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Screamingly bad Latin, not to mention bad reporting, from The VOA

April 11, 2008

The Voice of America boasts of being “A trusted source of news and information since 1942”. Oh, really?

VOA’s Jeff Swicord drew an admittedly crummy assignment: reporting on the latest shenanigans put on by the “woman priest” crowd. But what should have been a routine serving of empty drivel went l.o.l. funny when Swicord attributed to an Opus Dei priest the following comment on the maleness and the priesthood: “‘The church teaches that he [the priest] does this in what is called insomnia nomini Christa, that he does this in the name and the person of Jesus,’ says [Fr. Arne] Panula. Jesus was male.”

A priest acts “insomnia nomini Christa”? That is screamingly funny. It doesn’t mean a thing, folks. The closest I can get is “lack of sleep to/for the name Christina”.

But apparently it’s not just Opus Dei priests who don’t know Latin, it’s lady priestettes too: Writes Swicord: “Meehan disagrees. ‘A priest is suppose to be in personi Christa,’ she says. ‘That does not mean taking on male identity.'”

Okay, maybe Father Bridget Mary meant to say “in gobbledy-gook Christina” but I’ll bet she didn’t; she knows the Latin phrase here is “in persona Christi“, which correctly translates as “in the person of Christ.”

Maybe Swicord never heard the phrase before (making one wonder how he was assigned to this story in the first place). But since when are reporters, after hearing a technical expression from two interviewees, allowed to simply guess at its spelling? And then to guess it into oblivion? Sheesh.

Now do you see why we never tire of telling Catholics, and the world, that the secular press is laughably incompetent at religious news reporting?

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According to the standards above, don’t be surprised if the VOA reports the Marine motto “Semper fidelis” to be “Simper fiddles”, or if the US Seal “E pluribus unum” comes out “Deploribus moon’em”, or if the Olympic motto “Citius, Altius, Fortius” comes out “Citrus, insomnia, forceps.”

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