Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pope moves to avert split among German bishops over "for all"/"for many"

The Pope never stops writing, it seems. During his Easter week in Castelgandolfo, he wrote a letter to the German bishops in advance of the publication of a new translation of the German Missal. He refers to the lack of consensus among bishops of the German language area (Germany, Switzerland, Austria...) concerning the correct translation of the words "pro multis" and writes:
I promised you (when the German bishops visited Rome on March) to express myself in writing about this serious issue in order to forestall such a split in the innermost room of our prayer.
Pretty high stakes!

In his letter the Pope also refers to the lack of unity throughout the world in the liturgy. He speaks from the vantage point of one who often prays the liturgical texts in different languages:
Since I often have to pray the liturgical prayers in different languages, I notice that among the various translations it is sometimes hard to find common ground and that the underlying common text often only remains visible from a distance.
This Pope is a Pope of Unity! There must be unity in the prayer of the Church.

The Pope pretty much dismisses as crumbling the former exegetial thesis that these words could be properly translated as "for all". With his impressive skills of biblical interpretation, he demonstrates the biblical roots of the phrase "for many". He gives a programme of catechesis to help the bishops explain to the priests and then to the people why the words "for many" are to be used instead of "for all".

You can read the letter in German here, or in Google translate English here.

You can also read an editorial by Father Federico Lombardi.

1 comment:

  1. A timely intervention by the Holy Father!

    Now I wish bishops would follow his lead with their own clergy. In my parish both priests continue to say “for all” – and it is not by accident. On the first Sunday the new translation was used, the older retired priest very emphatically intoned: “for ALL”.

    I had the distinct impression of a “non serviam!” [sigh]


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