Vatican says Jesus died for all but correct Mass translation is "for many"

The Holy See congregation responsible for sacraments has instructed bishops to adjust the translation of the Latin words of consecration "pro multis" from "for all" to the more literally correct "for many", even though "for all" would correspond better to Jesus' intentions.

Catholic News Agency reports that Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has sent a letter to Church prelates worldwide, instructing them to adjust the translation of the phrase in the middle of the Mass's words of consecration.

Over the next few years, the Cardinal Arinze's letter says, the bishops should make adjustments so that when the priest celebrates the Mass in English he will say over the chalice, "… It will be shed for you and for many so that sins may be forgiven…" rather than, "…for you and for all…"

The words "pro multis" have been the subject of heated debate among linguists and an especially contentious issue for traditionalists since the reforms of Vatican Council II.

Many schismatic Catholics have even argued that the Mass promulgated by Vatican II, when celebrated in English or many other translations, is invalid due to its improper translation Christ's words.

However, Cardinal Arinze's letter confirms previous declarations by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, saying that "there is no doubt whatsoever regarding the validity of Masses celebrated with the use of a duly approved formula containing a formula equivalent to 'for all'."

"Indeed," the Cardinal continued, "the formula 'for all' would undoubtedly correspond to a correct interpretation of the Lord's intention expressed in the text.

"It is a dogma of faith that Christ died on the Cross for all men and women."

Nonetheless, he says, while "for all" is, "an explanation of the sort that belongs properly to catechesis, 'for many' is a faithful translation of 'pro multis'."

Cardinal Arinze gave as reasons for change the Gospels' specific reference to "many" rather than "all", the consistent Latin use of the phrase "pro multis" and never "pro omnibus", the consistent use of translations equivalent to "pro multis" in the various Oriental Rites, and the document Liturgiam authenticam's insistence that "efforts should be made to be more faithful to the Latin texts in the typical editions".

"The expression 'for many', while remaining open to the inclusion of each human person, is reflective also of the fact that this salvation is not brought about in some mechanistic way, without one's willing or participation; rather, the believer is invited to accept in faith the gift that is being offered and to receive the supernatural life that is given to those who participate in this mystery, living it out in their lives as well so as to be numbered among the 'many' to whom the text refers," Cardinal Arinze concluded.

Cardinal Arinze tells bishops to change translation of "pro multis" (Catholic News Agency, 20/11/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Cardinal Francis Arinze (Wikipedia)
Cardinal Francis Arinze (Catholic-Hierarchy)

Pope tells US priests to clean up own chalices (CathNews, 26/10/06)
Cardinal Arinze discourages "liturgies to order" (CathNews, 7/4/06)
Cardinal says pope will opt for 'gentle' fix of liturgical abuses (CathNews, 13/2/06)

23 Nov 2006