It’s About Time

Some of you might have noticed the mistake in CUF’s beautiful 2007 Catholic calendar featuring the doctors of the Church. We noted that daylight savings ended on Sunday, October 28th, when in fact it didn’t end until November 4th. I’m sorry about the mix up!

Our new 2008 calendar is now out, and this year the theme is Christian iconography. CUF members already received their complimentary calendar in the mail. Additional calendars are available, while supplies last, through Emmaus Road Publishing. It’s a beautiful calendar, and we got daylight savings right this time!

Speaking of time, CUF advisor Karl Keating in his latest e-letter discusses what sounds like a fascinating little book entitled “The History of Time.” The author is Leofranc Holford-Strevens. Karl mentions in particular the author’s opposition to the politically correct trend of using C.E. (Common Era) and B.C.E (Before Common Era) instead of the traditional A.D. (anno Domini, or year of the Lord) and B.C. (before Christ).

In the book’s preface, Holford-Strevens explains that “the traditional terms A.D. and B.C. have been retained, in preference to C.E. and B.C.E., for two reasons: adopting the latter causes the maximally distinguished 1 B.C. and A.D. 1 to become the minimally distinguished 1 B.C.E. and C.E. 1; and although, as a date for the birth of Jesus Christ the epoch is almost certainly wrong, it remains a commemoration of that event, and no other event of the same year can be proposed as an alternative of world significance. Attractive, especially in a globalized age, as a purely secular era may appear, the Christian era cannot be made secular by denying its origin.”

Good stuff.

5 responses

  1. What is astonishing is that various Catholic religious education texts these last few years have substituted for their readers C.E. and B.C.E.for A.D. (In the Year of Our Lord” and B.C. (“Before Christ”)- which had symbolized the triumph of Christianity over ancient paganism. This shift in dating indulged in by some Catholic catechists and writers would seem to manifest another form of captitulation to the neo-paganism that has infiltrated the Church. Perhaps others may have a different explanation?

  2. As a matter of fact, Jim, we provided in the March 1999 issue of Lay Witness a statement by CUF episcopal advisor Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, O.S.B., then-chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee to Oversee the Use of the Catechism, who identified recurring issues in catechetical series that require revision before a series may be approved by the committee. One of these recurring issues was/is:

    “The use of BCE and CE rather than BC and AD. Since the materials involved are catechetical in nature, they should reflect that even time has a Christological significance for followers of Jesus. The use of the designations BC and AD are, in our judgment, part of our common language of faith. [BCE stands for 'Before Common Era'; CE stands for 'Common Era.']“

  3. The art for the 2008 CUF calendar has vibrant colors. I recall spending time in the antiquities rooms on school trips to museums (The Getty in SoCal is top notch!). One thing impressed upon me was the assertion that the statues (Roman? Greek?) were once painted in vibrant colors. I also imagine the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel being originally breathtaking in its vibrancy. I think sometimes we can forget about luster in our appreciation of sacred art.

    Also regarding time, today (Nov. 15) is the memorial of St. Albert the Great, who knew everything and was mentor to St. Thomas Aquinas.

  4. Mine arrived here in Kansas a couple days ago, but delivery date varies from post office to post office. Give it another week, and if you still haven’t received it, be sure to contact the CUF office.

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