QUAERITUR: Priest changes “many” to “all” in the consecration.

From a priest:

I was concelebrating a Mass last week (N.O., in English) and the principal celebrant substituted the word ‘all’ for ‘many’ at the consecration. I gather he does this at every Mass he offers. Does that change render the Mass invalid and/or illicit?

See how annoying concelebration can be? Concelebration should be safe, legal and rare.

Ad rem: No, his illicit and abusive changing of the words of consecration did not in this case invalidate the consecration.  Furthermore, it was a concelebration.

However, if the priest does this all the time, his pastor (if he is an assistant) and the local bishop should be informed. It could be useful to send a copy to the Congregation for Divine Worship.

The issue of pro multis was and still is very controversial. If a priest were during the Gloria to make a substitution and say “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to MEN of good will” instead of the dopey choice made by ICEL and the Holy See for “on earth peace to PEOPLE of good will”, that would be wrong, but it wouldn’t be as bad as changing the words of consecration. BTW… my objection to “people of good will” is that the two-syllable word destroys the flow of the sentence. They really needed a one syllable word, but I digress.

Priests are bound to stick to the texts in the books.

However, it is still possible that, even after a few months, a priest will slip and use the obsolete ICEL texts from memory. We shouldn’t be worried about a slip here and there.   But if a priest is regularly changing the words of consecration – especially after all the controversy over that very point – he has stepped over the line. He must stop what he is doing or be stopped by proper authority.

Finally, may I suggest that you send Father a gift of one of my Say The Black Do The Red “New Translation” edition coffee mugs?  Maybe he needs a reminder that there is now a new translation. Perhaps with some Mystic Monk Coffee?

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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36 Responses to QUAERITUR: Priest changes “many” to “all” in the consecration.

  1. leonugent2005 says:

    See how annoying a silent consecration can be? [What does a silent consecration have to do with this question? What is annoying is this completely irrelevant shot.]

  2. Philangelus says:

    “And on Earth peace to those of good will.” There. Fixed it for you. Bring that to them for the next corrected translation. ;-)

    You could also use “folk,” “all,” or “dudes.”

  3. Philangelus: Let us not rule out “peeps”.

  4. NoTambourines says:

    Philangelus– shhhhh! Don’t encourage them! ‘Course, if would have to be “dudes and dudettes.”

    Funny, though. I’m female, but never in my life have I had any trouble understanding that “men” means the human race, and therefore, me, too. I’ve never been offended by its use.

  5. It seems a bit hasty to “gather he does this at every Mass he offers” on the basis of what appears to be a single observation. Old habits die hard. Even out here (in the middle of a very engaged and well-informed congregation) I still hear “and also with you” or “and also with your spirit” from time to time.
    Patience.

  6. TNCath says:

    Regarding the Gloria, I suppose “people” won out over “men” for its inclusivity since “homines/hominibus” is supposed to mean “men and women” as opposed to “viri,” meaning “males.”

    I still think a lot of controversy about “pro multis” could have been avoided had it been translated as “the many” rather than “many.”

  7. sawdustmick says:

    …of course you could go to a Mass where the Priest was up until last week saying “everyone”, but don’t worry he’s changed it now. He is now saying “all humanity”

  8. Margaret says:

    Darn, I thought I was clever realizing that “folks” was a one-syllable substitute. Dudes? Peeps?!?? Never even crossed my mind. Haven’t had my caffeine yet this morning…

    More seriously– of course I cannot speak to the priest’s intention on this, but– I am still hearing a couple of priests (as in literally two, in two different parishes) say “God of power and might” during the Sanctus. I don’t think it’s deliberate, it’s just deeply ingrained. Based on what I know of them, I highly doubt either one is doing it deliberately, based on how carefully they’ve been articulating everything else. Is it possible that the priest in the above question isn’t doing it deliberately? And perhaps might be open to good-natured, fraternal nudge?

  9. CarismaTeaCo says:

    Just yesterday a priest at Prince of Peace Catholic kept saying, ‘The Lord IS with you,’ and continues today and mañana.
    Ironically he chanted some parts yet added ‘praise’ after each elevation.

    It was a charismatic mess from the floor to ceiling … Literally! The pews were rearranged 90 degrees so that the new entrance is now on what was the left side wall. And beneath the choir loft is a Eucharistic chapel . The new altar a table w a crucifix and a stand for the Gospel Book beneath.

    What used to be the sanctuary is now used by the choir, and worst of all that back wall has a beautiful mural of Jesus handing out his Body to his disciples.

    I wish the only problem was a force-of-habit ‘todos’ instead of ‘muchos’ :(

  10. Geoffrey says:

    My pastor has been doing this for the past month or two. In the beginning, he said “for many”, but now every weekend he says “for all”. I don’t know if it is accidental or on purpose, and I am not sure how to bring it up in a delicate and charitable manner…

  11. Nicole says:

    Fr. Z, what is the rule regarding the binding-ness/authority of the Roman Missal and/or the rubrics for liturgical services? Where is it shown that the Missal or the GIRM is bound upon us and the priests of the english speaking world? I am not saying that I don’t think these have a binding quality, I am merely interested in how one would show it objectively. [I suggest that you review Redemptionis Sacramentum, especially 51, for throughout there are salutary admonitions.]

  12. BaedaBenedictus says:

    Mandate that the Ordinary and the Consecration be in Latin and we solve both problems. Honestly, how hard is it? The SSPX church near me has a schola made up entirely of children!

  13. John Reneau says:

    Concerning the Gloria – am I the only person who can’t stop getting this image in my head every time we say it?? Me walking into a Goodwill store and and seeing all of the cashiers dressed in tye-die shirts throwing you a peace symbol. Surely I’m not the only one :)

  14. Supertradmum says:

    Hate “people”. Is not even a traditional word as in older translations of the Bible, ie Douay and King James. I see that as a liberal caving into “inclusive language”.

    The older of the two priests here gets confused at times, but that is excusable.

  15. tcreek says:

    Now that I finally got the gist of what he meant, John Reneau should be banned for his last comment. :)

  16. Nicole says:

    Thank you for your reply, Fr. Z. I will check it out!

  17. robtbrown says:

    It is sad the question was asked by a priest. This is very basic theology that should have been covered in his priestly studies–but no doubt was not. Like many priests (incl FrJim4321), he was cheated in seminary.

    During a course I was teaching at the FSSP seminary, I explained ex opere operato. Afterwards, I told them that understanding that very basic principle, they now knew more about the Sacraments than all 4 priests in my hometown. I wasn’t exaggerating. I had had previous conversations with all 4 (none of whom were dumb), and it was news to them. Lots of classes in back-slapping, picnic planning, and learning to make listening noises–but little theology.

  18. PhilipNeri says:

    I’ve been using the corrected translation since Sept. 2011. . .started using it in the UK. . .and I am still flubbing the lines. I recently concelebrated a funeral Mass where one of the priests praying his “part” basically recited from memory the old translation while staring intently at the missal. So convincing was he that all the priests (including me) obediently recited the old closing doxology!

    Patience, people. . .and remember to presume grace and good will.

    Fr. Philip Neri, OP

  19. acardnal says:

    John Reneau says:
    4 February 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Concerning the Gloria – am I the only person who can’t stop getting this image in my head every time we say it?? Me walking into a Goodwill store and and seeing all of the cashiers dressed in tye-die shirts throwing you a peace symbol. Surely I’m not the only one :)

    RE Your Comment Above: I have know idea what you are talking about and, therefore, conclude that you may indeed be the “only one.”

  20. Volanges says:

    While our priest has left the words of Consecration alone, when he prays EPII (I thought maybe the publisher had inadvertently glued the pages to EP I together but I checked and they’re ok) he consistently refuses to pray for “all the clergy” changing it each time to “all God’s people”.

  21. On Monday I was at a discussion group looking at Sacrosanctum Concilium (which was a catastrophe for several reasons; a) a lot of the people involved and leading it are “spirit of Vatican II” types who refused to listen when it was mentioned that the document said nowt about replacing the altar, removal of altar rails, the priest facing the people etc. and b) these same people spent so long talking about how the document made them feel that we never actually got round to discussing it…needless to say I’m going to the High Mass at Fr. Ray Blake’s parish in Brighton instead of the next meeting) and half way through one lady stood up and started complaining about the change of the wording from “all” to “many”. Despite several people trying to explain to her the reasons for this, including our assistant parish priest who pointed out that Christ’s words were “poured out for you and for many”, she loudly exclaimed “well shouldn’t we be evolving our Christology?!”

    ?!?!?!

    So the words of Christ aren’t good enough then! (Funnily enough what Fr. Aaron said…)

  22. frjim4321 says:

    As previously stated indeed the conundrum around pro multis is far from resolved and discussions will continue for many years. There have been no satisfactory excuses that I have heard for the current rendering in the as-printed prayer. As I go around concelebrating here and there I hear a number of variations. Usually “many” or “all,” I have not heard any of the other variations. The same goes for cup vs. chalice. I keep hearing both of these options.

    (Sadly this is due to a number of funerals in which I have participated recently.)

    With regard to “people” vs. “men” in the Glory to God, with due respect the argument that the two syllable word destroys the flow of the sentence is entirely moot! Since when did those imposing the transliteration that we are currently experimenting with make any effort whatsoever to create a text that flowed naturally? Indeed by design such concerns were intentionally ignored!

  23. Kieninger says:

    My principal dislike of concelebration is that, without fail, the priest concelebrating with me says the Words of Institution too fast and tries to rush me instead of matching my speed. The rubrics state that these words should be pronounced “clearly and distinctly, as the nature of these words requires,” but too many priests don’t slow down.

  24. Chatto says:

    Never mind priests slipping into the old translation – a few months ago, our parish prayed for “John Paul our pope, and David our bishop [who is long since retired]”! He then came round, and corrected it. He said he felt like a lemon afterwards! These things happen.

  25. frjim4321 says:

    robertbrown – – –

    Wow, thank you for remembering me!

    Frankly you are right in part, there were some poor instructors in the seminary. Maybe like two (2) who were coasting through middle age on the docs they earned when they were 30 at the Ang or the Greg.

    And you’re right, the dogmatic guy was weak. No textbooks; he spoke off the top of his head for most of the time, then gave us syllabus a week before the final. He was a dominican.

    That being said, 4 out of 5 scripture profs were superb, the systematics profs were outstanding, the 2 morals profs were exceptional.

    The pastoral program (which you seem to decry) was fairly good. The woman religious who ran the pastoral program was fantastic. She was the cause of several guys to nearly wash out and remarkably she was always right – the ones that almost washed out of pastoral have failed to thrive in ministry and several have churned through a dozen or more assignments in 25 years.

    – – – JB

  26. frjim4321 says:

    Nuts, forgot to say the liturgy prof was amazing. His bibliography was better than any other prof. My liturgy notes are the only ones that I’ve kept all these years. Was also the head of the liturgy office for the diocese for many years.

    So, in general, robert was right that I did get ripped off with respect to the dogmatics piece from the dominican, the rest of the program was exceptionally wonderful!

  27. dspecht says:

    “No, his illicit and abusive changing of the words of consecration did not in this case invalidate the consecration.”

    I would not be that shure.

    If it was only a mistake, ok., then be it.

    But if the priest voluntarily did alter the words and if he intended furthermore to express an other meaning than “many”, then the validity can at least be doubted.

    I know, there is a paper of Fr. McCarthy defending the validity of a consecration with “for all” on romantheologicalforum:
    http://rtforum.org/lt/lt89.html,
    Living tradition, no.89 THE SACRAMENTAL VALIDITY OF “FOR YOU AND FOR ALL”
    by John F. McCarthy.

    But the whole matter is a little bit complicated.

    There are really good arguments – you can read them f.e. on different sedevacantist sites – that there is a problem for validity here.

    And let me stress: there is a difference if the priest intends to express the meaning that the Church gives the words – or has given them all the time – or if he has the intention – deliberately – to change the meaning and alter the words therefore.

    Well, you might argue that the words “for you and for many” do not belong to the (essential, necessary) form of the sacrament — but this has never been decided authoritatively and definitively by the Church, so far as I know.
    You can still hold the opinion that this words belong to the form and can (via changing them intending a changing of meaning) invalidate the consecration.

  28. robtbrown says:

    FrJim4321,

    1. We probably had similar courses in Scripture–I think I had 24 credits of it. Except for the course on St Paul, I was bored and found the time spent in class was disproportionate to any learning that might have actually happened . Little if any emphasis on content, mostly it was concerned with extraneous matter, like the 2 Source Theory (which as a system is a joke), the Yahwist, Priestly, Deuteronomist, and Eloist “writers” (a classmate said that it’s hard enough to read Scripture without trying to keep track of those imaginary people), and worrying about so-called contradictions in texts. It was amusing to see a prof concerned about the various descriptions of who was present at the Crucifixion, as if a statue were being described.

    2. I found form criticism wanting. In fact, using commonly used criteria it can be “determined” that certain OT texts were written after the death of Christ. Mostly, I consider the historical critical method to be little else than the subjective creation of models, then trying to make Scripture fit those models.

    3. In subsequent years I have gone to various H-C monuments in an attempt to find insight into difficult texts. Never once have I found anything of worth. In fact, a very good friend, a grad of the Biblicum who was offered a teaching position there, told me that it is a waste of time to look to H-C texts to try to understand content.

    4. I had no courses in systematic theology. In fact, I object to its concept.

    5. Re the pastoral program:

    a. I don’t believe in seminary programs. They are an American invention laughed at by the Euros–and for that matter, anyone with an ounce of common sense.

    b. Generally, the contemporary idea of pastoral theology is that it usurps doctrine, giving a priest the excuse to avoid anything that might be a hard saying, like contraception or homosexuality. That keeps the people happy and the collections high.

    6. My guess is that you were educated in one of the free standing seminaries, which I think are inevitably deficient. Too hermetically sealed. Too few students to exchange ideas with and too few professors.

  29. robtbrown says:

    dspecht says:

    But if the priest voluntarily did alter the words and if he intended furthermore to express an other meaning than “many”, then the validity can at least be doubted.

    It will not be doubt by anyone who knows anything.

    There are really good arguments – you can read them f.e. on different sedevacantist sites – that there is a problem for validity here.

    No, they’re not good arguments. They are little else than Donatism applied to Eucharistic theology.

  30. frjim4321 says:

    rb, don’t know where you are incardinated but it sounds like they used the hothouse seminaries rather than having their own . . . I guess if that works and you are doing good ministry either way seems alright . . .

  31. BobP says:

    CarismaTeaCo says:
    Just yesterday a priest at Prince of Peace Catholic kept saying, ‘The Lord IS with you,’ and continues today and mañana.

    Well, if he’s hispanic he might be used to saying “El Senor este con vosotros” so he may have an excuse there. :)

  32. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    rb, don’t know where you are incardinated but it sounds like they used the hothouse seminaries rather than having their own . . . I guess if that works and you are doing good ministry either way seems alright . . .

    Who says that I’m incardinated?

    I would not have wasted my time and money in a hothouse seminary. I had friends who made that mistake (which they admit). And I was educated in Rome. .

  33. NoTambourines says:

    Esté is subjunctive, though, so “The Lord be with you” would be the translation. Está, indicative, would be “is.”

  34. just_a_random_guy says:

    I have only been to two Traditional Latin Masses, both of them almost a decade ago, and confess that I don’t remember too much about them. I have recently been reading this blog to try to learn more about why there is such passionate devotion to this form of the Mass among some.

    Until coming across this thread and leonugent2005’s comment, I guess I didn’t know (or had forgotten) that the Canon was said silently by the priest. In the context of this question and the various opinions proffered about validity and liceity based upon a priest saying one word at odds with the approved English translation, I wonder how the same situation would play out with the Canon said silently. How does one know what the priest is saying if he is standing in silence? Indeed, how can one know if he has said anything at all? The presumption is that he is reading the correct text, but that is purely an assumption on the part of the congregation.

    It seems odd that the verbalization of the Canon would be cause for everyone in the congregation to become armchair canonists, passing judgment on the meaning and intention of the priest. Why would the lack of words not cause the same concern?

    Please help.

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