ASK FATHER: Priest says “for all” in consecration. Invalid?

Say the Black Do the RedFrom a reader…


I just read an article from the Remnant which argued that the use of “for all” instead of “for many” did not invalidate the Mass.

This article was written immediately after the release of the new translation of the Ordinary Form, which was promulgated five years ago by Pope Benedict XVI. My question is whether a priest continuing to use “for all” in spite of the new, corrected translation would, in your opinion, invalidate the Mass.

The reason I ask is that my parents’ pastor does that and I fear that they are not attending a valid Mass.

Cutting to the chase, if that’s the only problem with the consecration, then, yes, the consecration is valid.

What your parent’s pastor is doing is wrong.  He should stick to the approved form for the consecration of the Precious Blood.  This is what I talk about constantly here: people shouldn’t have to worry that sacraments are perhaps invalid because of the antics of some knucklehead.

So, what that priest is doing is an abuse.  You and your parents don’t have to worry about validity.  However, if they were worrying about validity, others may also be worried.  You or your parents are within your rights to address a question about why Father uses that outdated form.  You should ask the bishop if what he is doing is valid or not.  You also have the right to address that question to the Holy See.

There are abuses and then there are abuses.  Some of them are more serious than others and require action on the part of the faithful.   We read in the Congregation for Divine Worship’s document Redemptionis Sacramentum 

6. Complaints Regarding Abuses in Liturgical Matters

[183.] In an altogether particular manner, let everyone do all that is in their power to ensure that the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist will be protected from any and every irreverence or distortion and that all abuses be thoroughly corrected. This is a most serious duty incumbent upon each and every one, and all are bound to carry it out without any favouritism.

[184.] Any Catholic, whether Priest or Deacon or lay member of Christ’s faithful, has the right to lodge a complaint regarding a liturgical abuse to the diocesan Bishop or the competent Ordinary equivalent to him in law, or to the Apostolic See on account of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff. It is fitting, however, insofar as possible, that the report or complaint be submitted first to the diocesan Bishop. This is naturally to be done in truth and charity.

say_the_black_do_the_red_regular_mugSome abuses are not so serious and don’t warrant much energy.  For example, are blue used on a Marian feast?   Blue isn’t an official color except by exceptions.  But that’s not much of an abuse.  Does the priest genuflect in the Ordinary Form each time he passes before the tabernacle?  The rubrics say he shouldn’t, but, frankly, that’s just plain crazy.  Abuse? Yes.  Serious, certainly not.  However, if we get into issues having to do with the sacramental MATTER or FORM, we sit up straight and sharpen our eyes and ears.  Because nothing is more serious in the Mass than the valid consecration of the Eucharist, abuses of the sacramental form must be addressed.

Even in the matter of sacramental form of the consecration we can make a distinction.  Say that a priest before the change of the translation said “for many” instead of “for all”, or say that, somehow, stupidly, this gets changed back to “for all” from the present “for many” and the priest continues to say “for many”.  Abuse?  Yes.  However, in this case, the priest is clearly doing something in conformity with long established tradition and common sense (pro multis means “for many” regardless of the absurd philological fan dances done by libs to make a word in Latin mean something it has never meant, based on an imaginary text in Aramaic that doesn’t exist).  So, today, saying “for all” is a worse abuse than the abuse of the aforementioned priest who stick to “for many”.  This is perhaps nitpicky.

An easy solution is found in using Latin, which eliminates the problem and, even better, using the Extraordinary Form.

Finally, perhaps you should get that priest some Say The Black Do The Red swag!  I’m sure he’d appreciate it.

Hmmm… come to think of it, when I get a moment, I’ll add car magnets to the Fr. Z Store. You could get packs of them and given them out to fellow parishioners for their cars.  Father will surely take note of several dozen cars in his lot that urge him to stop doing what he is doing.  I’ll get on that.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. JabbaPapa says:

    The “for all” is wrong, but the translation of the original phrase remains debatable.

  2. ususantiquor says:

    We have a Jesuit priest that says Mass in a diocesan parish where we attend from time to time (they have the TLM twice a month) who says “for the multitude.” Same story?

  3. HeatherPA says:

    I had the unfortunate experience last fall of attending a Mass at a parish in a neighboring diocese where the priest did so many things that were of his own making and a mish mash of prayers of his own invention mixed in with the old obsolete translation that I was in tears by the conclusion and seriously concerned for the first time ever in my adult life if the Eucharist was really & truly consecrated at the Mass.

    I spoke with my confessor about my concerns and after he asked me to describe everything I saw and heard, he instructed me to write a brief, succinct, and non emotional letter to the bishop of that diocese describing what I witnessed and the exact words and phrases the priest used (“God our Mother” was part of the Eucharistic prayer with no mention ever of the Blessed Mother, for example, for all instead of many, but the words of consecration weren’t even the old ones entirely, among many other things…).

    I wrote the letter and also assured the bishop (who is one of the better ones) of my family’s prayers for his priesthood and asked his prayers for my children’s vocations. He sent back a very kind response, and I feel like he looked into it. I pray for that priest and his parish in every rosary, he needs lots of prayers.

  4. KatieL56 says:

    I would love a magnet.
    The priest at my parish not only says “for all”, but he ad libs the entire Eucharistic prayers, start to finish, picks out songs that get played weeks on end for the responsorial psalms, manages never to use the word “he” when he proclaims the gospel, never says a Creed or a Gloria, and ends the consecration with, “this cup will be shed for you and for all people, because you are loved so much.” (after of course mentioning how Jesus shared the meal with his disciples, his family, and his friends). The said cup is glass.

    I usually come home from a Mass in tears, and even though I include Father in my Morning Offering prayers (which has at least kept me from the anger and other hateful feelings I had), it just seems as if each week he finds more and more ways to foment disobedience. The people of course love him (he is very much the ‘community man’) but last week in his homily he spoke of when he was with his fellow priests meeting with the bishop a couple of weeks ago and being told that ‘you people in the pews’ were going to get ‘new Evangelization’. He then said that HE said, “Bishop”, I said to him, “Bishop, you would save a lot of money and not have to do this ‘new evangelization’ if you would just tell us priests to be nice once in a while. To stop telling people at funerals that they aren’t good enough to come to communion. That is hateful and wrong, Bishop, I said to him”. And of course the people were cheering and clapping. . .

    Honestly, Father, the only thing that he says according to the rubrics is the Our Father. Everything else, and I mean everything, can be and has been changed or omitted on a regular basis. Am I worried about validity? I was once told by a fellow Catholic that, even though virtually every liturgical abuse of a ‘petty nature’ was being dumped on us, provided that the priest said, “This is my body’ and “this is my blood’ the Mass is valid. But I’m thinking of the people in the 7 years he’s been here, plus my grandsons (ages 4 and 6) who should be going to church regularly now they’re older. . .how can little children learn about Mass when the “Mass’ they are exposed to is so completely and utterly different from a Mass done by the rules? How are they supposed to learn from weekly experience when each week they hear and see Father doing and saying something different? When they can’t use the missal to follow along? What kind of lesson are the children at the local Catholic school learning? What kind of lesson are their parents learning? I’ll tell you what many are learning. . .that disobedience is cool. That ‘the rules’ are for losers and phonies and hypocrites. And when they go off to start having their own families and attending other parishes, they’ll want and expect that same sort of teaching. And if they don’t get it, they’ll balk and they’ll talk and finally they’ll walk, and another generation of Catholics will join the angry ‘ex Catholic’ or ‘recovering Catholic’ or CINO or ‘agitator Catholic group’. All because one man thinks he knows better than anybody and is bound and determined to have things his way. . .

  5. JabbaPapa says:

    ususantiquor :

    We have a Jesuit priest that says Mass in a diocesan parish where we attend from time to time (they have the TLM twice a month) who says “for the multitude.” Same story?

    No, except to the extent that he shouldn’t be unilaterally changing the text of the Liturgy, not without grave cause anyway.

    Having said that, “for the multitude” is not a mistranslation of pro multis as is “for all”. Multis here can indeed be read as a noun rather than an adjective. Though perhaps “for a multitude” might be more literal ? Pope Benedict’s discussion of the matter dismissed the use of the definite article in translation rather authoritatively.

  6. Prayerful says:

    Thankfully, this weird radical ad libbing was rare for me. However, it happened more than once. It was one of the reasons why I have only heard the Mass codified by St Pius V (typical edition of 1962) for a good while now. The Novus Ordo Missae can become an incredible display of priestly narcissism. They see themselves as actors or performers, but won’t stick to a script like an actor. I hope the NOM vanishes somehow.

  7. AngelGuarded says:

    The retired priest who helps at our parish is a “young 70-something hippy.” He ALWAYS says “for all.” In charity, I asked him why. He told me “for many” was a “bad translation.” (I did not know at that time, that it is translated from “pro multis.”) After he said that, he said “don’t tell the pope” so I know he knows he’s wrong. He did not stop saying “for all,” however. A few weeks later, my husband and I went to him again. I asked him if he thought he should use the new translation out of obedience as a good example to the altar servers and others who may notice the other priests say “for many.” I brought up the importance of obedience using Saint Faustina’s diary as an example. His response to that was, “Saint who?” I later gave him a copy of her diary (which I suspect is still in plastic somewhere in his residence.) Because I love my young very Catholic parish priest and made a private vow not to complain to him (because I see what the constant complaints from parishioners does to him), I now tolerate it and cannot bring myself to write to the Archbishop (it would be Cupich). During a different dust-up with this hippy priest about whether the Dubia is or is not a criticism (he said it is, I said it is not), the pastor witnessed our discussion and said “I cannot do anything about him.” So… after reading Fr Z’s post, apparently I am obligated not to simply tolerate it in silence. Honestly though, I can’t see any good coming from confronting him again. Please pray for this priest.

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