The Germans are revolting.

And so it begins.

When Magnum principium came out (which increased the role of bishops conferences in the preparation of liturgical translations), I mentioned that the Germans are usually the problem.  HERE

Now there’s this from the Catholic Herald.  My emphases and comments.

Cardinals Marx and Sarah disagree on Magnum Principium

Two cardinals have disagreed over how much authority the Pope’s motu proprio Magnum Principium gives to local bishops’ conferences.

The papal document gives bishops’ conferences greater say over the translation of liturgical texts, changing the role of the Congregation for Divine Worship from one of recognitio to confirmatio. However, two senior cardinals have disagreed over the exact meaning of this difference.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German bishops’ conference, welcomed the document, implying that it was a clear break with the 2001 document Liturgiam authenticum, which he called a “dead end”[Marx is wrong.  Magnum principium did not cancel out the norms of Liturgiam authenticam.]

“Rome is charged with the interpretation of dogmas, but not with questions of style. Now, thanks to Magnum Principium, episcopal conferences enjoy a much greater freedom,” he said.  [But they are not free to make inaccurate translations.]

He also hinted that the German bishops had dropped a proposed new translation of the Mass that was more faithful to the original Latin text, with much of the controversy centring around how to translate the words “pro multis”.  [The problem is that they are not free in the matter of translations of sacramental forms.  That is reserved to the Holy See, indeed to the Pope.]

The words appear as part of the phrase “qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum” in reference to the Precious Blood during the consecration of the wine in the Roman Canon.

The most accurate English translation is “for many”, but many translations, including Spanish, Portuguese and German, initially rendered it [inaccurately] as “for all”.

In 2006, the Holy See gave instruction that all vernacular editions of the Roman Missal should translate the words as “for many”, pointing out that it is also the most literal translation of the original Greek “περὶ πολλῶν” in Matthew 26:28.  [While that is the case, it must also be noted that the Roman Catechism has a paragraph explaining why we cannot say “pro omnibus”.  Moreover, its perennial use in Mass also constitutes its own theological locus.]

The change met with opposition from the German bishops, however, prompting Pope Benedict XVI to write a personal letter in 2012 explaining why they should adopt the new translation. [They ignored him.]

Now Cardinal Marx has signalled the German bishops will use Magnum Principium as an opportunity to drop the new translation and keep the old, less literal version. [It will not, cannot be approved if it doesn’t adhere to the translation norms which are, still, in Liturgiam authenticam.]

Cardinal Robert Sarah, on the other hand, has said ultimate authority still lies with the Vatican, which must still approve all new translations, and can veto proposals that are not faithful to the original text.

The Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship said the new motu proprio does not reduce the body to a mere rubber stamp.

“Like the recognitio, the confirmatio is by no means a formality,” the cardinal said.

Instead, it “presupposes and implies a detailed review on the part of the Holy See” including the ability to refuse assent unless certain modifications are made.

“So, for example, if, in the Creed of the Order of Mass, the expression: ‘consubstantialem Patri’ is translated in English by: ‘one in Being with the Father’, the Holy See may impose – and even must impose (cf. n. 6) – the translation: ‘consubstantial with the Father’, as a condition sine qua non of its confirmatio of the entirety of the Roman Missal in English.”

Magnum Principium, then, is simply a question of making “collaboration…between the Apostolic See and Episcopal Conferences easier and more fruitful.”

“… easier… more fruitful…”

Yeah, this will easily be a lot fruitier.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Julia_Augusta says:

    Why do the German bishops disagree with Cardinal Sarah? I am not up to speed with the power struggles going on in the Church.

  2. jfk03 says:

    Under the Marx approach, the words of consecration in German could end up as “this is a symbol of my body.”

  3. JabbaPapa says:

    The actual purpose of Magnum principium seems to be to allow dialectal divergence in liturgical translations into languages where there may be some significant local variance in usage — which has been a significant stumbling block in the translation project of the Third Edition of the Missal in the French-speaking Church, for example.

    But I do wish that the Pope had encouraged the Bishops Conferences to continue facing these problems head on — the magnificent French Liturgical Bible is a product of that Liturgical translation project, and is the best proof available that accepting the difficulties inherent to the worthy goal of good translations acceptable to all is far better than just to give up and create more local differences and fractures between Catholic communities.

  4. TonyO says:

    Rome is charged with the interpretation of dogmas, but not with questions of style.

    Style? STYLE!? I don’t know about the Germans, but the ICEL pretty much took ‘style’ out to the river, drowned it, then shot it, then hanged it, drawn and quartered it, and dragged it’s remains through the town behind the manure wagon. It’s hard to see how the CDW could possibly do worse. A child throwing darts at a dictionary would have been an improvement: by mere chance he would alight on some phrases that do not offend the ear, whereas ICEL went out of its way to find phrases that offend the ear, the nose, and the tongue.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  5. Ave Crux says:

    This sounds exactly like the AL debate all over again. The “normalists” saying at the outset it won’t change anything only to see the unravelling spreading further and further within the Church, one Bishops conference disagreeing with another Bishops conference and so on.

    Divide and conquer will ever remain an unassailably successful strategy.

    Cardinal Sarah will either be removed or neutralized and the Bishops will be given virtual authority over their respective jurisdictions.

    This was precisely why Pope Francis made this change to begin with, in the same way that he promulgated AL to effect his personal agenda.

    Have we not learned yet how Rome is operating these days? It does us no good to quell the alarm signals in our consciences when our Church is under siege from within. We must not be continually lulled to sleep by ill-placed optimism until the damage is irreversible on every front.

  6. george says:

    The first time I read the headline, Father, I thought you meant “revolting” as an adjective. Only later when I re-read it did I realize you meant it as a verb…

    [Did I?]

  7. Peter in Canberra says:

    @jfk03 – you made my day with that quip. thank you.
    @george – I am sure that the words can be interpreted anyway you want :-)

    on the story itself – sad, sad, sad.

  8. A.D. says:

    Good one, TonyO!

  9. Jennifer P says:

    Fr. Z wrote: ” [It will not, cannot be approved if it doesn’t adhere to the translation norms which are, still, in Liturgiam authenticam.]”

    I am not sure this is true. Byzantine (Ruthenian) Catholics obtained approval in 2007 on a Revised Divine Liturgy that violated Liturgiam Authenticam. The rubrics depart significantly from the official Byzantine liturgical texts published by Rome. [NB: RUTHENIAN!] The principle for translation was to use gender-neutral English. In the Creed “who for us men and for our salvation” was changed to “who for us and our salvation.” Every single use of the words “man” or “mankind” (etc.) has been changed (most often pluralized to a form of “us”). Christ no longer “loves mankind.” He “loves us.” The translation committee members were unified in calling “Liturgiam Authenticam” “bad theology”.

    The result is, of course, that people walked away. Many parishes have seen their Sunday attendance fall by 25-40%.

  10. Kerry says:

    Without looking, I’d wager a sawbuck against that German ‘Berliner’ jelly doughnut, that the word “style” is nowhere to be found in the Catechism.

  11. Unwilling says:

    Oh, what a tangled web we weave
    When first we practise to deceive!

  12. Unwilling says:

    Is “style” in the CCC? Well, since the CCC is a Latin document (and “style” English), no. So, what Latin word are we wondering about? I guess “cultus” might be translated “style”. I find about 150 occurrences. Mostly it means “worship” or “Rite”. I didn’t notice any with meaning like in “Style Manual” nor “Gangnam Style” nor [German] “Stil”. That said, an argument from silence is not very strong.

    The main thing is obedience and also universality.

  13. Does anyone see the irony in that almost 500 years to the date that a German dissident cleric staked his broadsheet to a church door which led to the fracturing of the Church that many in the current crop of German clergy is doing the same?

  14. Serviam says:

    I believe “revolting”, as used here, is both an adjective and a verb.

    Lord, have mercy.

  15. Ocampa says:

    Newspaper headline: “The Germans are Revolting”

  16. LarryW2LJ says:

    I took it as an adjective only …….. and agree.

  17. Just stick to the Latin. Problem solved.

  18. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Ave Crux is right. We are being beaten up within our own tent, while the world outside spins into moral chaos. And the net effect of AL and MP is centrifugal force, not centripetal force. These and other attacks on Truth and unity are emanating from the very point that should be the source of Truth and unity, confirming the brethren. The center is in the hands of the Enemy and the true life of the Church is found only in the peripheries.

    It is no longer possible to attribute the actions of the Pope to inexperience, misguidedness, or ignorance. He and his Modernist cabal are deliberately pouring water in the boat even as they drill holes in the hull. They know what they are doing. As the Cardinals are evidently unwilling to act, all but perhaps two of them should take off their red robes, signifying willingness to accept martyrdom, and slink away.

    The rest of us must pray and do penance, as our Lady of Fatima directed, in reparation for the insults made to her Immaculate Heart. It was no accident that among the first targets of this papacy was the thriving Order of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. This is war and we can win only by invoking Divine intervention because the enemy is the Serpent.

    The destruction we are seeing is part of the predicted chastisement that is necessary to purify the Church. Our response should be not passive acceptance of the inevitable but active prayer and work to defend and teach the Faith wherever we are. Beg God to mitigate the chastisement. Our Lord said, “For the sake of the elect the time will be shortened.” At Akita, our Lady said, “The living will envy the dead.” Pope Benedict told the last group of new Cardinals, “In the end, God wins.” Our Lady at Fatima said, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” Sister Lucia told Cardinal Caffarra, “The decisive battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about marriage and the family.” This is all the language of war and we are well into it.

  19. Ultrarunner says:

    As an information technology solutions provider, I see this from an entirely different perspective.

    E-Readers will provide bishops with the flexibility they want to modify worship texts, without the cost associated with reprinting entire books.

    But wait, if they have networked E-Readers, which are extremely affordable, then they can transmit a live mass digitally over the internet to these devices. Likewise, anonymous and secure end to end audio communication between priests at a national call center and lay persons will be possible for 24/7 confessions in a multitude of languages. In other words, for about the price a new book of worship when scaled appropriately, you create a web-based virtual church for tens of millions of people.

    Which also drastically reduces the negative effects associated with “Catholic Consumerism”. Shuddering physical churches and preventing all that driving to and from them every week reduces green house emissions associated with Catholic worship almost down to zero, which is entirely in line with Laudato Si. The Pope has asked us to find new ways of doing things to save the planet. There is also a universal call to completely decarbonize by 2050.

    Well, there you have it.

  20. bwfackler says:

    In Slovakia, the bishops changed the bible to say “for all” to match the bad translation in the mass. Is this a common problem? Are there other countries where pro multis was translated as for all in both the mass and the new official Catholic bible translation?

  21. Semper Gumby says:

    Deo Volente, Cdl. Marx’s willfulness and errors do not also extend- after the recent Poland Rosary Rally- to collecting maps of the Polish border.

  22. Pingback: TVESDAY CATHOLICA EXTRA | Big Pulpit

  23. G-Veg says:

    “You said it, they stink on ice.”

    Louis XIV (Mel Brooks), “History of the World: Part I”

  24. anj says:

    That took how long to flare up? A week? This is another bad omen for the future.

  25. Kathleen10 says:

    I got out my crystal ball, and it said that even if the Vatican had the final word on translations, it made no difference whatsoever, and that the Germans would win in the end.

  26. Ben Kenobi says:

    “E-Readers will provide bishops with the flexibility they want to modify worship texts, without the cost associated with reprinting entire books.”

    This is why I keep books and need to get more of certain books. They recently changed the translation of my old NIV to accommodate inclusive language. Not bad, took about 10 years. I really need to get on that purchasing of a Douay-Rheims so that I have an *accurate* biblical translation at hand. Sadly cost is an issue at present. :(

  27. hilltop says:

    Its time we stopped calling them Germans, for German is what what they were when they were Catholic. Before that now-ended, happy era, they sacked Rome, burning, raping, pillaging (but not taking any of the truly good stuff) and leaving it for dead. As that is what they have returned to doing, we need to call them for what they are: GOTHS.

  28. Grant M says:

    I’m just waiting eagerly to see how long it takes until the mistranslation of “pro multis” in the Indonesian Mass gets corrected. That will tell me how well the present set-up works.

    Some days I fear the NO is an incorrigible rogue, but I hope to be proved wrong.

  29. Rich says:

    The German bishops’ obsession with maintaining the gravy train via the Kirchensteur is destroying the Church and the family. Such is a good confirmation of St. Paul’s affirmation: “Love of money is the root of all evils” (1 Tim. 6:10).

  30. ThePapalCount says:

    I am not sure who said this….but centuries ago it was said…some say by Augustine way back…I am not sure but it said “the road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops and priests….”

  31. CharlesG says:

    The Germans won’t need approval for using their existing translations. Sure it doesn’t meet the norms of Liturgiam authenticam, but no one in this pontificate at least will force them to try another hand at revising, and if that happened, they just slow walk the reform process indefinitely as they already did under Benedict.

  32. JesusFreak84 says:

    The UGCC, at least in my Eparchy, has some of the same issues as the Ruthenian commenter above. The Creed, in English, also still says “one in being,” and that’s said in parts before and after the Creed. I wind up just muttering “consubstantial” quietly because it drives me nuts. (FWIW, we’re using the Basillian Fathers’ translation. My parish is staffed by OSBMs, but I’ve been to the Cathedral and a parish in MI and they used the same translation.)

Comments are closed.