Thursday 27 August 2009

The Latin of the Vulgate is not vernacular

One correspondent comments on a passage from my Anglo-Catholic correspondent.

I think he is worth quoting:

"The Latin of the Vulgate is not a vernacular in any sense. Send your correspondent to read Fr Uwe Michael Lang. It is called the 'Latin Vulgate' as it is the counterpart of the 'Greek Vulgate', it has NOTHING to do with vernacular; the language of the scriptural and liturgical Latin is legal and literary, not populist".

So there you have it, Miss Anglo-Catholic; and, indeed, vernacular-obsessed modern Catholics, too.

In fact, of course, the Hebrew, Greek and Latin languages are important to us because they are the languages of revelation, not because they are vernacular languages. they gave us the Old Testament (Hebrew), the New Testament (Greek) and the language of the Church's teaching and law inspired by the Holy Ghost (Latin), corresponding to Father, Son and Holy Ghost, respectively.

Sorry, Miss Anglo-Catholic, English is simply not one of the languages of revelation.

Get used to it.

St Jerome, translator of the Bible into Latin, in his Scriptorium, shown here in a stylized medieval portrait

Eusebius Hieronymus Sophronius, better known as St Jerome, was born sometime between 340 and 347 AD in Stridon, a town on the border between the Roman provinces of Dalmatia and Pannonia (now on the Italian side of the modern Italian-Croatian border).

He received a classical education and was tutored in Rome by the grammarian Donatus. At age eighteen he was baptized in Rome by Pope Liberius. He was well read in the Pagan poets and writers.

Jerome traveled extensively throughout the Roman Empire. He began formal theological studies in Trier. He moved to Aquileia in 370, where he met St Valerian. About 373 he headed to the East.

From 374 to 379 Jerome led an ascetic life in the desert southwest of Antioch. During this period he heard Apollinaris of Laodicea, a leading Bible scholar, who later left the Church. In 379, he was ordained a priest at Antioch by St Paulinus.

Jerome went to Constantinople about 380 to study scripture under St Gregory Nazianzus. In 382 he returned to Rome, where he became secretary to Pope Damasus who suggested that he revise the translations of the Gospels and the Psalms.

When Damasus died in 384, Jerome had to leave Rome, because his outspoken, often harsh criticism of Roman society created enemies. His travels returned him to Antioch, then to Alexandria, and finally to Bethlehem in 386, where he settled in a monastery.

There he translated the Old and New Testaments into Latin. This translation was recognized eleven centuries later by the Council of Trent as the official version of the Bible: the Vulgate.

In 410 Rome came under attack by the barbarian Alaric, creating numerous refugees who sought safety in the Holy Land. In the interest of providing for them Jerome wrote, "I have put aside all my study to help them. Now we must translate the words of Scripture into deeds, and instead of speaking holy words we must do them."

St Jerome died at Bethlehem from a long illness on 30 September 420.

He is buried in the Basilica of St Mary Major in Rome.


Tuesday 25 August 2009

Pride and Prejudice: "Anglo-Catholic" fantasies

Here is evidence that the more remote and indefensible of "Anglo-Catholic" historical fantasies can still find a home in the bosom of at least some Anglicans, even today when there is simply no excuse for anyone to believe such unhistorical nonsense.

Here is a post I received from one such correspondent:

"The Anglican Church is one of the three great Catholic faiths: Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican. A study of the history of the time demonstrates that the Church of England did not leave Catholicism, it only left the authority of popes and the Vatican political apparatus. There was no effort to "reform" the faith, only to reform the political machinations which taxed the English people (rents paid to monastic foundations), then gave the money to the rulers of France and Spain so they could make war on England. Henry VIII closed the monasteries to stop that practice.

The simplistic reason often given for the break with Rome is that the pope wouldn't give Henry a divorce from Catherine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne Boleyn. The more complicated reason is that England had suffered terribly through civil war, and without an heir (Catherine did not bear a son), more civil war was a very real threat. (It is quite true that Henry became every woman's worst nightmare husband, and a glutton and a tyrant. That doesn't change the history of the Church of England.)

The beginnings of education of the common people led to and was furthered by translating the Bible and the liturgy into the vulgate -- the common language. This had its precedent when Scripture was translated from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, culminating with Saint Jerome's Vulgate translation.

Anglican priests are ordained in the apostolic succession. Anglican religious orders include Benedictines, Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, Claretians and many others. See:

Since its inception, Anglicanism has been influenced by "dissenters," who wanted to eliminate any traces of Roman Catholicism from their liturgy and doctrines. This has led to "the Church with an identity problem," in which there are Protestant-leaning parishes and Catholic-leaning parishes. But in its pure form, Anglicanism is correctly referred to as Anglo-Catholic".

I had to correct such nonsense even if it meant bursting this correspondent's particular fantasies.

"Your particular fantasies have been so completely, so utterly and so thoroughly demolished by better scholars than I (Newman, for one) that it is hardly necessary for me even to comment.

The Anglican Church is not a church. It is a cautionary tale as to what happens when men try to invent a faith of their own after ignoring God's law.

A study of the history of the time demonstrates amply that the Church of England was the invention of men like Henry VIII and William Cecil to serve their own selfish and political ends.

It is a pure construct of men.

William Cecil, 1st Lord Burghley, the effective consolidator of the Church of England - liar, cheat, robber, murderer and political villain of the first order, he was responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent men and women for no other reason than their religion

Moreover, it could not have left 'the Vatican political apparatus' since there wasn't one.

The popes lived in the Lateran palace at that time, not the Vatican, and began to live in the Quirinal palace more and more after it was built by Pope Gregory XIII in 1573.

They continued to do so until the Italian revolutionaries seized the Papal States in 1870 and later forced the popes to live in the Vatican palace.

Whoops! Another historical boo boo by yet another ill-informed Anglican.

Anglicans make ridiculous statements about the Papacy and the popes without ever bothering to read and research the truth. There is simply no excuse for it.

Go and find out the truth instead of regurgitating prejudice and fiction!

There is, of course, no evidence that English monasteries gave all their rents and taxes to France and Spain, let alone to make war against England.

Henry VIII closed the monasteries in order to steal their property and income which, since they used their income to feed and clothe the poor, was effectively stealing from the poor.

Gin Lane by William Hogarth.
The Protestant Reformation reduced the common people of England to extreme poverty and, often enough, utter destitution and degradation as Hogarth so well illustrated.

You will see that Henry closed the small monasteries first precisely because they were easier prey to his greed.

Read Cobbett's History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland, if you dare. You will get a true picture of what the syphlitic, wife-murdering, robber of the poor, Henry VIII, really did. And Cobbett was an Anglican, by the way.

There is nothing 'complicated' about the fact that Henry divorced Catherine and then took up with other women. Lechery was but one of his many vices.

There is nothing simplistic about condemning his destruction of the monastic system of welfare for the poor just to satisfy his own endless greed.

Ditto his odious murder of his mistresses and many others who got in his way.

The common people were never so persecuted, hunted, harried, down-trodden, ill-educated, starved, beaten and mercilessly oppressed as they were after the Protestant Reformation, as Cobbett amply proves.

St Jerome's vulgate translation was done by, with and through the express authority of the Holy See by whom St Jerome was made a prelate and, later, Doctor, of the Church.

Anglican priests are not ordained in the apostolic succession.

Anglican religious orders are a nice idea but they are outside the Church.

There is no 'pure' form of Anglicanism.

Anglicanism is incorrectly referred to as Anglo-Catholic or Catholic. It is Protestant and has no authority from the Holy Spirit to teach.

That does not mean that Anglicans won't be saved but they must take care to avoid knowingly turning away from what they know (or ought to know) is the truth.

The Anglican 'church' is a false 'church' but with some good people in it.

I encourage you to leave it, join the true Church and so save your soul.

If you wish me to recommend some good clergy to whom you might go for instruction in the true faith, I would be very happy to do so.

In the meantime, God guide and bless you and, above all, help you to instruct yourself accurately about historical truth".

And there is a great deal more one could write about the Anglican Church but that will do for the present, I think.

Queen Elizabeth I: one of the most odious of tyrants ever to mis-govern England