Gender Inclusive Language: politically correct silliness or essential sensitivity? : LUSENET : Catholic Pages Forum : One Thread

I am having a bit of a problem with silliness like "gender inclusive language" in inappropriate places. Not gender inclusive language that makes sense, but the stuff that just makes no sense at all and is distracting at Mass. Example: In our parish, we add "brothers AND SISTERS" to the readings, which is great, and we change the he's to they's etc, but then when we sing the Gloria the poor choir gets itself into this neurotic uproar over gender inclusion issues...The song is written "Give glory to God in the Highest and peace to His people on earth" They are singing "Give glory to God in the highest, and peace to God's people on earth" which I guess is alright, but is drops like a clanging thud on the ear and distracts me from the prayer, .but then later in the song, they sing "Lord, God, Heavenly King, Almighty God and Father"'s pretty firmly language in the MASCULINE camp, so why can't we just sing "...and peace to HIS people on earth" and at least be CONSISTANT? Drives me crazy. Our choir director, a rather scary woman whom I have never seen smile, told me that we sing it as "God's people" so as not to offend women who do not feel comfortable with a "Father/God"...I told her that I had a terrible time with my earthly father and found myself utterly comforted by the idea of God as Father (at least I get an unconditionally loving father SOMEWHERE) - moreover, we had a fine "Mother" in Mary, so why couldn't we have a "Father" as well - two genders represented, everyone is happy...she said I was a very odd person in that no one else...apparently in the world...felt as I do. The inconsistancy bothers me and, as a songwriter, the fact that they are abitrarily changing the writer's words (and this is not poetry, it's LITURGY) is also annoying. I know, it's a small issue, and I am beginning to sound like the more rabidly opinionated people of the world, but I just find it all so freaking neurotic! (pant, pant, there, now that I've vented!) What are your thoughts on this issue, people?

-- Anonymous, July 09, 1998


OK, inclusive language! Blech....

First of all, we need to differentiate between "horizontal inclusive language" (ie, brothers and sisters, he/she) and "vertical inclusive language" (ie, God the mother. Glory to God in the Highest and Peace to _God's_ --not His -- people on Earth).

Horizontal is just plain ugly and stupid. Vertical verges on heretical.

I'm a great one for saying "let's take a step back and question the validity of the assumptions underlying this" (aren't I, Dana?). Many people say, it's not that hard to use inclusive language, so if it makes some women feel better, what's the problem? Well, no doctor prescribes a cure without first looking at the disease. The first question you have to ask is why these women feel uncomfortable, and whether that is reasonable! For the most part, I think you fall down there. This is all driven by a political agenda, not some deep-seeded hurt or anguish or feeling of inferiority. Women do not feel free to continue swimming when someone yells out "man eating shark"! So why do they feel excluded when someone says "mankind"?

I may be incredibly sensitive to the fact that I have brown eyes. But, I'm not asking the whole world to speak and write stilted language to accommodate my sensitivity. And it would be better if the world helped me overcome my unreasonable sensitivity than if it pandered to it.

And on that note, this is when I duck and run for cover....

God bless, Paul McLachlan (big macho male, uncomfortable with my masculinity so having to feel control and superiority over women, generally arrogant pedant, Catholic). :)

-- Anonymous, July 09, 1998

It really bothers me too. God in His all-wise way creates each of us individually. (Not just the meeting of sperm and egg at random, but His divine authorship and creation.) He created me female....I can glorify Him by living my life by using my womanhood for His greater Glory. The world He created was created with distinct roles...male and female. If there were not to be distinctions, then He would not have created us in such a way that forces roles onto specific sexes. When you minimize our specific roles, you mock God's wisdom in the way He created us.

Jesus refers to God as the Father. Since Jesus was God made flesh and was a male, again that affirms the masculine references in scripture. Women who object to the God/Father reference lack security in the fact that God is the source of all life and He created them woman. We should show thankfullness in the role He has given us and not try to minimize or equalize our distinctions.

All of us are called to be humble and submit to the will of God. Trying to feminize God shows self-interest and self-absorption and not concentrating on what the true focus of faith should die unto self so that His glory is the only objective in life. In this, Mary is our supreme role model as women. Our Mother. You are right on targe Dana. :)

-- Anonymous, July 09, 1998

I'm with you too Dana. There are times when inclusive language gets plain rediculous. The English language is simply not set up that way. I like some of the changes that have been made in our church. But the things you mention, Dana, are just plain silly.

That's why I think Chinese is a great language. There is no 'he' or 'she'. Just a nice 'it' which is used for people and can be modified with another word to indicate gender. :-)

-- Anonymous, July 09, 1998

First of all it is against Church Law to change any parts of the Mass, or the Readings, Any changes other than those allowed in the Norms or reserved to the Bishop must be submitted to Rome for approval. Your Liturgy director CANNOT just decide on his or her own to do something different. I speak in gender nuteral language when I speak but as far as Scripture and Liturgy goes what is printed and approved by the Church is what is said or read, Cardinal Ratzinger has been clear on that one. Any reference to God The Father as "Mother or Her" is forbidden. I would worry about offending God not other People. There is much concern over the "We believe..." and "We confess..." also what happened to "I BELIEVE... and I CONFESS..." for MYSELF.

-- Anonymous, July 09, 1998

Response to Gender Inclusive Language, bleah bleah bleah is it you're running from...we're all pretty much in agreement with you!

A refreshing change, non, mon ami? {Pax} Dana

-- Anonymous, July 09, 1998


For anyone on their own authority to alter in any way the approved language of the readings at Mass is an act of the most egregious arrogance. Who would you have to be to justify rewriting Holy Scripture. I'd protest all of the changes that have been made at your parish to the pastor. Yours in Christ.

-- Anonymous, July 09, 1998

Well well... I guess I must be arrogant and heretical.

The way people take such a high handed approach to inclusive language instead of an compassionate approach just irks me to no end. The Chinese are wise in not having a gender exclusive language. Language is always in a state of change. The Bible was written fairly heavy handed towards the masculine. That was language then. Today trying to find some sort of gender inclusive language is, I believe a mark of the Holy Spirit moving amoungst us. True, some folks do go too far. Its simply silly to call Jesus anything but in male terms. Its laziness not to use "brothers and sisters" in place of brothers. God can be referred to in feminne terms, Scripture has done that. God is not exclusively male, Thanks be to Our Creator! How dare we place limitations on the personage of God! How small of our minds to only see God as male! When I was a protestant ( I am sure many of you wish I still were!) I had the very language of the King James Bible used against me. It was pointed out that God was speaking to men not women in many verses...sooooo go hide little girl! Be a good girl and don't bother the men of the church. I used to think about God as Father quite easily since my own father had died when I was a infant. ( father up in heaven and Heavenly Father were comforting images) Then one time during a RCIA meeting a man broke down and said that the problems he had with the church often stemed from its language. That his own father was a rotten man who did terrible things to him. How could he belive in a compassionate father? He knew of none. We talked for a long long time and I finally convinced him that while in Church he would most likely have to contend with Father imgages of God but that his image of God did not have to be that way. He chose to see God as a loving Creator and referred to God as the Holy One. Was that soooo wrong?

Inclusive language is not ugly or stupid. I really resent that remark above all others. Please, this is one subject that we all can work on to some extent in peace because ultimately it leads us to fuller relationship with each other as Children of God.

-- Anonymous, July 11, 1998

Connie, you say that "God can be referred to in feminne terms, Scripture has done that." Can you please reference the scripture passages??

-- Anonymous, July 11, 1998

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