The Politics of Sex and Religion by Robert Blair Kaiser brings the readings for this Pentecost Sunday into focus.  The key struggle is between the goodness of truth and the evil of politics distorting truth.  To explain the politics of the Roman Catholic Church:  in 1930 Pope Pius XI issued an encyclical, Castii Canubii, which condemned all artificial forms of birth control.  In 1962, Pope John XXIII, The Good, set up the birth control commission to reexamine the teaching.  In 1968, Paul VI issued the encyclical Humanae Vitae, reaffirming Castii Canubii.  In the process, Paul VI and Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani hid and contradicted the truth of the commission behind the politics of Castii Canubii.  Paul VI never issued another encyclical up to the point of his death, ten years later.[1]  In 1985 Kaiser published The Politics of Sex and Religion. 

Just as the Church during the Renaissance and Modern Times, focused needlessly on astronomy, so now the Church focuses on gynecology.  With astronomy, the Church confused theology with empirical science.  With gynecology, the Church confuses philosophy with empirical science.  Archbishop Timothy Dolan, of New York, preaches that the Church is unafraid of the truth; but the actions of the hierarchy show renewal in the best sense of the word, is not an option of the Teaching Magisterium.  The Magisterium is not getting beyond the current status quo.

The more I think about it, the more I think that the prohibition of artificial means of birth control is immoral.  I, however, am not a moral theologian and, therefore, am not one to whom to pay attention.  The Magisterium silences moral theologians who think that artificial means of birth control can be a moral option.  That is the back channel for why the American Association of University Professors keeps the administration of The Catholic University of America on its censured list.  The administration of CU refuses to listen to its faculty before firing someone like Charles Curran, a priest who remains in good standing with the Diocese of Rochester.  Curran now holds a distinguished professorship at Southern Methodist University.

Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth is the Responsorial Antiphon prayer for this Pentecost Sunday.  Renew is the operative word, not in the sense of rehashing tried and true traditions, but in the sense of building on such traditions as new insights, knowledge, and wisdom develop.  The teaching Magisterium of the Church is relatively uninterested.

The prayer for this Sunday is that the Magisterium gives more evidence of renewal and letting truth determine religious politics, especially as in evidence at The Catholic University of America.




First Reading:                    Acts 2:1-11

Responsorial Psalm:          Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34 (cf. 30)

Second Reading:               1 Corinthians 13:3b-7, 12-13

Gospel:                             John 20:19-23



Annotated Bibliography

Material above the double line draws from material below the double line.  Those uninterested in scholarly and tangential details should stop reading here.  If they do, however, they may miss some interesting material.


Acts 2:1-11


Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34 (cf. 30)


1 Corinthians 13:3b-7, 12-13


John 20:19-23

The Church uses this reading for visits to the sick.[2]


John 20:19-29

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, Priests for the Third Millennium:  The Year for Priests[3]

In his first chapter, “Faith,” Dolan chooses John 20:19-20 as the Scripture selection.  Dolan reports that immediately following Vatican II, one fourth of the priest faculty of the archdiocese of Saint Louis Kenrick Seminary left the priesthood.  Dolan goes on, “`Hah!’ snickered the faculty spokesman, `I dare you to tell me what we can possibly teach our students now that has not changed, that will not change, that can be stated with any amount of conviction at all!  I dare you to tell me!’”  The answer was the Apostles Creed.

Dolan explains,


I would hope our pursuit of theological studies enhances our faith.  Fides quaerens intellectum (“Faith seeking understanding’), as St. Anslem defined it.  We dread a stale, insipid, childish defensive faith; we crave a strong, lively, confident, childlike faith.  Thus, we are not afraid to probe, wonder, question, think critically.  As Pope Leo XIII said, “La Chiesa non ha paura della verità” (“The Church is not afraid of truth”).  That’s why you men are “in theology”—to bolster your faith!


With the hierarchical sexual cover-up, that the Church is not afraid of truth, rings hollow.  As Archbishop of New York, Dolan is bishop of the Brooklyn Bridge.  I wonder what else Dolan is trying to sell, besides the Church not being afraid of truth.

In Chapter 18, “Penance,” Dolan returns to John 20:19-23 as his Scripture selection.  First Dolan writes, “I remember once hearing the first confession of a little boy who was obviously very nervous, and, at the end, I said, `You did so well!  It will be much easier next time.’  To which he replied, `You mean I have to do this again?’”  Dolan, then, has the effrontery to write, “A good confessor doesn’t even speak of what he has heard, even generically, in the confessional.”  The more I examine his writing, the more hierarchic hypocrisy emerges.


John 20:21-23

Sandra M. Schneiders, “The Lamb of God and the Forgiveness of Sin(s) in the Fourth Gospel”[4]

Schneiders explains that the Johannine understanding of the sin of the world “in the singular denotes a `condition’ rather than an act.”  Schneiders uses the phrase sin of the world at least 23 times.  At 18/23 Schneiders defines the sin of the world as “humanity’s refusal of divine love revealed in God’s gift of the only Son.”  Schneiders concludes,


as the Father had poured forth the fullness of the Spirit on Jesus to identify and empower him as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world, so Jesus now breathes into his disciples that same Holy Spirit to re-create them as the new Israel, the community of reconciliation, which replaces scapegoating violence with forgiveness.



For more on sources see the Appendix file.  Personal Notes are on the web site at



For recurring themes in Sacred Scripture, see the following.  The exclamation point (!) indicates where a principal reference list of passages related by a common theme or expression found.  Italics of the same verse indicates a special relevance.  The abbreviation for following is f.  The abbreviation for personal confusion is ??  For material based on the Greek Septuagint Greek, the abbreviation is LXX.  Commas separate verses within the same book, semi-colons separate books.  With this material, I am trying to lay a foundation for developing Biblical themes the next time through the Cycles, when I intend to add in which Lectionary readings the relevant passages are found.


Sacred Scripture develops themes for the following readings in Acts 2:1-11:


Verse 1         Luke 9:51; Leviticus 23:15-21.

Verse 2         1 Peter 1:12; Proverbs 1:23 LXX.

Verse 3         Matthew 3:11; Numbers 11:2.

Verse 4         Acts 4:8, 31, 9:17, 13:9, 52; Sirach 48:12; Acts 19:6! 1 Corinthians 14:21.

Verse 5         Acts 2:14!

Verse 6         Acts 8:2; 22:12; Deuteronomy 2:25.

Verse 7         Acts 1:11!

Verse 8         1 Peter 1:1; Acts 18:2.

Verse 9         Acts 18:24.

Verse 10       Acts 13:1!

Verse 11       Acts 13:43!



Sacred Scripture develops themes for the following readings in 1 Corinthians 13:3b-7, 12-13:


Verse 3b       Daniel 3:19 f.

Verse 4         Ephesians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:15.

Verse 5         1 Corinthians 4:6! 8:1, 10:24, 33; Philemon 2:41; 1 Corinthians 13:21; Zechariah 8:17.

Verse 6         2 Corinthians 13:8.

Verse 7         1 Corinthians 9:12.



Sacred Scripture develops themes for the following readings in John 20:19-23:


Verse 19       John 20:19-23 Luke 24:36-39; John 9:22; John 21:26, 14:27.  ?? The Vulgate includes Mark 16:14-18, as well as Luke 24:36-39.  Generally, I am not comparing Greek with Vulgate marginalia.  I just happened to note this.

Verse 20       John 20:25; 19:34, 16:22, 18!

Verse 21       John 20:19! 17:18.

Verse 22       Genesis 2:7; Ezekiel 37:9; Wisdom 15:11; 7:39! Luke 24:49.

Verse 23       Matthew 18:18!





Through Reading 70A, January 30, 2011, I designed these comments on the availability of manuscripts to make the point that uncertainty exists about exactly which Greek to use for the purposes of translation.  At that point, I began offering manuscript availability for background when examining Translating the New Testament:  Text, Translation, Theology, which I purchased based on the review in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly.[5]

On April 4, 2011, USA Today headlined “Planned high-tech museum to take scholarly look at Bible.”  The location, architecture, and name of the museum are currently under development.  The museum will include “the world’s largest collection of ancient biblical manuscripts and texts.”  The Steve Green family owns the manuscripts.  Green is sponsoring the museum.  The director of the collection is Professor Scott Carroll, research professor of manuscript studies at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.  What Carroll is developing, will add to what the Alands provide, as described below.[6]


Acts 2:1-11

Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism, 2nd ed., Erroll F. Rhodes, tr.[7]

The Pierpont Morgan Library in New York has a Fifth/Sixth Century parchment with Acts 2:11-22.  The Public Library in Leningrad has a Seventh Century palimpsest parchment evidently written over in the Tenth Century.



1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13

Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism, 2nd ed., Erroll F. Rhodes, tr.[8]

The British Library in London has a Fifth Century parchment with 1 Cor. 12:2-3, 6-13.


John 20:19-23

Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism, 2nd ed., Erroll F. Rhodes, tr.[9]

The British Library in London has a Third Century papyrus with John 20:19-20, 22-25.



Anyone wanting a copy of these Personal Notes, please contact me at

[1]…  (Accessed April 4, 2011).


[2] The Roman Ritual: Revised by Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and Published by Authority of Pope Paul VI: Pastoral Care of the Sick: Rites of Anointing and Viaticum: Approved for use in the dioceses of the United States of America by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and Confirmed by the Apostolic See: Prepared by International Commission on English in the Liturgy: a Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co. 1983) 267.


[3] Huntington, IN 46750:  Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division:  Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 2000, 17, 18, 23 (the lengthy quote), 239, 242, 247.


[4] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 1 (January 2011) 2, 5.


[5] Robert Hodgson, Jr., review of Translating the New Testament:  Text, Translation, Theology, Stanley E. Porter and Mark J. Boda (eds.) (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009), the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 4 (October 2010) 877-878.


[6] Cathy Lynn Grossman, “Planned high-tech museum to take scholarly look at Bible:  Organizers say history, not ministry is aim,” USA Today, Nation, page 6A.  At the same place, also see “Collection boasts unrivaled rarities.”


[7] Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989, 120, 121.


[8] Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989, 124.


[9] Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989, 96.