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St Peter's wife

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 Contents - Jul 2011AD2000 July 2011 - Buy a copy now
Homily: Benedict XVI: Sts Peter and Paul and the role of bishops - Pope Benedict XVI
News: The Church Around the World
Events: G.K. Chesterton conference for Sydney - September 2011 - Karl Schmude
Universae Ecclesiae: Vatican document strengthens use of the traditional Latin liturgy - Fr Glen Tattersall
Steubenville: How a university's Catholic identity was recovered - AD2000 Report
Pro-Life: Hungary's new pro-life 'Easter' Constitution - Babette Francis
Poetry: A Prayer for Mothers - Cardinal Mindszenty
Whatever happened to the virtue of obedience? - Bishop Julian Porteous
Hugh O'Flaherty: The priest who converted his former Nazi enemy - Stephen Walker
Lübeck martyrs of the Nazis beatified on 25 June - Frank Mobbs
What attracts converts to the Catholic Church? - Fr F.E. Burns
Letters: Disunity - Kara Ward
Letters: Bishop or Pope? - Eric Rickards
Letters: Lack of vocations - Susanna Vale
Letters: Letter to Toowoomba Chronicle - Zelda Richardson
Letters: 'Temple Police' - Patricia Byrnes
Letters: Conscience - John Mulholland
Letters: 'Homophobia' - Arnold Jago
Letters: St Peter's wife - Francis Vrijmoed
Books: A TOUR OF THE CATECHISM - Volume One: The Creed, by John Flader - John Young (reviewer)
Books: STORIES OF KAROL: the Unknown Life of John Paul II, by G.F. Svidercoschi - Br Barry Coldrey (reviewer)
Books: A MEMORY FOR WONDERS: a true story, by Mother Veronica Namoyo Le Goulard PCC - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
Books: Order books from
Reflection: Christ's priestly promise: 'I am with you always' - Fr John O'Neill

Regarding John Young's response (March AD2000) to my letter about St Peter's wife (February AD2000) I have examined seven different bibles and one biblical commentary with regard to the passage in 1 Corinthians 9:5. The following are the results.

Five Bibles (RSV, NRSV, New English Bible, Jerusalem Bible, and NIV) all translated this passage using the expression "wife", with a footnote, "Greek: woman, sister (wife?)".

The Christian Community Bible (with imprimatur from the Bishops' Conference of the Philippines) translates it as "sister" (no footnote).

The (Dutch) Canisius Bible translates "een zuster, een vrouw" (a sister, a woman) with a footnote (as translated from Dutch): "St Paul most probably hints to the practice to be accompanied on mission activities by a woman servant".

Finally, Peter F. Ellis, CSsR, in his commentary, Seven Pauline Letters, uses the word "wife".

As Mr Young correctly mentions in his letter, the Greek word used by St Paul can mean either wife or woman. But it seems that, judging from the above-mentioned examples, and contrary to Mr Young's suggestion that "the traditional understanding among Catholic commentators has been that woman is the correct translation", the translation of wife is preferred in most of the cases I looked at.

This preference is not surprising as, especially when a male is travelling alone, the company or the service of any woman other then his wife would by any standard be considered imprudent, something one would not expect of the apostles.

Finally, in the litany of Our Lady, where we start honouring her as "virgin", it begins with "Virgin most prudent". Therefore, especially in the case of St Peter, whom Paul mentions by name, could we not rather expect that his wife would have insisted that she accompany her husband rather than allow another woman to look after him?

Hong Kong, China

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 24 No 6 (July 2011), p. 16

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