Monday, 12 October 2015

The Plural Problem

This afternoon, reading the Latin text of Nostra Ætate, the Vatican II document on non-Christian religions, (it was a slow day in Great Swinburne) I came across the following quotation from St Paul’s letter to the Romans 9.4-5. The Revised Standard Version (the one I invariable use) has it thus

They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ.

So far so good. I know this bit, and can go on about it for AGES… blaa, blaa, blaa.

But, you see, (and you will remember if you have kept up thus far) I was reading it in Latin. Now my Latin is enough to order a newspaper and say how I want my eggs in the morning, and there is no way on this planet that I would say I’m even proficient in the language, but I, even I, can spot an erroneous plural when I see one. (Also remember that my PhD thesis is on covenants so I have a head start).

This translation says ‘covenants’. The text of Nostra Ætate says ‘testamentum’ – one covenant, singular.

“Yikes and Yowzers” I cried!!! A mistake!!!

So I checked the Vulgate (the official Bible in Latin) and it said ‘testamenta’ – covenants, plural.

You can image that by this point I am in a tizz, all a-shock and a-shiver. But then my old memory came cranking into play.

“Wait a minute” I said to myself “which version of the Latin Bible are we dealing with here?” And therein is the solution… and the problem.

The Council Fathers were using the Clementine Vulgate (no, not the citrus based fruit… keep up!) used from 1592-1979. It says ‘testamentum’ – covenant. But the New Vulgate, 1979- , says ‘testamenta’ – covenants. New Bible plural, Old Bible singular.

Ahh, I hear you sigh, problem solved.

But just you wait a minute! This is not solved at all. The official Bible of the Church says something different to a text in an Ecumenical Council of the Church. So which do we follow?

Should Vatican II be updated with the New Vulgate (thus riding a coach and horses through any idea of trying to critically engage with the ‘text’ of the conciliar documents – after all their very words can now be changed by subsequent documents. Let me at them... there's a few changes I'd like to make)?

Or should we mistranslate Vatican II in line with the New Vulgate (dodgy on so many levels)?

Or should we keep the primacy of an Ecumenical Council over subsequent Papal acts (a hoot and a riot since most stuff that a Catholic comes into contact with post Vatican II bears little relation to the Church as the Council Fathers knew and experienced it)?

It all so difficult!

All over a plural!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Library View

I'm sitting in my college, supposedly working, but actually looking at the view. This is ridiculously beautiful. It is very difficult at times to work...

You can see the website for the college here. When I came to Durham, I had to choose a college. They of course then decide whether or not you will be accepted. I had to give a reason for choosing University College (commonly called Castle). I claimed that it would be ideal for me as it would be close to the Theology Faculty.

I ACTUALLY chose it because it is beautiful.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

On retreat

I know I shouldn't contact the world while on retreat but here in Ars the light it so wonderful and the presence of the Curé so close that I could not resist. 

Back to prayer ... Shhhhhhh. 

Sunday, 13 September 2015


At the top of the Empire State building we woz photobombed.

I'm afraid that I did not really know what 'photobombed' was, but the nice man who took our picture then took one of himself, and shouted to a fellow co-worker chappie at the other side "I've just photobombed two priests!"

I think he should be in the picture to photobomb! But never mind. Forever he is on the internet, and more specifically on this blog...

So perhaps I've photobombed him!

Friday, 11 September 2015

Bye bye New York


I'm afraid in this city that never sleeps, I did. But I always awoke with excitement in my heart and a spring in my step. 

Some places

will always be empty.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015


Or a motivational poster for the priest of a fuller figure?

Monday, 7 September 2015

My view while in New York

He is looking down on me even here! There is a great buzz in New York for the Pope. I hope he has a nice time. 

The Americans like celebrities. I was almost knocked from my feet because someone was arriving at a shop. It turned out to be a woman called Kim
Kardashian. She is famous. She was one of the answers on Pointless. 

More beer wisdom

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