The Vindication File

compiled by Catherine Fournier

Those little bits of information that confirm what you have suspected … that conventional wisdom is wrong, that political correctness and tolerance is more intolerant that anything it is reacting to, and that two thousand years of Catholic tradition is good for more than great architecture.

Oh, and by the way, if you find my choices contentious, or you don't agree with my conclusions, please write and let me know - that's why the Letters to The Editor space is there. As we strive to grow in faith and transmit that faith to our children and neighbours, debate and discussion about just what exactly the Catholic viewpoint is, and should be, can only serve to strengthen the domestic church.

For example:

Language: If the majority doesn't want it, is it still 'inclusive'?

A bit of 'ammunition' to use at your local parish...

'In 1992 the Vatican held up the translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church into English for two years until the feminist language and, therefore, ideology had been removed.

...In 1995, Catholic Insight contributor Thaddeus Pruss of Vancouver wrote the most incisive reports to appear in the English language on how radically the feminist language in the NRSV had changed the meaning of the Bible: (see Jan/Feb, April, May 1995 but especially 64 shadows of man, October 1995.)

...In the fall of 1995, Rome issued new guidelines for translation to the English speaking Bishop's conferences

...In January 1997, the Catholic World Report of San Francisco published a large opinion poll showing the vast majority of church-going Catholic women, 69 per cent, had no interest in feminist language in the liturgy. [In fact] Many opposed it.

In March 1997, American Bishops and Cardinals travelled to Rome and agreed to an English translation for a new (American) lectionary. This lectionary has a modest amount of modern terminology to replace the masculine overtones of previous bibles, but, as Bishop Donald Trautman, a champion of 'inclusiveness' put it, this new version "has been substantially and radically altered, rendering it no longer an inclusive language text." This version was discussed in the American Bishops' June meeting and subsequently approved with a two-thirds majority in a July vote by mail

[...The translation guidelines include:]

3. The translation of Scripture should faithfully reflect the Word of God in the original human languages. It must be listened to in its time-conditioned, at times even inelegant, mode of human expression without "correction" or "improvement" in the service of modern sensitivities.

3.b. If explanations are deemed to be pastorally necessary or appropriate, they should be given in editorial notes, commentaries, homilies, etc.

4/1. The natural gender of personae in the Bible, including the human author of various texts where evident, must not be changed insofar as this is possible in the receptor language.

4/2 The grammatical gender of God, pagan deities and angels according to the original text must not be changed insofar as this is possible in the receptor language.

4/3 In fidelity to the inspired Word of God, the traditional biblical usage for naming the persons of the Trinity as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is to be retained.

4/4 Similarly, in keeping with the Church's tradition, the feminine and neutral pronouns are not to be used to refer to the person of the Holy Spirit.

4/5 There shall be no systematic substition for the masculine pronoun or possessive adjective to refer to God, in correspondence to the original text.

4/6 Kinship terms that are clearly gender specific, as indicated by the context, should be respected in translation.

6/1 Translation should strive to preserve the connotations as well as the denotations of words or expressions in the original and thus not preclude possible layers of meaning.'

These exerpts have been quoted from: 'Holy See Rejects Feminist Language', by Catholic Insight staff, published in Catholic Insight, September 1997.

Subscription information can be obtained by visiting the Catholic Insight website.


I've always wondered about 'the homeless question' why - despite social policy that verges occasionally towards distinctly aggressive interference on all manner of things, despite walk-in clinics, subsidized housing, charities, and street ministries - do we still have homeless? More and more homeless every week? This article provides some clues.

From 1992 to 1994, the Times Square Business Improvement District (BID), a coalition of business owners dedicated to the revival of New York's famed crossroads, funded an outreach program designed to coax the local homeless into housing.

[After a resounding lack of success] in 1994, the Times Square BID upped the ante.

...One year and $700,000 later, only two people had accepted housing - though not for workers' lack of trying. Over the year, the outreach workers had made 1,511 'contacts' with 206 individuals, but only 37 agreed to even visit the BID's respite center, while a mere 15 condescended to stay overnight. The homeless. it appeared, did not really want housing, housing, housing.

....[The BID's report] To Reach The Homeless proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the homeless are not on the street because they can't find housing: Desperate to give away subsidized apartments, the BID found almost no takers. Clearly, most vagrant prefer the streets to the responsibility of a housed existence.

...Should society finally decide to end street vagrancy, it could go far in that direction by facilitating commitment to mental hospitals and enforcing existing laws against street living. Though the average householder would surely welcome such a change, the average householder has no say in these matters: A vocal minority purporting to represent the interests of the homeless governs homeless policy.

...Homelessness confirms for the advocates their dearest beliefs: that American capitalism is corrupt and cruel, that American society deals harshly with its rebels and nonconformists. Remove the homeless from the streets, and Exhibit A in the advocates brief against America also disappears. … The advocates may see the homeless as martyrs to American injustice, or as free spirits marching to a different drummer, but by now most of the rest of us see them as confused souls, who, for more than a decade, have been marching to disaster -- thanks to the policies designed by homeless advocates.

This vindication file item is excerpted from 'Harassing the homeless' by Heather Macdonald, published in The Ottawa Citizen, on Friday, 21 November, 1997. It in turn was adapted from a longer article by the same author in City Journal, a Wall Street Journal publication.

Sexual revolution is in reverse gear?

Poplars grow fast, but they rot out from the center and die young. So may it be with the so-called sexual revolution.

Take sexual liberation (ie:promiscuity.) As recently as 1989 the Centers for Disease Control found that 59 percent of high schoolers had had sex. In subsequent years, similar CDC studies showed the numbers dropping: 54 percent in 1990, and 43 percent in 1992. In 1994, the Roper Organization released a study done in conjunction with SIECUS (the Sex Information and Education Council of the U.S.) which found that only 36 percent of high schoolers had had sex.

While rising numbers of teens are saying no to sex, the most telling evidence against "liberation" comes from the kids who said yes. A survey published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 1991 asked sexually experienced inner-city junior and senior high students what they thought was the ideal age to begin having sex: 88 pecent suggested ages older that they had been. Twenty-five percent of these sexually experienced kids also said that they believe sex before marriage is wrong. (This point of view has continued to grow in popularity. The UCLA Higher Education Research Institute surveys 250,000 new college freshmen every year. In 1987, 52 percent of the students said that casual sex was acceptable; only 42 percent of the 1996 class agrees.)

In the 1994 Roper survey cited above, 62 percent of sexually experienced girls, and 54 percent of all experienced high schoolers, said that they "should have waited." And, most poignant, a study published in a 1990 issue of Family Planning Perspectives described a questionnaire distributed to one thousand sexually active girls, asking then to check off which item they wanted more information about. Eighty-four percent checked "how to say no without hurting the other person's feelings."

The above items were taken from "Now For Some Good News" by Frederica Mathewes-Green, published in FIRST THINGS, August/September 1997.

Natural Family Planning lowers divorce rate

"Is the divorce rate lower among couples who practice NFP?"

Yes. The Couple to Couple League took an informal survey and found that the divorce rate among couples using NFP was less than 1%. That is less than one couple per one hundred. This makes sense for several reasons.

First, couples who choose NFP are working in a true partnership as they share responsibility for their combined fertility. This fosters an overall respect for each other's bodies and the procreative power they share together. Also, The required periods of brief abstaining every month during fertile times allows the couple some 'space' from each other. They do not take each other for granted, as say, a contracepting couple who have constant availability to each other.

(Taken from 'What Every Catholic Couple Should Know' by Wendy Cukierski, Self Published, 1997. For more from Wendy's book, see Health: NFP)

Good Government

For those of you with a political bent, the Warren G. Harding Institute for Civic Responsibility holds an annual essay contest on some aspect of politics and the state.

The topic of this year's essay contest was "Good Government." The winning entry, in its entirety, was as follows:

"Good government. Good government. Sit. Stay."

(This may be aprocryphal, but it is still funny.)

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