εἰσενέγκῃς again

Does Papal Infallibility extend to Greek translation?

Francis and the media starlet, Cambridge classicist Mary Beard seem to disagree. The Pope’s approved translation of the Paternoster (applying, as yet, only in Italian and French) is, says Beard, no translation at all – but simply an expression of opinion, unsupported by the text.

(The verb generally means ‘bring’ or ‘carry in’; it does not mean ‘allow’ or ‘permit’).

Francis’s homely exposition for Italian television of what Jesus really intended to say, is, of course, less challenging and more (dare we say it?) – ‘merciful’.

How typical of Francis to think himself more Christian than Jesus Christ!

Brief Tenure

It would appear, from the numbers, that Boris Johnson is to be the new Tory leader.  But for how long will he be Prime Minister? Assurances of leaving the EU by Hallowe’en are dangerous – because unlikely to be fulfilled. Then comes a General Election which, after yet another Brexit failure, the Tories could not win…

Dialogue of the deaf

The recent Vatican statement about gender theory was issued by the Congregation for Catholic Education, in the guise of a discussion document.

It needs to be admitted by those who originate such documents that there are some things which are simply not open for discussion: that is to say, matters on which neither side can in conscience compromise. A prime example was the declaration of St John Paul on the ordination of women:

‘Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.’

Not only was that a clear statement of a Magisterial determination, but it was made on the understanding that the proponents of women’s ordination were similarly dogmatic. For them equality (and equal treatment) of the sexes is an ethical a priori imperative on which there can be no going back. Dialogue is therefore a logical impossibility.

The same appears to be the case with regard to modern gender theory.

The Catholic Church (committed to a belief in Creation by a good God) holds that sex is given and not made. The gender theorists have rejected creationism and affirm that gender is made and not given – socially constructed and subject to individual choice.

The Catholic Church (committed to the conviction that human happiness is achieved by willing acceptance of the given) sees the wilfulness of modern individualism as sinful. The gender theorists hold that the way to human felicity is by the fullest possible affirmation of the individual will.

It is not clear what fruitful dialogue could be engaged between these two mutually exclusive positions.

Just deserts

Now see if I have got this straight.

Since Parliament is to seek to make leaving without a deal illegal, there are two alternatives left: either to leave the EU with a deal or not to leave the EU. The intransigence of EU negotiators means that a deal acceptable to Parliament is now unlikely to be brokered, whoever is the new Prime Minister. Therefore: we do not leave the EU.

By duplicitous machinations and shameless chicanery, Remainers have won.

Let us hope that, at the inevitable General Election (the only way to legitimise the over-turn of a referendum), the Labour Party is savagely punished by the electorate.

For the avoidance of doubt

Cardinal Tobin of Newark (recent beneficiary of Vatican preferment) has attacked the Catechism of the Catholic Church for its unhelpful attitude to homosexuality. Interviewed on NBC’s Today show, Tobin suggested that the Church is about to change its teachings: “The Church, I think, is having its own conversation about what our faith has us do and say with people in relationships that are same-sex”.

For the avoidance of doubt we append a picture of Archbishop Tobin’s lodger:

Victorian Values Revisited

Reports coming out of Melbourne indicate that the prosecution lawyers in the Pell case have been given a hard time by the appeal judges. The appeal is now over, but it may be some weeks before the decision is made public.

Meanwhile, usually reliable sources in the United States are suggesting that the whole case was a Mafia construct, intended to remove Pell from his crucial role as cleanser of the Vatican Bank. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.


The personal ordinariates for former Anglicans erected by Pope Benedict XVI have a special relationship to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus we read:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the authoritative expression of the Catholic faith professed by members of the Ordinariate.

But what of the rest of the Catholic Church?  What is the Catechism’s enduring status? And how can it be changed or modified? As Anglicans we were used to the loaded phrase ‘The current teaching of the Church’ – implying immanent change. How stable is CCC?

A chap called Rino Fisichella, president of the International Council for Catechesis, put the matter like this:

Sometimes we are guilty of giving the impression that tradition is an exercise akin to an athletics relay in which the aim is to pass the gold baton of the faith onto the next runner just exactly as it was received. But this conception risks reducing tradition to a fly in amber and ends up negating its very origin and purpose. …To deny this dynamic nature of tradition is tantamount to denying the contemporaneity of the Christian faith.

But surely, there is a danger here of contradicting our sainted John Henry’s idea of development: ‘constantly reinterpreted so as to retain the complete integrity of what was received’, as he might have said. Newman’s version comes very close to Fisichella’s ‘passing on of a golden baton’, and (contrary to Fisichella’s unthinking assertion) can alone powerfully expresses the ‘contemporaneity’ of the perennial gospel.

Fisichella, of course, was seeking to defend the recent contradiction of the perennial teaching in the alternations made by Francis to CCC 2267. Enough said.