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I want to check the conclusion I arrived at answering this related question.

The English translation of the CCC lists the fruits of the Holy Spirit as (1832)

"charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity."

It cites only the Vulgate translation of Galatians 5:22-23. Yet the Vulgate does not list generosity at Gal. 5:22-23.

"Fructus autem Spiritus est caritas, gaudium, pax, patientia, benignitas, bonitas, longanimitas, mansuetudo, fides, modestia, continentia, castitas."

Instead, it lists 'longanimitas' where 'generosity' is listed in the CCC. Similarly, the Douay-Rheims translation, based on the Vulgate, does not list 'generosity' at Galatians 5:22-23 but instead, if correlates are taken as ordered, 'longanimity'.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, Mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity."

It seems the Catechism translators mistakenly put 'generosity' where it should be 'longanimity'.

The Catechism was originally written in French. The French version does not include a correlate to 'generosity' but does include one for 'longanimity'. Similarly, the Latin translation, which is now the standard translation, is identical to the Vulgate list above.

Does the English translation of the Catholic Catechism incorrectly list 'generosity' as a fruit of the Holy Spirit where it should be 'longanimity'?

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  • +1 for interesting question based on your observation & preliminary research. For all its worth, here's a typical, literal, Protestant Bible translation of Gal 5:22-23 (ESV): "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" which corresponds tightly to the greek source for Gal 5:22 and Gal 5:23. Nov 17 at 18:12
  • @GratefulDisciple Yes, the typical translation based on Greek manuscripts (not the Vulgate) has 9 traits, which also do not include 'generosity'. Nov 17 at 18:15
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    My wife is currently in school working on a Catholic scripture masters degree and she's interested in taking this topic on in a future self-study she'll be doing. I've bookmarked it so I can share her conclusions with you if she ultimately does take on the topic.
    – jaredad7
    Nov 17 at 19:09
  • @jaredad7 Awesome! Nov 17 at 19:11
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Does the English translation of the Catholic Catechism incorrectly list 'generosity' as a fruit of the Holy Spirit?

Generosity is definitively a poor translation for longanimitas which should naturally be translated as patience, forbearance or long-suffering.

I can still remember when Pope John Paul II ordered the publication in French in 1992, prior to a Latin version. He considered it more important that it be published in French first because not only do more Catholics understand French over Latin, but French was also considered the ”Language of Diplomacy”.

Despite the popularity of English, the French language still continues to play an integral part in international relations. Institutions like the United Nations still use French regularly, and the French language is the official language of many countries and still appears on passports throughout the world.

The Latin text is now the official text of reference for the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The contents of the first French text have now also been amended in a few points.

My guess is that the English translation will see a few future amendments to bring it in line with the Latin text. Translation errors are a common problem that needs to be cleaned up periodically.

”C'est la vie!”

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  • +1 "Generosity is definitively a poor translation for longanimitas" Do you have reason to believe this was really just a poor translation, as opposed to an outright error? Nov 17 at 23:55
  • Do you know if there is a mechanism to get errors fixed? E-mail one's Bishop? Nov 17 at 23:57
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    One can email a national bishop's conference about it. I know the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is open to such things in their English translation department.
    – Ken Graham
    Nov 18 at 0:00
  • Generosity is definitively a poor translation for longanimitas which should naturally be translated as patience, forbearance or long-suffering. But we already have patience, so we need a word that has an essential difference from the rest of the 11 fruits. Secondly, if we want to translate into current English, what is a better word than 'longanimity' ? Maybe digging into medieval commentaries can help bring out the essential meaning? Found an article of the difference in the Aquinas's Summa. Nov 18 at 18:03
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    @OneGodtheFather Please let me know what their response is when you receive it. Thanks!
    – aduh
    Nov 23 at 4:18

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