Actually, This Isn’t the Year of Mercy Coming Up.

If you read the Vatican website in other languages, the Latin bull announcing the whole thing says it proclaims a year of “misericordia,” which translates the Hebrew “chesed” (which translates as loving-kindness, mercy, compassion, covenant love and loyalty, and a bunch of other things). In Latin, it literally means something like “a pitying heart.”

And yes, the Spanish name of the year also says it’s a year of “misericordia,” whereas mercy would have been “merced.” My Spanish language dictionary concurs that misericordia is best represented by the English “compassion, pity,” except in certain pious prayers where it’s translated into English as “mercy.” Ther German version of the proclamation talks about “Barmherzigkeit,” which also translates as “compassion.”

Actually, this makes sense of some of the lovey-dovey-wubby, hearts and flowers tone of the preparatory stuff coming out of the Vatican about this year. Misericordia is lovey-dovey and does talk about hearts. Mercy, not so much.

So we’re going to celebrate the Year of Chesed.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Actually, This Isn’t the Year of Mercy Coming Up.

  1. …which is why it’s important to know another language, if for no other reason than to realize that translations are often incomplete or possibly misleading.

  2. Well, that explains the awful, mixed up logo. (Not!)

  3. Well, the Good Shepherd carrying a lamb on His shoulders is an image of chesed. And it would have been cool if they’d shown Jesus doing a fireman carry. But as it is… no.

    And yes, some of the dorky things said are still dorky, and some of the bad bishop comments that seemed like false descriptions of mercy are also false descriptions of compassion.

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