Monthly Archives: November 2013

Totally Unofficial Translation 3: “Evangelii Gaudium”

More unofficial translation of the Pope’s original Spanish version. In general, the Pope’s version is way less passive and more direct. Significant differences from the official translation are bolded.

II. “The sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing”

9. The good tends to spread itself. All authentic experience of truth and beauty searches for its expansion out from itself, and any person whatever who lives a profound liberation acquires a greater perceptiveness about the needs of everybody else. Sharing itself, the good takes root and leafs out. For that, one who wants to live with dignity and fullness has no other road than to recognize the other and search for his good. So some expressions of St. Paul must not stun us: “The love of Christ compels us,” (2 Cor. 5:14) and “Woe is me, if I do not announce the Gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16).

10. The proposal is to live at a higher standard, but not with a lesser intensity. “Life increases itself by giving itself, and weakens itself in isolation and comfort. In fact, those who possess life most are those who leave the security of the shore and get excited about the mission of spreading life to everyone else.” (4) When the Church calls Christians together to the evangelizing task, she doesn’t do more than point out the true dynamism of the personal achievement of it. “Here we discover another profound law of reality: that life reaches out and matures itself in the midst of devoting itself to give life to others. That is definitely the mission.” (5)

Consequently, the evangelizer must not wear a funeral face all the time. Let us recover and increase fervor, “the sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing, including those times when one must sow in tears. And if only the present world, “which searches sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope,” could receive the Good News that way — not through evangelism that’s sad and disheartening, impatient and anxious, but through ministers of the Gospel whose life radiated the fervor of those who have received Christ’s joy in themselves before anything!”

An eternal newness

11. A renewed annunciation is offered to believers as well as to the lukewarm and non-practicing: a new joy in the faith and an evangelistic fertility. In reality, its center and essence is always the same: the God Who manifested His immense Love in Christ dead and resurrected. He makes His faithful ever-new while ancient too. “He will renew their strength; they will rise up with wings like an eagle’s; they will run without tiring and walk without rest.” (Is. 40:31) Christ is the “eternal Gospel” (Rev. 14:6) and “He is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8); but His wealth and His beauty are inexhaustible. He is always young, and constantly a fountain of newness.

The Church does not stop being stunned by “the depth of God’s wealth, His wisdom, and His knowledge.” (Rom. 11:33) St. John of the Cross has said, “This dense thicket of God’s wisdom and knowledge is so profound and immense that however much more the soul may know about it, it can always enter further in.” (7) Or as St. Irenaeus affirmed well, “In His coming, He has brought all newness along with Him.” (8) He is always able to renew our life and our communion with His newness; and although dark ages and ecclesial weaknesses may get in the way, the Christian proposal never grows old. Jesus Christ can always break the boring schematics in which we presume to enclose him; and He surprises us with His constant divine creativity. Every time we try to return to the fountain and get back the original freshness of the Gospel, what wells up are new roads, creative methods, different modes of expression, more eloquent signs, words loaded with renewed meaning for the present world. In reality, all authentic action is always “new.”

13. Though indeed this mission demands a generous offering from us, it would be an error to understand it as a heroic personal task; for the work is already His before everything, far more than what we can discover and understand. Jesus is “the first and greatest evangelist.” (9) Whatever the form of evangelization, the primacy always is with God, Who wanted to call us to collaborate with Him, and to urge us on with the force of His Spirit. The true newness is what God Himself mysteriously wants to produce, what He inspires, what He brings about, what He directs and accompanies in a thousand ways. In all the life of the Church, one must always show that the initiative is God’s, that “God loved us first” (1 Jn. 4:19); and that “It is God Who makes the increase.” (1 Cor. 3:7) This conviction permits us to keep His joy in the midst of a task so demanding and challenging that it takes our lives as a whole. He asks for everything, but at the same time, He offers us everything.

13. Nor must we understand this mission’s newness as an uprooting, as an oblivion of the lively history which welcomes us and launches us further forward. Memory is a dimension of our faith which we could call “Deuteronomical,” by analogy with Israel’s memory. Jesus leaves us the Eucharist as the Church’s daily memory that He is leading us further into Easter every day. (cf. Lk. 22:19) The evangelizing joy always shines over the background of thankful memory; it is a grace which we need to ask for. The Apostles never forgot the moment at which Jesus touched their hearts: “It was around four in the afternoon.” (Jn. 1:39) Together with Jesus, memory makes “a real cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1) present to us. Among them, some persons stand out who, in a special way, influenced us to make our believer’s rejoicing well up: “Remember those directing you who announced the Word of God to you all.” (Heb. 13:7) At times, one deals with simple and nearby people who initiated one into the life of the faith: “I hold present the sincerity of your faith, the faith which you had from your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice.” (2 Tim. 1:5) The believer is fundamentally “full of memory.”



[5] Ibid.

[6] PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (8 December 1975), 80: AAS 68 (1976), 75.

[7] Spiritual Canticle, 36, 10.

[8] Adversus Haereses, IV, c. 34, n. 1: PG 7, pars prior, 1083: “Omnem novitatem attulit, semetipsum afferens”.

[9] PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (8 December 1975), 7: AAS 68 (1976), 9.

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Totally Unofficial Translation 2: “Evangelii Gaudium”

5. The Gospel, where the glorious Cross of Christ shines dazzlingly, insistently invites us to the joy. Some examples suffice. “Rejoice!” is the angel’s greeting to Mary. (Lk. 1:28) Mary’s visit to Elizabeth makes John leap for joy in his mother’s womb. (cf. Lk. 1:41) In her song, Mary proclaims, “My spirit shivers with joy in God, my Savior.” (Lk. 1:47)

When Jesus commences his ministry, John exclaims, “This is my joy, which has arrived in its fullness.” (Jn. 3:29) Jesus Himself was filled with joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Lk. 10:21) His message is full of rejoicing: “I have said these things to you all, so that My joy may be in you all, and the joy of you all may be full.” (Jn. 15:11) Our Christian joy drinks from the fountain of His overflowing heart. He promises His disciples, “You all will be sad, but your sadness will be turned into joy.” (Jn. 16:20) He repeats, “Truly, I will come back, and I will make the hearts of you all glad, and nobody will be able to take away your joy from you all.” (Jn. 16:22) On seeing Him resurrected, afterward “they were made glad.” (Jn. 20:20)

The book of the Acts of the Apostles tells that in the first community, “they ate the food with joy.” (Acts 2:46) For wherever the disciples would go, they had “a great joy” (Acts 8:8), and in the midst of persecution, “they were filled up with rejoicing.” (Acts 13:52) A eunuch, sad before being baptized, “continued on his road rejoicing,” (Acts 8:39) and the jailer “was made joyous with all his family by having believed in God.” (Acts 16:34)

Why don’t we too walk into this river of joy?

6. There are Christians whose option appears to be a Lent without an Easter But I recognize that joy does not live in the same way in all the phases and circumstances of life — at times, very hard circumstances. It adapts itself and transforms itself, and always remains at least like a welling-up of light that is born from the personal certainty of being infinitely loved, in back of everything. I understand people who are inclined to sadness over the grave difficulties that they have to suffer; but little by little, one has to permit the joy of one’s faith to begin to awaken itself, like a secret but sure confidence even in the middle of the worst anguishes. I find myself far from peace, I have forgotten what it was called… But I drag something from my memory, something that makes me hope. That the love of the Lord has not been finished, that His tenderness has not been used up; morning after morning, they renew themselves. Great is His faithfulness! …It is good to hope in silence for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lm. 3:17, 21-23, 26.)

7. Temptation frequently appears under the form of excuses and protests, as if innumerable conditions must be met before joy could be possible. This tends to happen because “technological society has managed to multiply occasions of pleasure, but finds it very difficult to engender joy.” (2)

I can say that the most beautiful and spontaneous rejoicings that I have seen in my years of life are those of very poor persons who have little to cling to. I also remember the genuine joy of those who, even in the midst of great professional predicaments, have known to keep a believing, disinterested, and simple heart. In varied manners, those joys drank from the fountain of the ever-greatest love of God, Who has manifested Himself to us in Jesus Christ. I have not tired of repeating those words of Benedict XVI which bring us to the center of the Gospel: “One does not begin to be Christian by an ethical decision or a great idea, but through an encounter with an event, with a Person Who gives a new horizon to life and, with it, a decisive Orientation.” (3)

8. Thanks only to this encounter — or re-encounter — with God’s love which turns into happy friendship, we are rescued from our isolated conscience and from self-referentialness. We come to be fully humans when we are more than humans, when we permit God to bring us out beyond ourselves in order to reach our most true being. There is the wellspring of the evangelizing action. Because if someone has chosen that Love which brings back life’s meaning, how can he hold back the desire to spread it to others?


[2] Ibid. 8: AAS 67 (1975), 292.

[3] Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est (25 December 2005), 1: AAS 98 (2006), 217.

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Totally Unofficial Translation 1: “Evangelii Gaudium”

“Evangelii Gaudium” is the Pope’s new Exhortation, and it’s caused a fair bit of controversy. But the English translation was apparently done rather freely and sometimes is quite different from the original version in Spanish. So here’s a totally unofficial, literal translation of the Pope’s original words.

UPDATE: Places where the official version has significantly different phrasing are marked in bold.

“Evangelii Gaudium”: Apostolic Exhortation on the Annunciation of the Gospel in the Present World

1. The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and the whole lives of those who find themselves meeting with Jesus. Those who allow themselves to be saved by Him are delivered from sin, from sadness, from inner emptiness, from isolation. With Jesus Christ, joy is always born and reborn. In this Exhortation, I want to address myself to the Christian faithful, to invite them to a new phase of evangelization marked by that joy, and I want to point out roads for the march of the Church in the next few years.

I. Joy Which Renews Itself and Spreads Itself

2. The great risk of the present world, with its multiple and overwhelming opportunities for consumption, is an individualist sadness that wells up from a comfortable and greedy heart, from the sick search for superficial pleasures, from the isolated conscience. When the interior life closes itself off into its own interests — now there’s no room for everybody else; now the poor don’t come into it; now one doesn’t hear the voice of God; now one doesn’t feel the sweet joy of His love; now one’s heart doesn’t throb with His enthusiasm to do good. Believers also run this certain and permanent risk. Many fall into it, and turn themselves into resentful, whiny, lifeless beings. That is not the option of a worthy and full life; that is not God’s desire for us; that is not the life in the Spirit which wells up from the heart of Christ resurrected.

3. I invite every Christian, in whatever place and situation he finds himself, to renew right now his personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least to take the decision to allow himself to encounter Him, to try it every day without a break. There is no reason for anyone to think that this invitation isn’t for him, because “nobody remains excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.” (1) The Lord doesn’t let one down who takes a risk; and when someone takes a tiny step toward Jesus, he discovers that He already awaits his coming with open arms.

This is the moment to say to Jesus Christ, “Lord, I have allowed myself to be tricked. In a thousand ways I have fled from Your love; but here I am again to renew my covenant with You. I need You. Rescue me anew, Lord. Take me back one more time into Your redeeming arms.”

It does us so much good to return to Him when we have lost ourselves! I repeat once more: God never gets tired of forgiving; we are the ones who get tired of returning to His mercy. Back then, He invited us to forgive “seventy times seven” (Mt. 18:22). He gives us a model; He forgives us “seventy times seven.” He comes back to carry us on his shoulders, time and time again. Nobody can take from us the dignity which this infinite and unbreakable love grants us. He permits us to raise our heads and come back to the beginning, with a tenderness which never disillusions us and which always can give joy back to us. Let us not run away from Jesus’ resurrection; let us never declare ourselves dead, come what may. May nothing launch us farther forward than His life!

4. The books of the Old Testament had foretold the joy of salvation, which would return unbounded in the Messianic times. The prophet Isaiah addressed himself to the awaited Messiah, greeting him with delight: “You multiply joy, you increase rejoicing.” (Is. 9:2) And he encourages the inhabitants of Zion to receive him with songs: “Give shouts of rejoicing and of jubilation!” (Is. 12:6) To one who already has seen [the Messiah] on the horizon, the prophet invites him to turn himself into a messenger for everyone else: “Climb to a high mountain, o joyous messenger for Zion; proclaim with powerful voice, o joyous messenger for Jerusalem.” (Is. 40:9) All Creation takes part in this joy of salvation: “Give acclaim, o Heavens, and exult, o Earth! O Mountains, break forth in songs of joy! Because the Lord has consoled His people, and on His poor, He has taken pity.” (Is. 49:13)

Zachariah, seeing the day of the Lord, invites one to give cheers to the King that comes “poor and mounted on a donkey.” “Exult without pause, Zion, shout for joy, Jerusalem; for your King comes to you, just and victorious!” (Zach. 9:9)

But perhaps the most contagious invitation may be that of the prophet Zephaniah, who shows us God Himself as a luminous center of feasting and of joy, Who wants to share with His people that salvific rejoicing. It fills me with life to re-read this text: “Your God is in the midst of you; the powerful savior. He exults from enjoyment through you, He renews you with His love, and dances for you with shouts of joy.” (Zeph. 3:17)

It is the joy which lives in the midst of the little things of daily life as it answers the affectionate invitation of our Father God: “Son, according to the measure of your possibilities, treat yourself well… Do not deprive yourself of spending a good day.” (Sir. 14:11, 14) How much paternal tenderness one senses behind these words!


[1] PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete in Domino (9 May 1975), 22: AAS 67 (1975), 297.

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50th Anniversary Episode of Doctor Who

Bad News:
A lot of pretentious BS stuffed into an episode. Hoboy, is there pretension and BS.

Good News:
1. John Hurt’s turn as the Doctor, which was touching and interesting despite the horrible pretentious lines the writers often gave him.

2. Steven Moffat’s magnificent retcon assault on all that Time War junk. Anything that makes the Doctor not be a psychopathic war criminal is fine by me. Liberal use of handwavium in this case is justified (especially since it’s fighting against something _established_ solely by handwave fiat), and thus I applaud its skillful use.

Bad News:
The Doctor is now canonically married to one of the greatest evildoers in English history, which one would think a tad bit offputting. What is it with the writers putting him together with supervillain ladies? I’m beginning to think that they should have stuck with the elderly Aztec priestess.


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John F. Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, an ardent pro-Castro Communist. The motive was anger over Kennedy’s policies against Communist Cuba. Since Oswald had applied to immigrate there but been refused, he probably was trying to add something reward-worthy to his immigration resume.

Robert Kennedy was killed by Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian terrorist, on the first anniversary of the Six Day War. He was angry about Kennedy’s support of Israel on the campaign trail. He was of Christian family, however, and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that he had converted to Islam or that it was meant as an act of jihad.

Neither assassin had anything to do with American conservatism or right-wing politics.

Neither assassin’s motive had anything to do with a “climate of hatred” in the US.

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The Temp Job Continues to Be Good

I just wish the commute wasn’t so long. But it’s pretty great in every other way.

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That Depressing Moment

When you realize that somebody who once hit the news for doing something incredibly stupid, and then capitalized on it by admitting publicly to living a humiliating lifestyle solely for money and thrills (but apparently also out of self-hatred and issues from her past), is also that one smart young kid you used to work with, the one who was being groomed for management and was a snappy dresser.

Well, I guess everybody has their dark side, but I really would rather find out that people I never see anymore are secretly happier and more successful than I am.

OTOH, it does go to my theory that people who wear mask-like (however perfect and tasteful) makeup probably really are trying to wear a mask.

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Donal Breen = Daniel O’Brien

Okay, this is something that happens in genealogical research too….

It seems there’s some doubt as to the real name of Fr. Daniel O’Brien (so listed by Moran and his sources). The cause for Richard Creagh and 41 Companion Martyrs of Ireland lists his name as Donal Breen!

Okay, I can buy Donal as being the guy’s Gaelic name, with “Daniel” being either his name in religion or the functional equivalent of Donal that he was baptized with. But. Usually Irish authors are pretty clear about whether a man’s an O’Brien, Byrne, or Breen, even if folks from other countries are easily confused. So what was the real surname of Fr. Daniel?

The cause for sainthood seems to be a little stalled. They haven’t even named them official martyrs yet. Bah.

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Dominican Friars Sent to Barbados as Slaves?

I realized that the English transported a LOT of Irish and Scottish people to work the sugar cane fields and die of malaria. But I hadn’t realized that this included Irish Dominican friars sent to Barbados.

It talks about this in Cdnl. Patrick Francis Moran’s Historical Sketch of the Persecutions of Catholics under Cromwell and the Puritans, on p. 254.

The Dominicans’ General Chapter of 1656 reported: “….of forty-three convents which the Order possessed [in Ireland], not a single one survives today… there were counted about six hundred [friars], of which but the fourth part [about 150] is now in the land of the living, and even that number is dispersed in exile; the rest died martyrs at home, or were cruelly transported to the island of Barbadoes.” (De Burgh/De Burgo is quoted on the same page, and he estimates that about 70 friars were transported and enslaved.)

(On the same page, Wadding’s list of martyred Franciscans is noted to include Pr. Marianus Vardaeus (ie, Fr. Ferghall Ward, whose religious name was apparently Br. Marianus), who died “initio hujus belli a piratis suspensus ex malo navis” along with Cornelius O’Brien, Lord of Caringh.)

I knew that Cromwell transported a lot of people to Barbados, including the thirty or fewer survivors of his Drogheda massacre. But that is ridiculous.

Moran also says that Fr. David Roche, O.S.D., was sent to Barbados by General Ireton after Limerick was taken. I don’t know why he wasn’t executed like the other Dominican Fathers in the city (young, maybe, or related to somebody in Ireton’s forces).

However, Moran also says there was one shipload of slaves who were the only Irish speakers onboard, knew ships, and were allowed to walk around the ship in the daytime even though held in irons at night (I guess the captain wanted to sleep and not keep watches). The starved slaves took over their transport ship one day, put their captors in irons, sailed to Brest, freed the captain and crew to make their way home, sold the ship, and lived happily ever after in the large community of Irish exiles in Brest.

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Books Criticizing Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

For some odd reason, a lot of people think that Foxe’s Book of Martyrs has never been refuted by Catholics (or anyone else). In point of fact, there have been tons of books published which do nothing but refute Foxe, pointing out the many urban legends he printed as true; many Catholics who died under Protestant persecution who are described as the opposite; and many Protestant “martyrs” who not only survived, but never suffered any mistreatment or interference. Such books were published both during Foxe’s lifetime (and he did revise his books in response to some of them) and after it, in every generation. Unfortunately, this hasn’t amended matters, and Foxe’s tabloid version of history often prevails in people’s minds.

But fortunately, many of these critical books are now online, if you can only find them.

For example, Martyrs Omitted by Foxe, being Records of Religious Persecution in the 16th and 17th Century, Compiled by a Member of the English Church (1870) is listed on Google Books as being by Foxe himself! (And this is a book by an Anglican, btw.)

When I run across such books, I will link them here.

A critical and historical review of Fox’s Book of Martyrs, shewing the inaccuracies, falsehoods and misrepresentations in that work of deception, by W.E. Andrewes (1824).

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Etymology of Irish Names and Places

It’s hard to find trustworthy, well-researched information about Irish names of people or places. Baby name books are notoriously full of lies and half-truths, and there’s lots of well-intentioned blarney everywhere. However, you don’t have to break out the Old Irish dictionary yourself. There is now a very nice online database to help you!

If you want to know about the meaning of placenames, such as the townland where your family came from, will do it.

(The name is short for Bunachar Logainmneacha na hEireann, Placenames Database of Ireland. Ainm is “name,” and logainm is “placename.”)

The site is available in English and Irish; and there’s a feature that lets you listen to the local pronunciation so you won’t sound like an idiot. It’s sponsored by Dublin University.

If you only have the name of a townland, street, or place, and you don’t know where it is, the database will also tell you the county and barony it’s in (or was in). So people might find it very useful.

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Jeremiah Joseph = Diarmuid Seosamh

One of the more interesting Irish naming practices was equivalent naming. Like a lot of Irish practices, this was a way to get over stupid or well-meaning interferences into normal life.

When the Reformation and Counter-Reformation came along, there was a lot of embarrassment in Europe over all the weird local saints’ names, and the lack of historical documentation for even some famous saints. (Not that this meant they weren’t historical; and afterwards researchers often found tons of info, of course.) So a lot of Protestants decided to stick to Biblical names only, while a lot of bishops felt that Catholics should stick with saints of the universal Roman calendar only.

This was a problem in many countries who had hundreds of saints commemorated on (perfectly legal, bishop-okayed) local calendars, but only a few or none on the universal calendar. Ireland didn’t have a single saint on the universal calendar at the time, although saints like Brigid and Patrick were known and loved all across Europe during the Middle Ages. It just had never been needed, since Irish priests, Irish-missionized cities, and Irish-founded orders had used the relevant bits of the Irish saint calendars for their local diocesan saint calendars.

So when young, fervent, rules-obeying priests came back to Ireland, you had the strange situation of Catholics being told that if they wanted their kids to be baptized, they couldn’t name their children after the same Catholic saints that had been their family patrons for over a thousand years. It had to be a saint of the Roman calendar instead.

At the same time and even earlier, you have a lot of the English legal system insisting that Irish people have names that non-Irish people could spell and pronounce in an English way. The Roman calendar saints often had weird names, but the English could spell them and make them out.

So instead of Conn or Conor, there are suddenly hundreds and hundreds of Irishmen named “Cornelius.” Everybody at home still called them Conn or Conor or Connie; but technically, their name was Cornelius. Similarly, there are suddenly a lot of men named “Timothy” who are really “Tadhg” (pronounced Ty or a bunch of other ways, depending on where the Gaelic’s from). This is also why Moire (the Gaelic form of Mary used for names, as opposed to Muire that was only for the Virgin Mary) often gets written down as Maura or Maureen — it’s technically being named after St. Maura the martyr, although everybody knows perfectly well it was always used for Mary.

So today, I found out that a large number of Irishmen named “Jeremiah” were actually named “Diarmuid.” Nothing against St. Jeremiah or his prophecies, but this makes a lot of sense. Diarmuid (also spelled “Dermot”) was a very popular name for a long time, and these things don’t just disappear without a trace.

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How to Make Paneer!

Is there nothing that vinegar can’t do?

You can make Indian paneer cheese with nothing but milk and vinegar!

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