November 16-17, 2004
vol 15, no. 185

Lest we forget - Why 'PRO MULTIS'

Putting to rest the doublespeak and misinformation that has confused so many Catholics into buying the tripe that either 'for many' or 'for all' are fine, that they both mean the same. Not!

    "'Many' grains of wheat go into the 'one loaf,' but not all, and 'many' grapes go into the 'one chalice,' but not all. So it is that 'many' (as many as who so choose to obey Christ) compose the 'one Mystical Body of the Church,' but not all. If 'all persons on the face of the earth' could be meant here, then 'all loaves of bread, leavened and unleavened, sweetened and unsweetened, purchased or still on grocery store shelves' would equally therefore become 'the Body of Christ' and the same for all the wine in all the bottles, bars, and wineries around the world. It would cheapen the Sacrament to worthlessness if 'all' could ever validly be meant. 'Many' is therefore a necessary component of the valid sacramental form."

    Following the authentic Tradition of the Church these days requires much in the way of sacrifice. Few have the ease and convenience of a closely located Mass location, let alone full Tridentine parish church, anywhere near as close and convenient as the nearest Novus Ordo parish. Far fewer still are willing to sacrifice the loss of friends, "position," or recognition that comes with their participation in the Novus Ordo, perhaps as "Eucharistic Ministers" or "Musical Minister" or "Readers" or "Servers." Not all have the "taste" for it even as not all people like classical music. Is the Tridentine Mass really worth all the sacrifice we go through to attend it? In particular, is the validity of the Novus Ordo really all that impaired, that avoiding it is warranted even on that one ground alone? Can't "for all" be considered close enough to "for many?"

    Needless to say, those denizens of the Novus Ordo work hard at lulling souls spiritually to sleep who are foolish enough to listen to them. For a brief period, tradition threatened to awaken them from their slumber by pointing out the severity of the wrongness of using "for all." But little is heard of this today as certain respectable traditional societies (such as the SSPX) insist on affirming that the Novus Ordo is (or at least can be, under the most ideal circumstances anyway) valid, sacramentally speaking.

    Well in that case, why bother? How can such an error be "defended?" Two basic arguments are used, one merely being to the effect that "Hey, it's approved, and so therefore it MUST be OK." I prefer to respond to that claim in a future article. The second is merely through the use of blatant scholastic dishonesty. In short, certain persons in or at the Vatican, or in support of their extraordinary position, have deliberately distorted the known facts and theological sources. It cannot be put down to mere accident or incompetence, and therefore this article does constitute a formal accusation. A recent posting to ZENIT, a question "Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University," cites two attempts in 1970 on the part of certain authors of the official publishing organ of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, Notitiae. In these articles, several questions were asked, which I will address one by one:

    a) Is there a good reason, and if there is, what is it, for deciding on such a variation [using "for all" instead of "for many"]? to which the response given therein was: "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."

    This of course turned out to be based on the single "scholar" Joachim Jeremias who had the effrontery to claim that the Aramaic Language had no distinct words for "many" and "all!" Of course, Aramaic does have distinct words, as does every known language ever used by man. The one is not the same as the other.

    So obvious and horrific was that error of using the one unsupported "source" for their claim that later that year they had to add a "clarification" thus: "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.'" So much for "scholar" Jeremias, whose career never recovered.

    But now they must backpeddle. The "corrected response" continues thus:

    "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:"

and it then provides some examples, one from the Fourth Book of Esdras (an apocryphal book not included in the standard Catholic Bible), a couple Qumram texts, and a few others from the New Testament where "many" could (in their particular contexts) mean "all." Yes, in some few contexts, "many" can refer to "all" as in "Of all persons in the world, how many are they?" In the above quote, "the multitude for whom Christ died is unbounded" is provided as a justification for treating that "many" as "all." But unbounded need not be all, as can be illustrated through simple arithmetic. How many even positive integers are there (i. e. 2, 4, 6, 8, etc.)? Infinitely many, "unbounded" one could say. But does that mean that such a set includes all positive integers? If so, where are 1 and 3 and 5 and so forth?

    Worse still, the Qumram texts given do not support the unique interpretation of "many" equally "all" that the Novus Ordinarians would give them. Let us take the first: "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.'" But look what it really says: The great wonders of God are worked among "the many," namely the Jews, in order to make known to "all," namely the whole world, Jew and Gentile alike, God's great works.

    Even more interestingly the Vatican liars claim to find further Qumram basis in that "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." Oops again! There is no way to mistake the full-fledged members of a particular community for the whole world. The Qumrum community refers to itself as "the many," which was a grammatical form Jesus was conspicuously following when He performed the first Mass, though of course applying it to His community the Church instead of the Qumram community. "All" of "the many" who comprise a specific community, be it that of Qumram or that of the Church, can never be confused with "all" of the whole world. Their very sources refute them, even in the small extracts as given in their quotes.

    The New testament passages cited merely refer to the value of His sacrifice which indeed is sufficient for all persons, were they all to repent, rather than the actual fruit of His sacrifice, namely those who do repent and follow Him (the Church). But the same subterfuge was used in the original response which continued with:

    "St. 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)"

But the saint was not talking about the form to be used for consecrating the Eucharist but rather against some heresy that had developed in his native Africa to the effect that the value of Christ's sacrifice was somehow limited, perhaps to the extent of its actual fruits. Whoever looked up that Augustinian reference no doubt saw it in its true context, yet they quoted it in support of an innovation that St. Augustine never imagined let alone saw in his day.

    b) Whether the doctrine regarding this matter handed down through the 'Roman Catechism ordered by Decree of the Council of Trent and edited by St. Pius V' is to be held outdated? to which the response given therein was

      "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."

    I wonder if the folks who came up with this ever actually READ the Catechism of the Council of Trent. For it plainly states: "The additional words for you and for many, are taken, some from Matthew, some from Luke, but were joined together by the Catholic Church under the guidance of the Spirit of God. They serve to declare the fruit and advantage of His Passion. For if we look to its value, we must confess that the Redeemer shed His blood for the salvation of all; but if we look to the fruit which mankind have received from it, we shall easily find that it pertains not unto all, but to many of the human race. When therefore (our Lord) said: For you, He meant either those who were present, or those chosen from among the Jewish people, such as were, with the exception of Judas, the disciples with whom He was speaking. When He added, And for many, He wished to be understood to mean the remainder of the elect from among the Jews or Gentiles.

With reason, therefore, were the words for all not used, as in this place the fruits of the Passion are alone spoken of, and to the elect only did His Passion bring the fruit of salvation. And this is the purport of the Apostle when he says: Christ was offered once to exhaust the sins of many; and also of the words of our Lord in John: I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them whom thou hast given me, because they are thine." (Catechism of the Council of Trent, pages 227-228, TAN Books edition)

    Still, one might say, "Granted, 'for all' is utterly uncalled for and gravely against what Jesus Christ intended, but can that really be so serious? Why can't it be applied to all the world for whom He died instead of merely those who accept His gift? But this question ignores the basic fact that the Eucharist is the Sacrament of Unity of the Church. Not Unity between the Church and the world ("world" in the sense of "the world, the flesh, and the Devil"), but the Unity of the believers amongst themselves, and with the souls in Purgatory, the saints in Heaven, and most of all with God Himself Whose Sacred Flesh they have devoutly eaten.

    And this makes sense in that this is the main Sacrament of the Church. A distinction is being made between the ordinary and the sacred. Without some things being ordinary, the very word "sacred" would become emptied of meaning. For example, if one were to say "Why is Sunday more holy than the other days of the week? Why not make all days holy?" What is wrong with such a suggestion is that it doing such a thing would make all days equally sacred, hence equally ordinary, and the very concept of the sacred becomes lost.

    This is why there has always been a physical separation between the "sacred" place in the church for the priests and the "ordinary" place for everyone else. In the ancient tabernacle (tent) of the Israelites and again the various Jewish temples, there was always the "most holy" and the "holy" and then the other areas outside (yet still within the temple and hence still somewhat "more holy" than anywhere outside the temple), such as the Court of the Women and the Court of the Gentiles. Catholic churches have always reflected the same separation. In the Eastern churches for example, there is the Iconostasis, and in the Western, the rood screen, or at bare minimum, the altar railing. So too with the Blessed Sacrament.

    "Many" grains of wheat go into the "one loaf," but not all, and "many" grapes go into the "one chalice," but not all. So it is that "many" (as many as who so choose to obey Christ) compose the "one Mystical Body of the Church," but not all. If "all persons on the face of the earth" could be meant here, then "all loaves of bread, leavened and unleavened, sweetened and unsweetened, purchased or still on grocery store shelves" would equally therefore become "the Body of Christ" and the same for all the wine in all the bottles, bars, and wineries around the world. It would cheapen the Sacrament to worthlessness if "all" could ever validly be meant. "Many" is therefore a necessary component of the valid sacramental form.

    But what about the use of the so-called "short form"? Since it contains neither "for many" nor "for all" some might doubt its validity, but it does appear to have been used on at least some very few occasions. However, because an approved priest using the short form would obviously intend to do what the Church does in using the far more universal long form, one could argue that "for many" might be sufficiently implied with a "short form" (one that only says "this is the chalice of my blood." (period!)

    All of that being the case, could a Novus Ordo ever be performed validly in the vernacular using "for all"? Strangely, yes, because many priests trained and formed and ordained in the "good old days" might say the "all" of the Novus Ordo meaning, at least unconsciously or implicitly, ("all who belong to Christ," or even [if they know all their parishoners well enough to recognize each and every one of them in the building at the time and see no unfamiliar faces] "all persons in this room" or "all of you") And of course, this assumes that similar hurdles regarding the Novus Ordo distortion of the use of the phrase "Mystery of Faith" are also similarily overcome. But if he says "all" here and by it means "all persons everywhere on the face of the earth" (which would be exactly the same as "all persons for whom Christ died" referencing the value rather than the fruit of His sacrifice) then he does not confect the sacrament, and the "Mass" is invalid. Who knows what he meant? The Novus Ordo vernacular form is ambiguous, and in any event gravely sacrilegious, even if only "all" of Christ's faithful is validly meant.

Griff L. Ruby

Griff's book is available from Books for $26.95 or can be read on-line at We at The Daily Catholic strongly urge you to share it with all you can for that could be the gentle shove that moves your friends back to where the True Faith resides forever, rooted in the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church as Christ intended and promised.

    Griff Ruby's STRAIGHT STUFF
    November 16-17, 2004
    Volume 15, no. 185