I keep hearing about Archbishop Wilson of Adelaide's most recent pastoral letter.
Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be on the net, so if anyone has a copy please do send it to me...
What is in it?
The first I read of it was over at the Priory, with a complaint about something inappropriate to Good Friday being read out during the liturgy, and leading to a joke debate about what should replace the word 'Yahweh' in assorted trashy hymns.
The second was someone upset at what appeared to be me on the face of it at least (based on the report only, I haven't seen the document itself) to be skating dangerously close to syncretism, with injunctions to give appropriate reverence to Scripture in the same way that various other (named) religions do.
The third person who told me about it had never even heard the word Yahweh before (having clearly fled the guitars of the 1970s where hymns using the tetragammaton reigned free). She thought that a ban on Jewish jokes was, well a bad joke, and was upset because, predictably, the injunction was having the opposite effect to that intended on the talkback shows....
Jewish joke ban?
And now Cath News has alerted us all to the story on the ABC :
"The Archbishop of Adelaide has told Catholics they should not tell Jewish jokes or use the Jewish name Yahweh in readings and songs.
In a pastoral letter to priests, Archbishop Philip Wilson has asked for a substitute word such as Lord to be used instead of the Jewish sacred name.
Archbishop Wilson says Catholics must be respectful and sensitive towards Jewish people.
"In the letter it says that what will happen is people who are involved as experts in these areas will make changes so there will be appropriate words that can be used," he said.
"It won't be confusing if you use the word Lord as a substitute or another word as a substitute, then that will work really well.
"My sense about this is we have to be especially careful about the way that we talk about the Jewish people because of the way that they've been persecuted and treated for over a thousand years, and especially during the Holocaust in the Second World War," he said."
Now as I haven't actually seen the text, it is difficult to make any comments. But on the face of it, no problem in banning 'Y...h' - traditionally it has never been used by Catholics, and if it gets rid of of some of those 70s classics, all the better! But as for the rest...
Warning: Jewish joke...
So for everyone outside the Archdiocese of Adelaide, I googled Catholic Jewish jokes, and the first site that came up was Fisheaters, the first one listed was this:
"A rabbi, a priest and a minister walk into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, "What is this, a joke?"
Are jokes of this kind really a threat to interreligious relations?