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The translation of "pro multis" as "for many" vs. "for all" - Printable Version

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The translation of "pro multis" as "for many" vs. "for all" - Joseph11 - 11-30-2010

I am studying Latin and I know of no way to translate into English the phrase "pro multis" so that it means "for all," unless some ancient writer testifies to the use of "multus, multa, multum" to connote "all," which is doubtful...

But that aside, I have one problem with translating "pro multis" as "for many."  It appears to connote predestination.  For if Christ shed his blood only for some (which is implied by "many"), then why didn't he shed it for everyone?  The implication is that some cannot be saved because they were never going to be saved in the first place.  Christ, being God, is after all is omniscient, and so, knowing all things, he would know who would be saved and who wouldn't.  So he would know beforehand who he should shed his blood for and who he should not shed it for.  But really, if he intended to shed his blood only for some, then he intended not to shed his blood for some others.

Is that really what the Church teaches?  I don't think so.

I know that Trent's catechism explains "pro multis" by saying it refers to the effects of Christ's shedding of his blood, not his intent in doing so.  By implication then, the Church does not teach that Christ only intended to shed his blood for some and not others.  But here's the crux I think:

When the translation is changed to "for many," people are going to think the Church is implying something about Christ's intent, not about what Trent's catechism says about this phrase.

We do not worship John Calvin's god.  But some are going to feel like we do as a result of this move (I think).

These are just some general reflections.  What do y'all think?


Re: The translation of "pro multis" as "for many" vs. "for all" - Bakuryokuso - 11-30-2010

(11-30-2010, 07:52 PM)Zakhur Wrote: But here's the crux I think:

When the translation is changed to "for many," people are going to think the Church is implying something about Christ's intent, not about what Trent's catechism says about this phrase.

We do not worship John Calvin's god.  But some are going to feel like we do as a result of this move (I think).

I dunno - I mean, I live in Montreal where English masses use "for all" and French masses use "pour la multitude" = "for the many" and I'm not sure that there's a discernible difference between English and French Catholics. Anyhoo, they're only starting up the new translation in Advent 2011 to give priests ample time to explain it to the masses.


Re: The translation of "pro multis" as "for many" vs. "for all" - Historian - 11-30-2010

(11-30-2010, 07:52 PM)Zakhur Wrote: These are just some general reflections.  What do y'all think?

I think there is a reason why it is in Latin. It is to be understood as it was meant when it was written.

In English, "all" or "many" can be used if this understanding is clear, and "many" is the most literal and most used, prior to certain texts, translation.


Re: The translation of "pro multis" as "for many" vs. "for all" - Melkite - 11-30-2010

Zakhur you don't have to worry to much about it.  Pro multis is a translation from greek which was a translation from aramaic, where at the time of Christ, the words 'for many' euphemistically was used for 'for all.'  If trent's definition is that christ died so that all would have the chance to be saved, but only some would take that chance and receive it, there is nothing contradictory about that with the original syriac.  The only problem is when some people look at the latin as if Jesus were speaking latin at the time and interpreting it as if Christ were implying predestination.  He wasn't, so it doesn't.


Re: The translation of "pro multis" as "for many" vs. "for all" - INPEFESS - 11-30-2010

(11-30-2010, 07:52 PM)Zakhur Wrote: I am studying Latin and I know of no way to translate into English the phrase "pro multis" so that it means "for all," unless some ancient writer testifies to the use of "multus, multa, multum" to connote "all," which is doubtful...

But that aside, I have one problem with translating "pro multis" as "for many."  It appears to connote predestination.  For if Christ shed his blood only for some (which is implied by "many"), then why didn't he shed it for everyone?  The implication is that some cannot be saved because they were never going to be saved in the first place.  Christ, being God, is after all is omniscient, and so, knowing all things, he would know who would be saved and who wouldn't.  So he would know beforehand who he should shed his blood for and who he should not shed it for.  But really, if he intended to shed his blood only for some, then he intended not to shed his blood for some others.

Is that really what the Church teaches?  I don't think so.

I know that Trent's catechism explains "pro multis" by saying it refers to the effects of Christ's shedding of his blood, not his intent in doing so.  By implication then, the Church does not teach that Christ only intended to shed his blood for some and not others.  But here's the crux I think:

When the translation is changed to "for many," people are going to think the Church is implying something about Christ's intent, not about what Trent's catechism says about this phrase.

We do not worship John Calvin's god.  But some are going to feel like we do as a result of this move (I think).

These are just some general reflections.  What do y'all think?

Here is the Catechism of the Council of Trent's explanation of the distinction made by the employment of the connotation of the phrase "pro multis" as opposed to the connotation of the phrase "for all":

"The additional words for you and for many, are taken, some from Matthew, some from Luke, but were joined together by the Catholic Church under the guidance of the Spirit of God. They serve to declare the fruit and advantage of His Passion. For if we look to its value, we must confess that the Redeemer shed His blood for the salvation of all; but if we look to the fruit which mankind have received from it, we shall easily find that it pertains not unto all, but to many of the human race. When therefore ('our Lord) said: For you, He meant either those who were present, or those chosen from among the Jewish people, such as were, with the exception of Judas, the disciples with whom He was speaking. When He added, And for many, He wished to be understood to mean the remainder of the elect from among the Jews or 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 His Passion bring the fruit of salvation. And this is the purport of the Apostle when he says: Christ was offered once to exhaust the sins of many; and also of the words of our Lord in John: I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them whom thou hast given me, because they are thine."


Re: The translation of "pro multis" as "for many" vs. "for all" - Joseph11 - 11-30-2010

(11-30-2010, 08:09 PM)Rosarium Wrote:
(11-30-2010, 07:52 PM)Zakhur Wrote: These are just some general reflections.  What do y'all think?

I think there is a reason why it is in Latin. It is to be understood as it was meant when it was written.

In English, "all" or "many" can be used if this understanding is clear, and "many" is the most literal and most used, prior to certain texts, translation.

I agree.

(11-30-2010, 10:27 PM)Melkite Wrote: Zakhur you don't have to worry to much about it.  Pro multis is a translation from greek which was a translation from aramaic, where at the time of Christ, the words 'for many' euphemistically was used for 'for all.'  If trent's definition is that christ died so that all would have the chance to be saved, but only some would take that chance and receive it, there is nothing contradictory about that with the original syriac.  The only problem is when some people look at the latin as if Jesus were speaking latin at the time and interpreting it as if Christ were implying predestination.  He wasn't, so it doesn't.

I agree.


Re: The translation of "pro multis" as "for many" vs. "for all" - MMLJ - 12-03-2010

It is "for many" not "for all".
At no time in Church history was it ever "for all" except post V2.

Although the Proponents of "for all" will argue that "for many" and "for all" are interchangeable in scripture, that is true but not in all cases, and definitely not in this case.



Re: The translation of "pro multis" as "for many" vs. "for all" - ripmarcel - 12-08-2010

(12-03-2010, 05:25 PM)MMLJ Wrote: It is "for many" not "for all".
At no time in Church history was it ever "for all" except post V2.

Although the Proponents of "for all" will argue that "for many" and "for all" are interchangeable in scripture, that is true but not in all cases, and definitely not in this case.

Of course the words aren't interchangeable; and they're not interchangeable because they clearly don't have the same meaning.  And the fact that they don't have the same meaning is exactly why the authors of the Roman Catechism thought it necessary to explain, in detail, the rationale for the choice of the words "for many."  And that is also why the Roman Mass should be offered in Latin--and not in some twisted vernacular version--so that the such ridiculous claims (e.g.: "for many" and "for all" have the same meaning and intent) are not given credence by the faithful.

Now, let's be honest here: The only reason N.O. Catholics argue that "all" really means the same as "many" is to validate this obvious mistranslation in their own minds, and to deflect the criticism of Catholic traditionalists who argue that the words "for all" represent a significant change in the form of the sacrament, thus rendering the sacrament invalid according to the church's own solemn pronouncements on the requirements for validity.

In any case, if the Church is going to enforce a change back to "for many" in all its vernacular missals, then it shouldn't have any problem explaining it.  Admit to the bad translation, while claiming righteousness of intent (the zeal of ecumenism), then preach from the pulpit on the explanation provided in the Roman Catechism.  If folks accepted "for all" without complaint, then they should have no problem with "for many" -- especially if the preachers start out by mentioning the Spirit of Vatican II.


Re: The translation of "pro multis" as "for many" vs. "for all" - Gilgamesh - 12-09-2010

(11-30-2010, 07:52 PM)Zakhur Wrote: When the translation is changed to "for many," people are going to think the Church is implying something about Christ's intent, not about what Trent's catechism says about this phrase.

We do not worship John Calvin's god.  But some are going to feel like we do as a result of this move (I think).

More people are aware of the historical fact that apostates & non-Christians have lived and died on this planet without taking Christ up on offer of the shedding of His blood—and they’re probably more aware of that than they are of Calvinist theology.


Re: The translation of "pro multis" as "for many" vs. "for all" - NorthernTrad - 12-09-2010

"For many" also doesn't go along with the Modernists' program of universal salvation either.  It's not accidental that the words of Christ were changed.  It is also a blasphemy.