"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Tuesday, May 20, 2003 Rev. James Martin, SJ, writes in the May 26 America:
For some years my mother has lamented -- and this is not too strong a word -- the fact that I never studied Latin. Whenever she spies a phrase in Latin inscribed on a church facade, or comes across a quote in a book or article, or hears an unfamiliar Latin hymn during a Mass, and I am unable to translate it properly, she will inevitably sigh. "All that Jesuit training," she'll say sadly, "and you still don’t know any Latin. I just can't believe it."
Normally I point out that, having entered the Society of Jesus at an advanced age, I hadn't as much time to take up ancient languages as did my forbears, who entered at 16 or 17 and had plenty of opportunity for their Cicero and Ovid. Moreover, there are many scholars, Jesuits and otherwise, who know Latin far better than I ever could. Even if I studied for many years, I would not be able to match the accuracy of their translations. So better to rely on these.
Sadly, these explanations fail to satisfy. And when I remind my mother that I do in fact know a few other languages, including a smattering of Greek, and can even translate some of the New Testament, she will frown as if this is clearly beside the point; besides, who ever heard of any Attic Greek hymns being sung during Mass?
Lately, though, I've been thinking that perhaps my mother is right after all...
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