Pharyngula

Hey, you mean America isn’t the sole refuge of pious war-mongers? I was sent this remarkable quote from Cardinal Meisner of Köln:

Einem Gott lobenden Soldaten kann man guten
Gewissens Verantwortung über Leben und Tod anderer
übertragen, weil sie
bei ihm gleichsam von der Heiligkeit Gottes mitabgesegnet sind … Wem käme es in den Sinn, Soldaten, die auch Beter sind , dann
noch als Mörder zu diskriminieren. Nein, in betenden Händen ist die
Waffe vor
Mißbrauch sicher.

It begins “One can in good conscience give a God-praising soldier responsibility over the life and death of others” and ends with the fine sentiment that “In praying hands weapons are safe from abuse.” My German is rusty enough that I would have great difficulty detecting sarcasm in that language, so someone should tell me if I’m missing some essential subtlety in the translation.

So, I’m wondering … if a soldier faithfully wears a “Gott mit uns” belt buckle, does that suggest that he can do no evil?

Shall we assume that any Muslim who hits the prayer mat four times a day is harmless?

Is Germany planning to disarm any atheists in the ranks, because they can’t be trusted with their weapons?

Comments

  1. #1 David Marjanovi?
    February 28, 2007

    And this then has to be placed in a different position: Bei mir ist der link kaputt.

    Nope. Unlike in English (or Chinese), lots of positions are allowed. Most of them convey subtle shades of emphasis, though.

    I must admit though, that I am always unsure if English substantives have to be capitalized in German.

    That’s the first thing that happens after import, yes.

  2. #2 David Marjanovi?
    February 28, 2007

    And this then has to be placed in a different position: Bei mir ist der link kaputt.

    Nope. Unlike in English (or Chinese), lots of positions are allowed. Most of them convey subtle shades of emphasis, though.

    I must admit though, that I am always unsure if English substantives have to be capitalized in German.

    That’s the first thing that happens after import, yes.

  3. #3 David Marjanovi?
    February 28, 2007

    If the quote is from 1996, that would explain the spelling Mißbrauch. That was phased out from 1998 to 2005; now it’s Missbrauch, and ß is only used in places where ss would be misleading. (The former rules were totally arbitrary, with no connection to pronunciation or for that matter etymology or anything.)

  4. #4 David Marjanovi?
    February 28, 2007

    If the quote is from 1996, that would explain the spelling Mißbrauch. That was phased out from 1998 to 2005; now it’s Missbrauch, and ß is only used in places where ss would be misleading. (The former rules were totally arbitrary, with no connection to pronunciation or for that matter etymology or anything.)

  5. #5 David Marjanovi?
    March 1, 2007

    Das Kommentar gilt natuerlich nur fuer Katholiken und ist bestimmt nicht fuer diese extremistischen protestantischen Sekten gemeint, die sich in den USA als Christen bezeichnen. Der Kardinal sieht zwischen denen und den Islamisten sicher keinen Unterschied.

    Heh heh. Very well said!

    (But… but… everyone knows Americans don’t learn foreign languages, unless of course they are mind-boggling geeks who learn one language after another for fun! I’ll stay on the safe side and translate:

    “The [suddenly grammatically emasculated] commentary is of course only valid for Catholics and is certainly not meant for those extremist protestant sects who call themselves Christian in the USA. The Cardinal surely doesn’t see a difference between those and the Islamists.”)

    “Bei mir”, incidentally, translates literally into French as “chez moi”. “Bei” is “by” as in “by my side” — “at my place” — “here”. I blame the Splendid Isolation of English…

    And no, German does not have an ablative. Not even in the Ruhr area.

    Just how many f’s are there in Schifffffffahrt?

    Three. Schiff + Fahrt.

    Under the old rules there were two because a vowel follows; Sauerstoffflasche still had three. Basically you had to be a geek like me to know this kind of rule.

    Of course, one wonders why the reform didn’t change that to two in all instances instead of three in all instances.

    More like…

    In betenden Hände[n] ist Waffenmißbrauch sicher.
    ;-)

    Bingo.

  6. #6 David Marjanovi?
    March 1, 2007

    Das Kommentar gilt natuerlich nur fuer Katholiken und ist bestimmt nicht fuer diese extremistischen protestantischen Sekten gemeint, die sich in den USA als Christen bezeichnen. Der Kardinal sieht zwischen denen und den Islamisten sicher keinen Unterschied.

    Heh heh. Very well said!

    (But… but… everyone knows Americans don’t learn foreign languages, unless of course they are mind-boggling geeks who learn one language after another for fun! I’ll stay on the safe side and translate:

    “The [suddenly grammatically emasculated] commentary is of course only valid for Catholics and is certainly not meant for those extremist protestant sects who call themselves Christian in the USA. The Cardinal surely doesn’t see a difference between those and the Islamists.”)

    “Bei mir”, incidentally, translates literally into French as “chez moi”. “Bei” is “by” as in “by my side” — “at my place” — “here”. I blame the Splendid Isolation of English…

    And no, German does not have an ablative. Not even in the Ruhr area.

    Just how many f’s are there in Schifffffffahrt?

    Three. Schiff + Fahrt.

    Under the old rules there were two because a vowel follows; Sauerstoffflasche still had three. Basically you had to be a geek like me to know this kind of rule.

    Of course, one wonders why the reform didn’t change that to two in all instances instead of three in all instances.

    More like…

    In betenden Hände[n] ist Waffenmißbrauch sicher.
    ;-)

    Bingo.

  7. #7 David Marjanovi?
    March 2, 2007

    Now, yes. Before the Rechtschreibung reform a few years ago, no–it was two.

    Correct. I said so in my next sentence.

    http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/0,1518,468693,00.html

    Ah.

    “Mit dem Mann konnte man nicht diskutieren”, erinnert sich Pfarrer Martin Kretzmann, sieben Jahre Pastor in St. Ansverus. “Er schlug einen mit Bibelzitaten tot.”

    “It was impossible to discuss with that man”, parishioner Martin Kretzmann, who has been being pastor in St. Ansverus [an apparently Lutheran church] for seven years, remembers. “He beat one to death with Bible quotes.”

    Almost literally.

  8. #8 David Marjanovi?
    March 2, 2007

    Now, yes. Before the Rechtschreibung reform a few years ago, no–it was two.

    Correct. I said so in my next sentence.

    http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/0,1518,468693,00.html

    Ah.

    “Mit dem Mann konnte man nicht diskutieren”, erinnert sich Pfarrer Martin Kretzmann, sieben Jahre Pastor in St. Ansverus. “Er schlug einen mit Bibelzitaten tot.”

    “It was impossible to discuss with that man”, parishioner Martin Kretzmann, who has been being pastor in St. Ansverus [an apparently Lutheran church] for seven years, remembers. “He beat one to death with Bible quotes.”

    Almost literally.

  9. #9 diyet
    July 9, 2008

    diyet

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