Welcome to this installment of "New Translation Thursday."
It has dawned cold and clear here in Salt Lake City.
Last night, the participants here at the Southwest Liturgical Conference were treated to a presentation on the New Tranlsation of The Roman Missal by Father Paul Turner.
One of the issues that Father Turner raised was the need for catechesis before, during, and following the implementation of the new translation. One of the issues that will need catechetical attention is the translation of pro vobis et pro multis in the institution narrative of the eucharistic prayers. Currently translated "for you and for all," the new translation is "for you and for many."
Two recent discussions about this change appear in America and on Pray Tell. These are well worth reading.
Father Turner tackled the issue by alerting us to the fact that in Matthew's Gospel, the English translation reads: "Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins." And, similarly in Mark, "This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many." The hearers of these words would have recognized an allusion to the Suffering Servant Song in Isaiah: "Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many" and "he shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses."
Father Turner did a great job leading us through these explanations, catechizing us on the pro multis issue. I must admit, however, that I was thinking about the people in my own parish as Father Turner was speaking. I was thinking of Louie and Rochelle, Ellen, Virginia, Barbara, Miss Betty, and many others. I wondered how am going to handle the questions that will ultimately surface. For these people, the word "many" is a much more narrow descriptor than "all." And that is a plain and simple fact. Week in and week out, people will hear a word that may distance them from the fact that Jesus died and rose for all people, all those already born and who have died, all those living now, and all those yet to be born; not many of those already born and who have died, not many of those living now, not many of those yet to be born.
Will this word "many" become a moment of distraction each time it is proclaimed in the liturgy? I certainly hope not. I know of several priests who have told me that they will simply not say the word; they will continue to use the word "all." This is a sticky situation.
This is a very challenging catechetical moment. Much has been written about it and much will conitnue to be written about it.
This is one issue in the entire translation process about which many English-speakers simply scratch their heads and say, "What were they thinking?"
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.