Saturday, February 09, 2008

Persevering Controversies?

Father Massa is either a bumbler or a very intelligent wordsman.

In this article about the Pope's revisioning of Good Friday prayers, resurrecting supplications (suppressed in the 1960's) that express fervent hopes that the Jews will see the error of their ways and come to accept Jesus as their savior, he is quoted as saying that we have "persevered other controversies".

At first read, I thought he had probably meant to say that we had survived, resolved or endured other controversies. At second read, I wondered if perhaps he really meant what the common usage of "persevere" carries: that we would "ride out" this controversy, as does one the common cold, getting through it without curing it, until it goes away. At third read, I began to wonder if "persevere" has an essential and root meaning that has been lost in common usage, and if, meaning "to cut through", it is supposed to take an object. If so, bravo, adroit Father Massa.

Alas, according to Merriam-Webster, the verb is intransitive and does not mean cutting through anything. It means "to persist". Father Massa is really fueling the flames of unecumenical insult by saying that we Catholics have been successfully recalcitrant in past controversies and we shall be thus in this one.

In any case, his reminding the Jews that only a few people will be saying this offensive prayer, and that most of them won't understand it because it is in Latin, is laughable. So much for the power of individual personal prayer, I guess. Hey Father Massa, ever hear of the widow's mite? Mighty hilarious stuff made less amusing because it comes from the mouth of the German B16.

3 comments:

michaepf said...

Interesting that I should hear the "widow's mite" referenced in two different places in two days -- when before I'd never even heard the term. NPR had a report about Huckabee's biblical allusions, couched in such a way that generally only evangelicals get the messages, one of which was the "widow's mite". Linky: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18821021

Anonymous said...

We actually were saying those supplications on Good Friday well into the 1980s.

BigAssBelle said...

i was just thinking of the NPR story that michaelpf mentioned. it was hysterical (and scary) that i still get every one of the huckabee dog whistles, though i've been a lapsed lutheran for 38 years and never an evangelical nor any big reader of the Bible. guess those years of parochial school and sunday school weren't wasted after all ;-) i'll have to tell my daddy.

it seems there is a general christian obsession with the jews and bringing them back into the fold so we can all go home to jesus. a mega church in san antonio is lobbying congress to attack iran in the belief this will somehow engage israel and they'll convert to christianity and thus the rapture.