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Italian bishops debate translation of pro multis

July 26, 2012

The Catholic bishops of Italy, among others, have resisted the urging of Pope Benedict XVI to revise translations of the Mass so that the Latin words pro multis in the words of consecration to read “for the many” rather than “for all.” However, scholars and Church officials are suggesting an alternative translation.

Prompted by the Pontiff, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a call for new translations in 2006. The bishops of the English-speaking world acceded to the directive, and the new English translation of the Mass uses “for many.” But the Italian bishops voted last year, by an overwhelming 171- 11, to retain the existing phrase per tutti.

Italian and German bishops have explained that using the equivalent of “the many” in their languages could obscure the fact that Jesus offered salvation to all of mankind. Now Italian bishops are suggesting an alternative, per la moltitudine. The French bishops have approved a similar translation: pour la multitude.


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