Early Church Fathers
3 The designations here given of the bodily imperfections, enumerated in Levit. xxi. as disqualifying for priestly tunctions, are the same as those in the Tridentine edition of the Vulgate, except that instead of herniosus Gregory has ponderosus, which was a word used in the same sense, denoting one suffering from rupture (Cf. Augustine, De Civitate Dei, Lib. ult., cap. viii.).The idea expressed by the latter word, and carried out in Grea!ory's application, was that of the weight (pondus), or downward pressure, of the intestines in a ruptured person. The Hebrew Bible (see A.V.), and also the rendering of the LXX.(mono/rcij), conveys a different idea of the ailment intended. The cutaneous diseases specified are denoted, here as in the Vulgate, by jugas scabies (yw/ra a0gria, LXX.; scurvy, A. V.) and impetigo (leich\n, LXX. ; scabbed A.V.).Whatever may be the exact meaning of the original Hebrew words, Gregory's conception of these diseases evidently was that the former was a chronic and painful eruption, proceeding from internal heat, and the latter a painless, but disfiguring, affection of the skin. The diseases of the eye, with regard to which the Hebrew (and consequently our A.V.) differs from the LXX. and Vulgate, are denoted by lippus (ptilloj tou\j ofqalmou/j, LXX.), and albuginem habens (e!fhloj, LXX.); of which Gregory's conception was that the former was an affection, not properly of the eye, but eyelid, the flux from which impaired the power of vision, while the latter was an obscuration of the pupil itself, exhibiting a white colour.
1 For breastplate (A V ) the LXX. has louei=on, and the Vulgate, from which St Gregory quotes, rationale.On the significance of this word the application depends. Anciently an ornament called the rationale was attached to the vestments of bishops. "Rationale . . . Ornamenti genus quo ornantur calsuloe aliaque vestes ecclesiasticoe" (Ducange). The vestment itself seems to to have been sometimes called the rationale. "Vestis episcopalis novoe legis, le pallium"(Ib.).
2 For Urim and Thummim (as in A.V., retaining the Hebrew words), the LXX. has th\n dh/lwsin kai\ th\n alhqeian, and the Vulgate, quoted by St. Gregory, Doctrinam et Veritatem.
3 Opportune, importune, the second word being apparently understood in the sense of importunately.
4 The wording of this passage is obscure and may be corrupt. In a corresponding one in Gregory's Epistles (Lib. VII. Ep. 4), in other respects the same as this, we find, instead of "et rursus per moderatam cordis intentionem non impeditur," "et rursus per immoderatam cordis intentio non impeditur."Here, though non before impeditur is absent from many mss., and consequently rejected by the Benedictine editors, it seems necessary for the sense. The whole passage is thus capable of being intelligibly rendered thus: "When, therefore through provident care (providentiam) externally applied the life of bodies is protected, and again intentness of heart is not impeded through immoderate (providentiam)." In both passages the general drift is clear enough, as follows: When, through adequate taking thought on the part of the priest for people's bodily needs, their life is protected from harm, and yet his attention to such external matters is not so excessive as to hinder the devotion of his heart to spiritual things, then the meaning of Ezekiel's words is fulfilled. For the hairs of the head, denoting thoughts of the brain for temporal concerns, are allowed to advance so far as to afford needful protection, but not to such an immoderate extent as to obscure the sight of the eyes, i.e. spiritual vision.