Saturday, May 25, 2013


"The Lord truly does love everyone and that he died for everyone. And one other thing: that he does not push aside our freedom using some kind of amusing magic, instead, he lets us to say “yes” through his great mercy.”--Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger--2001, AD

Some have accused our Holy Father, Francis, also known as the Supreme Pontiff and the Pope of promoting the heresy of universalism recently. Of course that is misreading Pope Francis or not reading him through the Pontiff Emeritus, Benedict XVI.

As some of you many know, Pope Benedict XVI was directly responsible and in fact ordered that the formula for the consecration of the chalice of wine at Mass be change in vernacular Masses to be a literal translation of what the Latin formula is:

"Pro-multis" is the Latin "for many" or "the many." Keep in mind Latin does not have articles like English does.

So the English version of the consecration of the chalice of wine went from "...for all" to "for many."

Gianni Valente writing for the Vatican Insider in April of 2012 had an article on the controversies Pope Benedict's order to change the vernacular to "for many" had. YOU CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE. Below I offer some excerpts:

According to the Cardinal Malcolm Ranijth Patabendige Don, the return to the for many formula instead of for all, also serves as a timely reminder of “the seriousness of the Christian vocation”, in a situation which according to him is marked by “exaggerated optimism about salvation which leads everyone to Paradise, without the need for the gift of faith and the effort of conversion.”

In an interview with Italian Catholic newspaper 30 Giorni, in the spring of 2010, Jesuit cardinal Albert Vanhoye took a more articulate stance. According to this distinguished Biblicist, the translation of pro multis into for all, adopted by many churches following the Second Vatican Council, was based on an exegetical reasoning that was by no means insignificant. Starting with the fact that Jesus spoke in Aramaic not in Greek or Latin. In the interview, the rector emeritus of the Pontifical Biblical Institute said that “In Italian molti (many) implicitly contradicts tutti (all). If one says that many students passed an exam, it means not all passed. In Hebrew, however, this dialectical connotation does not exist. The word rabim simply means a great many. It does not specify whether this great number corresponds to all.” According to Vanhoye “it is clear that Jesus was not referring to a determined, albeit numerous, group of individuals during the Last Supper. His address was universal. Jesus wants salvation for all.”

[In Pope Benedict's letter mandating the return to "for many", the Holy Father] listed all the objections to the requested change (“Did Christ not die for everyone? Has the Church changed its teaching? Is it able to do so and can it do so? Does this reaction aim to destroy the Council's legacy?”), denying that any of these had any basis. Ratzinger is always keen above all to stress the unselfishness of the salvation brought to us by Jesus. Ever since he was a young theologian, Ratzinger has always distrusted theological formulas that interpret the history of salvation in a determinist way, like a compulsory mechanism that everyone is subject to, whether we like it or not. Even as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger showed his tireless joy for theological theories according to which mercy is given to humans a priori. This apriorism, which according to him disfigures the unselfishness and historicity of Christ’s redemption, takes away all the wonder of the Christian adventure and poses the risk of a religious and ethical imperialism toward us Christians. This is why, way before he became Pope, Ratzinger underlined the urgent need for the consecration formula to capture Christ’s authentic intention. As he wrote in an essay in 2001, “regardless of the formula [whether for all or for many] we must listen to the whole meaning of the message: that the Lord truly does love everyone and that he died for everyone. And one other thing: that he does not push aside our freedom using some kind of amusing magic, instead, he lets us to say “yes” through his great mercy.”


Gene said...

People make this harder than it is. Christ's redemptive sacrifice was for all as a sufficient cause for salvation. But, there is a necessary act of will on our part...the confession of Christ as savior. MANY will make this confession and become a part of His Church, others will not. This is without getting into the election/predestination argument which is always fun, but tiring. It is impossible to read the NT and draw universalist conclusions from it.

rcg said...

Gene , I completely agree. If there is a discussion it would be to ask if the person really understands and is willing to act on the salvation. The atheists who have never known God and the people raised in other faiths are lucky insofar as they are not culpable. But when they are exposed and begin to understand there is a terrible and glorious and invigorating burden to bear. Those few, those happy few, are the ones lined up behind the priest when he consecrates the Host and the rest abed at home, wasting their dowry.

DW said...

May Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don be elected pope after Francis.

Anonymous said...

Matthew 21:31 "Which of the two did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered. Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you."

Did Jesus die for all? Yes, even the people we consider to be the worst of sinners. And they enter the kingdom of God ahead of us.

Gene said...

Well, Anon, only if the worst of sinners repent and believe the Gospel. There is that...

Gene said...

You see, Anonymous, you are missing the point of the is about belief...right belief...."tax collectors and harlots believed him, and even when you saw it, you did not afterwards repent and believe him."
In the very next chapter, 22, is the parable of the marriage feast. There were both good and bad there, but Jesus only focused on the one without a wedding garment, "bind him hand and foot and cast him into outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. For many are called and few are chosen." Now, Anon, what do you suppose is this "wedding garment?" It is repentance and confession of Christ as Savior.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Gene...sometimes that part about they gotta repent and believe gets left off.