Fr. George Rutler on creativity and writing

Fr. George Rutler, a Catholic priest in New York, and a former Episcopalian, is interviewed over at Catholic World Report by K.V. Turley in a piece entitled The Creative Catholic:  Fr. George W. Rutler.

Please go on over and read the whole thing, but this caught my eye:

CWR: What books would you recommend to writers?

Fr. Rutler: The books by the authors I mentioned, and of course The Divine Comedy in a good translation if necessary, and the sermons of Bossuet and the modern Ronald Knox, who was the most creative and witty preacher of the last century. I had the rare privilege of growing up with the Authorized Version (King James) Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. For style, they were incomparable schools of English and our own Washington and Lincoln could not have written what they did without such resources. Books I would not recommend are most modern translation of the Bible such as the New American Bible, because their diction and polemical bias (e.g. gender neutralization) are appalling and paralyze any cultivation of good English.

CWR: What is your understanding of the writer’s vocation?

Fr. Rutler: The writer, like any artist, is called to bring people closer to God through beauty expressed, truth told, and virtue taught. Simple as that.

CWR: If writing has taught you anything, what is it?

Fr. Rutler: I have learned that everyone not only has a story to tell, but is a story. However many books one writes, the subject is the same: “What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the Son of Man that thou visitest him?” (Psalm 8:4).

In case you missed this:

I had the rare privilege of growing up with the Authorized Version (King James) Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. For style, they were incomparable schools of English and our own Washington and Lincoln could not have written what they did without such resources.

Someday, I hope the Authorized Version—with footnotes for clarification and all the books–will be approved for use in the Catholic Church.

Meanwhile, I will still consult it.  And it is the Bible that makes it easiest to remember Scripture verses because it is written for the ear.

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One Response to Fr. George Rutler on creativity and writing

  1. Rev22:17 says:

    Please don’t hold your breath waiting for the Catholic Church to approve liturgical use of the Authorized (or “King James”) Version of the Bible.

    >> 1. The magisterium of the Catholic Church has always maintained that there are too many inaccuracies therein to grant approval. The politics of the Reformation may have motivated this originally, but is now just as entrenched as the decision on the validity of Anglican orders cemented by the papal bull Apostolicae curae of 18 September 1896, promulgated by Pope Leo XIII.

    >> 2. Even if ecumenical dialog does lead to an easing of this conclusion, liturgical use of the Authorized Version, first published in 1611, would be just as problematic as liturgical use of the Douay-Rheims Bible, a translation completed by the English College in exile in France in 1610. The fundamental problem is that many words no longer carry the same meaning that they did in that day, thanks to the evolution of our language over the past four centuries. As a result, many homilists would have to devote most of their homilies to explaining the real meaning of the language used in the text.

    Of course, we all are free to use the Authorized Version for private devotion and even for study. When studying scripture, it’s always a good idea to read several translations since imprecision is likely to manifest itself in differences among them.

    Norm.

    Like

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