Titus could be the patron saint for young men with responsibilities thrust upon them.


Thursday, 1/26/12
St. Titus, a Greek pagan converted by Paul, is often paired with Timothy in that they were young men to whom Paul gave major responsibilities; and Paul wrote letters to both of them. An odd difference between them was that while Paul catered to Jewish sensibilities in having Timothy circumcised, he made a more decisive break with the past by refusing to have Titus circumcised.
In sending Titus to Crete to put the Church there in order Paul forced Titus to develop mature ways. It was similar to what it must be like for a boyish married man to suddenly find he is the father of triplets. Titus could be the patron saint of young men with responsibility thrust on them.
The finest scholar on Paul’s letters was the Jesuit, Rev. Joseph Fitzmyer. In taking a course from him one time I asked him if both the Protestant and Catholic version of Paul’s Letter to Titus didn’t mistranslate the second paragraph in the letter. Father Fitzmyer agreed that they had.
In that paragraph Paul told Titus to appoint worth presbyters in every place. Protestant Bibles translate the word presbyter as elder; but our Catholic version, calling it priest seems better, since our word priest is actually a contraction of the word presbyter.
Father Fitzmyer agreed with me that Catholics mistranslate the next sentence. In it Paul gave the qualities needed for a man to be a presbyter. He wrote that a presbyter should be blameless and married only once; and the sentence concludes with Paul saying that as overseers they should not be arrogant. Our Catholic translation seems to go wrong there in breaking the sentence in two. In the second part they translate the Greek word for an overseer as bishop. While the whole passage naturally reads as a list of moral requirement for the presbyterate, our Catholic translation injects the bishops there.

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