QUAERITUR: Priest follows new translation but continues to say “for all” rather than “for many”

From a reader:

My pastor uses the new translation of the Mass with the exception of the words “for many” at the consecration. He continues to use the words “for all.” I find that this bothers me. I would appreciate your opinion on this matter.

I suspect that, at this point, Father isn’t just slipping back into a habit, words that he was used  to.  He is doing this pointedly and purposely.  He is doing this from defiance.

My suggestion is you ask your local bishop if Father obtained a special permission from him to continue to use a sacramental form (words of consecration) that differs from that approved by the Church.

Keep your letter extremely brief, without any angry words or accusations.  Don’t instruct the bishop about the new translation.  Just ask the question and request a response.

Send a copy of the letter to the Apostolic Nuncio.  Make sure you indicate on the letter to your bishops that you are cc:’ing the Nuncio.

His Excellency
Most Rev. Carlo Maria Viganò
Apostolic Nuncio of United States of America
3339 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20008-3687

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, Priests and Priesthood, The future and our choices. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Mary Jane says:

    Yikes…I feel sorry for the priest. Fr Z gave good advice; I think following it is the best course of action.

  2. Father K says:

    I don’t – he is imposing his own illegitimate preference for what is prescribed for the Roman Rite in English. Those who belong to the Roman Rite have the right to it without individualistic ideologues or whatever forcing their will on them.

  3. maioremlaetitiam says:

    The case is not an isolated one. Priests do indeed claim (or pretend) that they still need to get used to the new translation, especially as they do not so much read as recite the words of consecration. I find that difficult to believe, in particular when it is not single instances but their common practice. Just recently I was at a mass where the principal celebrant said “for all” and the con-celebrant “for many” – so far for the sacrament of unity. The Holy Father`s decision and explanation on the matter is clear, as given in his letter to the German bishops: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/letters/2012/documents/hf_ben-xvi_let_20120414_zollitsch_en.html
    all the priests should read it, and act accordingly.

  4. tealady24 says:

    I agree.
    If you don’t want to follow the leader, then go be a Protestant. Then you can ‘found’ your own church, and in your lifetime, see it converted into a Catholic house of prayer.
    Good luck with that defiance.

  5. Melody says:

    I’m agreed with Father Z on this, but I still wince when I hear “many” simply because it’s such a vague term.
    After reading Father Z’s breakdowns on the meaning of “pro multis” I think “For so many” would a smoother translation of the original.

  6. Mary Jane says:

    Seems I need to clarify – I feel sorry for the priest not because he will be “reported”, but because there must be something going on personally for him to cause him to purposely not use the right wording.

  7. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    I know of a priest who will only use one of the new Eucharistic prayers. He refuses to use the others. I am sure that is acceptable, [Yes. It is. Particularly when that EP is the Roman Canon.]

    but very far from the intention of the bishops when they approved the new translation. [HUH?]

    I suspect there is nothing to be done in cases of passive aggression, only in cases of open defiance. But in the case at hand: Shouldn’t the parishioner also speak to the priest first? [Not in this case.]

    And how about getting others to sign the letter as well, so there will be more “documentation” so to speak? [It may come to that, but that would be pretty aggressive. It would be better for the whole thing to be resolved quietly and behind the scenes without the whole parish yakking about it.]

  8. TomG says:

    As Fr. Z and others have said so many times before, let the consecration be in LATIN!

  9. ContraMundum says:

    I don’t know. Several years ago, the priest at my parish was an older man (a late vocation, he was a widower with adult children) who was very serious and orthodox. However, he almost always said “Creator” in the Creed, rather than “Maker”. He was just confusing the language from the Apostles Creed with the words from the Nicene Creed; there was no deliberate disobedience.

  10. APX says:

    Though I think before sending the letter, one should make sure they’re sending it with the correct inner disposition and out of charity and not self-seeking motives. [True. But inner disposition doesn’t change the facts of the matter.]

  11. Simon_GNR says:

    Massachusetts Catholic: “I know of a priest who will only use one of the new Eucharistic prayers.”

    Since the introduction of the new translation of the Mass I have never heard anything other than the Second Eucharistic Prayer, and this is the case for five different priests whose Masses I have attended. Is it the case that no-one has got round to learning anything other than the Second Eucharistic Prayer, which is by some distance the shortest and (presumably) easiest to remember, because they can’t be bothered to spend the time in learning the new translations for the other three Eucharistic Prayers? I like all four Eucharistic Prayers to some extent and all seem to “bring something to the party”, so to speak. I like the variety of the four different prayers, though my personal favourite is the First, the Roman Canon.

    I’m glad to say that I’ve never heard any priest say “for all” rather than “for many” since the new translation was brought in. There has been the odd minor slip of the tongue, but I’m sure that none of the priests I have heard say Mass have *deliberately* chosen not to use the correct form of words in the new translation.

    Having said that, I myself always deviate from the words set out in the Missal for the Lord’s Prayer: I always say “..as we forgive them that trespass against us” rather than “..as we forgive those who trespass against us”. I was brought up to say the first, older, form of words and I see no need to change. Also, I omit the word “in” from “I believe (in) one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church” in the Nicene Creed: the “in” isn’t there in the Latin (“Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam”) – I don’t just believe “in” the Church, I believe the Church and what it teaches about God’s revealed truth.

  12. akp1 says:

    We have one priest who says ‘friends’ each time it should be ‘brethren’ or ‘brothers and sisters’. I hoped he’d stop with the new translation but no. Probably fairly minor but drives me mad! Lucky for me he’s at a parish I don’t often get to!

  13. anilwang says:

    The key issue is that because there are so many options in the NO, and feast days change some of the prayers, and the liturgical books aren’t freely available to the laity, its not always easy to tell a liturgical abuse from a legitimate abuse.

    For instance, at my daily mass parish most priests or lectors sang the alleluia before the gospel, but one priest wouldn’t. I’ve thought that was an abuse, but it turns out it’s just an option that can be omitted.

    Similarly, there’s another priest which regularly replaces “Pray brothers and sisters” (aka “Pray brethren”) with “Pray friends”, which seems to be an abuse but I wouldn’t be able to confirm it’s just another local option and not ad libbing.

    On a recent feast day, this priest has also replaced the “At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say” before the “Our Father” with something to the effect of “As we celebrate the feast day of [I forget which saint], let us be inspired by their zeal at evangelization as we pray…”. This definitely sounds like ad libbing, but again, I don’t have access to the liturgical books so I can’t confirm (e.g. the Our Father prefix is optional and an optional feast day prayer is available), and since this is an infrequent priest likely filling in because no other priest is found for daily mass that day, I’d need a bit more assurance that it is an abuse before raising a stink.

  14. anilwang says:

    Oops. Minor correction on my last post:

    > “its not always easy to tell a liturgical abuse from a legitimate abuse.”
    Obviously, the last word shouldn’t be there:-)

  15. ContraMundum says:

    I noticed that, but I thought it was intentional. I think some of these ideas are so bad that they even though they are legitimate, they might be called an abuse!

  16. asperges says:

    I have long been of the opinion that the words of consecration should always and everywhere in the Latin rite be in Latin from ‘qui pridie’ to ‘mysterium fidei.’ This would be a beautiful sign of unity without disallowing the use of the vernacular for the rest of the Mass. It would also overcome any abuse or alteration of the formulae. Something similar is done in the Maronite liturgy, where Syriac is used for the words of institution rather than whatever vernacular is used elsewhere.

  17. xsosdid says:

    We have prayed the confiteor a total of once at my parish since the new translation. Is this optional? I love it and wish it were a part of every mass.

  18. Geoffrey says:

    Timely post! My pastor does the exact same thing. In the beginning, he said “for many”, but after a while changed back to “for all”. He takes liberties with other texts and seems to no longer use the Confiteor as he always used to… the new translation must be too negative now.

    At any rate, around Holy Week I wrote him a very polite letter. I have not yet received a reply, nor have there been any corrections. I figured I would give it 6 months before writing to the Bishop…

  19. gmarie says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z for answering this question…this post is indeed timely for me, too. My pastor has been saying “for all” instead of “for many” for at least 5-6 weeks. While I was inclined the first time to believe it was a slip, I now think it is intentional. I will be writing to my bishop and the nuncio right away.

  20. AnnAsher says:

    It scandalizes the faithful to deviate from the text. I have recently penned a letter to a Vishop regarding a retired priest. At the consecration this priest said ” this is his body” instead of ” this is my body”. I do not know what intention was held. I do not know if this was caused by absentmindedness, drunkenness or the desire to reject in persona christi. I do not know if the sacrament is valid. I should not have to ask.

  21. GordonB says:

    I’ve heard a priest who regularly says “… will be poured out for you, for the forgiveness of sins.”

  22. muckemdanno says:

    Father, aren’t the words of consecration a necessary part of the form of the sacrament?

    This priest (apparantly) wants to do something other than what the Church does in the mass, since he is using words other than those approved by the Church. In my mind, this calls into question the validity of any masses said by this priest. I would avoid him like the plague.

  23. AnnAsher says:

    iPhone operator difficulties * Bishop not Vishop.

  24. Norah says:

    In my parish in Australia we use an Our Sunday Celebration sheet from St Paul’s Publications which only contains the Apostles Creed, no confiteor and no solemn blessings.

  25. heway says:

    Hee, hee. I want to call all this – the ‘priest police’. Concentrate on what you are doing, saying, praying during Mass…and leave the validity to the Lord.

  26. CarpeNoctem says:

    I would advise asking Fr. if he realizes what he is saying… that he has fallen into the old form. I’m a relatively young guy, myself, and one who wants to do what’s right, but I often find myself, after the intense spiritual and prayerful moment of the consecration, asking myself…. “did I do that right? Did I use the right words? ‘for many’? ‘chalice’?”. It’s not that I’m not paying attention or that I’m being inattentive to what I’m doing, but as I replay the moment in my mind, the novelty of the new habit sometimes still distracts me.

    For sure, there’s no going back. I really like the new translation, but it’s taking a bit longer to unlearn old habits and patterns which I’ve been hearing or saying my entire life up to 9 months ago.
    There’s definitely a new level of appreciation for those who had to put up with the changes of 40 years ago

    If the priest in question is willfully doing his own thing, yeah, string ’em up. I, for one, would hope that someone simply would let me know that I’m messing up before getting a letter from my bishop… Or Rome.

    I’m finding that, now that I’m getting more familiar with the prayers, I’m having to be even more careful. I find that there is no problem or scruple in the other languages I celebrate in, including EF Latin… Thus the importance of finally getting it right in English and then leaving it alone.

  27. Rev. Mr. Stephen says:

    Simon_GNR, excellent point about the final paragraph of the Nicene Creed, believing “in” one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church versus “Believing one, holy, . . . . ”

    For about a year and a half prior to the institution of the Third Edition in Advent 2011, I did presentations on the restored missal throughout my diocese. When I began those presentations, the text of the edition that was to be used was actually the more accurate one–“I believe one, holy, . . . .” However, between 2008 and 2010, the US Bishops sought a number of indults to change a few things here and there, and unfortunatley that was one of them. Permission was granted to change it to the more inaccurate “I believe IN one, holy, . . . ”

    I actually had to change my presentation (including the accompanying PowerPoint). I was not too happy about it (nor am I now in light of the change) because that was a crucial teaching point in it–that anyone can believe “in” the Church–that it exists, etc. But the actual Creed (in Latin) states that I “believe the Church.” In other words, believing what the Church teaches courses thorugh our veins–it is essential to being Catholic.

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  29. jhayes says:

    At the International Eucharistic Conference on Sunday, Cardinal Ouellet pointed out that while the word has been changed to be a more accurate translation, “we pray that God’s will for the salvation of all be fulfilled”

    At the Last Supper, Jesus, after consecrating the bread into His Body, took a cup, and when he had returned thanks he gave it to his disciples saying, “This is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many” (Mk. 14:24). “Poured out for many” instead of “poured out for all” is a more faithful translation of the original text, but it does not mean to suggest that Jesus’ sacrifice for all people is somehow restricted. In fact, Christ’s unique sacrifice offers salvation to each and every human being. We do not know, nor do we have to know, whether some or many will refuse His grace in the end. However, we pray that God’s will for the salvation of all be fulfilled.

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  31. Susie says:

    We have a local priest who has been doing the same thing. I was going to complain to my sister about him but then I thought I would pray for him instead, and tell Jesus I was sorry during the Consecration that this priest was being disobedient. The same priest would follow up by pointedly leading the people to say the old words following “Lord, I am not worthy…”, even though he apparently has accepted other changes in the Mass. (Sorry, I’m sure there is an official name for that prayer but I don’t know what it is.) Last Sunday I was praying again for him at Mass, and he said the prayer correctly! Yay! I am sorry to admit that I didn’t hear what he said at the Consecration. Hopefully he is praying for me so that I will be better able to keep my focus, because I will be so happy if I find he is saying it correctly! And because it is an awful time to lose focus!

    But if you are aware of other priests who are being disobedient in this regard, pray for them! It works!

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