Fidelity to the Word
Our Lord and His Holy Apostles at the Last Supper

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The earth is full of the mercy of the Lord, alleluia: by the word of the Lord were the heavens made.

Psalm 32:5,6

Thursday, March 16, 2006

In No Way Superseded [Catholic Answers]

From Catholic Answers Forums:

(I am quoting post #90, slightly rearranged to put questions and answers together).

Originally Posted by ThomasMore1535

In certain vernacular versions of the text for consecrating wine, the words pro multis are translated thus: English, for all; Spanish, por todos, Italian, per tutti. Query:

a. Is there a sufficient reason for introducing this variant and if so, what is it?

Reply: The variant involved is fully justified:

a. According to exegetes the Aramaic word translated in Latin by pro multis has as its meaning “for all”; the many for whom Christ died is without limit; it is equivalent to saying “Christ has died for all.” ...
The following is an excerpt from an interlinear translation of the Peshitta (the Aramaic version of the Bible):
is shed - many - which for the sake of
I am not an Aramaic scholar, but the Aramaic equivalent of "pro multis" certainly looks like two words here, not the single word claimed by the Notitiae article. Notice that the word in the middle, translated in Latin by multis, has as its meaning "many", not "all" as claimed in the article.

The addition of the quote from St. Augustine, fully consistent with the Roman Catechism, does nothing to defeat the teaching of the Catechism, which is that Jesus said He was going to shed His blood "for many", not "for all".

Originally Posted by ThomasMore1535
b. Is the pertinent traditional teaching in the Catechism of the Council of Trent to be considered superseded?

b. The teaching of the Catechism (Trent’s Catechism) is in no way superseded: the distinction that Christ’s death is sufficient for all but efficacious for many remains valid.
Well, good. We can agree that the teaching of the Roman Catechism is in no way superseded. To find out just what that teaching is, just click on this link and search for the phrase "for you and for many". It occurs three times. Reading the catechism in those areas will reveal the Catechism's teaching on this topic: Our Lord said He would shed his blood "for many" and deliberately did not say that he was shedding his blood "for all".

Originally Posted by ThomasMore1535
c. Are all other versions of the Biblical passage in question to be regarded as less accurate?
This question, left unanswered, I consider key. Even if I cannot convince everyone that "for all" is a flawed translation of pro multis and peri pollwn, I hope at least to persuade people that "for many" is a more accurate translation.

Originally Posted by ThomasMore1535
d. Did something inaccurate and needing correction or emendation in fact slip in when the approval was given for such a version?

c. In the approval of this vernacular variant in the liturgical text nothing inaccurate has slipped in that requires correction or emendation.
The Notitiae article provided no evidence that "for all" is a better translation of our Lord's words than "for many". Surely, when quoting our Lord, we should be as accurate as possible. Above all, we should have a faithful rendering of our Lord's words during the consecration. As St. Ambrose said:
The consecration is accomplished by the words and expressions of the Lord Jesus. Because, by all the other words spoken, praise is rendered to God, prayer is put up for the people, for kings, and others; but when the time comes for perfecting the sacrament, the priest uses no longer his own words, but the words of Christ. Therefore, it is Christ's words that perfect this sacrament.

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