Online Edition Volume IV, No. 5: September 1998
Distant Early Warnings
The Vatican threatened to sue an Italian fashion designer who planned to embellish his fashion show with a recording of Pope John Paul II singing Gregorian chant, according to a July 14, 1998 Associated Press report.
The designer, Kea Etro, had planned to use the papal recordings during a fashion show on the Spanish Steps in Rome, the highlight of the week-long High Fashion Week.
Etro protested that he "just wanted to pay homage, to make our contribution to the re-discovery of spirituality all over the world", but said he would respect the Vatican’s wishes and replace the song.
The suit was brought by Vatican Radio, which holds exclusive rights to papal recordings.
A new version of the Bible appeared in August in the accents of Glasgow, Scotland, one of the most difficult for outsiders to understand, according to the Internet Religious News Agency. Called "The Bible in Scots", it is said to be a condensed paraphrase of the entire Bible. The work was called "a labour of love by a Church of Scotland elder" to read the way Glaswegians speak.
Genesis 1 begins: "It wis a lang time ago, right enough — thoosands and thoosands o’ years since. There wis nuthin whaur the earth is the noo absolutely nuthin at aw". The 10 Commandments are called "God’s Laws" and the last six read: "Love yer faither an mither; Nae murderin; Nae thievin; Nae lyin; Stick fast tae yer ain partner; Nae greedy habits".
Jesus speaks with a Glasgow accent, too. At the end of the parable of the Good Samaritan: "Right then, Jimmy, jist you dae the same!"
The Devil, however, speaks with a British accent, according to one of our correspondants from England.
AB readers may recall a similar transliterated text, "De Good Nyews Bout Jedus Christ Wa Luke Write" — the Gospel of Luke in "Gullah", or Sea Island Creole — reviewed in AB September 1997. We observed in our review that although the primary effect seems simply comic, such efforts do raise the serious issue of whether a "dynamic" or "inculturated" effect is worth the sacrifice of fidelity to the inspired text of Scripture.
Which "Latin Influence" Was That?
A Milwaukee priest described as the pope’s translator said in a recent interview that he often celebrates Mass in the nude when alone and that he doesn’t understand the Church’s stress on the evils of abortion.
The interview with Carmelite Father Reginald Foster, "Priest Preserves Latin Influence at Vatican", appeared in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on June 6, 1998.
According to the account, Father Foster, who teaches and promotes Latin, has taught at the Gregorian University in Rome and translates Pope John Paul II’s apostolic letters and encyclicals into Latin.
"’For me, Latin is glorious’, said Father Foster, ‘Like Bach is glorious. Like Handel is glorious. Like Bernini is glorious’".
Father Foster says he is dismayed that "[t]he interest in Latin is outside the Church" since the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.
Among the reasons for this, according to Father Foster, besides the "general dumbing down of society" is that the Vatican is "’…so obsessed with sex around here’… ‘This whole abortion thing. The church is all over, screaming, "God does not want this!" This is tragic! All that energy put into that, instead of educating our own people who are sorely ignorant about Latin and so many other things. They don’t know who the pope is. They don’t know where the Bible comes from. They don’t know what Vatican II was all about, or how many sacraments there are’".
Father Foster confided that he often celebrates Mass in the nude. "I’m a naturalist, I’m a nudist. I like to say Mass in the nude, too. If God doesn’t like that sorry".
He also complained that he only met the pope once, for ten minutes, in 1982.