Thursday, September 07, 2006

Castrated Language

In spite of its being overall an improvement on its predecessor, often I find fault with the current incarnation of the lectionary in the US. This is especially the case with so-called 'gender inclusive language' or as I prefer to think of it, castrated language. What used to be, "Let he who has ear hear!" becomes, "The one who has ears ought to hear." How wimpy! But, at least the feminists didn't get their way with today's Gospel reading. It is still the nice play on words, "fishers of men."

One should always be very suspicious when people alter language to promote their ideology. George Orwell rightly observed in 1984 that language can be used to manipulate thought. Note what the pro-abortion types are doing with their 'pro-choice'/'anti-choice' campaign.

This reminds me of an incident at the seminary. (Disclaimer: Things have changed markedly for the better there.) One of the monks, who taught us modern Church history and was parochial vicar in the town parish, was the principal celebrant and homlist at the seminary Mass. Fr. Emmanuel was always worth listening too. After Mass, the plain clothes sister who directed liturgy for the seminary confronted Father in the sacristy. "Father, here in the crypt chapel, we use inclusive language," she said in her primly saccharine way. Father Emmanuel replied, "Hmmm, Sister you may have a point. Let's start with Satana, Princess of Darkness." Father never again said Mass in the seminary chapel for the remainder of my time there.

Update: More on Fr. Emmanuel

Fr. Emmanuel Clark OSB converted to the Faith. He grew up in the tavern that his parents ran. He attended the boarding high school the abbey ran until the 1960s. He received an advance degree from the University of San Francisco. (He had great stories of the wacky 60s Jesuits that were there during his time.) At one time, he was the assistant dean of the seminary. When I knew him, he was the parochial vicar of St. Mary's parish in Mt. Angel as well as a part time instructor at the seminary. He was very involved in community affairs, particularly the annual Oktoberfest. (His Bavarian hat was bronzed and is now held by a cherub in a fountain in the middle of town.) He was chaplain to the volunteer fire department. (Which is how he got away with habitually parking in the fire lane at the seminary.) He was a chain smoker. I think the only time he didn't smoke was during Mass or while sleeping. After telling an anecdote he would always say, "It's TRUE!" Father died of a heart attack during the late 90s.
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