Online Edition – July-August 2005
Vol. XI, No. 5
NEWS & VIEWS
On June 28, Pope Benedict XVI announced the official promulgation of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict’s Motu Proprio introducing the Compendium said, in part:
“It is with great joy that I now approve and promulgate the Compendium of that Catechism.
“The Compendium had been fervently desired by the participants in the International Catechetical Congress of October 2002, which gave voice to a need widely felt in the Church. My beloved predecessor, recognizing this desire, decided in February 2003 to begin preparation of the text by entrusting the work to a Commission of Cardinals, over which I presided, and which was assisted by various experts. In the course of the work, a draft of the Compendium was submitted to all the cardinals and the Presidents of Conferences of Bishops, the vast majority of whom evaluated the text favorably.
“The Compendium, which I now present to the Universal Church, is a faithful and sure synthesis of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It contains, in concise form, all the essential and fundamental elements of the Church’s faith, thus constituting, as my predecessor had wished, a kind of vademecum which allows believers and non-believers alike to behold the entire panorama of the Catholic faith.
“In its structure, contents and language, the Compendium faithfully reflects the Catechism of the Catholic Church and will thus assist in making the Catechism more widely known and more deeply understood.
“I entrust this Compendium above all to the entire Church and, in particular, to every Christian, in order that it may awaken in the Church of the third millennium renewed zeal for evangelization and education in the faith, which ought to characterize every community in the Church and every Christian believer, regardless of age or nationality.
“But this Compendium, with its brevity, clarity and comprehensiveness, is directed to every human being, who, in a world of distractions and multifarious messages, desires to know the Way of Life, the Truth, entrusted by God to His Son’s Church.
“Through the intercession of Mary Most Holy, Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church, may everyone who reads this authoritative text recognize and embrace ever more fully the inexhaustible beauty, uniqueness and significance of the incomparable Gift which God has made to the human race in His only Son, Jesus Christ, the ‘Way, the Truth, and the Life’ (Jn 14:6)”.
The Compendium is in four parts, The Profession of Faith, The Celebration of the Christian Mystery, Life in Christ, and Christian Prayer.
One distinctive feature of the Compendium is its “dialogic format” — questions and answers — which not only allows for brevity, but also for memorization.
Another feature is the use of art. The images “are drawn from the rich patrimony of Christian iconography”, then-Cardinal Ratzinger observed on Palm Sunday, March 20, when he announced the book’s forthcoming release. The inclusion of sacred art “is an indication of how today more than ever, in a culture of images, a sacred image can express much more than what can be said in words, and be an extremely effective and dynamic way of communicating the Gospel message”, he said.
The Compendium is presently available only in Italian, but translations are expected before the end of this year.
The formal beatification process for the late Pope John Paul II was initiated June 28. On June 23, The Diocese of Rome, in charge of promoting the beatification, released an official prayer to implore favors through his intercession.
The English version of the prayer (on Catholic News Agency web site) follows:
“O Blessed Trinity, we thank you for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II and for allowing the tenderness of your fatherly care, the glory of the cross of Christ, and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him.
“Trusting fully in your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you.
“Grant us, by his intercession, and according to your will, the graces we implore, hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen”.
Both delicacy and accuracy are too often lost in translation by incorporating “updates” and explanations into biblical texts, as demonstrated by an observation on the US Lectionary that appeared on the “Diogenes” ‘blog on Catholic World Report’s web site June 25. (The current Lectionary uses the 1970 New American Bible translation of the Old Testament.)
Anybody else fouled out by the translation of this morning’s first Mass reading? Here’s the traditional RSV [Revised Standard Version] rendering of Genesis 18:11-12.
“Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?’”
Here’s what we heard at Mass today:
“Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years, and Sarah had stopped having her womanly periods. So Sarah laughed to herself and said, Now that I am so withered and my husband is so old, am I still to have sexual pleasure?"
The NAB [New American Bible] Lectionary is notorious for this kind of patronizing help to the hearer, using the idiom of a sophomore high school health teacher to expand what it regards as vague expressions in the Biblical text. Last Thursday we got “He had intercourse with her, and she became pregnant” for the standard “And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived”. Is anyone old enough to understand the situation in doubt about the meaning of the traditional literal translation?
Source: Catholic World Report
Several hundred survey forms have been received to date and we encourage readers who have not yet completed the form to do so soon.
A report on the results of the survey on conformity to liturgical norms will appear in a forthcoming AB.