Tuesday, 24 May 2011

'For Many' or 'For All'?

The Roman Canon at the consecration of the Blood uses the words 'pro multis', that is, 'for many.' Yet in the Novus Ordo translation  into English we have the words 'for all.'

In the new corrected translation,  to be in use soon at Novus Ordo Masses the words 'for many' are to be used once more in a more faithful translation of the Latin. But why does the Canon say 'pro multis' when Christ clearly died for all? I offer now the relevant passage taken from the Catechism of the Council of Trent, often known as the Roman Catechism, which gave origin to such wonderful catechisms as 'The Penny Catrechism' and 'Baltimore Catechism.'

PART II, Chapter IV

Question XXIV. - Why mention of Death is made especially at the Consecration of the Blood.

Here, therefore, rather than at the consecration of`his` body, is appropriately commemorated the passion of our Lord, by the words, 'which shall be shed for the remission of sins;'  for the blood, separately consecrated, has more force and weight to place before the eyes of all the passion of the Lord, his death, and the nature of his passion.  The additional words, 'for you, and for many,' are taken, some from Matthew (Matt. xxvi. 28), some from Luke (Luke, xxii, 20) but have been joined together by holy Holy Church under the guidance of the Spirit of God; and they serve to declare the fruit and advantage of his passion. For, if we look to its virtue, we shall have to confess that his blood was shed by the Saviour for the salvation of all; but if we consider the fruit which men have received from it, we easily understand that it reaches not all, but many only. When, therefore, He said ' for you', he meant either those who were present, or those from amongst the Jewish people, such as were, with the exception of Judas, the disciple with whom he was speaking; but when he added 'for many', he wished to be understood the remainder of the elect from among the Jews or the Gentiles. With reason, therefore, were the words, 'for all' not used, as in this place the fruits of the passion are alone spoken of, and to the elect only did that bring the fruit of salvation. And this is the support of the words of the Apostle: 'Christ was offered once to exhaust the sins of many' (Heb. ix. 28) and also of what the Lord says in John; 'I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them whom thou hast given me, because they are thine.' (John, xvii. 9). In the words of this consecration lie hid very many other mysteries, which pastors themselves, by the assiduous meditation and study of divine things, will, with the divine assistance, easily discover.

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