Inclusive Language

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Please see Mr. Bogner's note on the desirability of inclusive language and democratic election in the Church and comment more intelligibly than I could bring myself to do.

The only question I keep bringing to the fore is "Why are we so afraid of God the Father, of Him who is?" Why do some feel the need to geld God in the name of inclusion. God contains the perfection of all that is male and female, and yet revelation teaches us to call Him Father. It would seem to follow from that, that there is a reason for doing so. The calls to change every "Him" to "God" strike me as very misled altruism--the desire for inclusion at the cost of revelation.

Wittgenstein showed us that to some degree language shapes our perception of reality. Mr. Bogner posits that there should be a dual liturgy--one with inclusive language and one without. That seems to suggest building polarization into the Catholic Church in the very liturgy, which would only lead to the same destination as all polarization--further riving and fragmentation.

Later: A wonderful response from Ms. Peony Moss

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Inclusive language? from Two Sleepy Mommies on November 7, 2003 12:30 PM

Steven is drawing attention to (and inviting intelligent comments on) a post by Steve Bogner on inclusive language. "Intelligent comments" -- that would exclude me; I'm not good at discussing these things anyway, and I'm especially short on time and... Read More

Has been a topic around the parish today. Over at the Sleepy Mommies Peony has this to day: My personal perspective as a woman, a reader, a mother, and a Christian, is that I hate inclusive language. Mr. Riddle posts... Read More

Steven Riddle has asked if anyone can comment on a post by Steve Bogner concerning inclusive language in the liturgy. I donít know if I can offer anything better than Steven has done, but as a former Presbyterian I... Read More

6 Comments

Greetings!

I can't provide anything but positive feedback to Steve, since I agree with him. See my following articles on the same subject: Did the Latin Mass Use Inclusive Language? and Our Mother Who Art in Heaven...God as our Mother.

Peace and Blessings!
jcecil3

Dear Sir,

I would be the last person to throw out the possiblity of a maternal image of God; however, that is quite a different matter than replacing ever Him in scripture with a "God" or every "Him" in every prayer with "God." This is not only deadly dull and bad language, it is essentially tampering with Holy Writ.

Yes, there are undeniably maternal aspects to God, but what has that to do with inclusive language neutering God? You'll note that my primary objection is not necessarily to the language involving people. I am insufficiently expert on the rubrics of Mass to comment upon such a thing; moreover, I find the controversy something of a tempest in a teapot. Whether we say "for us men" or "for us" little matters to me; I will do as the Vatican directs. However, I do have a good deal more interest in what language we use to refer to God; and I think inclusive language is simply a very poor way to convey the concepts. When we read Psalm 139, we do not try to remove the maternal aspects of God's love as conveyed there.

I can't help but disagree with your premise if you are contending that changing every refernce to Him in Holy Scripture and in prayers is a commendable notion. It is this sort of translation and tinkering that makes the NAB (and the NRSV) an abomination to the language.

shalom,

Steven

The whole 'inclusive language' ideology was dumped on us hard at the local seminary, and you could actually get in serious trouble for not trying it out in reference to God once in a while. (Who says the ELCA has no ecclesial discipline for pastors in training?) At this point, I find the whole matter a big yawn - it puts me in mind of that opening essay in von Balthasar's Elucidations, where he writes of the best way to receive a gift. Which is more open, human, and worth the time, to simply receive the gift (of, say, God's Triune Name, and all the intimacy with a sovereign King that allows), or to subject it to all manner of cynical questioning and criticism? As he asks, can there be a 'critical Christianity'?

Peace to all.

Count me as voting for being true to self and intrinsic natures. God is God. Woman is woman. Man is man. Inclusive language more often than not imposes a nature which is NOT intrinsic. It's like eliminating all the reds, blues, greens, yellows, purples,whites, and blacks, and referring to them only as colors so they don't "feel" different..then believing that they are no longer different we evolve into mixing them all together...and we end up with a very b-o-r-i-n-g and ubiquitous: gray.

I say, "Viva la difference!" In it is Truth.

Peace, all.

Commenting on the dual liturgy: well, we already have this, no? We have had, in our history, Ambrosian, Gallican, Mozarabic, Roman and other rites. Religious orders have their own sacramentaries and calendars. Monasteries follow a far different liturgical cycle that school-based parishes.

Modern English usage would suggest we need a reasonable modern English translation for the US. Automatically translating "Deus" in prayers as "Father" merely emflames the debate and puts color where the Latin original did not. Exclusive language should be expunged from the liturgy. And we need better translations than what we've got. (PS Liturgian inauthenticam is clearly not the way to go.)

Dear Todd,

I think a matter of seperate Rites is a different issue from having two rites that each parish may then vote upon sort of ex post facto. I agree, language should be properly translated, and when done so as inclusive as allowable. However, in the prayers, the latin does not always use "Deus" for God, it does use pronouns, and rather than endlessly repeating God, why not use the pronouns as indicated?

I think the suggestion of two possible versions of a text and voting on which one prefers leads to an inherent instability of the sort that we are witnessing int he meltdown of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican communion.

Translating the Latin as well as possible is a very fine notion. But I begin to think that perhaps Mr. Culbreath has more and more validity. What if we don't translate at all. Simply leave it in the Latin and then, who could be offended by the exclusivity or lack thereof. Now it is in its pure and unalloyed state. No one has made any attempt to adapt it. Makes a strong argument of the abandonment of the vernacular.

shalom,

Steven

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on November 7, 2003 8:11 AM.

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