Titus and Timothy were men to whom Paul gave major responsibilities and to whom he wrote inspired Letters.




Saturday, 1/26/13


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 to whom Paul wrote letters. 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. We can see Titus as the patron saint of young men with responsibility thrust on them.

Our finest expert on Paul’s letters was the Jesuit, Rev. Joseph Fitzmyer. I had thought that our English language Bibles made a mistake in translating a passage in Paul’s Letter to Titus, so I asked Father Fitzmyer about it. He agreed that our English version changed the meaning of what Paul wrote.

In Chapter One, verses 6 to 8, 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 breaks that sentence in two. By translating the word for overseers as “bishops,” our Catholic Bibles introduced the office of bishops where Paul had not been talking about them.

Still on that passage, where Paul spoke of appointing presbyters, Protestant Bibles translate that as “elders,” but it would be better to leave it as “presbyters” or even as  “priests," since out word “priest” is actually a contraction of “presbyter.”



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