their own free will. Hence not “all” will be saved because they will have refused, through their own voluntary choices, to work on their personal salvation. Of course the liberals scream wildly at this but reality remains reality, regardless of whether it is politically correct or otherwise.
    Comment by Shadow

    That is certainly one interpretation, but I prefer a more comprehensive approach to pro multis (peri pollon)–that it includes both the concept that Christ died for all and that it is possible that only a few (oligoi) will be saved.

  85. dspecht says:

    As the term reads in Greek “hyper pollon”/without article, “many” seems even better than “the many”. And if you also consider what the Cat. of Trent teaches, “many” is clearly the better version (than “the many”). It is the Church´s intention to teach exactly that not all are – evectively – saved!

  86. cmm says:

    I have a different worry after hearing about the texts of the Masses that Pope Benedict is going to preside over during his trip to the UK: they’re a mix-and-match of various prayers, some current, some from the New Missal, some in Latin, in an amazing variety of wordings. Many of them have not been approved yet, or have been declared no longer in use. Does that mean that priests, when saying the Mass, have leeway to choose prayers that they think will best speak to the congregation and that best reflect their personal sensibilities? That will go a long way towards solving the “for many” issue, and that seems to be Pope Benedict’s approach in practice — widening access to the EF of the Mass, opening the door to Anglicans, and now preparing a liturgy that takes a lot of freedoms with the rules. If that’s the example that he is setting for us, well, then with that model in some ways we have less to worry about, but in other ways we have more to worry about…

    We have heard that Pope Benedict is not a great administrator. I wonder if the confused messages coming from the Vatican stem from general administrative incompetence in the curia, rather than from some particular agenda?

  87. robtbrown says:

    Cosmos – a very orthodox theologian, the late Von Balthusar, wrote a book about this last century. Titled ‘Is There Hope For Universal Salvation?’ it goes over some of the Scriptural support for this as well as some early Christian thought on this.

    Although Balthasar produced some very good work, the book you mention (Dare We Hope That All Men Are Saved?) is a sad exception. It is poorly considered and poorly researched, and is little else than an attempt to show that the virtue of Hope means that an empty hell is a possibility.

    the falling off in religiousty among Catholics can’t necessarily be correlated to the Novus Ordo.

    Disagree

    bThere has been a major social/cultural transformation these past 40/50 years. IMO even if the Latin Mass had remained as is there would still have been a sharp falling off of practice among Catholics.
    Comment by Randii

    More than one member of the hierarchy, incl JPII, has said that the pressures of contemporary culture are responsible for most of the problems in the Church.

    Mass said in the vernacular is in fact a concession to that culture. I recommend JXXIII’s Veterum Sapientia.

  88. J Kusske says:

    Many thanks Catoholic for your kind words for Japan’s faithful believers. My words previously were hasty and paid them short shrift. My friends in Saku Nagano-ken with whom I worshipped for two years deserve better. I even ran into some of them at the same Beatification of the 188 Martyrs (officially known as Bl. Peter Kibe and Companions) in Nagasaki, as they’d come down to take part in the all-Japan event. They and all Japanese Catholics sincerely hoped and prayed that that event would/will serve as a wellspring of just the kind of reevangelization as we all hope for. If and (God willing) when the return to more traditional practices at mass reaches this part of the world, I believe Japanese people will embrace them–I hope their bishops will become more amenable to Latin and the like than they have been thus far. (I still don’t understand why they axed the third part of the Sursum Corda; Liturgiam Authenticam is needed there too.)

  89. mibethda says:

    The late Claude Tresmontant – the well-known scholar of ancient Hebrew and ancient Greek as well as of philosophy at the Sorbonne – contended in his ‘The Hebrew Christ’ that the Greek Matthew was a translation from the Hebrew, not Aramaic (based not simply on the historical account of Eusebius – from Papias – but on how a retroversion of the Greek into ancient Hebrew accorded almost perfectly – a conclusion also held by the great ancient Hebrew and Dead Sea scrolls’ scholar, Fr. Jean Carmignac). In his retroversion and then subsequent translation in ‘The Gospel of Matthew’, he contends that the Greek ‘peri pollon’ in Matthew was likely the translation of the Hebrew ‘tahat rabbim’. He translates the retroversion of verse 28 of Chapter 26 as:
    drink this cup all of you
    for this is my blood
    (the blood) of the new covenant
    which is poured out in the place of a great multitude
    His interesting discussion of this translation issue is found in an extensive footnote on page 568-569 of the aforesaid The Gospel of Matthew.

  90. Gabriel Austin says:

    How long, O Lord, will it be, and how often must I write Fr. Z., pointing out that “dumb” is not a synonym for “stupid”? [Thesaurus.]

  91. The Cobbler says:

    “I suspect this “living language” point is important to Grimm, much as it is for Bp. Trautman. In that camp, the translation of Mass should be changing to match language trends. The norms used to correct the translation state that we need a sacred style, which means that it must not be constantly shifting.”

    Forgive me if this has already been discussed in the seventy-something comments, but could someone please tell me why a living language is not allowed to continue using older forms and meanings? Fr. Z’s point is excellent: a sacred style directed toward the eternal should rarely if ever shift, rather than trying to follow the “living” evolution elsewhere; but the assumption that life and change are synonymous in language seems like nonsense to me in the first place. I understand that though life and change aren’t synonymous, life will usually — not always (see below, “yes”, “no” and the like) — involve change. I understand that therefore some things _happen to_ become archaic because the language continues evolving. Still, why is it that most people think everything _must_ either evolve or become archaic? I mean, the words “and”, “yes” and “no” certainly haven’t changed at all in some time, are those portions of English dead or dying? No? Then isn’t it possible for a living language to retain old parts as well as and at the same time as evolving? Whence this linguistic darwinism that says if we continue using an old form or meaning we’re speaking a dead language, for living language must everywhere and always change to suit its environment (which, apparently, never remains the same either)?

  92. mibethda: poured out in the place of a great multitude

    Very interesting. Thank you for that reference.

  93. AnAmericanMother says:

    That seems also to tally with the explanation I heard from a local Maronite priest — that the phrase means “for many-many-many = multitudes”. Interesting that he used the same word: multitude.

  94. catholicmidwest says:

    cmm,

    On the contrary, I think PBXVI is a very good administrator. He has spoken some long-awaited truths in public very clearly and the church is stabilizing, at least here. We are about to get the first translation of the mass in 40+ years which should clean up some of our tackier liturgy problems. I think he’s doing GREAT.

  95. annieoakley says:

    cataholic,

    There are now a dozen or more Catholic Churches in the Tokyo area??? This is great news and I was wondering if you could list them for me? I have a niece who lives there and I’ve been encouraging her to get back to the Church but she doesn’t live near Roppongi and complains there are no Catholic Churches near her. She lives out by ICU in Koganei-shi. She also sometimes visits with her dad in Ikebukuro.

    Is this a recent phenomenon? Back in 2003, I was desperate to find a priest for my sister, who was living there with terminal cancer. Although she lived near St. Mary’s in Setagaya-ku, it was almost impossible to get the priest there to visit her in the hospital – in fact, he did it exactly once in the all the months she was sick. I worked the internet and called around – even the Franciscan Chapel was drawing a blank on where I could find a priest in her vicinity.

    I have another niece who may be moving there after college and your list would help me to help her to get to a Church, no matter which ku she ends up in.

    Thanks for your help!!!

  96. J Kusske says:

    It seems Koganei has a Catholic church, with a website in English: http://www.tokyo.catholic.jp/text/eng/churches/koganei.htm. I have never been into Tokyo’s western suburbs but I believe every sizable subcity within the Tokyo metropolitan area would have its own church. Shibuya and Shinjuku each have one as well, which would probably be pretty straightforward to get to from Koganei. How much English they have is another question of course. I tend to prefer mass in Japanese because the music is better, and there is much more silence and sense of the sacred (for me bowing for the sign of peace is so much nicer than the gladhanding common to American style English masses).

  97. Jayna says:

    And I’m sure all those people who signed that petition certainly signed a petition back in 1970 saying that we should maintain a wait-and-see policy regarding that missal, too, right?

  98. Roland de Chanson says:

    mibethda.

    The problem with that is that if one were to reconstruct classical Latin from the Romance languages, we would not even satisfactorily reproduce vulgar Latin, never mind the the idiom of the Golden Age. The same is true of the bastardized dialect of the majority of NT Greek.

    How then can any “scholar” assume he knows the foreign language equivalent of some NT passage?

    This is, to my mind, as a sometime professional translator, an intellectual hybris that is laughable in the extreme.

  99. mibethda says:

    A few tens of thousands signatures(the last I heard, they were hoping to attain 20,000) is actually a rather pathetic number and not exactly a protest that one should rationally expect to give pause to proceeding with the introduction of the revised translation. Nonetheless, the small cadre of opponents seem determined to create as much of an appearance of popular dissatisfaction as they can. With the help of their usual allies in the media, there is a good chance that they will give that appearance – false though it initially may be – and that may be all that they need in order to influence that large number of Catholics and others who determine what they are to think and what they are to believe by what appears between the covers of Time, on the editorial and op-ed pagess of the NYT, and from the other usual suspects in the popular media and to cause snowballing discontent in the pews.

  100. mibethda says:

    Roland,

    Fr. Carmignac and Claude Tresmontant explain the methodology they used (the former with respect to the Gospel of Mark, the latter with respect to Matthew and John) at length in the introductions and the extensive notes to their works. I would refer you to Tresmontant’s The Gospel of Matthew and Carmignac’s Birth of the Synoptic Gospels, both of which are easily accessible.Both men, and particularly Fr. Carmignac, spent a good part of their lives immersed in the study of ancient Greek and Hebrew from comparative analyses of texts. Fr. Carmignac worked for years on the translation project of the Dead Sea Scrolls and both were more than sometime profesional translators. If you examine their work,I think that you will see that neither was guilty of hubris – not in our current sense of that term and certainly not in its connotation in the ancient Greek.

  101. amicus1962 says:

    catoholic,

    “Pro multis” means “for many” in Japanese. I don’t get your point. Whether one translates it as “for many,” “for the many,” or literally “for many people” in English has no significance to the Japanese since “ooku no hito no tame ni” can mean any of the three in Japanese. That’s why I find the debate on the inclusion or non-inclusion of the article “the” silly because in languages that do not have an article equivalent to “the,” there is no way to distinguish between “many” and “the many.” For instance, try translating “many people” and “the many people” in Japanese. It is the same in Japanese.

  102. annieoakley says:

    J Kusske,

    According to your link, Catholics make up about .5% of the population in Japan. That statistic, I assume, is based on the number of registered parishoners. The question is: How many of those parishoners are Japanese and how many are foreigners? The parishes don’t break down the parishoners by nationality, but they do list foreign language Masses. The charts in your link show a total of 22 Masses offered in non-Japanese languages. The largest number of those are in English – 10, followed by French – 2, German – 2, Indonesian – 2, and 1 Mass each for Vietnamese, Polish, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog, and Portuguese .

    These stats would suggest that part of that .5% statistic includes foreigners, which would make the percentage of Japanese Catholics even lower. Imho, whatever that exact percentage is, it’s shockingly low in a society where Catholicism is allowed to openly proselytize.

  103. annieoakley says:

    btw, thanks for the update on Catholic Churches in Japan. I lived there in the 1980′s – before the internet – and this type of information wasn’t easily accessible.

    What’s strange to me is that the Franciscan Chapel seemed pretty clueless about these other – admittedly small – parishes. Otoh, there are priests in my parish who don’t know the names of parishes in many of our surrounding towns, so maybe there’s not much horizontal communication between parishes; mostly it seems to be vertical between the parish and the local bishop.

  104. robtbrown says:

    How then can any “scholar” assume he knows the foreign language equivalent of some NT passage? This is, to my mind, as a sometime professional translator, an intellectual hybris that is laughable in the extreme.
    Comment by Roland de Chanson

    Even though they use the comparison of structure as well as similar texts found in Hebrew, nevertheless, their conclusions are unprovable hypotheses, from high educated people but still hypothesis.

    My complaint against such research is not the hubris of the scholars, but rather that they don’t seem to understand that the best they can produce is an argument of probability.

  105. J Kusske says:

    I’m frankly surprised, AnnieOakley, that Portuguese and Tagalog aren’t higher than that, considering how many workers from the Philippines and 4th or 5th generation Japanese repatriates from Brazil have come to Japan the past few decades. I did see the Chinese one, in Ueno, which is just like mass in China, run by a Jesuit mission. In my experience, Japanese would not include foreign people in their head counts for demographic purposes, just Japanese citizens (though I am only guessing), and even if they did foreigners would still only make up a small percentage of the total. There are churches in every sizable city in the country, and though not many people attend most of them that still adds up. But it’s certainly true that the low success of evangelizing in Japan these past 50 years is disheartening. Catoholic puts it well: the “filthy tide of mindless materialism and moral relativism” has swamped Japanese society, and it’s extremely hard to win back society against it. The churches survive as leavening agents, and those foreign groups (though still a decided minority) will play a role in that leavening. I know the chapel in Roppongi well, as I often go there when I am staying in Tokyo. Its early mass is in Japanese, and the Franciscan brothers come and chant at it. That mass is more understated than the later American- and Filippino-inspired English masses, and doesn’t draw as much attention, but in a nutshell one might say that that is the Japanese church compared with the foreign congregations: a quiet strength that will endure, and God willing in happier days grow and prosper.

  106. annieoakley says:

    J Kusske,

    I always thought the Japanese Mass was classier because they bow to each other at the “Sign of Peace”. Quiet and dignified – it’s one of their customs that I wish we would adopt (the other is having people take off their shoes when they come in our house – our family got in the habit and have kept it up).

  107. J Kusske says:

    Quiet and dignified is a very good description of the Japanese mass–I’ve been attracted to it from the first. Bowing for the sign of peace is one Far Eastern custom I have adopted wholeheartedly. The Chinese do it too, though they tend to emphasize the event and play a special song for it, often involving clapping, especially at the English masses. I wonder if that has crept in along with the other Filippino practices. (Some of the music coming from the Philippines is iffy at best, like “Lamb of God you take away the sins, have mercy on us and all of mankind” for a common setting of the Agnus Dei. That’s bad English as well as a bad translation.) Removing shoes ties in nicely with Moses and the Burning Bush. Most churches in Tokyo don’t do it as I recall, or at least the larger ones don’t, but smaller churches in the hinterlands all do. I believe the Koreans remove shoes like the Japanese so their churches may do it as well, but in China it’s not done.

  108. annieoakley says:

    J Kusske,

    Thanks for the information on the Chinese and the Koreans.

    It seems some Korean Catholics have the right idea:

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/lay-catholics-in-korea-express-commitment-to-evangelizing-asia/

  109. J Kusske says:

    Ha, may the Lord prosper and keep them! That’s precisely what I want the Koreans to do (they’re already well at work in China, I can relate). Many thanks for that great article!