hack bishops

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rolmich

Senior Member
french (France)
Hello everybody,
Read in NYT printed ed. :
Is the pope genuflecting to Beijing?
After long resisting, (the Vatican) it finally agreed to recognize several hack bishops designated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), even sidelining two of its own long-serving appointees for the occasion.
What is the meaning of the two words in bold?
Thanks in advance for your help.
 
  • Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Hello everybody,
    Read in NYT printed ed. :
    Is the pope genuflecting to Beijing?
    After long resisting, (the Vatican) it finally agreed to recognize several hack bishops designated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), even sidelining two of its own long-serving appointees for the occasion.
    What is the meaning of the two words in bold?
    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Here is the actual quote, it explains that these are not bishops ordained by the Catholic Church, but rather designated by the Chinese Communist Party:

    On Feb. 1, the same day that new repressive regulations of religion went into force in China, the Vatican took a deep bow before Beijing. After long resisting, it finally agreed to recognize several hack bishops designated by the Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.), even sidelining two of its own long-serving appointees for the occasion.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    It sounds very odd to my British ears. Of course, we tend to associate 'hack' with poor writing, which I suppose is why the term came to be used as slang for a journalist, but a hack as someone with no integrity just in it for personal gain is not unknown, even here. The wordreference.com dictionary definition (from Random House) seems spot on:
    a professional who renounces or surrenders individual independence, integrity, belief, etc., in return for money or other reward in the performance of a task normally thought of as involving a strong personal commitment​

    But is that the case here? I see nothing about lacking integrity or the bishops being in it for personal gain, merely that they are not appointed by the Pope (which given past diplomatic relations between China and The Vatican, might not be surprising). Is there a wider meaning of 'hack' (particularly in US usage) or is there something in the background of the bishops I have missed (I cannot read the full NYT article)?
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    [...]

    But is that the case here? I see nothing about lacking integrity or the bishops being in it for personal gain, merely that they are not appointed by the Pope (which given past diplomatic relations between China and The Vatican, might not be surprising). Is there a wider meaning of 'hack' (particularly in US usage) or is there something in the background of the bishops I have missed (I cannot read the full NYT article)?
    In the USA a "hack job" is a job performed with the interest of getting it done quickly and cheaply often with inadequately trained people using shabby materials.

    Here is some interesting background:

    Where did the phrase "hack job" come from?

    Hack job has an interesting history. The sense of hack in play here probably originates with the oldest uses of the word as meaning "to cut irregularly or inexpertly." That usage dates back to Old English haccian, and thence to the mists of antiquity. It's not hard to see how the other senses of hack, many of which carry connotations of poor quality or amateurishness, would have emerged out of this definition.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Is there a wider meaning of 'hack' (particularly in US usage) or is there something in the background of the bishops I have missed (I cannot read the full NYT article)?
    I don't know any U.S. meaning of "hack" that is a good fit here.

    The article says: These two bishops were not appointed by the pope, as all Catholic bishops normally are. They were appointed by the "Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association", which is officially accepted by the Chinese government. Until now the Vatican has not accepted them as real bishops. There are 9 to 12 million Catholics in China. About half of them attend "underground" congregations loyal to the pope in Rome, and refuse to recognize the government-approved CCPA.

    The writer of the sentence appears to be a Chinese native who contributes articles on Chinese politics to the N.Y.Times. His English is excellent, but I see one or two phrases that look odd in AE. For example, here is his comment about a Hong Kong archbishop who attempted to speak with the pope: "How nettlesome. He was shoved off"
     

    rolmich

    Senior Member
    french (France)
    Thanks so much everybody for your interesting comments.
    Packard, although you are a glot (somebody mastering one language only, according to your own definition), your help was greatly appreciated.
     
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