Institution Narratives

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The formula for consecration of the Precious Blood in the Latin rite uses the phrase "qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum." The new translation of the Mass reverts to a literal translation of "pro multis" in place of the theological interpretation used in the current translation:

New Ordo Old Ordo
Take this, all of you, and drink from it,

for this is the chalice of my blood,
the blood of the new and eternal covenant,
which will be poured out for you and for many
for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this in memory of me.

Take this, all of you, and drink from it:

this is the cup of my blood,
the blood of the new and everlasting covenant.
It will be shed for you and for all
so that sins may be forgiven.
Do this in memory of me.

Matthew

Mt 26:26-29

26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, "Take and eat; this is my body."

27 Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you,

28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.

29 I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father."

Mark

Mk 14:22-25

22 While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body."

23 Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

24 He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.

25 Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."

Luke

Lk 22:19-20

19 Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me."

20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.

Paul

1 Cor 11:23-26

23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread,

24 and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

25 In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."

26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Tabular view

In setting up this table, I used the consecration narrative from the second Eucharistic Prayer. I haven't yet looked at the variations from one Eucharistic Prayer to another.

Blessing of the bread
Ordo Mt 26:26-29 Mk 14:22-25 Lk 22:19-20 1 Cor 11:23-26
At the time he was betrayed While they were eating, While they were eating, Then The Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over
and entered willingly into his Passion,
he took bread Jesus took bread, he took bread, he took the bread took bread,
and, giving thanks, said the blessing, said the blessing, said the blessing, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it, broke it, broke it, broke it, broke it
and gave it to his disciples, and giving it to his disciples and gave it to them, and gave it to them,
saying: said, and said, saying, and said,
Consecration of the bread
Ordo Mt 26:26-29 Mk 14:22-25 Lk 22:19-20 1 Cor 11:23-26
Take this, Take Take it;
all of you,
and eat of it,[1] and eat;
for[2]
this is my body, this is my body. this is my body. This is my body This is my body
which will be given up for you. which will be given for you; that is for you.
do this in memory of me. Do this in remembrance of me.
Blessing of the wine
In a similar way, And likewise In the same way
when supper was ended, Then Then after they had eaten, after supper,
he took the chalice he took a cup, he took a cup, the cup also the cup,
and, once more giving thanks, gave thanks, gave thanks,
he gave it to his disciples, and gave it to them, and gave it to them,
and they all drank from it.
saying: saying, He said to them, saying, saying,
Consecration of the wine
Ordo Mt 26:26-29 Mk 14:22-25 Lk 22:19-20 1 Cor 11:23-26
Take this,
all of you, [all of you,][3]
and drink from it, Drink from it, all of you,
for[2] for
this is the chalice of my blood, this is This is This cup is "This cup is
the blood of the new and eternal covenant, my blood of the covenant, my blood of the covenant, the new covenant in my blood the new covenant in my blood.
which will be poured out which will be shed which will be shed which will be shed
for you for you.
and
for many for many

περι πολλων

for many.

περι πολλων

for the forgiveness of sins. for the forgiveness of sins.
do this in memory of me. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.
Final words
Ordo Mt 26:26-29 Mk 14:22-25 Lk 22:19-20 1 Cor 11:23-26
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

Summary of sources

Summary of sources

Blessing of the bread
Ordo
At the time he was betrayed Dynamic equivalent.
and entered willingly into his Passion, No source in the Institution Narratives.
he took bread All four sources.
and, giving thanks, 1 Cor only. Mt, Mk, Lk: "said the blessing."
broke it, All four sources.
and gave it to his disciples, Mt, Mk, Lk: "gave it." Mt alone: "disciples."
saying: All four sources.
Consecration of the bread
Take this, Mt & Mk.
all of you, No source in the Institution Narratives.
and eat of it, Mt only. "Ex hoc" is literally "from this" not "of it."
for[2] No source in the narratives. The word order in English is dramatically contrary to the Latin: "Hoc est enim corpus meum" vs. "For this is my body." A better translation would be: "This is indeed my body."
this is my body, All four sources.
which will be given up for you. Luke and Paul.
Ignores Lk and Paul: "Do this in rememberance of me."
Blessing of the wine
In a similar way, Luke and Paul.
when supper was ended, Luke and Paul.
he took the chalice Mt & Mk: "took." All four: "the chalice."
and, once more No source in the Institution Narratives.
giving thanks, Mt & Mark.
he gave it Mt & Mark.
to his disciples, No source in the Institution Narratives.
Ignores Mark: "And they all drank from it."
saying: All four sources.
Consecration of the wine
Take this, No source in the Institution Narratives; Mt & Mk have this only before the consecration of the bread.
all of you, Mt alone; not in Matthean order.
and drink from it, Mt alone.
for[2] ''Mt 26:28--" τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν τὸ αἷμά μου." The word order is dramatically contrary to the Latin: "Hoc est enim calix sanguinis mei." Better translation: "This is indeed the chalice of my blood."
this is the chalice of my blood, Mt & Mk: "This is ..." Lk & Paul: "This cup is ..."
the blood of the new and eternal covenant,
  • Mt & Mk: "blood of the covenant."
  • Lk & Paul: "the new covenant in my blood."
  • No source: "and eternal."
which will be poured out Mt, Mk, Lk.
for you Lk alone.
and No source in the Institution Narratives.
for many Mt & Mk.
for the forgiveness of sins. Mt alone.
do this in memory of me. Paul alone. Luke has "Do this in memory of me" after the consecration of the bread.

Cup vs. Chalice

Greek: ποτήριον (poterion)[4]

Matthew 10:42 And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple—amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.
20:22 Jesus said in reply, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “We can.”
20:23 He replied, “My cup you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left[, this] is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
23:25 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.
23:26 Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.
26:27 Then he took a cup, gave thanks,* and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, ...
26:39 He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”
26:42 Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, “My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!”
Mark 7:4 And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles [and beds].)
7:8 You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition [washings of cups and pots and many such things like these].
9:41 Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.
10:38 Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
10:39 They said to him, “We can.” Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;
14:23 Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
14:36 He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.”
Luke 11:39
22:17
22:20
22:42
John 18:11
1 Corinthians 10:16
10:21
11:25
11:26
11:27
11:28
Revelation 14:10
16:19
17:4
18:6

"Pro multis"

Emphasis added by me in bold.

Congregatio de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum[5]

Rome, 17 October 2006

Prot. no. 467/05/L

Your Eminence / Your Excellency,

In July 2005 this Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, by agreement with the Congregation 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 Eminence / 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 interpretative 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[6] 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).

The scriptures referred to in Cardinal Arinze's letter
John 11:51-52 He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 For the love of Christ impels us, once we have come to the conviction that one died for all; therefore, all have died. He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, saving all.
1 John 2:2 He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.
3. There are, however, many arguments in favor 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” 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).[7] 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 own 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 of the typical editions.
4. 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 of 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 Eminence /Your Excellency,

Devotedly Yours in Christ,
+ Francis Cardinal Arinze
Prefect

The Suffering Servant

Isaiah 53:11-12
Because of his anguish he shall see the light;
because of his knowledge he shall be content;
My servant, the just one, shall justify the many,
their iniquity he shall bear.
Therefore I will give him his portion among the many,
and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty,
Because he surrendered himself to death,
was counted among the transgressors,
Bore the sins of many,
and interceded for the transgressors.

"Many" does not exclude "all"

Max Zerwick, S.J., "Pro Vobis et Pro Multis Effundetur."

However, in different ways, the word multi in our Western languages does not exclude the whole. This is why that word can and in fact does connote the whole, where the context or subject matter suggests it or requires it. It is not easy to offer examples of this phenomenon. Here, however, are a few examples:

  • In 3 Ezra 8:3,[8] we read: "Many indeed have been created, but few shall be saved." It is clear that "all" have been created. But here the interest is not in the whole but in the opposite of "few." Hence, "many" is used, when that word really means "all."
  • In Qumram text Hodayot IV, 28, 29, both words ("many" and "all") are found in synonymous parallel, two parallel verses in which the same thing is said twice: "You have worked wonders among the many on account of your glory that you might make known to all your great works."
  • Moreover, in Qumram "many" (with or without the article) came to be a technical term, almost a name, for the community of all the full-fledged members. So, just in the "rule" of the sect, the word occurs in about thirty instances.
  • We come, now to the texts of the New Testament with which we are especially concerned: Romans 5:12, 15. Here, the comparative argumentation from the minor premise to the major is set up, between the universality of Adam’s sin and the universality of the grace of Christ:
"Therefore, just as through one person sin entered the world and through sin, death, and thus death thus came to all in as much as all sinned...(After the insertion of vss. 13 and 14, the comparison continues.) But the gift is not like the transgression. For if by that transgression the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one person, Jesus Christ, overflow for the many."
Many are called, but few are chosen (Mt 22:14).
πολλοι γαρ εισιν κλητοι ολιγοι δε εκλεκτοι.
Some Protestant traditions, notably those inspired by John Calvin's doctrine of predestination, hold that not every human being is invited to repentance, conversation, and salvation. Those traditions would take "many are called" to mean that "not all are called" to be united to God. The Catholic Church repudiates this interpretation in no uncertain terms. The word "many" in this passage must be taken to mean "all," just as in the Eucharistic consecration.
"A ransom for many" Mk 10:45
"For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."
A wild guess
The authors the Old Testament did not clearly understand that God intended to offer salvation from sin and death to all human beings without any exceptions. The height of Old Testament prophecy may have been "many" instead of "one" or "a few." When Jesus or the evangelists appeal to the language of the Old Testament in order to make sense of His suffering, death, and resurrection, the word "many" comes along with the old prophecies.

Conclusion

There can be no doubt that the 1972 translation of "pro multis" as "for all" is theologically correct. It is a part of the consecration that I have especially enjoyed ever since I was ordained on the feast of St. Anthony of Padua, 13 June 1981. The difficulty with the theological substitution is that it takes a step away from the gospel accounts, two of which unquestionably use "περι πολλων" in Greek, which is literally "pro multis" in Latin and "for many" in English. The difficulty with the literal translation is that it makes it sound as if Jesus did not intend to save the whole world--an absolutely intolerable thought.

There is no third translation that can yield the best of both worlds. If we want to be faithful to the accounts of Matthew and Mark, we must say "for many." If we want to be theologically accurate, we must say "for all." The Church, in her wisdom, has decided to live with the difficulties of adherence to the Scriptural accounts. We must say "for many" but mean "for all."

From this standpoint, I am unhappy with the efforts of the liturgical literalists to impose a meaning of "for many" that does not coincide with "for all." So, for example, the USCCB "Frequently Asked Questions on the Translation of Pro Multis as 'For Many'" contains this question and answer:

Does this mean that Christ did not die for everyone?
No. It is a dogmatic teaching of the Church 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). 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 own 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.
John 11:51-52
He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15
For the love of Christ impels us, once we have come to the conviction that one died for all; therefore, all have died. He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
Titus 2:11
For the grace of God has appeared, saving all.
1 John 2:2
He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.
1 Tim 2:4
"God wills all to be saved."

I very much dislike narrowing the meaning of "many" to mean "those who accept salvation," as if Jesus only died only for them and not for all. The Catechism does not make this distinction, but treats "for many" as the functional equivalent of "for all" [emphasis added]:

CCC #605
At the end of the parable of the lost sheep Jesus recalled that God's love excludes no one: "So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish." He affirms that he came "to give his life as a ransom for many"; this last term is not restrictive, but contrasts the whole of humanity with the unique person of the redeemer who hands himself over to save us. The Church, following the apostles, teaches that Christ died for all of God's children without exception: "There is not, never has been, and never will be a single human being for whom Christ did not suffer."[9]

I simply cannot see that the right way to translate and think of "pro multis" is "I am making a complete offering of Myself to the Father on behalf of those who are willing to repent and be converted, but not for the rest of His sons and daughters."

Parallels

Melchizedech

Multiplication of the loaves

Commentary on Matthew 14
13-21
Jesus' multiplication of loaves appears in every Gospel. The event anticipates the Eucharist, a point that Matthew reinforces by using the same series of verbs (taking . . . blessed . . . broke . . . gave) here (14:19) and at the Last Supper (26:26; Mk 14:22). The miracle also recalls the similar OT episode in 2 Kings 4:42-44, where the prophet Elisha multiplied 20 barley loaves (Jn 6:9) to feed 100 men, with some left over (CCC 1335).

Breaking bread on the road to Emmaus

"Feed my lambs, feed my sheep"

References

  1. "Of it" is a translation of the Latin "ex hoc." It seems to me that a more literal and accurate translation would be "from this."
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Jimmy Akin, "Enim?" "Here's the deal about enim: The Romans threw it in a lot. It's just part of Latin style in some ages to use this word when it isn't strictly necessary, the way some British folks throw in "indeed" to kind of tweak the emphasis: "He is indeed a fine grammarian." As a result, when Jesus' words were being translated into Latin, they conformed it more to Latin style by throwing in an enim."
  3. The liturgical order is different from Matthew's order, but the phrase "all of you" in this context is from Matthew's gospel alone.
  4. Strong's #4221).
  5. Letter from Cardinal Francis Arinze on the Translation of Pro Multis.
  6. Cf. Sacra Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei, Declaratio de sensu tribuendo adprobationi versionum formularum sacramentalium, 25 ianuarii 1974, AAS 66 [1974], 661.
  7. "Therefore I will give him his portion among the many, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, Because he surrendered himself to death, was counted among the transgressors, Bore the sins of many, and interceded for the transgressors" (Is 53:12).
  8. "3 Ezra" is the Catholic name for a book that is known as "1 Esdras" in other traditions. It is not part of the Catholic canon, but it is an ancient Jewish writing known to and quoted by the fathers of the Church. It is a good witness to how the word "many" functioned in the language of Jews around the time of Jesus.
  9. Council of Quiercy (853): DS 624; cf. 2 Cor 5:15; 1 Jn 2:2.

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