Since the Protestant Revolt, the Faithful have followed a trajectory of increasing independence from the institutional Church.  Through the ages, nevertheless, the Church has served as a successful intermediary between God and the Faithful.  As time has gone on, however, especially with the scandalous behavior of the sexual cover ups and birth control shenanigans by the Roman Catholic hierarchy, the Faithful have had to wean themselves from Holy Mother, the Church.  That is not to deny the relationship to the Church, any more than biological adulthood denies the relationship to biological mother and father.

James P. McCartin tells the story of the changing relationship between the Faithful and the Church in Prayers of the Faithful:  The Shifting Spiritual Life of American Catholics.[1]  For McCartin, Vatican II (1962-1965) is the turning point, between the late Nineteenth and late Twentieth Century.  At the risk of oversimplification, the Nineteenth Century began with an immigrant Church dependent upon clergy and the intercession of the Saints.  After Vatican II, the Faithful forsake that dependency for a more independent spiritual life.  The book reviewer, Patrick W. Carey, counters that McCartin overstates his case.

McCartin divides the century in two parts, the first part inward looking, unintentionally preparing for the second part, outward looking.  Without being too rigid, generally, from 1945 to 1975 Catholics prepared themselves through prayer and meditation for a more active engagement in public life.  To offer some historical perspective, Gerald Ford was President from 1974 to 1977.  1975 was the Watergate Coverup era, when the Faithful more intensely realized the need to question governance, first for the state and, then, gradually for the Church as well.  Pope John Paul II, because of his sexual cover up, is the Richard Nixon of the Catholic Church. 

McCartin words the change as a “continued decline of hierarchical authority” (p. 157).  I would word the change differently.  Barack Obama emasculated the United States hierarchy on his way to the Presidency.  To mix metaphors, after the hierarchy unsuccessfully attacked Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Joe Biden, the hierarchy shot their political wad.

Time will tell whether the hierarchy is emasculated.  On July 18, 2011, when I am writing this, The National Catholic Reporter announced that Pope Benedict XVI is naming the current bishop of Denver, Colorado, Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia.[2]  This appointment raises compelling problems.  I am not as concerned about the coverup politics of the current Archbishop of Philadelphia, Cardinal Justin Rigali, as I am about the secular politics involving Catholics, such as Joe Biden, who support President Barack Obama.  From his Denver Diocese, Chaput publically rebuked the University of Notre Dame, in Illinois, for awarding an honorary degree to Obama.  If I am correct, that Obama has emasculated the hierarchy, the world should know, because Chaput will make a lot of noise, like an emasculated man, screaming like an hysterical woman.

Chaput was one of those investigating Bishop William Morris of the Toowoomba diocese in Australia, before Pope Benedict relieved Morris of his diocese.  Morris wondered publically about the possibility of ordaining women.  The clergy will have installed Chaput Thursday, September 8, the liturgical birthday celebration for Mary.

The era between 1945 and 1975 marked great advances in civil rights; the period after that marked a backlash against those advances.  The hierarchy was on the wrong Republican side of that backlash.  The Catholic Faithful tend to be Democratic, rather than Republican.  More importantly, these Musings are part of “the growing spiritual independence in American Catholicism.”  As may be evident on the face of it, the Richmond Diocesan theologian, thanks be to God, is having nothing to do with these Musings.

 

Readings

First Reading:                    Isaiah 45:1, 4-6

Responsorial Psalm:          Psalm 96:1, 3, 4-5, 7-8, 9-10 (7b)

Second Reading:               1 Thessalonians 1:1-5b

Alleluia:                             Philippians 2:15d, 16a

Gospel:                             Matthew 22:15-21

 

 

Divergences between the Lectionary and the NABRE

 

In 2011, The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops authorized a revised translation of the New American Bible (NAB), thereby setting up a new tension with the Lectionary used at Sunday Mass.  Scholars are citing the new translation (New American Bible Newly Revised) as NABRE.  This tension between the Lectionary and the NABRE will increase with the use of the new Sacramentary, now called Missal, beginning in Advent.  The hierarchy is playing name games, because the full title of the Lectionary includes Missal.[3]  One purpose showing the divergences in translation is to show the Church contradicting itself, meaning something is wrong with one or other or both of the translations.

 

 

Isaiah 45:1, 4-6

It is easier to lay out everything in both versions.

Verse 1

Lectionary:    Thus says the LORD to his anointed, Cyrus,

                               whose right hand I grasp,

                     subduing nations before him,

                               and making kings run in his service,

                     opening doors before him

                               and leaving the gates unbarred:

NABRE:        Thus says the LORD to his anointed,

                                         Cyrus,

                               whose right hand I grasp,

                     Subduing nations before him,

                               stripping kings of their strength,

                     Opening doors before him,

                               leaving the gates unbarred:

Verse 4

Lectionary:    For the sake of Jacob, my servant,

                               of Israel, my chosen one,

                     I have called you by your name,

                               giving you a title, though you knew me not.

NABRE:        For the sake of Jacob, my servant,

                               of Israel my chosen one,

                     I have called you by name,

                               giving you a title, though you do not

                                         know me.

Verse 5

Lectionary:    I am the LORD and there is no other,

                               there is no God besides me. 

                     It is I who arm you, though you know me not

NABRE:        I am the LORD, there is no other,

                               there is no God besides me. 

                     It is I who arm you, though you do not

                                         know me,


 

Verse 6

Lectionary:              so that toward the rising and the setting of the sun

                               people may know that there is none besides me. 

                     I am the LORD, there is no other.

NABRE:                  so that all may know, from the rising

                                         of the sun

                               to its setting, that there is none besides

                                         me. 

                     I am the LORD, there is no other.

 

The most notable difference between the Lectionary and NABRE translations occurs in verse 1, between the Lectionary kings and the NABRE nations.  The problem lies in the relationship between politics and truth.  Neither kings nor nations is accurate.  Kings is not accurate, because kings are no longer very significant on the world political scene.  Nations is not accurate, because nations is an anachronism until modern times.  Before kings began to lose control, nothing like a nation existed.  The people belonged to their king, not their nation.  While I do not have access to the Greek, the Greek probably means people … meaning that the term is untranslatable into English.

 

Psalm 96:1, 3, 4-5, 7-8, 9-10 (7b)

It is easier to lay out everything in both versions.

Verse 1

Lectionary:    Sing to the LORD a new song;

                               sing to the LORD, all you lands.

NABRE:        Sing to the LORD a new song;

                               sing to the LORD, all the earth.

Verse 3

Lectionary:    Tell his glory among the nations;

                               among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.

NABRE:        Tell his glory among the nations;

                               among all peoples, his marvelous

                                         deeds.

Verse 4

Lectionary:    For great is the LORD and highly to be praised;

                               awesome is he, beyond all gods.

NABRE:        For great is the LORD and highly to be

                                         praised,

                               to be feared above all gods.


 

Verse 5

Lectionary:    For all the gods of the nations are things of nought,

                               but the LORD made the heavens.

NABRE:        For the gods of the nations are idols,

                               but the LORD made the heavens,

Verse 7

Lectionary:    Give to the LORD, you families of nations,

                               give to the LORD glory and praise;

NABRE:        Give to the LORD, you families of nations,

                               give to the LORD glory and might;

The Lectionary praise is one thing; the NABRE might is something else.

Verse 8

Lectionary:              give to the LORD the glory due his name! 

                     Bring gifts, and enter his courts.

NABRE:                  give to the LORD the glory due his name! 

                     Bring gifts and enter his courts;

There is no difference between the Lectionary and the NABRE.

Verse 9

Lectionary:    Worship the LORD, in holy attire;

                               tremble before him, all the earth;

NABRE:                  bow down to the LORD, splendid in

                                         holiness. 

                     Tremble [sic] before him, all the earth;

When I read the holy attire of the Lectionary, I thought the Psalmist referred to the

Faithful; but when I read the splendid in holiness of the NABRE, I realized the Psalmist

referred to the LORD.

Verse 10

Lectionary:    say [sic] among the nations:  The LORD is king,

                               he governs the peoples with equity.

NABRE:                  declare among the nations:  The LORD

                                         is king. 

                     The world will surely stand fast, never to be shaken. 

                               He rules the people with fairness.

The Lectionary is omitting part of verse 10, which Saint Jerome includes in the Vulgate.[4]

 

1 Thessalonians 1:1-5b

Verse 1

Lectionary:    … prayers,

NABRE:        … prayers, unceasingly

The Greek uses a participle, without the conjunction at The Pharisees went off and

plotted  The Greek means that went off was simultaneous, rather than sequential,

with plotted.[5]

Verse 2

Lectionary:    unceasingly calling to mind …

NABRE:        calling to mind …

The Lectionary uses unceasingly to modify calling to mind; whereas both the Greek and

the NABRE use unceasingly to modify prayers.  The meaning is different.

Verse 5b

Lectionary:    … and with much conviction …

NABRE:        … and [with] much conviction …

 

Matthew 22:15-21

Lectionary:    There are no differences.

NABRE:        There are no differences.

 

 

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 details.

 

Isaiah 45:1, 4-6

Isa 45:1

Reed Lessing, review of Randall Heskett, Messianism within the Scriptural Scrolls of Isaiah[6]

His anointed means messiah.  Lessing reports that Heskett argues that Isaiah 45:1 is the only place identifying Cyrus as a messiah.  Heskett continues that if later editors of Isaiah found references to a messiah that were not there originally, so might later redactors move in the other direction, eliminating Cyrus as a messiah.  Lessing has a problem with Heskett.  “It is anachronistic to impose upon the Book of Isaiah criteria applied to writing intended to be scientific or didactic clear and distinct ideas, logically ordered.”

 

Isa 45:1

Reed Lessing, review of Bo H. Lim, The “Way of the Lord” in the Book of Isaiah[7]

Lessing regards Lim as offering valuable insights.  Lim argues that the way of the Lord may have begun as a real road from Babylon back to Jerusalem, but the real meaning of the way is into the hearts of the Faithful.  The way is not to the Exodus.  Isaiah uses the word for gates twelve times, never meaning on the way out.  Lim concludes, therefore, gates point the way into the hearts of the Faithful.

 

Isa 45:6-12

Joseph E. Jensen, review of Mark S. Smith, The Priestly Vision of Genesis 1[8]

Jensen reports that Smith takes Isaiah 45:6-12 as one of several creation stories.  Only Verse 6 is part of the Sunday Lectionary reading.  Verse 6 refers to the rising and the setting of the sun.  Smith argues that Genesis 1:—2:4 dialogues with other pre-existing creation stories, offering everything in a Sixth Century B.C. priestly context.

 

Psalm 96:1, 3, 4-5, 7-8, 9-10 (7b)


 

Psalm 96:5

David L. Balch, review of Luke Timothy Johnson, Among the Gentiles:  Greco-Roman Religion and  Christianity[9]

Balch reports that Luke Timothy Johnson laments that 1 Corinthians 10:19-21 picks up on Psalm 96:5, there is no God besides me with an early Christian negative attitude toward pagan religions.  Johnson proposes a more secular approach to Greco-Roman religion, whereby Jews withdrew and Christians accepted the challenge.  Balch has a problem, which causes me a problem, too.  Balch finds Johnson “uninterested in causality,” the principle that undergirds rational thinking.  To that extent, I, therefore, find myself uninterested in Johnson.

 

1 Thessalonians 1:1-5b

1 Thess 1:1

Karl P. Donfried, review of Gordon D. Fee, The First and Second Letters to the Thessalonians[10]

Donfried reports that Fee neglects contemporary interest in historical context.  As an historian, this means, to that extent, I am not interested in Fee.  Donfried reports that, otherwise, Fee has important theological insights.

 

1 Thess 1:1

William O. Walker, Jr., “Apollos and Timothy as the Unnamed `Brothers’ in 2 Corinthians 8:18-24”[11]

Walker argues from the mention of Timothy in 1 Thessalonians 1:1 and other places, that Timothy has a special relationship with Paul.

 

1 Thess 1:5

Jaime Clark-Soles, review of Audrey Dawson, Healing, Weakness and Power:  Perspectives on Healing in the Writings of Mark, Luke and Paul[12]

Clark-Soles reports that Dawson is a clinical hematologist (studies blood) who decided to examine Sacred Scripture.  Clark-Soles is gentle as she suggests, “I hope to see D. contribute to interdisciplinary projects such as the Journal of Religion and Health.”  In other words, the field in which Dawson works needs a team of scholars to provide needed context.

 

Philippians 2:15d, 16a

 

Matthew 22:15-21

Matt 22:19

Deborah Furlan Taylor, “The Monetary Crisis in Revelation 13:17 and the Provenance of the book of Revelation”[13]

Matthew 22:19 has show me the coin, which refers to the denarius.  Taylor as a three page section of her article, sub-headed, “I.  The Elusive Roman Denarius.”  At the time Matthew wrote, the denarius was the coin of the realm, but was not in common use in Asia Minor, Syria, and Palestine until “well into the second Century C.E.”  Taylor speculates that the language used was for non-Palestinians to understand, meaning that literary-license would have been appropriate.

 

Matt 22:18

Walter T. Wilson, “Seen in Secret:  Inconspicuous Piety and Alternative Subjectivity in Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18”[14]

Wilson cites Mathew 22:18, you hypocrites, as one of several places where Matthew castigates the Pharisees.  Wilson argues that there is spiritual space for those less fortunate, such as the Roman Catholic laity, to operate.

 

Matthew 22:21

Fr. Tissa Balasuriya, “Companion to the Encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI on `God is Love’”[15]

Balasuriya argues that Pope Benedict leaves the misimpression that Church and State are two separate spheres, in rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.  People in the former colonies feel plundered by their former rulers.  For writing things like that, in 1997 the Vatican excommunicated Balasuriya, until his religious community, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate vigorously objected.  In 1998, the Vatican lifted its excommunication.  In this context, Benedict omits Exodus 22:24 (to be read next Sunday), “If you lend money to one of your poor neighbors … you shall not act like an extortioner …”

 

 

For my background and more on sources see the Appendix file.  Personal Notes are on the web site at www.western-civilization.com/CBQ/Personal%20Notes.



[1] Patrick W. Carey, review of James P. McCartin, Prayers of the Faithful:  The shifting Spiritual Life of American Catholics, The Catholic Historical Review, Vol. XCVII, No. 3 (July 2011) 609-611.

 

[2] John L. Allen, Jr., Vatican, “Pope taps Chaput for Philadelphia,” National Catholic Reporter: The Independent News Source, http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/pope-taps-chaput-philadelphia (accessed July 18, 2011).

 

[3] National Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Roman Missal Restored by Decree of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican and Promulgated by Authority of Pope Paul VI: Lectionary for Mass: For Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America: Second Typical Edition: Volume I: Sundays, Solemnities, Feasts of the Lord and Saints (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1998).

 

[4] Nova Vulgata: Bibliorum Sacrorum Editio: Sacrosancti Oecumenici Concilii Vaticani II ratione habita Iussu Pauli PP, VI Recognita Auctoritate Joannis Pauli PP, II Promulgata Editio Typica Altera (Liberia Editrice Vaticana: Editio typica prior: a. MCMLXXIX; Editio typica altera: a. MCMLXXXVI; 1986 Editio maior: ISBN 88-209-1523-5) 980.

 

Because the following Nova Vulgata wore out, I began using the above beginning with the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, January 23, 2004. While the above volume is bound better and is the edition seminarians used at The Catholic University of America in the Spring of 2004, the 1986 date is twelve years before the one below, which wore out.

 

Nova Vulgata: Bibliorum Sacrorum Editio: Sacrosancti Oecumenici Concilii Vaticani II ratione habita Iussu Pauli PP, VI Recognita Auctoritate Joannis Pauli PP, II Promulgata Editio Typica Altera (00120 Citta Del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1979, 1986, 1998) ISBN 88-2209-2163-4.

 

[5] Daniel B. Wallace, With Scripture, Subject, and Greek Word Indexes: Greek Grammar:  Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Michigan: Zondervan, 1996) 645.

 

[6] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 1 (January 2009) 139.

 

[7] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 1 (January 2011) 125.

 

[8] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 2 (April 2011) 366.

 

[9] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 2 (April 2011) 389.

 

[10] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 4 (October 2010) 825.

 

[11] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 2 (April 2011) 332.

 

[12] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 2 (April 2011) 380.

 

[13] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 3 (July 2009) 582, 595.

 

[14] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 3 (July 2010) 480.

 

[15] Crosscurrents, Vol. 56, No. 2 (Summer 2006) 241.