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,  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.