The Eucharistic Prayers have undergone complete retranslation; we will only focus a few key parts that are the same in each prayer. This is the first of four columns, and it looks at the consecration of the bread and wine.Over the bread, the priest says:
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND EAT OF IT, Mt 26:26If you look at the accounts of the Last Supper in the Bible, you will note that the words of Consecration are not an exact quote. They are not meant to be; these words are not a narrative but a “sacramental formula” (like “I baptize you in the name…”).
FOR THIS IS MY BODY, Mk 14:22
WHICH WILL BE GIVEN UP FOR YOU. Lk 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24
The changes from the old translation to the new are minor: the inclusion of the word “of” in “eat of it”, and the inclusion of the word “for” before “this is my body”.
The priest, taking the chalice, prays:
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND DRINK FROM IT, Mt 26:27The new translation brings a few important changes to this prayer of consecration of the wine.
FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD, Lk 22:20
THE BLOOD OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL COVENANT, Heb 12:24; 13:20
WHICH WILL BE POURED OUT FOR YOU AND FOR MANY Mk 14:24
FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. Mt 26:28
DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME. 1 Cor 11:25
The Latin word calix is translated as “chalice” instead of “cup”. This is done to impress upon us the grandeur and majesty, not of the chalice itself, but of what it contains. The word “chalice” is evocative of a ritual sacrifice rather than just a meal; it is an example of the sacral or elevated language which is appropriate in vernacular translations of the Mass, according to articles 47 and 50 of Liturgiam Authenticam, the document defining the new translation process.
The word aeterni describing the New Covenant is now translated as “eternal” instead of “everlasting”. The covenant is not simply everlasting (without end) but eternal (without beginning or end). It was described as such in the letter to the Hebrews, which speaks of Christ’s blood as “the blood of the eternal covenant.” (Heb 13:20)
Instead of saying “shed for you” the priest now says “poured out for you”. The words “poured out” can be used of both the Blood of Christ and the contents of the chalice. One priest explained it this way: “You can pour out a chalice, but you cannot shed a chalice.”
The expression “so that sins may be forgiven” is retranslated as “for the forgiveness of sins”. These phrases might sound identical, but the new wording is a tighter translation that more directly relates the words of Christ in the Gospel of St. Matthew.
It seems that the most controversial change in the minds of many people is that of the word “all” to the word “many”. So much can be said about this that we will address it in the next column.