Letters: Biblical errors?
Does the Bible contain errors?
According to Valentine Gallagher (No contradictions, Letters CW 19/10), Popes Leo XIII and Pius XII answered “no”.
That hardly settles the question, for the errors are notorious. In a speech at Vatican II, Cardinal Konig pointed out that Mark 2:26 says Abiather was high priest whereas First Samuel 21ff. says he was Abimelech. Both cannot be true.
There are dozens of instances of contradictions, and they have been acknowledged for centuries.
Mr Gallagher says the “original texts as written by the inspired authors contain no errors”. That will not help his case, because we have no original texts.
If all assertions in the Bible were inspired by God and therefore true, then some uncomfortable conclusions would follow. All such assertions would be items of divine revelation for which God requires the response of faith.
This means that the creed would be very very long, given that thousands of assertions lie in the Bible. For instance God would require that we believe as divinely revealed that Balak flew into a rage with Balaam (Numbers 24:10) and that Philip had four unmarried daughters (Acts 21:9).
It would save a lot of bother if one decided that the Bible contains supremely important truths mixed with errors and trivia.
The congregation in Bowral roared with laughter when told of the suggestion by Arthur Negus (New Mass, Letters CW 19/10) that I was unorthodox.
Such liturgical wrongs are not common in the diocese of Wollongong.
These days, it is usual for composers to write music that covers all participants in the Mass – choir, cantor, congregation and celebrant.
I am aware that the Eucharistic prayer of the Mass is a presidential prayer; however, the assembly do have parts: the dialogue during the preface, the memorial acclamation and, of course, the great “amen”. The rest of the prayer is spoken or sung by the celebrant.
The launch of the Mass was a stunning success. A diocesan combined choir and orchestra led a congregation of 600 in singing the beautifully simple setting of the Mass by American priest Fr.James Chepponis, in its entirety.
“Full, active and conscious participation” by all those who were present was never more evident. This music will now become part of the increasing collective memory of our diocese.
Fr Sean Cullen PP
ST ELMO’S SPECIAL
I’m a firm believer in supporting your advertisers so my friend (also a widow) and I decided to book the three-day midweek special at St Elmo’s Heritage Motel as advertised in your classified page.
We could not have made a better choice for a short holiday.
Originally I thought that what the ad stated would be too good to be true – not so.
The accommodation, meals, trolley tour and service were 100 per cent and I’d wholeheartedly recommend this short break to everyone.
It was exactly what the advertisement stated and the addition of such pleasant and happy staff at reception, kitchen and domestic, was truly a mid-week reviver.
(Mrs) TM Cunningham
PRAY FOR RAIN
With the approach of what could well be a long hot summer, combined with grave risk of bushfire, we are very much in need of soaking rain throughout the greater part of the country and, equally important, on our much depleted city catchment area.
So it seems timely to remind everyone of the urgent need for much good rain.
Could we unite in prayer to this end – in churches and privately?
It is actually rare to hear mention of the drought or the need for prayer.
No doubt this is because in the city the extent of the drought is not seen and water still comes out of the tap, and the coastal strip is green.
But the reality is very different; water supplies are a major concern, so let us unite – clergy and people – in praying for rain.
I quote some words John O’Brien put on the lips of Hanrahan: “Bedad, it’s crook me lad/for never since the banks went broke/has seasons been so bad”.
A PLAY ON WORDS?
A document has been received in my parish from the cathedral requesting all clergy to discourage the practice of “self-intinction”.
This means that people can no longer receive Communion under both species, unless they drink from the chalice, rather than dip the host into the chalice.
The reason given is that “self-intinction is a form of taking rather than receiving Holy Communion” and is not permitted.
I – and many others – have derived great spiritual sustenance by receiving Communion under both species by dipping the host into the chalice.
It would be most disappointing if this is no longer permitted.
The alternative of drinking from the chalice, after it has been wiped with a cloth, is unhygienic and a health hazard.
Might I suggest that the fine distinction of “taking” and “receiving” Communion is merely a play on words.
Surely if the host is received from the priest or minister of the Eucharist and then dipped in the chalice, Communion has been “received” in one act, because the Precious Blood from the chalice can only be taken by the medium of the contemporaneously received host.
I trust that this matter will be fully reconsidered.
CHANGE OF HABIT
David Lo (Women religious? Letters CW 19/10) asks why were there no women religious in the recent Episcopal ordination procession.
Perhaps he could explain how anyone would know?
It seems that Canon Law #669 is interpreted in Australia as “no religious habit to be worn at anytime, anywhere”.