Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Pope tells his German bishop brothers: 'Pro multis' is not 'for all'.

Benedict XVI has sent a long letter to German bishops to clear up an age-old linguistic diatribe

The Pope has sent a five page long letter to German bishops to clear up an age-old linguistic diatribe which arose from the liturgical reform prescribed by the Second Vatican Council and the translation of the Gospels into vernaculars.

The letter which was signed by Benedict XVI on 14 April and published today by the German Episcopal Conference refers to the translation – packed with theological implications – of the words Jesus pronounced during the Last Supper. His own sacrifice, which in Latin is referred to as “pro multis”, was translated in German as “fuer alle” (for all) and not more literally as “fuer viele” (for many). Ahead of the publication, in German speaking countries, of the new translation of the hymn book (Gotteslob), the Pope, who has always paid utmost attention to liturgical questions and the correct interpretation of the Second Vatican Council, stressed that this translation “is an interpretation” that is coherent with “the principles that guided translations of the liturgical books into other modern languages.” According to Ratzinger however, there is a limit to the translation’s interpretation of the Holy Scriptures and in some points this particular translation appears too “trivial”, leading to “significant losses in meaning.”

“Personally, it became increasingly clear to me that the use of the principal of a non literal but instead of a structural equivalence as a guideline, appeared to have its limits,” the Pope explained. “Because I have to pray liturgical prayers in a number of languages, I sometimes find it hard to find a common link between the various translations and that the content of the original text is only decipherable from afar,” Benedict XVI went on to stress.

[This one you have to really learn so you can use it against the critics of the New translation of the Roman Missal, especially those who came from that school from Bukidnon.]  As usual, in his letter to the German bishops, the Pope also included potential objections interlocutors might have: “Did Christ not die for everyone? Has the Church changed its teaching? Is it able to do so and can it do so? Does this reaction aim to destroy the Council’s legacy? The answer is “no”. Referring back to the Vatican Instruction “Liturgiam authenticam”, published in 200, the Pope explained that the faithfulness of “pro multis”, most of the contemporary liturgical texts of the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, (in the Gospels of Luke and John, Jesus addresses disciples directly, telling them that his sacrifice is “for you”) links back to the faithfulness of the language used by Jesus in chapter 53 of the Book of Isaiah and cannot be modified arbitrarily.


Our Pope is both a liturgist and a theologian, which I think irks the old man who desperately sells his worthless booklets.

Uhm....ok ranting aside.

The Pope knows what he is talking about.  The more we make things arbitrarily, the more we put our Faith in the balance, shifting most of the time in the court of public opinion and not in the shadow of Tradition.

That is why the Holy Father sees it fit to:

1.  Bring back the sense of the sacred in the celebration of the Church's liturgy.
2.  Fidelity to the teachings of the Church through his "hermeneutic of continuity" paradigm.
3.  Bringing the teachings of the Catholic Church in our personal lives and more importantly in the public square.






  1. I Watched Fr Twomey on EWTN hours ago expounding on the Beauty of the Liturgy and the Corrected Translation of the Roman Missal,using Pope Benedict's Writings as Professor.

    It Could be Summed up in a Sentence: Pope Benedict's Correction of the Post-Conciliar Liturgy is One of the Goals he wants to Restore Beauty to the Church.

  2. I once heard Fr. Anscar say that Benedict XVI is not a liturgist. But his students keep saying that the Bishop is the Chief Liturgist of the diocese. In as much as the Pope is the Bishop of Rome which enjoys primacy over all the Churches, should it not be right that the title "chief liturgist" which is accorded to every local ordinary be all the more fittingly accorded to Benedict XVI, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, Successor of Peter