Spokesman Notes Pope's Reflections on 'For Many,' 'For All'

Says Distinction Points to What Benedict Considers Truly Important

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 30, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, says Benedict XVI's reflections on a translation of the words of consecration -- "for many" rather than "for all" -- point to what the Pope considers truly important.

The Vatican spokesman noted in an article published by Vatican Radio that the Holy Father wrote to the German bishops the week after Easter regarding the translation of this phrase, said at Mass during the consecration of the Precious Blood.

The Holy Father "favors the translation of the phrase 'for many' – which is more faithful to the Biblical text – to the translation 'for all,' a modification of the Biblical translation which was intended to clarify the universality of the salvation which was brought about by Christ," Father Lombardi said.

He continued: "Some will say that this distinction can only be appreciated by specialists. However, understanding this distinction helps to clarify what the Pope considers to be truly important, and the spiritual point of view from which he approaches it. The words which are used for the institution of the Eucharist are fundamentally important for Pope Benedict, because these words lie at the heart of the Church."

Father Lombardi explained that by saying "for many," Jesus "is saying that he is the Servant of Yahweh who was foretold by the prophet Isaiah. When we say 'for many,' therefore, we both express our fidelity to the word of Jesus, and recognize Jesus’ fidelity to the words of the Scripture. There is no doubt that Jesus died so that everyone might be saved. This, along with the profound significance of the words that are used for the institution of the Eucharist, should be explained to the faithful through the use of solid catechesis."

"When the Lord offers himself 'for you and for many,'" the Jesuit continued, "we become directly involved and, in gratitude, we take on the responsibility for the salvation which is promised to everyone."

Father Lombardi recalled that the Pope already touched on this issue in Jesus of Nazareth. He is "providing here profound and insightful catechesis about some of the most important words in the Christian Faith," the spokesman said. "The Pope concludes by saying that, in this Year of Faith, we must proceed with love and respect for the Word of God, reflecting on its profound theological and spiritual significance so that we might experience the Eucharist with greater depth. We hope to do so indeed."