This time, they'll be attempting to translate Joan Chittister's National Catholic Reporter column "From Where I Stand".
"It will be a difficult challenge," an anonymous source told AoftheA News. "Her writing is oftentimes very unintelligible, and translating it into something understandable could be beyond the ken of our best translators."
Perhaps the best example one can consider is from her Aug 28, 2009 column titled "The God Who Beckons". Here are a couple excerpts -
In an evolving world, then, God becomes “becoming.” God is the one who stands by as we grow from one self to another, from one level of insight to another, from one age and awareness to another. God, we come to understand, is not the God of fixed determinations now. The past is no longer a template of forever. God becomes instead the God of the future. God, we come to see in the model that is evolutionary, is promise and possibility and forever emerging life."Yes, she uses English in her columns," the source admitted. "But what the heck are those paragraphs supposed to mean? We suspect that she imagines her columns in a completely unknown language - perhaps a complicated series of distinct clicks and buzzing-like noises - and then writes what she suspects is the best English representation. To be sure, our work is cut out for us."
We are meant to create with the creator. We are here to discover the rest of ourselves in an equally evolving cosmos. We are not about perfection. We are about always selecting the better, about entering into the transformation of the world as it experiments with life, chooses for life, sees mistakes not as failure but as one more learning on the ladder of spiritual success.
Her more recent columns trend more closely to common expressions of English and traditional concepts, but there are still examples where the Vatican feels translation is required. For example, from May 18, 2001:
As a result, new generations of us, now planted in another place began to think of themselves as part of a long lost past. A free standing, self-perpetuating new world. A people separated from the pain of our own past times and lives."I think it's fair to say most people reading that might understand what she means to say," the Vatican spokesman said. "But to translate her words into something more intelligible...while sober...that may take some time."
But that's not true. Instead we stand on the brink of becoming exactly what we left behind. Only this time as much the perpetrators of misery as its victims -- as much the victims as the perpetrators of a new kind of global pain.
The papers are full of the human debris that comes now with the cruelty of our own age and which this time we will not escape until we begin to see someone else's pain as our own.
But why translate her columns in the first place? Chittister is considered to be on the front lines of dissent against the Church - so wouldn't translating her columns serve to give her legitimacy?
The Vatican says no. "We know she's a dissenter, and that she espouses beliefs which counter Church teaching in many areas. But we're doing this for two reasons: one, to understand what she's saying without the need for illicit drugs.
"But more importantly, by translating her works, we'll end up with a good rubric that will finally enable us to translate all of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's crazy stuff."