Father Joseph, the old curator of the Vatican archives, was giving a tour of the library to some novice priests.
At the end of the tour, they came upon a steel vault and Father Joseph proudly proclaimed, “This room contains the original documents drawn up by the church fathers. From these originals, monks over the centuries made copies upon copies all by hand.”
One novice raised his hand and said, “Father, did succeeding generations copy everything from the original document or from the copies as well?”
Father Joseph said, “Well, I would suppose they copied from the copies, as over time, the original documents became too fragile to withstand constant use.”
The novice said, “And did anyone bother to check if the copies we have now match the original? I mean, what if someone made a mistake on that first copy? Then everyone else who copied from that source would have written the wrong information.”
Father Joseph said, “That would be next to impossible, my boy. They had very stringent procedures on copying and proofreading back then. After all, this IS the Word of God and the Holy Teachings of the church we’re talking about.”
But later that day, the question came back to his mind and Father Joseph was overcome with curiosity. He opened the vault and proceeded to carefully read a volume on the role of the priesthood. It was a document he was well-versed with and had committed to memory.
That night, there was a great commotion at the priestly residences. Old Father Joseph had not shown up for the communal supper and could not be found anywhere. The priests were afraid that something had happened to him. But one of them dimly remembered seeing him going towards the archives building. As they entered the building, they heard a wailing sound, like someone crying. So they followed the sound and found Father Joseph, still in the vault, sitting on the floor. His hands covered his face and his shoulders shook as he sobbed uncontrollably.
One young priest rushed over and wrapped an arm around the old man. “Father Joseph, what’s wrong?”
“We got it all wrong! We got it all wrong!” wailed Father Joseph, refusing to be consoled.
“What’s wrong? What did we get wrong?” The young priest asked.
“CELEBRATE!” cried Father Joseph as he shook his fist in the air.
“The damn word is CELEBRATE!”