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Gerard Cumore wrote:

Hi, guys—

  • Why did Pope Paul VI feel the need to create a new Mass, the Novus Ordo?
  • Why not just say the Tridentine Mass in English?
  • Why was the word "many" replaced with "all" in the consecration of the wine in the Novus Ordo?
  • Doesn't this effectively invalidate the Sacrament, because it wasn't what Christ said?



  { Why did Pope Paul VI feel the need to create a new Novus Ordo Mass and why was "many" replaced with "all" in the consecration? }

Eric replied:

Hi Gerard,

Thanks for the e-mail.

A good document to read on this is Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Vatican II document on the Sacred Liturgy. It lays out all the reasons for liturgical reform. A few key parts are:

21. "In order that the Christian people may more certainly derive an abundance of graces from the Sacred Liturgy, holy Mother Church desires to undertake with great care a general restoration of the liturgy itself. For the liturgy is made up of unchangeable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change. These latter not only may be changed but ought to be changed with the passage of time, if they have suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy or have become less suitable. In this restoration both texts and rites should be drawn up so as to express more clearly the holy things which they signify. The Christian people, as far as is possible, should be able to understand them with ease and take part in them fully, actively, and as a community."

24. "Sacred Scripture is of the greatest importance in the celebration of the liturgy. For it is from it, that lessons are read and explained in the homily, and psalms are sung. It is from the scriptures that the prayers, collects, and hymns draw their inspiration and their force, and that actions and signs derive their meaning. Hence in order to achieve the restoration, progress, and adaptation of the sacred liturgy it is essential to promote that sweet and living love for sacred scripture to which the venerable tradition of Eastern and Western rites gives testimony."

35. "That the intimate connection between rite and words may be apparent in the liturgy:

'(1) In sacred celebrations a more ample, more varied, and more suitable reading from Sacred Scripture should be restored.' "

50. "The rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several parts, as well as the connection between them, may be more clearly manifested, and that devout and active participation by the faithful may be more easily achieved.

For this purpose the rites are to be simplified, due care being taken to preserve their substance. Parts which, with the passage of time, came to be duplicated, or were added with little advantage, are to be omitted. Other parts which suffered loss through accidents of history are to be restored to the vigor they had in the days of the holy Fathers, as may seem useful or necessary."

'53. "The "common prayer" or "prayer of the faithful' is to be restored after the Gospel and homily, especially on Sundays and holidays of obligation. By this prayer in which the people are to take part, intercession will be made:

  • for holy Church
  • for the civil authorities
  • for those oppressed by various needs
  • for all mankind, and
  • for the salvation of the entire world."[39]

Having the faithful participate more fully in the Liturgy was a key reason, because in the Mass of Pope St. Pius V, nearly every interaction occurred between the server and the priest, such that the people were mere passive observers and listeners — so much so, that many developed the habit of praying the Rosary during the Mass since they had nothing else to do for much of it.

You said:

  • Why was the word "many" replaced with "all" in the consecration of the wine in the Novus Ordo?

The word "many" was not replaced with "all" during the consecration of the wine. Rather, (ICEL) (the International Committee on English in the Liturgy) chose to translate the words "pro multis" in the Mass of Pope Paul VI, (also known as the Novus Ordo Mass. [which literally means "many" or "the many"] as "for all") because it was theologically fitting.

To say that Christ died "for many" but not "for all" smacks of heresy, in particular Calvinism and Jansenism.

Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ludwig Ott (1955) says,

"In the year 1653, Pope Innocent X condemned as heretical the proposition that Christ died for the salvation of the predestined exclusively (Denzinger 1096). In the year 1690, Pope Alexander VIII rejected the assertion that Christ offered himself to God for the Faithful only (Denzinger 1294)." (page 188)

The Council Of Trent says of Christ's mission:

Through [the] which it came to pass, that the heavenly Father, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, when that blessed fulness of the time was come, sent unto men Jesus Christ, His own Son, who had been, both before the Law, and during the time of the Law, declared and promised to many of the holy fathers, that He might both redeem the Jews who were under the Law, and that the Gentiles, who followed not after justice, might attain to justice, and that all might receive the adoption of sons. Him hath God set forth as a propitiator, through faith in his blood, for our sins; and not for our sins only, but also for those of the whole world.

Buckley, Theodore Alois, The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent (London: George Routledge and Co., 1851), pp. 30–31 (Sixth session, Chapter II).

The Bible maintains that there is a sense in which Christ died for all men. John 4:42 describes Christ as "the Savior of the world," and 1 John 2:2 states that Christ "is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." 1 Timothy 4:10 describes God as "the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe."

Aquinas stated, "Christ's passion was not only a sufficient but a superabundant atonement for the sins of the human race; according to 1 John 2:2, 'He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.'" Again he says, "(Christ) is the propitiation for our sins, efficaciously for some, but sufficiently for all, because the price of His Blood is sufficient for the salvation of all; but it has its effect only in the elect." (Commentary on Titus, I, Titus 2:6)

Consequently, to claim that Christ died only for the elect, or only for the faithful, and not in some sense, for all people, is heresy. Obviously, not all people are saved, but the salvation is available to all. There is not one person for whom Christ did not die to redeem.

And no, it does not invalidate the Sacrament, even if it were wrong, because the form of the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist is the words of institution pronounced by the celebrant:

This is My Body,” and “This is My Blood.

See the Baltimore Catechism, Question 893. The wine is consecrated by the words "This is my blood." alone. Therefore, any attempt to clarify a subsequent word to better represent Catholic doctrine, while preserving the original intent, would not have an effect on the validity of the Sacrament.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any further questions.

Eric Ewanco

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