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Showing posts from January, 2011

Vatican's translation fiasco

January 25, 2011
This Vatican move, its about-face on liturgical language, may receive less automatic, unquestioning obedience than most.

For about thirty years, scores of translators, consultants, theologians, etc. had labored to add more reverence and awe to English-language Mass prayers that were hurriedly produced after Vatican II. It was agreed that the language of ritual needed a tone more elevated, more set apart from the familiar style heard in everyday speech. The product of decades-long work by the International Commission on English (ICEL), submitted to the Vatican with the expectation that it would be speedily approved, was rejected.

Instead, the Vatican imposes its own English translation, refusing to accept the work of the world-class experts assembled to carry out the liturgical reform launched at Vatican II. This time, reaction to Rome’s tyrannical move raises anger around the world in addition to the usual gearing up to obey.
Language experts find the Vatican-imposed t…

Infinite Depth

One morning in bed, which is where and when the best insights come, this phrase “Infinite Depth” came to me. Another term for what we call “God.” Out of that depth come all creative ideas, an infinite variety of physical forms, answers to intellectual questions, solutions to problems, and so on and on and on. The wisdom of this Depth comes to us because it’s within us. It’s the Within.
Teilhard de Chardin teaches us that consciousness and matter are aspects of the same reality, the Within and the Without of things. Evolution of all forms physical and spiritual is a progression in consciousness—humans are increasingly more conscious of our own consciousness, more aware of our own Within.

But we fail when we try to capture it in words because words refer to individual ideas, and the Within is beyond any individuals. There’s a story that an Eastern sage tried to express the inexpressibility of what we call “God” by saying something like this: Think of all the ideas and objects that exi…

Jesus an idol?

Jesus’ real significance was concealed by the halo put around the man. The god in our liturgy and popular piety started emitting a bad smell for me early in my life. Worshipful language by Jesus-freaks turned me off. 
What a different figure I found when I read the scriptures with new eyes! A person so refreshing, so human, so real—a feisty, earthy, gutsy, and passionate man! He uses spit and dirt to heal, weeps openly, raises havoc, makes merry, and gets angry. He calls people names, loves it when a woman fusses over him, and uses shocking language to thrust home his points. Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26). Jesus did not act like a “good Christian”—always nice, always accommodating, always smoothing things over. I like the real Jesus a lot better than the image coming out of evangelical fervor.
Present-day worshippers would shun the man who actually walked …