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Fruits of the Holy Spirit
Question from Kate on 1/27/2008:

Dear Father: The NAB lists only 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit clumping modesty and chastity under self-control is my guess. However, the Latin Vulgate and the CCC list 12 fruits and spell out modesty, chastity and goodness. Other than the CCC, catechetical texts appear to use mainly just the 9. Can you tell me the history of why the NAB only spells out 9 and not 12? I was under the impression that in matters of discrepancy the Latin Vulgate wins out. I ask this question as I am somewhat dismayed that, especially in today's age, there seems to be a prevalent aversion to teaching 'self-control' by explaining modesty and chastity. Any englightenment would be appreciated. God Bless! Kate

Answer by Fr. John Echert on 2/14/2008:

The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.”

The difference between the Douay and the NAB reflects the difference between the ancient Latin text (the Vulgate) and Greek texts, which have nine rather than twelve. It is possible that the Greek collapsed a couple of the twelve fruits into one word. The Douay follows the Latin and the NAB (and most modern versions) follow the Greek.

In his letter to the Galatians, St. Paul wrote (Douay Version):

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, 23 Mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ's, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Modern versions:

5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 5:23 gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.

Thanks, Kate

Father Echert

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