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


A blog dedicated to Christ Jesus our Lord and His True Presence in the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist


Graciously grant to us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the spirit to think and do always such things as be rightful: that we, who cannot exist without Thee, may be enabled to live according to Thy will.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Cardinal Arinze's Letter

Posted by AJV in the Catholic Answers Forums

Prot. N. 467/05/L

Rome, 17 October 2006

Your Excellency,

In July 2005 this Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, by agreement with the Congregation for the Doctrine for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote to all Presidents of Conferences of Bishops to ask their considered opinion regarding the translation into the various vernaculars of the expression pro multis in the formula for the consecration of the Precious Blood during the celebration of Holy Mass (ref. Prot. N. 467/05/L of 9 July 2005).

The replies received from the Bishops' Conferences were studied by the two Congregations and a report was made to the Holy Father. At his direction, this Congregation now writes to Your Excellency in the following terms:

1. A text corresponding to the words pro multis, handed down by the Church, constitutes the formula that has been in use in the Roman Rite in Latin from the earliest centuries. In the past 30 years or so, some approved vernacular texts have carried the interpretive translation "for all", "per tutti", or equivalents.

2. 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", as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has already declared (cf. Sacra Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei, Declaratio de sensu tribuendo adprobationi versionum formularum sacramentalium, 25 Ianuarii 1974, AAS 66 [1974], 661). Indeed, 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 (cf. John 11:52; 2 Corinthians 5,14-15; Titus 2,11; 1 John 2,2).

3. There are, however, many arguments in favour of a more precise rendering of the traditional formula pro multis:
a. The Synoptic Gospels (Mt 26,28; Mk 14,24) make specific reference to "many" (πολλων = pollôn) for whom the Lord is offering the Sacrifice, and this wording has been emphasized by some biblical scholars in connection with the words of the prophet Isaiah (53, 11-12). It would have been entirely possible in the Gospel texts to have said "for all" (for example, cf. Luke 12,41); instead, the formula given in the institution narrative is "for many", and the words have been faithfully translated thus in most modern biblical versions.

b. The Roman Rite in Latin has always said pro multis and never pro omnibus in the consecration of the chalice.

c. The anaphoras of the various Oriental Rites, whether in Greek, Syriac, Armenian, the Slavic languages, etc., contain the verbal equivalent of the Latin pro multis in their respective languages.

d. "For many" is a faithful translation of pro multis, whereas "for all" is rather an explanation of the sort that belongs properly to catechesis.

e. 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.

f. In line with the Instruction Liturgiam authenticam, effort should be made to be more faithful to the Latin texts in the typical editions.
The Bishops' Conferences of those countries where the formula "for all" or its equivalent is currently in use are therefore requested to undertake the necessary catechesis for the faithful on this matter in the next one or two years to prepare them for the introduction of a precise vernacular translation of the formula pro multis (e.g, "for many", "per molti", etc.) in the next translation of the Roman Missal that the Bishops and the Holy See will approve for use in their country.

With the expression of my high esteem and respect, I remain, Your Excellency,

Devotedly Yours in Christ,

Francis Card. Arinze, Prefect

+++

I am very grateful for this letter. If this blog were graced by more than one visitor every six months, it might be imprudent to criticize the letter at all, but protected by obscurity, I think it is safe to raise a reservation.

In light of the comments by St. Thomas Aquinas, St. John Chrysostom, and other saints of the Church quoted in this blog, I am not convinced that "the formula 'for all' would undoubtedly correspond to a correct interpretation of the Lord's intention expressed in the text". Thank God that this question will be one of merely historical and academic interest in the near future! Thank God for the Holy Father, for setting this right!

Labels: , ,

2 Comments:

Blogger Michael Maedoc said...

Just because you said no one would respond:
I mostly agree with you. The debate seems to be rooted in the desire to express this teaching, according to Cardinal Arinze "It is a dogma of faith that Christ died on the Cross for all men and women." I can only guess that interpretors did not see "many" as suggesting Christ's intent to save all. When I hear "multis," I think of multitude (apparrently the french word for multis), which to me suggests not just a large number, but also the general public. So, in my mind it makes theological sense... But! I don't believe we should play the game of deciding how the general public understands the meaning of the word; its use among many americans does not define its meaning. The dicionary definition of many is "a large but indefinite number." That seems appropriate to me.

It was Christ that chose the words not clever theologians who wish to catechise thorugh the words of consecration. Cardinal Arinze did say that explaining the dogma, that Christ died for all, "belongs properly to catachesis."

11/21/2006 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

We agree on some important things, even if we do not see everything exactly the same. Thanks for visiting and taking the time to write.

11/22/2006 04:21:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home