The Impending Liturgical ' Reform' Re-Visited

      I was moved to read in America Father Anthony Ruff's objections to the new translations for the missal. Like many ( I suspect the majority) of parish priests, I am not terribly enthusiastic about this so-called ' reform'. It seems to me more a kind of ' set back' and, in places, confusing. Some of the new translations appear crudely archaic, in an attempt to render the original Latin word order. The Nicene creed now reads: " One in being with the Father.. by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary". The proposed new translation reads: " consubstantial with the Father.. by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary." We can expect a new slew of archaic words such as vouchsafe and deign.

      I also strongly oppose the shift in the new words of consecration which now say that Jesus' blood is shed for all men and women. In the new translation it will say:" The blood which is shed for the many". This new translation does, of course, capture the scriptural words used for the last supper when Jesus said to his disciples: " This is the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for the many for the forgiveness of sins." ( Matthew 26:26). The Latin word, multis, is, itself, perhaps, a mistranslation of the original Greek word, Pollown,which refers to 'the many' ( an expression already found in Isaiah) to indicate a substantially large, indeed capacious, number, equivalently all. It was not meant to indicate that Jesus only died for ' some' and not for others or that he and God do not wish the salvation of all!  When he was still Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict defended this " for all" language, finding no justification for limiting God's will for universal salvation ( cf. his 2003 book, God is Near Us: The Eucharist the Heart of Life). Also, the word which will be used to translate the Latin, calyx, which we now call a cup will be a ' chalice'. It is hard to credit that Jesus, at the last supper, thought he was taking a 'chalice' in his hands!

Advertisement

      As a parish, we will, surely, explain and, of course, implement the mandated changes. We have no intention either publicly to attack or oppose them. Nor, however, do we think we should especially defend these new translations, as if they are some' precious inspired gift' or that we think they are improvements. Our main attitude is to bring to these forced changes what should always characterize the Catholic litury at its best: to bring to it an ethos and prayerful attitude of beauty, majesty, spiritual profundity, solemnity yet simplicity and genuine participation of all.

         I assume that those who have mandated the changes were, perhaps, undoubtedly sincere and thought they would improve the Catholic mass. So, I felt the need to probe more deeply what the Vatican II reform of the liturgy was about and how we might truly bring forward that ethos of beauty, majesty, spiritual profundity and participation. I found especially helpful in doing so John Baldovin S.J."s book, Reforming the Liturgy: A Response to the Critics.( Liturgical Press, 2009).

          Baldovin, a very distinguished historian of the liturgy, deftly takes us through the main princples for reform as found in Vatican II's Constitution on the Liturgy:"The rites should be marked by a noble simplicity; they should be short, clear and unencumbered by useless repetitions; they should be within the people's powers of comprehension and as a rule not require much explanation."( #34). Clearly, the new translation of ' for the many' will require an elaborate explanation so it is not misunderstood, as if Jesus sought only the salvation of some. The same constitution urges that we take experience seriously and to let any new forms grow 'organically'. ( # 23)

          Baldovin helpfully explains a useful typology of critics of the liturgical reforms at Vatican II. In this typology, we see different agendas in the church about liturgy: (1) Advancing the official reform; ( 2) restoring the pre-conciliar liturgy; ( 3) Accepting elements of the reform but further reforming the reform. Some felt the initial translations, for example, did not sufficiently present us with a kind of'sacred aura' language, different from everyday or banal speech. They would cheer the return of " and with your spirit" and not just " and also with you". Some others feel that Vatican II's emphasis on the eucharist as a meal ( mirroring the last supper and the heavenly banquet) slighted the other notion of the mass as  sacrifice ( the Pascal sacrifice of Jesus in his death and resurrection). But there is a theological danger in some notions of ' sacrifice'--as if God needed some scapegoat for humanity's sins to right his righteous wrath. Some critics felt that the mass had become too much a celebration of the people gathered ( a feel good rite) and not enough of an acceptance of God's gift in the sacrifice of Jesus. Some want more silence in the liturgy or more reverence shown in receiving communion. 

        I came away from Baldovin's excellent treatment both enlightened and a bit dismayed. I came to see, as he says, that it is possible, in the liturgy, to do all the right things ritually yet lack a deeper spirit. I was also enlightened by his thoughtful entering into the arguments of some of the critics of the reforms and yielding, at points, the partial legitimacy of their critique. But I remained dismayed that the new translation did not really enter into the plea for testing ' experience' in #23 of The Constitution on the Liturgy. The Vatican simply over-ruled the sentiments of the majority of liturgists and the initial reactions of the overwhelming majority of the English-speaking bishops.

       I am also dismayed that some of the same critics, having tasted a victory, may now tackle other issues: reducing the number of canons allowed for the Eucharistic prayer, perhaps back to Eucharistic Prayer #1 which closely follows the old roman rite Latin prayer; or cutting back from a three year cycle of scripture readings in the lectionary ( which allows a wide exposure to the full panoply of scripture) to the previous one-year cycle. Anyone with a rich eucharistic theology will know that this gift, meal and sacrifice, this eschatological foretaste of the final heavenly banquet is so rich that no one celebration of it can ever truly adequately probe its depth and reality. In the end, as Baldovin insists, the eucharist is both an edification ( it has a didactic function of teaching us and lifting us up toward holiness) and an epiphany ( it reminds us that it is first of all a gift to us from God in Christ which allows us the inestimable possibility and privilege of worshiping almighty God). 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
6 years 11 months ago
I'm coming in the middle of a now two-pronged discussion, and I'll try to comment on each.

Translation is an art not a science. As M. Matthieu demonstrated, literal translation never works. It inhibits effective communication and, no matter how beautiful or edifying a passage may have been in the original, it is never anything but awkward and sometimes laughable in the new. If the new translation of the liturgy were only for theologians or liturgists or the highly educated then splitting hairs over ''cosubstantial'' vs ''one in being'' might make sense. But it is for all of us, including those with no background or interest in Latin or the Council of Trent or other erudite topics. All must be able to understand the words of the liturgy and ''cosubstantial'' doesn't qualify. Don't talk to me about ''good education from the pulpit'' when the experts can't even agree. The poor pastors will read the letter from the bishop and move on to tryng to offer homilies that speak to the needs of their flock. They'll tell the few who remain to simply bow their heads in humble submission to the powers that be. Some will, others will continue to chafe, others will leave, adding to the exodus who are already heading for the doors for other reasons.
The ''sacrifice'' problem strikes at the heart of those of us raised on the Baltimore Catechism. We were taught that Christ had to die to appease his angry Father. A God who demands such vengeance is incompatible with one who requires that we love our enemies, but, regardless, that is the God of many in ''the mass as sacrifice'' literature. It took me years to purge that vindictive God from my psyche and accept an all-loving one in its place. I won't go back. The theology of the mass as a sacrifice is a terrain that shoud  be entered only by those well aware of all the pitfalls.
Juan Lino
6 years 11 months ago
M. Mathieu: Google translate gave me the following for your sentence: As a bilingual French-American, I must express my disagreement. But that's what the Vatican wants, and the reason of the strongest is always the best, is not it?

So I would agree, that a formal equivalence translation which is tempered with a small amount of dynamic equivalence to convey the writer's intention in the receptor language is, in many cases, an fair way to translate.

However, from what I've been reading on the Internet, it seems to me that the argument is more about issues other than language.  Although I am too young to have seen the switch from the Extraordinary to the Ordinary form of the Liturgy, I wonder what was done to explain the shocking changes to the lay people in the 60s?  I say shocking because I've been to the Extraordinary form of the Liturgy twice and it was a real shock to me and so I can imagine what a shock it was for those that went from that to what we have now.
Mike Evans
6 years 11 months ago
I wonder if Jesus was this careful translating from Latin and Greek to Hebrew or Arabic or whatever pigeon patois was in use during his time? It is a sign of the overall weakness of our faith practice that we are caught up in such discussion and subject to the liturgical police in seemingly every act of worship. Woe to us, scribes and pharisees! And I believe his death was for everyone, including all of those who don't even realize it.
Chris Sullivan
6 years 11 months ago
I also strongly oppose the shift in the new words of consecration which now say that Jesus' blood is shed for all men and women.

I agree.

The plain English meaning of the new words are a heretical proposition condemned by the Council of Trent which taught that Christ shed his blood for ALL.

These new words of consecration are not helpful for the faithful, because they do not reflect the Catholic faith.

God Bless
6 years 11 months ago
"These new words of consecration are not helpful for the faithful, because they do not reflect the Catholic faith."

How on earth is it possible that every comments section responding to a post seems to begin on the furthest end of the ideological spectrum?  Does ANYONE doubt utter infallibility of their own opinion?
6 years 11 months ago
"These new words of consecration are not helpful for the faithful, because they do not reflect the Catholic faith."

How on earth is it possible that every comments section responding to a post seems to begin on the furthest end of the ideological spectrum?  Does ANYONE doubt the utter infallibility of their own opinion?  It must exhausting going through life like that.
Jeffrey Connors
6 years 11 months ago
"But there is a theological danger in some notions of ' sacrifice'-as if God needed some scapegoat for humanity's sins to right his righteous wrath."

Father Coleman, we do not adhere to penal substitutionary atonement as Calvinists do, that is true, but the satisfaction model is well within the Catholic tradition.  If you don't mind my asking, what model of atonement were you taught, or what model would you like to see taught?
Crystal Watson
6 years 11 months ago
An alternative to atonement theory, by Ken Overberg SJ ... (http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/SFS/an1201.asp)  ... The Incarnation: God's Gift of Love
Jeffrey Connors
6 years 11 months ago
Hey, Crys.  :)  Dun Scotus!

Or, as the Australian Jesuit would say in his book 'Where the Hell is God"

http://www.amdg.ie/2010/11/08/where-the-hell-is-god/

God did not need the blood of Jesus. Jesus did not just come to die but God used his death to announce the end of death. God does not kill us off.

It seems to be a uniquely Jesuit strand of Jesuit thought.  I guess I'd like to know more about it, how it is taught, and how it squares up with scripture and the words spoken in the liturgy of the eucharist.

I'm not trying to be provocative in asking.  I'm just genuinely curious.
Juan Lino
6 years 11 months ago
Hmm… I tried to imagine how this post would sound if I changed the context: “Me: Your mom wants me to tell you about the new rite we will use to do “x” from now on, etc., etc.”  In that context, it certainly seems to me as if the language being used leaves quite a bit to be desired.  
 
In any event, this is just my way of saying that I am amazed at how much resistance there is to the proposed changes in the new lectionary.  Why not just “teach it, use it, and tweak it later – if necessary?”  As I wrote in another comment: “Educate the parish - and I mean real education not "were supposed to do this now and so I am going to tell you about it" - and then see what happens.  Truth has a beauty and power of its own!
 
As I am sure the author knows, formal equivalence translations of ANY text tend to convey the meaning of the words (as the original writer used them) and worldview of the writer more accurately and so the awkwardness is, in my opinion, a small price to pay and preferable to a dynamic equivalence translation.
 
Plus, I am thrilled that it may spur Adult Faith Formation to occur in parishes – that is, if the pastors actually decided to cut back on their golf time (end of sarcasm now!).  Seriously though, here’s a real example to illustrate why I am thrilled: I was helping teach Christology to some adults in my parish and at one point one of the participants said: “But you make it sound as if Jesus is GOD.”  What a sad statement!  And so, perhaps an explanation of why Jesus Christ is “consubstantial” with the Father is sorely needed!
 
Lastly, many fields have their own vocabulary that one has to learn (for example, “At lunch today, I was looking at a beautiful polyptych altarpiece and what impressed me most was the didactic quality of the panels in the predella.”) and that’s OK.  One should certainly not object to increasing people’s knowledge of the beauty of the Church’s language – something that has not been transmitted to people for at least as long as I have been Catholic.  Moreover, the use of this more precise vocabulary will help people understand, as you note in your last paragraph, that “the Eucharist is both an edification (it has a didactic function of teaching us and lifting us up toward holiness) and an epiphany (it reminds us that it is first of all a gift to us from God in Christ which allows us the inestimable possibility and privilege of worshiping almighty God).”
 
So I say, look at the new lectionary with the eyes of love!
Jeffrey Connors
6 years 11 months ago
If it gets people back to actually reading the text of the Mass, and prompts questions and discussions, perhaps it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

But to say:

"The blood which is shed for the many"

...sounds like flat-out Jansenism in English.  It will have to be addressed and dealt with carefully.
Crystal Watson
6 years 11 months ago
Hi Jeff  :)

I don't think the anti-atonement  idea is Jesuit - I'm you can find Jesuits who are ok with atonement.   Ken Overberg's article gives lots of background for ther idea from the gospel of John to the  early church fathers.  I think maybe the reason some people believe in atonement and some don't has to do with how they see God/Jesus.
Stefan Kilyanek
6 years 11 months ago
Fr. Coleman,

I hate to correct you but the new translation does not say the blood of Christ was shed for "you and for the many."  In fact it says the blood of Christ was shed " for you and for many."   This is even more confuseing than the text you used in your post.  "For the many" leads one to ask the question, who is "the many"?  Which of course can be answered simply by saying, all of us!  The Translation "for many," since it is such an excluseive term, leads one to ask who did Christ not die for?
Juan Lino
6 years 11 months ago
Stefan - It certainly is true that Christ's desire is that all be saved.  Unfortunately, we can use our freedom to reject the gift He offers us.  Is it possible that the text is trying to reflect that reality?  In other words, is it possible that the text is highlighting the fact that Christ will not force salvation on anyone?
Chris Sullivan
6 years 11 months ago
Juan,

I do not think so.

The new text says that Christ shed his blood for many.

Catholic dogma is that Christ shed his blood for all.

Whether or not everyone chooses to avail themselves of the merits of his blood is another matter.

The fact remains that Christ shed his blood for ALL.

If he only shed his blood for MANY then I am not really interested because such a sacrifice could not have been God who loves ALL of us.

God Bless

Claire Mathieu
6 years 11 months ago
"As I am sure the author knows, formal equivalence translations of ANY text tend to convey the meaning of the words (as the original writer used them) and worldview of the writer more accurately and so the awkwardness is, in my opinion, a small price to pay and preferable to a dynamic equivalence translation."

En tant que bilingue Francais-American, je me dois d'exprimer mon desaccord. Mais c'est ce que veut le Vatican, et la raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure, n'est-ce-pas?

As such as a bilingual French-English, I owe it to myself to express my disagreement. But that is what wants the Vatican, and the reason of the stronger is always the best one, is it not?

Mary Sweeney
6 years 11 months ago
Impending is such an appropriate word - literally, I think from the Latin, hanging over - rather like a cloud of doom. Interesting that the response is generally that we just all have to fall in line. It would seem that the lesson of the past couple of weeks is that actually we don't. Of course, that takes a bit of imagination... And, I must admit, that on one level, there are more serious battles to be fought, though the words we say have that subtle power of coloring our expectations. We just need to keep repeating those expansive words which Mary gave us: ''do whatever He tells you...'' and ponder them deeply.
Juan Lino
6 years 11 months ago
Chris,

I agree with you that Christ shed His blood for all and, from what I’ve been studying, the Church is not now saying that this is no longer true.

However, your last sentence - “If he only shed his blood for MANY then I am not really interested because such a sacrifice could not have been God who loves ALL of us.” - highlights my assertion that an immense catechesis is needed.

For example, the USCCB site (http://www.usccb.org/romanmissal/annotated-mass.pdf) states the following:

...WHICH WILL BE POURED OUT FOR YOU AND FOR MANY (#33) FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS.  DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME.

Footnote #33: “Drink from it, all of you, for this is the blood of my covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins” (Mt 26:27-28); “This is the blood of my covenant, which will be shed for many” (Mk 14:24); see also Is 52:13—53:12, especially 53:12: “[he] bore the sins of many, and interceded for the transgressors.” 

While we may disagree on whether the change is helpful or not, it doesn’t seem to me the reasons for the change are unfounded, unscriptural, or simply made up.  
 
Juan Lino
6 years 11 months ago
M. Mathieu - well done.  Of course, since I don't know French you'd have to teach me the language - just as I was taught the language of Faith when I studied to become a Catholic.

Beautiful comment Mary - 'do whatever He tells you...' ...ponder 
6 years 11 months ago
"If he only shed his blood for MANY then I am not really interested because such a sacrifice could not have been God who loves ALL of us."

"Not really interested?" I find it intriguing; implying that the forgiveness of sins will not be granted to everyone.  It makes one think about how he/she can become one of the "many" for whom sins will be forgiven; perhaps as simple as asking for forgiveness, which not all people will do, but maybe more.

Thomas Farrelly
6 years 11 months ago
While some parts of the new translation are pretty bad, I wonder how disturbing this will be to most people.  We are used to readings from the Old Testament that are very close to incomprehensible, reflecting the concerns of prophets thousands of years ago in a world immeasurably different from ours.
Juan Lino
6 years 11 months ago
Permit me to jump into the fray and risk being called a heretic by at least one person.

I wholeheartedly agree that translation is an art and a science with, in my opinion, the scale being tipped toward more art than science as Kathy and M. Matthieu have pointed out.  And I do agree with Kathy that all of us must be able to understand the words of the Liturgy but I can tell you from experience that “one in Being” is as incomprehensible as “consubstantial” without an education to the vocabulary and concepts behind the terms, phrases, etc. used in the Liturgy.

Even though I was not raised “on the Baltimore Catechism”, I too am repelled by the suggestion that “Christ had to die to appease His angry Father” and so I am with you Kathy. Although I wholeheartedly believe that the Mass is a sacrifice, I also understand that the breath and depth of that belief is not always understood, starting with me!  There is certainly a Mystery here, and I am using the word as Frank Sheed defined it.  So, at the risk of being stoned, I am going to recommend a book that is, in my opinion, the best book I ever read on this topic - The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: A Search for An Acceptable Notion of Sacrifice by Michael McGuckian, SJ.  
Jeffrey Connors
6 years 11 months ago
A sacrifice of some sort, for sure, but to appease an angry father?  Absolutely not.  The Catholic tradition does not emphasize God's wrath as part of the atonement, but the willing and loving sacrifice made on the part of the Son that was pleasing to the Father.

Following Aquinas, we recognize that the sacrifice was one way we could have been reconciled to the Father, but it did not happen out of necessity.  It could very well have been done in some other way.

Says the Catholic encyclopedia on Atonement, written about 100 years ago, of mistaken tendencies that arose after the Reformation..


The first is … in which the Atonement is specially connected with the thought of the wrath of God. It is true of course that sin incurs the anger of the Just Judge, and that this is averted when the debt due to Divine Justice is paid by satisfaction. But it must not be thought that God is only moved to mercy and reconciled to us as a result of this satisfaction. This false conception of the Reconciliation is expressly rejected by St. Augustine (In Joannem, Tract. cx, section 6). God's merciful love is the cause, not the result of that satisfaction…
The second mistake is the tendency to treat the Passion of Christ as being literally a case of vicarious punishment. This is at best a distorted view of the truth that His Atoning Sacrifice took the place of our punishment, and that He took upon Himself the sufferings and death that were due to our sins….
…the view which ultimately prevailed may be regarded as a combination of the opinions of Anselm (satisfaction) and Abelard (moral example). In spite of the objections urged by the latter writer, Anselm's doctrine of Satisfaction was adopted as the basis. But St. Thomas and the other medieval masters agree with Abelard in rejecting the notion that this full Satisfaction for sin was absolutely necessary. At the most, they are willing to admit a hypothetical or conditional necessity for the Redemption by the death of Christ. The restoration of fallen man was a work of God's free mercy and benevolence. And, even on the hypothesis that the loss was to be repaired, this might have been brought about in many and various ways. The sin might have been remitted freely, without any satisfaction at all, or some lesser satisfaction, however imperfect in itself, might have been accepted as sufficient.
6 years 11 months ago
I agree, Juan, understanding the language of parts of the liturgy, particularly the Creed, is not simple. I expect that if you had a discussion with a group of average Catholics about exactly what they are affirming they believe when they say the words "begotten not made one in being with the Father" you'd find a wide variety of strange ideas. I am truly concerned, however, that returning to a more literal translation, using words such as "cosubstantial" that have no ordinary uses in English, will make the matter even more confusing.

David, your question about being a good Catholic without having a degree in theology is indeed very much to the point. Is the liturgy for all or just for the educated elite?

Thanks Juan for the book recommendation.
Crystal Watson
6 years 11 months ago
"A sacrifice of some sort, for sure, but to appease an angry father? "

Maybe this is a dumb question, but why does it have to be about sacrifice at all?  What possible sens does Jesus being a sacrifice  in the atonement scenario make?  I see the incarnation as Jesus coming to reconsile us to God by revealing God more fully, realizing that doing this might get him killed but going ahead anyway brcause he loves us.  But to think Jesus was incarnated just to die and that such was God's plan seems like an after-the-fact way to make sense of theings going seriously and unexplainable wrong (the crucifixion).  Maybe I should have been paying more attention in RCIA class  :)
Juan Lino
6 years 11 months ago
De nada mi amigo David y mi amiga Kathy.  I hope you’ll like the book as much as I did David and it’s my pleasure to pass along the recommendation Kathy.

I like David’s thought provoking question very much but I am not quite sure how to respond because I go back and forth between yes and no.  In any event, speaking for myself, I am not interested in being a “good” Catholic, I am interested in loving Christ wholeheartedly.  

I answer no because I find that the more I learn about Christ and what He teaches my love, wonder, and awe increases.  I sometimes explain this phenomenon as follows (even though it’s a bad analogy): A friend took me to see Tosca and I enjoyed it very much.  But would I have enjoyed it more, would I have understood it better and appreciated it’s beauty better if I had studied the libretto before I went to the Opera?  Having done the work I can tell you that the answer is yes.

I answer yes because the school of Jesus is a school of love and I’ve already been given everything needed to do that by the fact that I have a heart and the Divine Indwelling.  But I have learned from experience that I should not necessarily presume that He will give me the gift of infused knowledge and thus I do some of the work required of a human being full of concupiscence so that I can discern His promptings.  

Kathy, perhaps I am idealistic but I am hoping that the “strangeness” of the language will jolt people out of their slumber and prompt them to begin "a journey of inquisitiveness" - as happened with me and opera.  If they don’t do that - or better, if they are not helped to do that - then it will be sad.  I have offered to help my pastor prepare the parish for the changes and I hope others will do the same.  

With that in mind I have ordered the book cited by Fr. Coleman because the more I know the better for me and those I teach.
John Flaherty
6 years 11 months ago
So.."consubstantial" and other terms aren't part of the routine English language?
Well, so what?

Prior to "Saving Private Ryan", we'd never heard "FUBAR" had we?  Yet we all know what it means now.
Or, how many of you could tell me what "positive vorticity advection" or "P&L statement" mean?  Yet those terms are pretty crucial to understanding weather forecasting or business analysis.
Point is, I've grown intensely disgusted with "relevant English".  Most "relevant English" I heard as a teen tended to insist that I must speak like an 8-year-old.  I never thought that helpful.  Instead, I got bored.
I find it quite interesting how, as teens, my classmates and I heard that we could "create our own culture".  We thought it great, until I noticed that..most of us had no clue where to begin.
How can you create a virtuous culture of your own when you haven't the slightest idea of what has come before?  And for that matter, why would I want to create my own cultural identity, when I already had at least three or four readily available?


However imperfect the translation may be, I welcome it because I welcome our opportunity to recapture more of the meat of our Catholic faith.  Who knows?  Maybe we can make "diversity" mean something besides every minority's absolute right to howl about life.
Here's hoping.....
Crystal Watson
6 years 11 months ago
Thanks, Maria.
Jeffrey Connors
6 years 11 months ago
David asks:

Heavens.  No wonder everyone is taking Catholicism in his or her own direction.  If every Catholic, in order to be a 'good Catholic', needs to be a theologian, it's hopeless.  This is a much bigger problem than the sex-abuse scandal.

So I guess that's the question:  Can anyone be a good Catholic without understanding exactly what the Church's official teachings are and what they mean? 

I'm sorry, I don't quite understand the sense of indignation.  On the one hand, there is a lament that everyone is taking Catholicism in his or her own direction... Then, on the other hand, there is a lament asking if we need to fully understand the Church's official teachings in order to be good Catholics.

I think people of the left, right, and center can agree that there has been a breakdown in catechesis over the last few decades.  And sadly, fundamentalists, who are all to happy to offer their own detailed teachings on salvation and atonement, have driven a truck through the opening, because some people really want to know.

I'm sorry, I'm the kind of person who has an urge to get to the bottom of these kinds of things.  In getting to know and become closer to Jesus I'd like to gain a greater understanding of why He came among us as He did, and why He lived and died as He did. I'm not trying to be arrogant.

The notion of atonement of as an appeasement to an angry God is offensive to me too.  If there is a counter-narrative that John Coleman could expand upon, I'm happily eager to hear about it, that's all.

As for language, yes, if we have been saying in English for the last 40 years that Christ shed his blood for "all," and are going to switch to saying "many," that will be puzzling to most people and I think a better explanation better be offered than that it is a more literal translation of "multis." 
6 years 11 months ago
@Jeff said, I'm sorry, I'm the kind of person who has an urge to get to the bottom of these kinds of things.

This statement grabbed me; I'm the same kind of person but have determined over the years. for me at least, that faith is about not having to get to the bottom of everything. 

Two things led me to this conclusion:

1.  Friends of mine who used the phrase "Give it up to God," which I had never heard before; essentially saying that there are just some things you can't understand; and

2.  Someone said to me that to understand faith, you have to try living it; if you try to understand it first, you'll never have it (or something like that).

Jesus spoke in parables, presumably to make things easy to understand; makes sense that he would have put a structure in place (Successor to Peter and apostles) to simplify how we should practice, and not expect each of us to analyze every syllable to become closer to Him.  Maybe I've just become intellectually lazy on the matter.
Jeffrey Connors
6 years 11 months ago
Theodicy is a mystery.  How our free will plays out vis-a-vis predestination is a mystery.

There can be different models of atonement, but I don't think they need to be a mystery.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

A President Donald Trump supporter is see seen at the annual March for Life in Washington Jan. 27. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
During their tenure in office, President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush all addressed the march via telephone or a radio hookup from the Oval Office.
Catholic News ServiceJanuary 18, 2018
Pope Francis greets the crowd before celebrating Mass at Lobito beach in Iquique, Chile, Jan. 18. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
“There is no Christian joy when doors are closed; there is no Christian joy when others are made to feel unwanted,” the pope said.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 18, 2018
Men carry a replica of Peru's most revered religious icon, the "Lord of Miracles," during an Oct. 18, 2017 procession in Lima. Each year thousands of Catholics gather to commemorate the image's survival in a 17th-century earthquake that destroyed Lima. (CNS photo/Mariana Bazo, Reuters)
Father Ernesto Cavassa was provincial of the Jesuits in Peru from 1998 to 2004, and president of the Conference of Latin American Jesuit Provincials from 2005 to 2012.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 18, 2018
For over 45 years, Feminists for Life has been committed to ending the practice and legality of abortion and promoting the feminism of Susan B. Anthony.
Serrin M. FosterJanuary 18, 2018