….by Anura Guruge
Pope Benedict XVI (#266), a doctrinal and liturgical practices purists since his May 1968 conversion on the quad in Tübingen, has never made a secret of his zeal to roll back some Vatican II innovations – particularly those related to the Latin Mass. He made his commitment to the Latin Mass quite clear with his July 7, 2007 Summorum Pontificum motu proprio and his subsequent May 13, 2011 letter outlining how the Latin Mass can be reintroduced if so requested by a congregation. In January of this year, ahead of the February 18, 2012 cardinal creating consistory, the Vatican, with the pope’s blessing, also announced some liturgical changes to the consistory process to realign them with pre-Vatican II norms.
On Saturday, April 14, 2012, with Easter behind him and his 85th birthday looming, the pope took another step to eradicate Vatican II innovation and revert back to pre-conciliar norms. This change had to do with the vernacular wording used in the Eucharistic Anaphora prayer during the consecration of the wine, for transubstantiation. The prayer contains the phrase: ‘qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum‘. The pre-conciliar translation of this was: ‘which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins‘, the ‘pro multis‘ translated as ‘for many‘.
The first post-conciliar translation came out as: ‘which will be shed for you and for all men, so that sins may be forgiven’ — the word ‘men‘ soon dropped because of protests. In this translation, approved in 1973, ‘pro multis‘ had become ‘for all‘. This was controversial from the start. In 2006, on this pope’s watch, the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments sent out a letter requesting that in future translations the ‘for all’ should be changed back to ‘for many’. The latest English translation that came out in 2011 contains this change. The Hungarian translation fixed it in 2009, followed shortly afterwards by the translations for Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Italy has yet to make the change, while some German translation expected to be released soon appeared to be reluctant to make the change. So on April 14, 2012, the pope sent this 2,002-word letter, in German, to the Chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference urging him to make sure that this change is implemented across the board.