St. Paul & Pope Francis Say SHIT to Their Congregations

St. Paul & Pope Francis Say SHIT to Their Congregations July 13, 2015
Looks like a guy who doesn't take much shit from anyone (Giotto, St. Paul, 1290s; Source: Wikimedia Commons, PD-Old-100).
Looks like a guy who doesn’t take much shit from anyone (Giotto, St. Paul, 1290s; Source: Wikimedia Commons, PD-Old-100).

Pope Francis has been talking crap about capitalism again. According to The Guardian, the pontiff reached for some pungent words, reminiscent of what Keith Michael Estrada wrote in his guest post several weeks ago:

In one of the longest, most passionate and sweeping speeches of his pontificate, the Argentine-born pope used his visit to Bolivia to ask forgiveness for the sins committed by the Roman Catholic church in its treatment of native Americans during what he called the “so-called conquest of America”.

The pontiff also demanded an immediate end to what he called the “genocide” of Christians taking place in the Middle East and beyond, describing it as a third world war.

“Today we are dismayed to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus,” Pope Francis said.

“In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end.”

Quoting a fourth century bishop [St. Basil the Great], he called the unfettered pursuit of money “the dung of the devil”, and said poor countries should not be reduced to being providers of raw material and cheap labour for developed countries.

I’ve always wanted to riff on the von Balthasar title Paul Struggles With His Congregation, hence the title for this post. Blogger and Deacon Scott Dodge reminded me of this desire of mine when he announced his project to write a book about potty language in the Bible. I really do hope he goes through with it.

You’re all well aware that Bible translations tend to sanitize the meanings of the Scriptures. So here’s what Paul says to the Philippians in chapter three verse eight according to the Liturgy website run by Bosco Peters:

But indeed I also regard everything to be loss on account of the surpassing knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom I have suffered the loss of all things; and I consider them shit so that I may gain Christ.

Just in case you might have doubts here’s the Greek:

ἀλλὰ μενοῦνγε καὶ ἡγοῦμαι πάντα ζημίαν εἶναι διὰ τὸ ὑπερέχον τῆς γνώσεως Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου μου, διὃν τὰ πάντα ἐζημιώθην, καὶ ἡγοῦμαι σκύβαλα, ἵνα Χριστὸν κερδήσω.

If your Greek is rusty, Bosco Peters notes:

Yep – σκύβαλα (skubala) = shit.

A reader says it could be more idiomatically rendered as “bullshit.”

There you have it.

I wonder what else has gotten lost in translation. I’ll have to wait for Scott’s book.

By the way, if you want to know how the Jewish contemporaries dealt with their shit, then look no further than the finest book of archaeology on the topic: Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit: Jewish Daily Life in the Time of Jesus.

I’m something of a collector of things in Catholicism that offend our Victorian sensibilities. At your own peril take a look at the following posts: Nudus Nudum Christum Sequi: On Christ’s Genitalia; The Catholic Valentine’s Creepier than 50 Shades; and Eternity in a Dunghill.

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