Catholic Church: November 2003 Archives

Inclusive Language

| | Comments (6) | TrackBacks (3)

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

Bookmark and Share

Mr. Bogner asks a question below that I fear I do not have the expertise to address properly, but which I feel should be addressed, and so I place it here.

It also reminds me of Catholicism's approach to homosexual clergy - we all know there is a fair number of homosexual priests, but as long as they are celibate then it seems our bishops don't really pay much attention to them. If homosexuality is wrong, then isn't it wrong whether someone is celibate or not? Or is it? I don't have that figured out, not even close to it.

I venture into this area with trepidation, but I am certain that there are many more studied than I am who can correct my understanding of Church teaching. The church teaches that the inclination to homosexuality is intrinsically disordered but not in itself sinful. Just as the inclination to polygamy and promiscuity is gravely disordered, if it is not acted upon, it is not sinful. Homosexuality is not a sin. Being a homosexual is not a sin. Engaging in homosexual acts either physically or, as with heterosexual acts, entertaining thoughts and encouraging them, is sinful. A chaste homosexual is not committing a sin. He is defying no commandment and no law. Just as a person inclined to theft commits no sin so long as he takes nothing belonging to another. To be attracted to something is not in itself sinful--acting on that attraction can be so.

That's how I understand it, and I admit that it is very crude and not terribly nuanced. But the reason bishops care little if a person is a homosexual is that Priests are called to live a chaste life. I introduce this word because often we use celibate, which technically means only unmarried to mean chaste which refers to conduct. It is entirely possible to be celibate and unchaste and uncelibate but chaste. In the Carmelite Order we make promises of "chastity according to station in life." That is a married person is chaste when faithful to his or her spouse. A celibate person is chaste when he or she refrains from indulging the sexual impulse. A chaste, celibate homosexual should present no more problem for a bishop than a chaste, celibate heterosexual. There are theories and expositors to the contrary, but I will not argue that as I am on even shakier ground than this initial discussion. And I do invite those better informed, more aware, or more skillful in conveying proper Church teaching to jump in and help us all understand better exactly what the Church does teach.

Bookmark and Share

For All Saints


from Parochial and Plain Sermons Number 32 "Use of Saints' Days"
John Henry Cardinal Newman

I have not yet mentioned the peculiar benefit to be derived from the observance of Saints' days: which obviously lies in their setting before the mind patterns of excellence for us to follow. In directing us to these, the Church does but fulfil the design of Scripture. Consider how great a part of the Bible is historical; and how much of the history is merely the lives of those men who were God's instruments in their respective ages. Some of them are no patterns for us, others show marks of the corruption under which human nature universally lies:—yet the chief of them are specimens of especial faith and sanctity, and are set before us with the evident intention of exciting and guiding us in our religions course. Such are, above others, Abraham, Joseph, Job, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Elijah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and the like; and in the New Testament the Apostles and Evangelists. First of all, and in His own incommunicable glory, our Blessed Lord Himself gives us an example; but His faithful servants lead us on towards Him, and confirm and diversify His pattern. Now it has been the aim of our Church in her Saints' days to maintain the principle, and set a pattern, of this peculiarly Scriptural teaching.

Bookmark and Share



About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Catholic Church category from November 2003.

Catholic Church: October 2003 is the previous archive.

Catholic Church: December 2003 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

My Blogroll