Because of the confusion of these times, 1 We have been asked to give our opinion on the recently issued Motu Proprio, Traditionis Custodes of the Pope of the Conciliar Church, George Bergoglio known as Pope Francis. There is much discussion among traditional minded Catholics about this recent event. Also there is a reaction among many to this event, that should be addressed in light of the Laws of God.
Let us consider this at the end of this Motu Proprio: “Everything that I have declared in this Apostolic Letter in the form of Motu Proprio, I order to be observed in all its parts, anything else to the contrary notwithstanding, even if worthy of particular mention, and I establish that it be promulgated by way of publication in “L’Osservatore Romano”, entering immediately in force and, subsequently, that it be published in the official Commentary of the Holy See, ‘Acta Apostolicae Sedis.'”
On April 9, 1951, Pope Pius XII approved a decree of the Holy Office: “‘concerning the consecration of a Bishop without canonical provision’ is as follows:
“A Bishop, of whatsoever rite or dignity, who consecrates to the Episcopacy anyone who is neither appointed nor expressly confirmed by the Holy See, and the person who receives the consecration, even though they were coerced by grave fear (Canon 2229. parageah 3, note 3), incur ipso facto an excommunication most specially reserved to the Holy See.
“This Decree is effective from the very day of its promulgation.“
We have never seen another Decree, which contained this type of language. Let us look at the Decree, Quo Primum: “It is Our will, therefore, and by the same authority, We decree that, after We publish this constitution and the edition of the Missal, the priests of the Roman Curia are, after thirty days, obliged to chant or read the Mass according to it; all others south of the Alps, after three months; and those beyond the Alps either within six months or whenever the Missal is available for sale.”
In fact, there are reports of the implementation of this decree already, as this is being prepared.
History of the Roman Rite of the Mass
We shall not give a detailed history of the Roman Rite, but tough on a few main points, beginning with the Reformation began with the Council of Trent and carried out after this holy Council.
As part of the Catholic Reformation, the Council of Trent called for a restoration of the Roman Missal, known as the Missale Romanum. Such was unde3rtaken and promulgated by Pope Pius V with the Bull, Quo Primum. This included a much needed reformation of the calendar.
With the passage of time, the calendar again became in need of reform. Pope Saint Pius X in the early part of the Twentieth Century carried out a revision of the calendar as well as a revision of the Roman Breviary, which was much needed at the time. The main feature was to restore the Propers for the Lord’s Day to their rightful position in the celebration of the liturgy.
Pope Pius XII also carried out a revision of the calendar in order to simplify it and to ease the burden of those clergy, who are required to recite the Breviary daily. He also removed all, but three of the octaves, because these were only being remembered in the Mass and Divine Office, but no longer celebrated by the people as they should be. This is due to the results mainly of the Industrial Revolution of the Nineteenth Century, and the new burdens placed upon working men and their families as a result.
Angelo Roncalli, the man who as John XXIII called Vatican II, prior to said Council carried out several revisions. In 1959 he removed one word from the Good Friday prayers. In 1960, with the decree Rubricarum Instructum, he again revised and simplified the calendar. In 1962, he inserted Saint Joseph’s name into the Canon of the Mass. These three revisions are seen in what has come to be known as the Mass of John XXIII. It is this Mass and calendar which has been granted by indult under John Paul II and Benedict XVI and revised by the Motu Proprio of Francis.
The revision of the calendar of itself is not a problem and is needful for the Church moving forward in the Western Rite. However, the decree Rubricarum Instructum and the Deceree of Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, are based on Modernist principles.
Commentary on These Decrees
Pious ears are further offended even before the Vatican II Council, when we read the following ruling of the Sacred Congregation of Rites dated February 14, 1961: “In preparing or revising the historical lessons of feasts of whatever class, the following should be observed: … c/ the commonplace should be avoided; false or inappropriate passages should be deleted or corrected; if historical data be entirely or almost entirely lacking, lessons from the Common should be assigned, or some other more appropriate text from the Fathers should be chosen.”
Read this closely, and you will see that in 1961, this Congregation thought that it was possible for the Church to lie to us through the Sacred Liturgy! In his encyclical Mediator Dei Pope Pius XII condemns these errors most emphatically: “48 For this reason, whenever there was a question of defining a truth revealed by God, the Sovereign Pontiff and the Councils in their recourse to the ‘theological sources’, as they are called, have not seldom drawn many an argument from the sacred science of the Liturgy. For an example in point, Our Predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, so argued when he proclaimed the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. Similarly during the discussion of a doubtful or controversial truth, the Church and the Holy Fathers have not failed to look to the age-old and age-honored sacred rites for enlightenment. Hence the well-known and venerable maxim: ‘Legem credendi lex statuit supplicandi’- let the rule for prayer determine the rule of belief. The sacred Liturgy, consequently, does not decide or determine independently and of itself what is of Catholic faith. More properly, since the Liturgy is also a profession of eternal truths, and subject, as such, to the Supreme Teaching Authority of the Church, it can supply proofs and testimony, quite clearly of no little values, towards the determination of a particular point of Christian doctrine.”
In the Constitution on the Liturgy, Vatican II confirms the heresy quoted above: “As regards the readings, the following shall be observed: … c/ The accounts of martyrdom or the lives of the saints are to accord with the facts of history. … Historical truth should be attended not only in the lessons but also in the antiphons, hymns, and other parts of the Office, if there are any such proper parts; otherwise those parts should be taken from the common.” Further it exacerbates this heresy by accusing the Church of teaching myths! “To whatever extent may seem desirable, the hymns are to be restored to their original form, and whatever smacks of mythology or ill accords with Christian piety is to be removed or changed.”
How Should This Be Applied?
Although the calendar revision of 1960 is based on Modernist principles, the idea of a revision is not evil, nor is the use of said liturgical books, especially if books prior to this revision are not readily available.
In order to be consistent and not double minded, we should consider several classes of people. 2 The first class are those, who accept Francis as their Pope. In accordance with this position, they should accept the Mass of John XXIII and the calendar used for that Mass. The second class reject the claimants in Rome from Roncalli (John XXIII) to the present. In order to be consistent, they should accept the revision of the calendar and the Rite of Holy Week by Pope Pius XII in 1955. To do otherwise is to judge the law, which is beyond the competence of anyone, save the lawgiver or his successor. The third class are those, who are in union with Us, as Pope. We have permitted both the pre-1955 calendar, as well as the post 1955. We have been petitioned for permission to use the 1960 books, especially the Breviary.
The main liturgical principle is that the Mass and the Office should be the same. Therefore, if one celebrates according to the 1955 calendar, he should use both the Mass and Office of the day. Since, the only Breviary readily available is that of 1960, We permit the use of that Breviary and calendar on this principle that the Propers of the Mass should match the Office of that calendar.
There has been much discussion about the proper language to be used in the liturgy. This is an important question, but a question that has been misinterpreted. For centuries Latin has been used in the west in the liturgy, possibly back to the time of Peter and Paul in Rome. However, other languages have been used and are used to this day in the East. Saints Cyril and Methodius, who evangelized much to the East, petitioned Rome to use the vernacular of the area they were evangelizing. Such permission was granted.
More recently with the liturgical movement begun in the Nineteenth Century, many things came into motion. Dom Gueranger and the monks of Solemes worked to bring the liturgy back to its proper place. In their wake, Popes began encouraging the faithful to become more involved in the liturgy and come to a better knowledge of the liturgy and its beauties. Pope Saint Pius X did much to encourage this participation, during his reign, which included the above mentioned reforms. He issued a decree on Sacred Music. He called for the laity to learn the common parts of the Mass, such a Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei, as well as the responses. The Dialog Mass came into being in some places and spread, where at Low Mass the Faithful would make the responses, which before that time were only made by the clergy or their replacements, who were serving at the altar.
Pope Saint Pius X called for the translation of the liturgy, Missal, Breviary, Ritual and Pontifical, so that the laity could follow along in their own language and become better acquainted with these Sacred Ceremonies. Under Pope Pius XII permission was requested to bring parts of the Ritual into the vernacular. In English, a permission was granted to bring parts of the accidental Rites of Baptism into the vernacular. Other such permissions most likely exist.
Following the 1963 Decree on the liturgy, extension of the vernacular was granted, beginning in 1964 and continuing on until the late 1960’s when all was in the vernacular in various places. Few reacted to these changes that were introduced in the wake of Vatican II, until the Novus Ordo Missae was instituted after the 1969 Decree of Paul VI, Missale Romanum.
The use of the vernacular, provided good translations exist, is certainly permitted, and the Liturgical Movement in the Twentieth Century was going in that direction. Unfortunately, at least in English, the translations were abysmal, and should not be used. The idea of a commission, such as the ICEL (International Commission on English in the Liturgy) is certainly in order.
With Pope Saint Pius X’s desire to have vernacular translations for the use of the faithful, an unfortunate result came about. Much effort was spent creating translations and duplicating work, when a commission should have been established for each language to produce a faithful translation and principles upon which to make such a translation.
Francis’ Motu Proprio provides: “In these celebrations the readings are proclaimed in the vernacular language, using translations of the Sacred Scripture approved for liturgical use by the respective Episcopal Conferences;” As such those who believe he is Pope are bound to recite the Epistle and Gospel in the vernacular in obedience to the man they hold as Pope.
With the introduction of the Novus Ordo many came to believe that Montini was not truly Pope Paul VI, and the changes coming in his church, which soon came to be known as the Conciliar Church were not only not binding, but must be rejected.
It Is the Mass That Matters
Soon people rallied around this battle cry, not realizing that it came from Martin Luther. Soon Tolle Missam, Tolle Ecclesiam was added. (Destroy the Mass and you will destroy the Church) However, many forgot what a few knew in the 1960’s, that the problem were the doctrines of Vatican II, which produced the Novus Ordo Missae of Paul VI. A new church needs a new liturgy. Luther prepared a catechism and liturgy for his new church as did others, when they departed from the Catholic Church or from each other. Some of what was coming from the pulpits in the later 1960’s was not Catholic doctrine. The catechisms were watered down and teaching was mainly social justice rather than the truths of the Catholic Faith.
It should be remember that Vatican II produced the Novus Ordo. In keeping with the spirit of the decree of Vatican II in many translations the word for many of the Trdentine Mass and indeed all Catholic liturgies, was translated as for all. True the Latin of the Novus Ordo does not make this revision, although many vernaculars did.
Is Quo Primum Dogmatic?
Many looked for some way to force the Conciliar Church back to the Tridentine Mass. Soon Quo Primum came to be translated into many languages and circulated as proof that the Novus Ordo could not be implemented. And some came to the conclusion that Quo Primum is infallible.
However, this is a disciplinary decree, which was much needed at the time. We have seen that it did not pertain to the calendar, because new feasts were instituted after Quo Primum and added to the Missal. Also a Pope cannot bind a successor, who sees the need for a revision. Although it may not be prudent, the implementation of new accidental Rites, such as those in the Mass.
The Council of Trent (DZ 931): “The council furthermore declares that the Church has always had the power to determine or change things in the administration of the sacraments when it judges that such a procedure would be more useful for those who receive the sacraments or would contribute more to the honor of the sacraments themselves, in accordance with different times and places, always keeping the substance of the sacraments the same.”
Sacraments have two types of Rites, the essential matter and form, which is not subject to change, and the accidental Rites which have grown up around them. In our catechism, we learn the essential form of Baptism, which comes from Sacred Scripture 3 : “I baptize you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.” 4 Vatican II in the Constitution on the Liturgy 5 in paragraph 21 declares: “For the liturgy is made up of unchangeable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change. These latter not only may be changed but ought to be changed with the passage of time, if they have suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy or become less suitable.”
Is The Novus Ordo Missae Valid?
This became quite a controversy, especially in light of the substantial change of the Consecration of Wine to for all, leaving Jesus’ own words, for many, found in Sacred Scripture. 6 In the appendices, We provide three documents that were issued on this matter from the Vatican II Conciliar Church. First is the decree of Paul VI, Insauratio Liturgica: “The liturgical reform which has been carried out in accordance with the Constitution of the Second Vatican Council has made certain changes in the essential formulae of the sacramental rites.” Note this contradicts both Trent and Vatican II as quoted above. Secondly questions were sent to Rome on these translations, which were answered with two notices that basically say that Jesus meant to say for all, and this is not a problem. A story about this goes that in Arimaic, there is no word for all, so Jesus had to use many. However, a priest in the 1970’s looked into this and found it was not true. He approached a Cardinal of the Conciliar Church and asked him, what does Paul VI say, when he celebrates in Latin? The answer was the Latin for for many. Then he asked what Paul VI said, when he celebrated in Italian, and the answer was the Italian for for all. The priest then commented, that until he figured it out, he was returning to what he was certain (for many) following the principle that we should take the safer course in administering the Sacraments.
In light of these notices, it is possible that the Novus Ordo is invalid, even since the words have been returned to for many in the consecration. And one wonders if the priest has the right intention in celebrating the Mass of John XXIII in light of these notices.
Francis provides: “The constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium confirmed this appeal, by seeking “the renewal and advancement of the liturgy”, and by indicating the principles that should guide the reform. In particular, it established that these principles concerned the Roman Rite, and other legitimate rites where applicable, and asked that “the rites be revised carefully in the light of sound tradition, and that they be given new vigor to meet present-day circumstances and needs”.” Therefore those who hold that Francis as Pope hold the New Rites of the Mass and Sacraments to be valid and legitimate. In fact, on days of obligation, if there is no Latin Mass available, they are required to assist at the Novus Ordo.
The New Rites of the Sacraments
As we noted, Paul VI issued a decree in which he declared that the Church has changed the essential Rites of the Sacraments. In some cases this change is so radical to fear that the New Rite in question is invalid. This is especially true in the New Rite of Episcopal Consecration, which is patterned after the Eastern Rite of the installation of a Patriarch, which is not a Rite of Consecration, as the Patriarch in question may already be consecrated bishop.
Fill up in Thy priest the perfection of Thy ministry, and sanctify him with the dew of Thy heavenly ornaments of all beauty.
So now pour out upon this chosen one that power which is from you the governing spirit when you gave to your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, the Spirit given by him to the holy apostles, who founded the Church in every place to be your temple for the unceasing glory and praise of your name.
In Sacramentum Ordinis which determined the essential Rites for Ordination we read: ‟Finally in the Episcopal Ordination or Consecration, the matter is the imposition of hands which is done by the Bishop consecrator. … All these things are to be done as was determined by Our Apostolic Constitution Episcopalis Consecrationis of 30 November, 1944.”
Episcopalis Consecrationis provides: ‟Although for the validity of episcopal consecration only one Bishop is required and sufficient, provided he perform the essential rites, nevertheless the two Bishops who, according to the ancient practice and the prescription of the Roman Pontifical assist at the consecration, must, together with the Consecrator, being themselves Consecrators, not only touch the head of the Bishop-elect with both hands while they say ‘Accipe Spiritum Sanctum,’ but, having beforehand formed the inention of confessing episcopal consecration together with the Bishop who is Consecrator, must also recite the prayer, ‘Propitiare’ with the entire Preface which follows it, and likewise, throughout the entire rite, read in a low voice everything which the Consecrator reads or sings, except the prayers prescribed for the blessing of the pontifical vestments which are to be imposed in the rite of consecration.”
The imposition of hands in the New Rite of Episcopal Consecration is done in complete silence.
This new rite caused Father Carl Pulvermacher, who worked with the Society of Saint Pius X until his death to conclude: “One they do away with all of the priests (by the New Rite of ordination), they will give us the Mass back.” In 1977 Father Carl said that one day we would have to elect a Pope. 7
Among traditional minded Catholics there are many positions in regard to the Pope. Some of these are consistent, such as those who will obey this Motu Proprio. Others are inconsistent. Let us consider the main positions.
Many assist at the Masses and other liturgical services according to the calendar and Mass of John XXIII. They hold that Francis is Pope and obey all of his orders, although they may question some of his statements. They hold that the new Rites of the Mass and Sacraments is valid and legitimate. Although, We believe this position is wrong, this position is consistent.
Recognize And Resist
This position is held by some who assist at the indult liturgies and is the official position of the Society of Saint Pius X. “Rome has spoken, the matter is finished.” is attributed to Saint Augustine and derives from his statement on the decrees against the Pelagian heresy. The word Rome is used, because no matter where he lives, the Pope is Bishop of Rome. More properly it should be the Church has spoken… The Church speaks in two ways, through a Council or through a Pope. Some of these statements are infallible, and others are disciplinary, such as a Motu Proprio. Both are binding on Catholics. However, this group has decided that Rome has spoken, the dcebate is on. The debate is over whether or not their Pope truly intends to bind the Church or has contradicted tradition (with a small t, not to be confused with Tradition, which is a source of doctrine.). They hold traditions, such as kneeling for Communion, have risen to the level of dogma, when they have not. As such, this position refuses the man they hold as Pope obedience. If we have to question a superior, then the question quickly rises whether or not he has lost his office, if he ever had it in the first place.
Society of Saint Pius X
The official position of this organization is that Francis is Pope. However, many hold the private position that the papacy is vacant. These people are inconsistent in that they are not in agreement with their own organization on a matter of such importance as, who the Pope is. They may cite the Western Schism as a precedent, but all in the Western Schism held one of the claimants to be Pope, following the lead of their Bishop in this question. Of course, as We demonostrated in our book, Wil lthe Real Catholic Church Please Stand Up? The Society of Saint Pius X claims no official authority in the Catholic Church. Therefore the priests and bishops of the society are not pastors over the people who assist at their Masses. In fact, the Society considers the Bishop of the diocese, to be lawful and therefore they should be in full union with him, not in partial union. As such the Society of Saint Pius X is inconsistent.
Benedict XVI Is Still Pope
Some claim his resignation was coerced, and therefore not valid. However, Ratzinger himself, gives every indication that he accepts George Bergoglio as Pope Francis. Of course Benedict required acceptance of the validity and legitimacy of the New Mass and Sacraments, so they should too.
Although only held by a few, this position should be addressed, because it is not considered properly. Following the lead of a former professor of Econe, Abbe Guerard des Lauriers, they hold that Paul VI was only materially Pope, but not formally so. The reason is that he was a heretic and therefore could not become fully Pope, but has the designation of the Cardinals to be Pope. When he converts, he will become Pope. Until he converts all he can do is appoint material cardinals, who in turn will elect another material Pope. Until his conversion, all of his decrees may be ignored.
There is one major problem with this position, which is more akin to Recognize and Resist than Sede Vacantism, it holds that a heretic can have some claim to an office in the Church, when it is clear from the teachings of the Ordinary Magisterium, which are set forth in Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio, that a heretic can have no claim whatsoever to an office of the Church. As Saint Robert Bellarmine asks: “How can a man be head of a Church he is not a member of.” The obvious answer is that he can’t.
Some hold that the Bull, Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio is infallible in and of itself, while others doubt it. We will not render a decision on this matter, but rather refer you to an article that appears on a Society of Saint Pius X, which holds it is not infallible, but that the principles it contains are part of the Ordinary rather than Extraordinary Magisterium, both of which are infallible. 8 The Article is entitled: Clear ideas on the pope’s infallible magisterium.
This position now holds that the papacy has been vacant since October 9, 1958, when Pope Pius XII died. 9 In the early days, the date the vacancy began was debated and was as early as Pacem in terris of John XXIII in early 1963 to as late as Missale Romanum of Paul VI in 1969, instituting the Novus Ordo. In 1982, N Martin Gwynne wrote, Under the Laws of the Catholic Church, The Papacy Is Vacant. He proposed that post election heresy proved pre-election heresy in regard to the Pope, and therefore John Paul II never became Pope. In 1990, Will the Catholic Church Survive the Twentieth Century? Was circulated to sede vacantists worldwide in order to gather them together to elect a Pope, which is a logical conclusion of sede vacantism, and has more recently been named Conclavism. Although many ignored the call to elect a Pope, it appears to have influenced Sede Vacantist think so that now most, if not all hold that the election of Roncallil in 1958 was not valid, because he was a heretic prior to election. This proposition was proposed by one of the authors of this work, T. Stanfil Benns, who provided proof of pre-election heresy for both Roncalli and Montini, who would later claim to be Pope Paul VI.
Sede Vacantists would reject this Motu Proprio, because the reject its author as not a Pope. This far, the position is consistent. However, there are several problems with this position. Unlike the early day promoters from Father Saenz to Bishop Ngo-Dihn Thuc, they are not pursuing the ending of the vacancy. This is their first inconsistency.
With the exceptions of several of their bishops, Musey and Vezelis, and the successors of Vezelis, they claim no authority in the Catholic Church, as We proved in Our book mentioned above.
Also, as some have pointed out, there is no unity among them. Once a man becomes a sacramental bishop, he conform his own little church, which he governs as if he were a Diocesan Bishop. In fact, often a Sede Vacantist bishop is not in union with his consecrator, such as the case of bishops Pivarunas and Dolan. In fact several ordained by Dolan have left him and gone to another bishop, Slupski, and been consecrated. We have seen articles that point this out as proof that Sede Vacantism is not the right conclusion, since those who agree on this are not in union with each other; one mark of the Church, being Unity.
This movement began with scandals among the various Traditionalist priests and bishops in the early 1980’s People believed there must be some common problem that showed they have no authority in the Church. Some, who reached this conclusion, later become Conclavists, because they rightly believe that only a living breathing Pope can restore Order. The divisions among the Traditionalists prove that the ordination of priests and consecration of bishops has not brought any order among Traditionalism in general.
These people left the Traditionalist priests and bishops in order to stay home, pray and most likely await the final trumpet.
This movement was not given a name, until long after Our own election as Pope on July 16, 1990. However, some big names were connected with it from Archbishop Lefebvre through Bishop Ngo-Dihn Thuc to Malachi Martin, who wrote favorably of Will the Catholic Church Survive the Twentieth Century? If one looks online, at the article on this, there are many listed, who are internet fictions. On the Vatican in Exile website, this is discussed in more detail under Frequently Asked Questions. 10
This may be confusing times, but we can apply the principles of Sacred Scripture and determine the proper course of action. Our own course of action, We have demonstrated in our own books and other writings. As Catholics we have a duty of obedience to the Pastors of the Church. For a Catholic layman and some of the clergy, it means the Pastor of their parish, the Bishop of their diocese and the Pope. Disobedience is not an option, but a sin. When our Pastor causes problems, we can appeal to our Bishop. If it is our Bishop, then we can appeal to the Pope. However, the only appeal in the case of the Pope is to Almighty God in prayer, although in any problem our first recourse should be to prayer.
Our own position must be internally consistent. Another words, our position must conform to the Doctrines of the Faith found in Sacred Scripture and Tradition. And one of these principles is the duty of obedience as we read in Scripture: “Obey your prelates, and be subject to them. For they watch as being to render an account of your souls; that they may do this with joy, and not with grief. For this is not expedient for you.” (Hebrews 13:17) We can never disobey our superior, except if he were to command sin. Now it is probable that the Pope cannot command sin. We can depart from someone, who claims to be our Pastor, when he departs from the Church through heresy. As such we are not committing schism, but leaving someone who has already left the Church and has resigned all offices in the Church by his heresy.
We would like to close with the recommendation to pray to the Holy Ghost for guidance in these times.
Michael by the Grace of God, Pope
July 17, 2021
Declaration on the meaning of translations of sacramental formulae S.C.D.F., insauratio Liturgica, 25 January 1974
The liturgical reform which has been carried out in accordance with the Constitution of the Second Vatican Council has made certain changes in the essential formulae of the sacramental rites. These new expressions, like the other ones, have had to be translated into modern languages in such a way that the original sense finds expression in the idiom proper to each language. This has given rise to certain difficulties, which have come to light now that the translations have been sent by episcopal, conferences to the Holy See for approve. In these circumstances, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith again calls attention to the necessity that the essential formulae of the sacramental rites render faithfully the original sense of the Latin “typical text.” With that in mind it declares:
When a vernacular translation of a sacramental formula is submitted to the Holy See for approval, it examines it carefully. When it is satisfied that it expresses the meaning, intended by the Church, it approves and confirms it, stipulating, however, that it must be understood in accordance with the mind of the Church as expressed in the original Latin text.
Holiness, Pope Paul VI, in the audience granted to the Cardinal Prefect on the 25th day of January, 1974, gave his approval.
AAS 66-661; Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, declaration, 25 January, 1974. Annotations in Notitiae, 10 (1974), 396-397.
Catechism of the Council of Trent
“The form of the consecration of the wine, the other element of this Sacrament is, for the reasons assigned with regard to the bread, necessary to be accurately known, and clearly understood by the priest. It is firmly to be believed that the form of consecrating the chalice is comprehended in these words: “This is the chalice of My Blood of the new and eternal testament: the mystery of faith: which shall be shed for you and for many to the remission of sins.” These words are for the most part taken from Scripture. Some of them, however, have been preserved in the Church by apostolic tradition. The words “this is the chalice” are taken from Saint Luke (22:20), and are also mentioned by the Apostle. (I Corinthians 11:25) The words that immediately follow, “of My Blood, or My Blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for you, and for many to the remission of sins,” are taken in part from Saint Luke, and in part from Saint Matthew. (Matthew 26:28)
“The additional words, “for you and for many,” are taken, some from Saint Matthew and some from Saint Luke, and under the guidance of the Spirit of God, combined together by the Catholic Church. They serve emphatically to designate the fruit and advantage of His Passion, we believe that the Redeemer shed His Blood, for the salvation of all men; but looking to the advantages, which mankind derive from its efficacy, we find, at once, that they are not extended to the whole, but to a large proportion of the human race. When, therefore, our Lord said: “for you”, He meant either those who were present, of those whom He had chosen from among the Jews, amongst whom were, with the exception of Judas, all His disciples with whom He then conversed; but when He adds, “for many” He would include the remainder of the elect from amongst the Jews and Gentiles. With great propriety therefore, were the words, for all omitted, because here the fruit of the Passion is alone spoken of, and to the elect only did His Passion bring the fruit of salvation.
January 1970 Notice From Rome
In some vernacular versions the words of the formula for the consecration of the wine pro multis are translated in the following way: in English for all men; in Spanish por todos and in Italian per tutti.
The following is asked:
a) Is there a good reason, and if there is, what is it, for deciding on such a variation?
b) Whether the doctrine regarding this matter handed down through the Roman Catechism ordered by Decree of the Council of Trent and edited by Saint Pius V is to be held outdated?
c) Whether the versions of the above mentioned biblical text are to be held less appropriate?
d) Whether in the approval given to this vernacular variation in the liturgical text something less correct crept in, and which now requires correction or amending?
Response: The above variation is fully justified:
a) According to exegetes, the Aramaic word which in Latin is translated pro multis, means pro omnibus: the multitude for whom Christ died is unbounded, which is the same as saying: Christ died for all. Saint Augustine will help recall this: “You see what He hath given; find out then what He bought. The Blood of Christ was the price. What is equal to this? What, but the whole world? What, but all nations? They are very ungrateful for their price, or very proud, who say that the price is so small that it bought the Africans only; or that they are so great, as that it was given for them alone.” (Enarr. In Ps. 95, n. 5)
b) In no way is the doctrine of the Roman Catechism to be held outdated: the distinction that the death of Christ was sufficient for all, efficacious only for many, still holds its value.
c) In the approval given to this vernacular variation in the liturgical text, nothing less than correct has crept in, which would require correction or amendment.
May 1970 Notice from Rome
A response was already given in Notitiae, n. 50 (January 1970), pp. 39-40, to the difficulty that in the vernacular interpretations of the words of the consecration of the wine pro omnibus was used in place of pro multis. Since, however, some uneasiness seems to persist, it seemed that the matter should be addressed again a little more extensively from an exegetical point of view.
In that response, one reads: According to exegetes the Aramaic word, which in Latin is translated pro multis, means pro omnibus. This assertion should be expressed a little more cautiously. To be exact: In the Hebrew (Aramaic) language there is one word for omnes and another for multi. The word multi then, strictly speaking, does not mean omnes.
But because the word multi in different ways in our Western languages does not exclude the whole, it can and does in fact connote it, where the context or subject matter suggests or requires it. It is not easy to offer clear examples of this phenomenon. Here are some:
In 3 Esdras [Ezra] 8:3 we read: “Many have been created, but only a few shall be saved.” It is clear that all have been created. But here the interest is not in the whole, but in the opposite of few. Hence, many is used, when it truth it means all.
In the Qumram text Hodayot IV, 28, 29, both words many and all are found in a synonymous parallel (two parallel verses in which the same thing is said twice): “You have worked wonders among the many on account of your glory that you might make known to all your great works.”
Moreover, in Qumram many (with or without the article) came to be a technical term (almost a name) for the community of all the full fledged members, and thus just in the rule of the sect it occurs in around 30 places.
We come now to the texts of the New Testament with which we are particularly concerned: Romans 5:12,15. Here the comparative argumentation from the minor premise to the major is set up between the universality of Adam’s sin and the universality of Christ’s grace: Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned (after the insertion of verses 13 and 14, the comparison continues) But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. Let us note: all those of the first part become the many (with an article) of the second part. Just as sin affects all, or rather much more, so also grace is destined for all.
Mark 10:45 = Matthew 20:28 has Jesus’ words: “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” That for many ambiguous in itself, in fact is to be understood as for all, proven by what we read in 1 Timothy 2:6: “Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all.”
But even if we didn’t have this authoritative interpretation, that for many’ nonetheless should certainly be understood as for all because the coming of Jesus (“He came in order to give…”) is explicitly carried out for the purpose which can abundantly be shown to have as its object the whole world, i.e. the human race as a whole.
John 1:29: “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
John 3:16,17: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him…may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
1 John 2:2: “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”
1 John 4:14: “And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world.”
1 Timothy 4:10: “…We have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.”
These texts, however, have the Eucharist itself in view:
John 6:33: “For the bread of God is that which comes down from Heaven and gives life to the world.”
John 6:51: “The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
Given all this, it can indeed rightly be asked, not so much what the words pro multis in the consecration mean, but rather given all this evidence, why pro omnibus is not explicitly said.
In response, it seems that
1) in the primitive Palestinian Church, considering both their soteriology and their Semitic mind set, there was no misunderstanding that had to be avoided by employing the formula pro omnibus. They could freely keep the traditional pro multis because those Christians sensed and marveled at the beauty of that original formula pro multis.
2) pro multis seems to have been used by Jesus himself, because evoking the memory of Chapter 53 of Isaiah about the Servant of Yahweh who sacrifices himself, it is suggested that Jesus would fulfill what was predicted about the Servant of Yahweh. The main text is Isaiah 53:11b-12: “The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death…; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Therefore the formula pro multis instead of pro omnibus in our texts (Mark 10:45 = Matthew 20:28; Mark 14:24 = Matthew 26:28) seems to be due to the desired allusion to the Servant of Yahweh whose work Jesus carried out by his death.
This brings us now to another question: Why therefore in our liturgical version this venerable original pro multis should yield to the phrase pro omnibus? I respond: because of a certain accidental but true inconvenience: the phrase for many — as it is said — in our minds (not forewarned) excludes that universality of the redemptive work which for the Semitic mind could be and certainly was connoted in that phrase because of the theological context. However, the allusion to the theology of the Servant of Yahweh, however eloquent for the ancients, among us is clear only to the experts.
But if on the other hand it is said that the phrase for all also has its own inconvenience, because for some it might suggest that all will actually be saved, the danger of such an erroneous understanding is estimated to hardly exist among Catholics.
Besides, the change which the words of the consecration underwent was not unique nor the first. For the traditional Latin text already combines the Lucan text pro vobis with the phrase of Mark and Matthew pro multis. And that is not the first change. For already the liturgy of the early Church (Mark-Matthew) seems to have adjusted the saying over the chalice to the formula pronounced over the bread. For originally that formula of the chalice according to Paul (1 Corinthians 11:25) and Luke (22:20) was: “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” — a formula which was excellent perhaps in depth, but not really in clarity.
It is clear how the Church of the Apostles was not interested in preserving the very voice of the Lord even in the words of the consecration, certainly cited for the first time as such by Jesus himself.
1 Matthew 24;24; Mark 13:22
2 “A double minded man is inconstant in all his ways.” [James 1:8]
3 Matthew 28:19
4 There has been some controversy over identifying the third Person of the Blessed Trinity as Holy Spirit. However, this would not invalidate the Sacraments.
5 Sacrosanctum Concilium Promulgated December 4, 1963
6 Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24
7 This author was a witness to this conversation in spring of 1977, which came after a sermon he preached during a week day Mass that was sede vacantist.
9 A few radicals hold the vacancy to be much longer.