Thursday, September 29, 2005

Stunning Pull

Priest pulled after refusing to support anti-gay marriage push
September 29, 2005

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. --The pastor of a Roman Catholic church was temporarily pulled from the pulpit after he refused to support a petition drive against gay marriage by the state's bishops.

The Rev. George Lange of St. Luke the Evangelist church in Westborough was replaced last weekend by Worcester Bishop Robert McManus, who led the Saturday evening Mass and the Sunday morning Mass.

The move came after Lange and his associate pastor, the Rev. Stephen Labaire, posted an item in the Sept. 11 church bulletin stating their opposition to a proposed Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. The state's four Catholic bishops are leading a signature drive to get the amendment on a ballot in the 2008 election.

The bulletin item read: "The priests of this parish do not feel that they can support this amendment. They do not see any value to it and they see it as an attack upon certain people in our parish, namely those who are gay."

. . .

parishioner Cindy Hodgdon said her church leaders' "hands were slapped very publicly."

"Bishop McManus told us that Father George 'made a mistake' and 'should not have done that,'" she said.

"Everybody was stunned," said parishioner Rob Wilson. "It was a rather stunning homily."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Yahoo! the Eager Deceiver

Is this a glimpse into our future?

Would-be webloggers living under repressive regimes from China to Iran can now download an online handbook on how to become a successful "cyber-dissident".

. . .

The handbook's publication comes two weeks after Reporters Without Borders launched a furious assault on Yahoo! after its Hong Kong subsidiary passed on technical information to Chinese police that saw a Chinese journalist jailed for ten years for passing sensitive information abroad.

"We already knew that Yahoo! collaborates enthusiastically with the Chinese regime in questions of censorship, and now we know it is a Chinese police informant as well," the organisation said.

The handbook, which is available in Chinese, Arabic, Persian, English and French, says that China has quickly become the "world champion" in internet censorship - with the help of major US corporations eager for a share of its burgeoning internet market.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Who Are We?

David Frum asks this question in the September 12 National Review:

The Islamic extremists speak for deeply humiliated people. They say: “We may be poor, we may be backward, we may lack technology and lose wars. We may no longer write anything the world cares to read or produce anything the world cares to buy, except for the oil under our soil that your geologists found and for which your engineers developed a use. But none of that matters. We have the truth — and you do not.” Those who define Western society by all that we do not believe: Don’t they rather agree with these Islamic extremists? “Yes, we are rich, we are advanced, we have technology, and we win wars. The whole world wants to have what we have. But you are right: We have no truths to offer, only doubts and guilt.” The debate over same-sex marriage perfectly exemplifies this bizarre tacit agreement.

. . .

Back in 2001, back when the liberal hawks were arguing that the War on Terror was a war of enlightened liberalism against religious obscurantism, I wondered: Would anybody point out that enlightened liberalism itself rested on a religious foundation? And that when severed from that religious foundation, enlightened liberalism might discover that it had severed itself from the strength it needed to survive in a world of harsh competing systems of belief? Quickly it became apparent that while many might think so, few cared or dared to say so.

And of course the situation in Europe is even worse. Now, as Europeans struggle to find the words to justify their self-defense — as they scramble to persuade themselves that they are worth defending — they must wake up to this hard thought: National survival in the age of terror is not just a matter of intelligence operations and security measures. It’s not just a job for armies and police. National survival depends on the willingness and ability of the targets of terrorism to assert and defend a national identity: an identity that is more than a catalogue of self-doubts and self-criticisms, an identity that is more than a statement of disagreements and diversities — an identity that can say, in English, in French, in German, on behalf of the nations of the Atlantic community on both sides of the ocean, This is who we are — and we are prepared to fight for it.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Checks and Balances

A beautiful illustration of the old cliche at work.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Wednesday he will veto a bill that would have made California the first state to legalize same-sex marriage through its elected lawmakers.

Schwarzenegger said the legislation, approved Tuesday by lawmakers, would conflict with the intent of voters when they approved an initiative five years ago. Proposition 22 was placed on the ballot to prevent California from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states or countries.

"We cannot have a system where the people vote and the Legislature derails that vote," the governor's press secretary, Margita Thompson, said in a statement. "Out of respect for the will of the people, the governor will veto (the bill)."

On the disappointing side, the Governator was also quoted as saying "the debate over same-sex marriage should be decided by voters or the courts" (emphasis added).

The courts clearly have nothing to do with it, by right. In fact, "a lower court ruling earlier this year . . . overturned Proposition 22 and a 1978 law that first formally defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman". Thankfully, Arnold is giving the benefit of the doubt to the voters until the highest court subverts their will.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Douay-Rheims Bible

I found this very nice summation of the Douay-Rheims Bible (in its defense, I'd add) while searching through the USENET archives (Rf. Google Groups). The following was posted to alt.religion.apologetics (Mar 21 2002, 7:28 am), among others, by a fellow named TDP. That's really the best I can offer by way of citation.


The Douay-Rheims Bible is a scrupulously faithful translation into English of the Latin Vulgate Bible which St. Jerome (342-420) translated into Latin from the original languages. The Vulgate quickly became the Bible universally used in the Latin Rite (by far the largest rite of the Catholic Church).

St. Jerome, who was one of the four great Western Fathers of the Church, was a man raised up by God to translate the Holy Bible into the common Latin tongue of his day. He knew Latin and Greek perfectly; he also knew Hebrew nearly as well. He was 1500 years closer to the original languages than any scholar today, which would make him a better judge of the exact meaning of any Greek or Hebrew word in the Scriptures. Besides being a towering linguistic genius, he was also a great saint, and he had access to ancient Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the 2nd and 3rd centuries which have since perished and are no longer available to scholars today. St. Jerome's translation, moreover, was a careful, word-for-word rendering of the original texts into latin.

The Latin Vulgate Bible has been read and honored by the Western Church for fifteen-hundred years! It was declared by the Council of Trent to be the official Latin version of the ,. Hear what the Sacred Council decreed: "Moreover, the same Holy Council . . . ordains and declares that the old Latin Vulgate Edition, which, in use for so many hundred years, has been approved by the Church, be in public lectures, disputatious, sermons and expositions held as authentic, and so no one dare or presume under any pretext whatsoever to reject it." (Fourth Session, April 8, 1546). As Pope Pius XII stated in his 1943 encyclical letter Divino Afflante Spiritu, this means the Vulgate is "free from any error whatsoever in matters of faith and morals." and the Douay-Rheims bible is a faithful, word-for-word translation of the Latin Vulgate Bible of St. Jerome.

In their translation, the Douay-Rheims translators took great pains to translate exactly. Contrary to the procedure of the modern Bible translators, when a passage seemed strange and unintelligible they left it alone, even if obscure, and "let the chips fall as they may." The modern Bible translators, on the other hand, will often look at an obscure passage, decide what they think it means, then translate in
words that bring out that meaning. The result is that the English is usually (not always!) easier to understand, but it is not necessarily what the Bible says; rather, it is their interpretation and understanding of what the Bible says. Moreover, the Holy Ghost may have hidden several additional meanings in the passage. Those meanings may well be completely translated out!

Sometimes the question is raised: Why translate from a translation (the Latin Vulgate) rather than from the original Greek and Hebrew? This question was also raised in the 16th century when the Douay-Rheims translators (Fr. Gregory Martin and his assistants) first published the Rheims New Testament. They gave ten reasons, ending up by stating that the Latin Vulgate "is not onely better then al other Latin translations, but then the Greke text itselfe, in those places where they disagree." (Preface to the Rheims New Testament, 1582). They state that the Vulgate is "more pure then the Hebrew or Greke now extant" and that "the same Latin hath bene barre better conserved from corruptions." (Preface to the Douay Old Testament, 1609).

The present Bible is the Challoner revision (1749-1752) of the Douay-Rheims Bible. Catholics owe the saintly Bishop Richard Challoner (1691-1781) a great debt of gratitude for undertaking this work. Challoner was one of those courageous priests who traveled around offering Mass secretly for small groups during the religious persecutions in England. Such Catholics needed a Bible, and had needed one for 100 years. The Douay-Rheims Bible had been printed a few times on the Continent but had never really spread to England. Some Catholics in England were even reading the King James version--a situation which Bishop Challoner knew had to be rectified.

Some of the passages in the original Douay-Rheims Bible were needlessly obscure. As an extreme example, Ephesians 6:12 read, "For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood: but against Princes and Potestats, against the rectors of the world of this darkenes, against the spirituals of wickednes in the celestials." The spellings were archaic, and the verses were not set off by new lines for clarity. Challoner rectified these problems, checking carefully against the Clementine Vulgate and the original-language texts. On the whole, Bishop Challoner's revisions were minor. He replaced certain anglicized Latin words and archaic words and expressions, rearranged the word order of the sentences, and yet maintained the overall word-for-word accuracy of the 16th/17th-century Douay-Rheims Bible.

The Challoner revision of the Douay-Rheims Bible was a godsend. It became the standard Catholic Bible in English until the mid-20th century (when the Confranternity Bible was published). It continued to be called the "Douay-Rheims" because of its similarity to the original Douay-Rheims Bible. The great work English Versions of the Bible, by Frs. Pope and Bullough, states that English-speaking Catholics the world over owe Dr. Challoner an immense debt of gratitude, for he provided them for the first time in history with a portable, cheap and readable version of the Bible, which has stood the test of 200 years of use. Moreover, it is more accurate than any modern Bible because it is based on ancient texts, no longer extant, which were "captured" and "frozen," so to speak, by St. Jerome (342-420) in his Latin Vulgate.The Douay-Rheims is thus the most reliable English-language Bible there is. We look forward to the day when the Christian world will rediscover this fact and come to a renewed appreciation of the monumental work of St. Jerome, of the Douay-Rheims translators and of Bishop Richard Challoner--men who were raised up by God to make the Bible available to the English-speaking world.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

I have so far read two outstanding articles on Hurricane Katrina, and the human aspects of the story that deserve more attention than the facts of the storm itself. The first by Peggy Noonan's article: "Hurricane Katrina: The good, the bad, the let's-shoot-them-now" and David Warren's article "New Orleans." I heartily recommend both!

I especially enjoyed this passage from Warren (who puts his finger on the issue of founding a city that does it justice):

In the first place, the site of each city made sense to its founders, and from there on, it becomes almost a "life issue". The memory of the city, and the character it inspires, are more than the sum of its parts. It grows, and trades, and dominates its hinterland, as a man dominates a farm. From that mysterious and positive moment of conception, a great city is a living being, endowed with a soul. Material considerations must yield to the spiritual and moral ones, in keeping it alive.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Crescite et multiplicamini

Pope tells Catholics to multiply

Genesis 1:28

Pope Benedict XVI told Catholics to have more babies "for the good of society," saying that some countries were being sapped of energy because of low birth rates.

"Having children is a gift that brings life and well-being to society," he told about 15,000 people at his weekly audience in the Vatican, to which he arrived by helicopter from his summer residence southeast of Rome.

He said the decline in the number of births "deprives some nations of freshness and energy and of hopes for the future incarnate in children."

The pope also spoke of "the security, the stability and the force of a numerous family."

Although the Vatican bans all forms of articial contraception, this is widely ignored even in predominantly Catholic countries such as Italy and Spain, which have some of the lowest birth rates in the world.

The pontiff regretted that God is "unhappily often excluded or ignored" in many societies.

"A sound society certainly is born out of the commitment of all of its members, but it also has a need of the blessing and support of God," he said.
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