Friday, April 27, 2012

Pope Benedict agrees: Nunblogger got it right

There's nothing like having your point of view validated by someone with much better credentials in the field. And that's how I feel, having read Pope Benedict's recent letter to the Bishops of Germany on the controversially literal translation of "multis" (many) in the consecration of the Mass:
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.

See, the Germans are gearing up for their new Missal now, too. And some of them are uncomfortable with having to follow the Latin so closely. As was the experience in the United States, the words "pro multis" (for many), which we find right in the Gospel, in the very context of the Last Supper, were translated as "for all." To go now, after so many decades, to "many" sounds scandalously narrow. It can give the impression that the "many" aren't really that many.

The Pope recognizes this. He has heard the bishops on this, and recognizes that the point is not trivial. But he also recognizes that the well-meaning move to translate "multis" as "all" was based on a scholarly consensus that has now been discredited, and that the "translation" was an inappropriate and intrusive interpretation that limits, rather than expands, the liturgy's true voice. For this reason, the Pope says, the more accurate translation must not be simply thrust on people: they deserve time to process the change (and others), and to see them in their full context.

That "many" also leaves room for "more," meaning that it is also a call to mission:
The many, who we are, must consciously experience their mission in responsibility for the whole.... We are many and we stand for all. In this way both words, 'many' and 'all', belong together and relate to each other in responsibility and promise.

Other voices:
Canon Robert Hill, Glasgow
Dr Edward Sri

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