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Expert Answer Forum

by Catherine Frakas 04 Mar 2002

Re: Authority of Rome QUESTION from Bro. John-Paul Ignatius June 7, 2000 Hi Susan:
I noticed that the particular trnaslation of the Letter of St. Clement published at the New Advent Site is quite different from standard the translation that William Jurgen published in his, Faith of the Early Fathers, Volume 1.
In that volume the section that is called Chatper 57 in the translation at New Advent is significantly different than the Jurgens translation at least in rhetorical emphasis and this bares direct relevance to the issue of the authority of Rome. If the translation at the New Advent Site is from Protestant translators, this may explain the discrepancy.
The translation at the New Advent Site says this:
Ye therefore, who laid the foundation of this sedition, submit yourselves to the presbyters, and receive correction so as to repent, bending the knees of your hearts. Learn to be subject, laying aside the proud and arrogant self-confidence of your tongue. For it is better for you that you should occupy a humble but honourable place in the flock of Christ, than that, being highly exalted, you should be cast out from the hope of His people. For thus speaks all-virtuous Wisdom: Behold, I will bring forth to you the words of My Spirit, and I will teach you My speech. Since I called, and you did not hear; I held forth My words, and you regarded not, but set at naught My counsels, and yielded not at My reproofs; therefore I too will laugh at your destruction; yea, I will rejoice when ruin comes upon you, and when sudden confusion overtakes you, when overturning presents itself like a tempest, or when tribulation and oppression fall upon you. For it shall come to pass, that when you call upon Me, I will not hear The Jurgens translates this a little differently in that difference it becomes clear where the authority originates.
You therefore, who laid the foundation fo the rebellion, submit to the presbyters and be chastened to repentance, bending your knees in a spirit of humility. Accept our counsel, and you will have nothing to regret. For as God lives, as as the Lord Jesus Christ, lives, and the Holy Spirit, and the faith and hope of the elect, as surely will he that humbly and with equanimity and without regret carries our the commandments and precepts given by God, be enrolled and choen among the number of those who are being saved through Jesus Christ, through whom they is glory to Him forever and ever. Amen If anyone disobey the things which have been said by Him through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger..... Pope Clement just said, obey the Pope (Holy Spirit thourgh us) in this or you are in mortal sin (transgression that is no small danger)!
This affirms without doubt the assertion of papal power over a local Church.
Anyway, this translation by a Catholic with imprimatur is an interesting contrast to the Protestant translation.
However, is one looks VERY closely at the two translations I think they may be saying the same thing, but the translation at New Advent may be obscured by the use of what looks like 19th century English style or earlier and perhaps Protestant bias. The pre-20th Century language style itself is enough to cause some confusion for the 21st Century reader.

ANSWER by Mrs. Suzanne Fortin, B.A. on June 11, 2000 Dear Brother John-Paul
Thank you so much for your valuable contribution.
God Bless, Suzanne Fortin
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