Michele Somerville, a poet who moonlights as a Catholic so she can rage against the evils of the dread and dreary Vatican, has divined the real reason for the new Missal translation: oppression, control, and patriarchal hatred of Prized, Politically-Correct Victims:
The Vatican claims that a translation more faithful to the original Latin is needed. Is this the real reason for this disruption? I don't think so.
The nostalgia for the more Latin-faithful mass is an outgrowth of a desire for the church that used the Latin mass. This is nostalgia for the church in which less preaching took place, the priest presided with his back toward the congregation, only the hands of the priest touched the Eucharist, and wherein women -- who were prohibited from setting foot on the altar -- were required to cover their heads. ...
The Vatican is not nearly so interested, however, in the accuracy of the translation of the mass as it is in dragging today's vernacular mass back in time. They want the 1962 mass with all the trimmings. This new translation business is a tasty treat for the lockstep sheep and papist throwbacks. ...
The New Old Missal matter works well as a diversionary tactic. Its well-timed fanfare shifts attention away from a pontificate mired in perversion. It is easier to sit at the long table in a gown parsing the Filioque than it is to sit at that same table and discuss the ordination of women, the Vatican's culpability in spreading HIV and AIDS in the developing world, and its own spiritual cancer in the form of bishop-facilitated child rape.
No reason, really, to argue with such lunacy as it about as sound and sane as the latest conspiracy theory about 9/11, the JFK assassination, the moon landings, and the demonic reason that no one appreciates the inherent mysticism of ABBA lyrics. But Somerville does raise one point that I think merits a response, if only to show how angry, bitter, leftist feminists can't seem to think their way out of a wet paper bag, never mind a children's catechism:
Reminding Catholics that salvation does not extend to all is one of the chief aims of these changes in the text of the mass.
The Eucharistic Prayer, the most solemn and critical prayer in the mass, through which the bread and wine are transubstantiated, has undergone radical change.
Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlastingcovenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me.
has become this:
Take this, all of you, and drink from it: for this is the chalice of my Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.
In this prayer "cup" has become "chalice." While "chalice" may more accurately render a strict construction translation of the Latin, it is hard to imagine that "chalice" best describes the vessel Jesus might have called some version of His "Kiddush cup." Somehow, imperial "chalice" seems benign when seen alongside the following godawful change: "It will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins."
If the language is to be believed, last Sunday the blood of Christ saved everyone. This week, not so much.
Thus the English-speaking United States is reminded that the universal, transcendent, Catholic savior now pours out his blood for some and not others. This stipulation may appear in the original Latin, but even if it's a technically accurate translation of the original phrase, it's inconsistent with what Catholics have been expressing in our Creed for 50 years. Now, we are asked to pray to the Christ who saves many of us and not all of us. The focus of the prayer shifts onto the excluded. Who are they? Atheists, agnostics, non-Catholic believers and -- the real targets -- Roman Catholic self-excommunicants.
This Christ who saves many is the Christ Joseph Ratzinger wants (perhaps as his second in command) in his smaller, darker, more ancient church made up of that new "many."
Ooooh. Damning stuff, no? No, just damned stupid. In fact, I took time out of my busy day to consult a leading theologian—who was at the Second Vatican Council, as a matter of fact, as a theological expert—about this very matter.
In the New Testament as a whole, and in the whole of the tradition of the Church, it has always been clear that God desires that everyone should be saved and that Jesus died, not just for a part of mankind, but for everyone; that God himself-as we were just saying--does not draw the line any- where. He does not make any distinction between people he dislikes, people he does not want to have saved, and others whom he prefers; he loves everyone because he has created everyone. That is why the Lord died for all. That is what we find in Saint Paul's Letter to the Romans: God "did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all" (8:32); and in the fifth chapter of the Second Letter to the Corinthians: "One has died for all" (2 Cor 5:14). The first Letter to Timothy speaks of "Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all" (I Tim 2:6). This sentence is particularly important in that we can see, by the context and by the way it is formulated, that a eucharistic text is being quoted here. Thus we know that at that time, in a certain part of the Church, the formula that speaks of a sacrifice "for all" was being used in the Eucharist. The insight that was thus preserved has never been lost from the tradition of the Church. On Maundy Thursday, in the old missal, the account of the Last Supper was introduced with the words: "On the evening before he died, for the salvation of all he . . ." It was on the basis of this knowledge that in the seventeenth century there was an explicit condemnation of a Jansenist proposition that asserted that Christ did not die for everyone. This limitation of salvation was thus explicitly rejected as an erroneous teaching that contradicted the faith of the whole Church. The teaching of the Church says exactly the opposite: Christ died for all.
We cannot start to set limits on God's behalf, the very heart of the faith has been lost to anyone who supposes that it is only worthwhile, if it is, so to say, made worthwhile by the damnation of others. Such a way of thinking, which finds the punishment of other people necessary, springs from not having inwardly accepted the faith; from loving only oneself and not God the Creator, to whom his creatures belong. That way of thinking would be like the attitude of those people who could not bear the workers who came last being paid a denarius like the rest; like the attitude of people who feel properly rewarded only if others have received less. This would be the attitude of the son who stayed at home, who could not bear the reconciling kindness of his father. It would be a hardening of our hearts, in which it would become clear that we were only looking out for ourselves and not looking for God; in which it would be clear that we did not love our faith, but merely bore it like a burden. We must finally come to the point where we no longer believe it to be better to live without faith, standing around in the marketplace, so to speak, unemployed, along with the workers who were only taken on at the eleventh hour; we must be freed from the delusion that spiritual unemployment is better than living with the Word of God. We have to learn once more so to live our faith, so to assent to it, that we can discover in it that joy which we do not simply carry round with us because others are at a disadvantage, but with which we are filled, for which we are thankful, and which we would like to share with others. This, then, is the first point: It is a basic element of the biblical message that the Lord died for all-being jealous of salvation is not Christian.
So, it would seem initially that Somerville has a point about Joseph Ratzinger's "smaller, darker, more ancient church" oppressing the open-minded Catholics who sprung into being about fifty years ago (magically, like Justin Beiber!). But this theologian adds this significant point:
A second point to add to this is that God never, in any case, forces anyone to be saved. God accepts man's freedom. He is no magician, who will in the end wipe out everything that has happened and wheel out his happy ending. He is a true father; a creator who assents to freedom, even when it is used to reject him. That is why God's all-embracing desire to save people does not involve the actual salvation of all men. He allows us the power to refuse. God loves us; we need only to summon up the humility to allow ourselves to be loved. But we do have to ask ourselves, again and again, whether we are not possessed of the pride of wanting to do it for ourselves; whether we do not rob man, as a creature, along with the Creator-God, of all his dignity and stature by removing all element of seriousness from the life of man and degrading God to a kind of magician or grandfather, who is unmoved by anything. Even on account of the unconditional greatness of God's love-indeed, because of that very quality-the freedom to refuse, and thus the possibility of perdition, is not removed.
What, then, should we make of the new translation? Both formulations, "for all" and "for many", are found in Scripture and in tradition. Each expresses one aspect of the matter: on one hand, the all-embracing salvation inherent in the death of Christ, which he suffered for all men; on the other hand, the freedom to refuse, as setting a limit to salvation. Neither of the two formulae can express the whole of this; each needs correct interpretation, which sets it in the context of the Christian gospel as a whole. I leave open the question of whether it was sensible to choose the translation "for all" here and, thus, to confuse translation with interpretation, at a point at which the process of interpretation remains in any case indispensable. There can be no question of misrepresentation here, since whichever of the formulations is allowed to stand, we must in any case listen to the whole of the gospel message: that the Lord truly loves everyone and that he died for all. And the other aspect: that he does not, by some magic trick, set aside our freedom but allows us to choose to enter into his great mercy.
Wow. Great stuff. Of course, you know who wrote it: the allegedly nefarious, oppressive, hate-mongering octogenarian Joseph Ratzinger, now known as Pope Benedict XVI! The above excerpt is from his book, God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life (Ignatius Press, 2003; originally published in German in 2001); here is the larger context.
That book, I think, was written for all, but only read by many.