Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: Words of Consecration
Words of Consecration QUESTION from Michael Jensen August 18, 2001
Dear Mr Slavek,
Has the Church specifically stated what all the words of consecration are? I understand, according to what I have been told, that although there is universal agreement that the words Take this, all of you, and eat It: this is the my Body which will be given up for you and Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my Blood... are the words of consecration, there is not universal consensus among orthodox theologians that the words It will be shed for you and for all men so that sins may be forgiven and Do this in memory of me are definitely part of the words of consecration. Is this correct?
ANSWER by Mr. Jacob Slavek on August 22, 2001
Dear Mr Jensen,
There is absolutely no question what the words (prayer) of consecration are: they are as found in the Missal.
Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you. Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me.
I believe that you are asking another question: What words are essential for a valid consecration? I do not believe that all theologions are in agreement on this matter.
It is commonly taught, and I believe, that the essential words are This is my Body and This is (the cup of) my blood. Throughout history, and in modern times in eastern rites, we have different consescration formulas, but the all have the essential words.
Extreme traditional catholics may insist that it will be shed for you and for all is not a valid english translation, because it is not a faithful translation of the Latin multis or many Both many and all are acceptable translations for the prayer, and both are theologically correct, and since the church approved all, it is valid and licit.
Of course, ideally we would never need to worry about this, because it is gravely immoral to change a prayer approved for liturgical use.
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