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Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Ed Peters

"Insofar as it is a grade of holy orders [sic],..."

Okay, this is a bit jarring. The first phrase of the key Roman paragraph K quotes to make his point apparently has a mistake in it that is serious enough for him to flag with "sic". But what's the mistake?

Is it that "orders" is in the plural, blurring (however traditional the phrasing) the idea that Order is one sacrament? Not likely, as K pluralizes it himself often. Is it that the quoted Vatican doc small-cases "orders". Kinda picky if so, esp. given that Rome small-cases many more terms than does English (including the word "English"). Is that diaconate should not be called a "grade" of order? If so, the "sic" is at the least poorly placed, and makes a dogmatic point about terminology that is not settled in the first place.

So, what is so wrong with Rome's opening phrase, that I: (A) need to be warned about it; and (B) need to waste time wondering about it, being distracted as I try to read the rest of the piece?

Not good writing technique here, I'm afraid.

Carl E. Olson

Ed: I'll check with Dn. Keating, but I'm quite certain the [sic] was not meant to be distracting or arrogant in some way, but simply points out that "holy orders" (or "orders"), while capitalized throughout the rest of the document, is not capitalized in this particular quote. "sic" = "so; thus: usually written parenthetically to denote that a word, phrase, passage, etc., that may appear strange or incorrect has been written intentionally or has been quoted verbatim."

Ed Peters

I know what "sic" means. That's why I'm asking. It's pretty obviously overkill here, esp. if we are, as I suspect, just talking about caps choices. In a transalted document, from a different system....:)

Carl E. Olson

It's pretty obviously overkill here

I can see that case; I just don't think Dn. Keating meant anything wrong by it. The document isn't very consistent in its usage, so he might have been simply letting it be known. When editing the essay, I momentarily considered taking it out, but didn't; I try to give the author the benefit of the doubt when doubt apparently exists.

Ed Peters

Agreed. If I were the editor, I'd have probably left it in, too, as the author is presumed to have meant something by it. It's the author's call that I question here. Odd slip, imho, for a writer as good as JK to have made. Anyway, whatever.

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