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John Fosler wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have a question about the consecration at Mass.

I am a Protestant convert to the Catholic faith and embrace all of its teachings. This is something I hear every day that I am curious about.

During the Consecration, the priest lifts the chalice and says...

"The Chalice Of My Blood. The Blood Of The New And Eternal Covenant Which Will Be Poured Out For You And For Many."

It is the "Many" that I have a question about.

  • Was Christ's blood shed for only a few, not all?
  • What is "the Many"?
  • Was it shed for only those whom He "predestined before the foundation of the world" and "predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ?"

This sounds a lot like the Calvinist doctrine of Limited Atonement.

  • Any thoughts?


John Fosler

  { Was Christ's Blood shed for only a few or for all?; Was it shed for only those "predestined before the foundation of the world"? }

Mike replied:

Dear John,

I searched the AskACatholic knowledge base for you and found this web posting that should answer your question. There are a lot of quick answers there, so give it a try.

In my colleague Eric's answer (below), he echoes your sentiments, so this posting is worth reading:

I've also grouped the type of questions many questioners have sent us into similar faith categories here:

You may find it helpful in the future.


Eric replied:


This is a quote from Scripture. Larry Feingold comments:

When Christ says that His blood "is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Matthew 26:28), there is an allusion to the prophecy of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53:11–12, who shall "make many to be accounted righteous; and . . . shall bear their iniquities … because he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet . . . bore the sin of many." Christ's Blood is poured out in the Eucharist for many, an innumerable multitude, for the forgiveness of the sins of the world. The "many" should be seen as referring to both Israel and all peoples, for all are called to enter the Church. That the "many" should be connected with the Church is supported by the fact that, in Luke 22:20, Jesus says that the cup "is poured out for you" — the community of disciples — instead of "for many." The Roman Canon puts both phrases together: "poured out for you and for many." The words of Christ in the institution of the Eucharist make it clear that Isaiah 53 is fulfilled in the Blood of Christ poured out on Calvary—and sacramentally in every Mass — for many, for the great multitude called to enter His Church.

Feingold, Lawrence, The Eucharist: Mystery of Presence, Sacrifice, and Communion (Steubenville, Ohio: Emmaus Academic, 2018), pp. 112–13

James Likoudis also comments:

And, "the contrary proposition, that Christ did not die or shed His blood for all men — a proposition which Cornelius Jansen held was "semi-Pelagian" — has been formally condemned by the authority of the Church, that is by Pope Innocent X in 1653, in a case involving the Jansenists.

[Neuner and Dupuis, The Christian Faith, pp. 538–539]" (Likoudis, James, and Kenneth D. Whitehead, The Pope, the Council, and the Mass: Answers to Questions the "Traditionalists" Have Asked, Revised Edition (Steubenville, Ohio: Emmaus Road Publishing, 2006), pp. 105–6).

The Jansenists were rigorist Catholics with semi-Calvinist leanings.

Likoudis continues:

Nevertheless, as the Council of Trent defined, "even though 'Christ died for all' (2 Corinthians 5:15),  still not all receive the benefit of His death, but only those to whom the merit of His passion is imparted."

Catholic theology has thus always distinguished between the "objective redemption" of all by Christ and the "subjective redemption," whereby the grace merited by Christ on the Cross actually proves fruitful only in the case of those who cooperate with His grace and achieve salvation.

The theologian, Ludwig Ott says in this connection:

The universality of Christ's vicarious atonement is to be related to the objective redemption only. Christ rendered sufficient atonement for all men without exception. The subjective appropriation of the fruits of redemption is, however, dependent on the fulfillment of certain conditions, on faith (Mark 16:16), and on the observation of the commandments (Hebrews 5:9, 2 Peter 1:10).

Likoudis, James, and Kenneth D. Whitehead, The Pope, the Council, and the Mass: Answers to Questions the "Traditionalists" Have Asked, Revised Edition (Steubenville, Ohio: Emmaus Road Publishing, 2006), p. 106

So to summarize, the Mass is merely quoting Scripture, and the Church has condemned the idea that Christ did not die for all men.


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