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Online Edition - December 2004 - January 2005
Vol. X No. 9

News & Views

Pope Gives Ancient Relics to Orthodox Patriarch -- Inculturation California style -- "Progressive" Translation?

Pope Gives Ancient Relics to Orthodox Patriarch
On Saturday, November 27, in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope John Paul II, together with Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, presided at an ecumenical celebration during which the pope gave to the patriarch relics of early Church fathers, Saint Gregory Nazianzus (329-389) and Saint John Chrysostom (347-407). Both saints were bishops and Doctors of the Church. (Saint Gregory was archbishop of Constantinople.)

The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff explained that the rite of giving the relics would include the introduction and veneration of the relics; scriptural and patristic readings with several excerpts from the two Doctors of the Church, and songs of the Byzantine Liturgy. "The celebration", said the communique, "is a sign of the desire of the Church of the West and of the East to walk together toward the gift of full unity so that the world will believe in Christ, the One Savior".

Some relics of these revered early fathers of the Church are retained in Rome.

Source: Vatican Information Service

Inculturation California style
Notices in a recent parish bulletin of St. Catherine's in Riverside, California (diocese of San Bernardino) suggest that Hollywood "culture" is now considered worthy of "inculturating" in Catholic parishes, along with other more traditional ethnic customs:

Day of the Dead altars, a custom in Mexican households for All Souls Day, are now appearing in Southern California parishes. In the Diocese of Orange, two churches featured altars decorated with flowers, skulls, photographs, bread, and bottles of tequila.

"Progressive" Translation?
We were surprised by the appearance of the word "progressive" in a plainly disparaging context in the Lectionary translation of the first reading November 12 (II John 1:7-9) :

Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh; such is the deceitful one and the antichrist.
Look to yourselves that you do not lose what we worked for but may receive a full recompense.

Anyone who is so "progressive" as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son.

The Revised Standard Version [RSV], by contrast, has "Any one who goes ahead and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God". The Greek reads "ho proagon" -- literally, "the one going before or ahead of".

It's not often that we find ourselves applauding the translators of the RNAB [Revised New American Bible]; but they got it exactly right this time.

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