Nature abhors a vacuum.
Catholic corollary: We’ve gone a few days without a red-faced, heretic-smackdown, liturgy discussion, so let’s get it down.
For those not up on the discussion, Pope Benedict has weighed in that the new English translations of the Eucharistic Prayers will change this:
This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant; it will be shed for you and for all …
This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant; it will be shed for you and for many …
It boils down to a literal translation of Jesus’ third language, Latin, on the phrase “pro multis.” Trautman reports that the CDWDS covered this issue back in 1970 when a Scripture scholar was asked to weigh in with what we understand Jesus to have said in his own language, namely that God the Father, through the Son, offers salvation to everyone. Our experience with family members, friends, and perhaps even ourselves informs us that the “all” to whom grace is offered, turns up being the “many” who accept it. Which is a better fit in the liturgy?
Is the Last Supper narrative about Jesus’ sacrifice, primarily? Or is it a speech that requires a reminder of this equation:
All – Judases = Many
I think the fussing on literal translation is a generally bad thing for liturgy. We, meaning Roman Catholics worldwide, have more important liturgical issues to address. We need to get to them. Much as I respect Pope Benedict, I think his intervention on “pro multis” is misplaced.