Inclusive Language and the Liturgy

I belong to a relatively liberal congregation. For instance, the former pastor often applied St. Paul’s admonition about “freedom from the law” to Vatican “laws,” and asked for and received an exemption from the 2002 reemphasis by our bishop on kneeling after the Sanctus; and the present pastor, before the last election, mentioned in a homily that he was a member of both Voice of the Faithful and Call to Action so that there would be no doubt about where he stands theologically or politically. Therefore, I am not surprised when in the liturgy instead of “may the Lord receive . . . for the praise and glory of His name, . . . His Church” the congregation always substitutes “God’s name” and “God’s Church,” and before the Preface uses a similar substitution to avoid saying “It is right to give Him thanks and praise.” Nor am I particularly surprised when the pastor ends the Eucharistic Prayer substituting “Through the Lord, with the Lord, in the Lord,” instead of “Through Him, with Him . . . .”

I was shocked, however, on Good Shepherd Sunday when “The Lord Is My Shepherd” was sung, and I heard “she” all the way through the hymn — “She makes me lie down in green meadows,” “she leads me . . .,” etc. After Mass, I was motivated to have my hearing checked, but started by checking Google. I discovered that there is a Bobby McFerrin Good Shepherd song like this, which is a favorite of feminists and neo-pagans, and ends with “Glory be to our Mother and Daughter and to the Holy of Holies. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.”

But, aside from such extremes, I find elements of this attempt to keep all usage of ‘he” or “him” with regard to God down to a minimum in the other parishes in my area as well, where the congregations still kneel after the Sanctus. I recently subscribed to Magnificat, and thus have been able to follow the Scriptural readings at weekday Masses. The priest will often change the pronouns “he” or “him” in the readings, as if the congregation will think the reading only referred to males. Recent examples include the March 4 reading from Jeremiah where “Cursed is the man who . . .” is changed to ” Cursed is one who . . .” and “He is like a tree . . .” to “Such a person is like a tree . . . .” And on March 10, in the reading from Deuteronomy Moses’ reference to “the God of your fathers . . .” is changed to “the God of your ancestors . . .” and in Moses’ question, “what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him?” the last part, “whenever we call upon him?” is omitted.

In my 1999 book, Politically Incorrect Dialogues, I have a chapter on “Inclusive Language,” which brings out the tremendous advantages the English language offers to committed inclusivists, in contrast to an inflected language. In German, for instance, all nouns have to be masculine, feminine, or neuter. It is impossible to refer to teachers, athletes, artists, politicians, etc. without designating their gender; and relative pronouns like “who” have to have the same gender as the nouns they refer to. It would be an extraordinary challenge for someone to be a strict “inclusivist” in German. Both “God” and “Lord” are grammatically masculine. So if a German priest tries to avoid saying “him” or “he” in the liturgy, the use of “God” or “Lord” would still be ineluctably masculine, besides sounding awkward (making one think, haven’t you heard of pronouns?). Even the Holy Spirit, der heilige Geist, is grammatically masculine; but this, of course, is not a theological statement about maleness. Once in European travels I saw a statue of the Holy Spirit as a woman. But a German who connected the Holy Spirit with feminine qualities would not feel it necessary to refer to Geist as die instead of der.

As an author who tries to keep abreast of topics he writes on, I read numerous books, and have noticed something that many other readers may be getting used to: Sometimes an entire book of 200-plus pages will use only “she” to express common gender; and sometimes an author will use “he” throughout one chapter for common gender, and then, in the interests of balance, use “she” in the following chapter, alternating like this throughout the book. In an earlier version of my 2008 Philosophy of Human Nature, my editor insisted not only that I use “she” for common gender through the book, but objected to my reference to God as “He”; his suggestion was that I either add a note explaining that my religious beliefs require me to refer to God as a “he,” or else use “He or She” or “S/he.” I asked for and received a release from contract from the publisher, and began to solicit other publishers.

Back to first principles: Gender is not sex. One can be fully committed to women’s rights, equal pay for equal work, etc., and still use “he” in English for common gender to refer to some person in general, as our Anglophone predecessors have done for hundreds of years. Priests who are worried about offending some adamant feminist in the liturgy by using the masculine pronoun for God the Father or Son might do well to fantasize what their problems might be if they were using a language where every noun, including God, is unavoidably already gendered.

Howard Kainz

By

Howard Kainz is professor emeritus at Marquette University. He is the author of several books, including Natural Law: an Introduction and Reexamination (2004), The Philosophy of Human Nature (2008), and The Existence of God and the Faith-Instinct (2010). Professor Kainz is a regular contributor to Crisis Magazine.

  • georgie-ann

    besides the long touted goal of feminists to attain some kind of equality with men (i’m not one, so i’d be lousy at presenting their case), their “liberation” has also painted many of them into a peculiar corner,…

    women who have taken it upon themselves to be “freed up” in the sexual arena, and have reaped children without the ongoing participation of the fathers in the family unit, become sensitized to hearing about fathers at all, because they are now in the position of “being everything” to that child,…they “pretend” that it is all fine, OK and justifiable,…but in this case the proverbial “elephant in the room” is one that is missing & not mentioned,…Mr. Father,…

    the ongoing denial that results, and the superwoman role-playing, is an exhausting result of having had it “their way,”…i really think that the root of much of this stuff is the sexual promiscuity issue,…the Nature Goddess gets going at this point and is forced as a consequence to redefine all the rest,…instead of being equal to the male, the male is actually displaced, leaving “her” holding a very heavy bag,…

    but the myth must go on,…Bibles must be rewritten,…”She” must triumph at all costs and on all fronts,…based completely on unnatural “illusion,” this is destined to collapse,…

    meanwhile, somebody is playing with our minds,…

  • Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick

    The latest Lectionary is much worse than the previous one.

    I noticed long ago that “evil men surround me” but “the poor one cries out,” etc., etc.

    It is painful to read. “A person decided to…” a parable begins. In the very next sentence, this “person” is telling HIS sons something, or gathering up HIS money, or whatever.

    Reason 11,385 to attend the EF is that the readings in English can be read from any translation of the celebrant’s choosing!

  • Adam Wood

    The goal of language is to communicate meaning. This is requires both speaker and hearer (or writer and reader) to be on the same page, to understand each other.

    It may be possible that there was a time in English’s past when male-specific language was understood by all to be inclusive. I’m not even completely sure that this is the case, but let’s assume it was…

    This is clearly no longer the case. Increasingly, today’s English speakers hear “he,” “him,” “men,” and “man” as referring specifically and exclusively to males. Today’s English speakers are increasingly offended by language that implicitly excludes them.

    You can bemoan this trend all you want, but that doesn’t change the natural progression of spoken language. If you want to continue to communicate effectively to people, you have to understand how they hear you, what they assume you mean when you speak or write. You must be, as Paul says, “all things to all people.” (or, you know- just “all men”).

    As regards the gender of God…

    This is a more difficult theological point. Common sense and sound theology would seem to indicate that God is either without gender (not being a creature) or is somehow equally both male and female (as suggested by Gen 1:27). Yet, after 5000 years of using exclusively masculine language for God, most monotheists find the idea of using feminine language for God abhorrent and disrespectful. Many contemporary commentators would rightly point out that this has more to do with our attitudes concerning the value of women and the worth of femininity than it does with our understanding of God.

    And yet, scripture, as much a product of patriarchal society as it is, still finds room for a God who is feminine:

    -Many of God’s “body parts” are mentioned throughout scripture- God’s mighty arm, God’s snorting nostril, God’s saving hand. The only gender specific body part mentioned explicitly is… God’s womb. In the book of Job, twice. Also, many linguists claim that the name El Shaddai translates as, “God of the Great Breast” or “God who is the Great Breast.” The argument against that interpretation is, in my opinion, weak (to arrive at “God the Mighty One” you have to assume that the name is Akadian (God of the Mountain) instead of Hebrew, and then you further have to assume that “mountain” doesn’t also mean “breast”).

    -Much of the Wisdom literature speaks of an explicitly female being, Sophia. It’s easy to dismiss this as a literary device and to call attempts to bring attention to Sophia as New Age paganism. Well- it’s easy until you actually bother to read Proverbs 8, in which Wisdom Herself speaks and it’s abundantly clear that we’re hearing the Second Person of the Trinity describe her relationship with God the Father. Or the passage from Baruch, read every year at the Easter Vigil, in which the prophet describes Wisdom in terms that Catholic tradition clearly recognizes as prophetic of the coming Christ. Even Paul, in the letter to the Hebrews, quotes Wisdom literature in referring to Christ as “the refulgence of God’s glory, the very imprint of His being.”

    God is much bigger than “He” or “Him,” and the continued use of exclusionary language for God continues to teach people that God really is specifically male. Of course, many in the Church find no problem with that, as it buttresses their position of male dominance and female exclusion: if God is only male, then only males can represent Him as priests and bishops. The very idea that God can be feminine is dangerous to the all-male clergy.

  • MRA

    You can bemoan this trend all you want, but that doesn’t change the natural progression of spoken language.

    But this is not a natural progression of language. The natural progression of language is driven from within, by the aims of speech itself; thus it tends to produce usages that are either more expressive or more convenient. This mutation is imposed on language from outside, by ideology. That’s why it produces such execrable English – stuffy, impersonal, and graceless.

  • Jeff

    The goal of language is to communicate meaning.

    When the Priest says “I bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” he is not giving you information or as you say “communicating meaning.”

    Words perform actions.

    Let’s say my father who called his dog “little Skip” left the dog to me when he died.

    I would be a miserable, wretched son if I were to say, well dear old dad called him “little Skip” but from now on I’m going to call him “Loretta.”

    I don’t know what happened to this generation that believes arrogance and self-absorption are acceptable dimensions of Christianity.

  • Joe

    Jesus did say ” our Father”.
    But I guess all these inclusionists know better.

  • Daniel Latinus

    It always seemed to me that the changes made to render texts inclusive are not neutral, but anti-male. Given that historically women seem to be more devout than men, I rather doubt this is a good idea. (And inclusive language alienates more women than a lot of people realize.)

    My earliest religious instruction took place among Missouri Synod Lutherans, who used the old 1941 Lutheran Hymnal. The language in that hymnal was essentially the same as the language of the Book of Common Prayer. It sounded dignified and reverent.

    When I was ten, I began attending a Catholic school. It struck me at the time that the language of the Mass lacked strength and power. It sounded half-hearted, and “mamby-pamby”. When I was younger I had a somewhat vulgar expression to describe this, but the most polite way I can express it is “emasculated.”

    I have to agree with MRA. So-called inclusive language is not natural, it is a jargon imposed to further a specific agenda. It is actually a kind of formality.

  • I am not Spartacus

    Therefore, I am not surprised when in the liturgy instead of “may the Lord receive . . . for the praise and glory of His name, . . . His Church” the congregation always substitutes “God’s name” and “God’s Church,” and before the Preface uses a similar substitution to avoid saying “It is right to give Him thanks and praise.” Nor am I particularly surprised when the pastor ends the Eucharistic Prayer substituting “Through the Lord, with the Lord, in the Lord,” instead of “Through Him, with Him . . . .”

    Your Pastor has severed the Bonds of Unity in Worship, Doctrine, and Authority and he is a despicable thief who routinely violates the rights of his Congregation to have the Mass offered as established and regulated by the competent authorities.

    SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM

    22. 1. Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop.

    2. In virtue of power conceded by the law, the regulation of the liturgy within certain defined limits belongs also to various kinds of competent territorial bodies of bishops legitimately established.

    3. Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.

    Your Pastor should either discharge his vow of obedience or he should abandon his vocation and become a member of the Congregational Church where he could decide for himself what he will or will not say at his service.

    The Mass is the single most important action occurring on this Planet at any moment and your Pastor is using the Mass as an opportunity to engage in politics.

    Find an Extraordinary Form Mass in your area and abandon this Priest who is rhetorically a graffiti criminal drawing a mustache on The Pieta.

  • Dave

    from baptizing in the name of the Creator, the Redeemer and the Sanctifier.

  • Jeff

    The root cause of this act of aggression is far deeper than the surface level desire for “comfortable” or as they say “inclusive” language, though this is a serious matter in itself.

    The root cause is the perpetuation of the deformed “enlightenment” mentality that disregards the category of persons who possess inherent value and worth, and conceives of us instead as members of arbitrary political classes. Morality becomes a radical’s game, an act of intellectual and actual aggression, the exploitation of persons by turning them against one another for selfish ends dictated by utopian ideologues. The consequences of this disordered mentality are devastating to real Persons, Families, and Churches.

  • Pat

    The root of the issue is do we name God or do we use the name given to us through his son. Father is a relational term offered to us by the incarnate son. It is through the incarnate son that we can enter into true relationship with the Father. In refrence to Jesus and his relationship to the father, a denial of gender language is a denial of the incarnation, SOmething that is problematic at best.

    In reference to the community fo believers, there is no reason to retrcit it to gender language.

  • Steve P

    I can to an extent “get it” when people want to refer to “God” in more generic language, but in the Doxology, we are praying “Through Christ, With Him, & In Him”. Whatever you want to postulate about God the “Father”, you can’t get around Jesus being Male.

    With that said, most of the inclusive language stuff grates on my ears (moreso than it used to), for several of the reasons enumerated above. It is ideological, cumbersome and does violence to the Word and worship of God. You may as well update all the parables and scriptural images, so that the Lord is no longer my shepherd, but my GPS. Or a man didn’t go out to sow some seed. Instead he went out to invest in some hedge funds. You know, because it’s too much to ask us to get to know God in the ways God has been revealed to us.

  • georgie-ann

    personally i find the alternating of “he” and “she” in articles, just to be “inclusive,” is very disconcerting and annoying,…

    before Adam’s rib was removed to allow for the Creation of woman/Eve, “he” was all we had, and in a sense included the essence of both as a human totality:

    Genesis 2:21ff:

    21 “So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
    23 The man said,
    “This is now bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
    she shall be called ‘woman,’
    for she was taken out of man.”

    24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

    25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”

    quite frankly, i feel that this “issue” comes more from those who want to blur gender/sexual identities and concepts, even moreso than as a simple wish to elevate the position of women,…and this would bring in the subversive homosexual agenda as well,…

    homosexuals, communists, those of the tricky and lying tongues, have certainly been at work here creating social issues and red herrings where truly perhaps none existed before,…time to clarify the issues and weed out the trouble-makers & their lingo,…

    even though waiting a few decades may see them gone by attrition, maybe stronger methods (excommunication) should be considered where subversive agendas are clearly identifiable,…

    and, yes, if this is the kind of disordered stuff the NO is promoting and fostering, these abuses should be cleared up,…in this light, i understand better the wish of the “trads” to exit the NO all together,…as a vehicle for subversion, it lends itself to danger,…but if we also learn to identify and speak very plainly to the underlying “issues,” condemning and rooting them out, and bringing them fully into the light of day, this is also a type of purgative process that is desperately needed,…

    honesty, clarity, is the best policy,…”the Truth will set you free,”…it is too easy to avoid this route,…but i think that it is very evident that this is what is called for here, and in regard to all the “political correctness” distortions of reality and public policy,…

    who is the one with the lying tongue?,…who delights to manipulate and confuse the issues?,…why, none other than the arch-deceiver himself,…satan, the devil,…the father of lies and blurring of the issues,…

    when we begin speaking full truth, his days are numbered,…

  • JC

    I have a CD of the Scriptural Rosary from CUA, and it has a great example of how arbitrarily changing “men” to “people” can backfire. In the fourth sorrowful mystery, one of the verses is read, “A great crowd of people followed him–and women, too–” as opposed to “A great crowed of men followed him–and women, too–”

    The problem with “inclusive language” and Scripture, as the Church documents themselves say is that many of these passages explicitly *do* refer to “man”–the Man Jesus, or the priest.

    An example I once read on a blog is Psalm 1:1: “Happy the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked” only applies to one man. There is only one Man who has never followed the counsel of the wicked. The modern translations have gone from “Happy the person” to the more contemporary, “Happy are you”, completely destroying the meaning of the Psalm.

  • observer

    “I will make you fishers of people.”

  • drpence

    With all respect to Professor Kainz, this is a disappointing reflection on a crucial question. The Fatherhood of God and the Sonship of Christ predate linguistics,human psychology and all of Creation. The feminine in God is the hidden interior life of the Trinity which we never name nor address. The inclusiveness of Christ as the new ADAM THE MALE WHO REPRESENTS US all is a touchstone of the Christian narrative. Male leadership and the priestly apostolic male representation of the whole People was handed down by Christ in preparation for His Second Coming which is going to be a Male dominated event. It is only by being incorporated in Christ that there is no male or female, slave of free, Jew or Gentile. We all(male and female) take on the identity and freedom of the first born Son. Christ is the male who represents all of us. Incorporation in his Body is the most radically inclusive proposition since eucaryotic cells developed from bacterail colonies into multi organ animal life.
    Neutering our language is not a peripheral question. A culture of death is neutered. A culture of life is a sexually oriented culture related to male and female protective duties and roles. Inside Catholic should be able to present a much more robust look at the beautiful sexual symphony which is our common culture. That includes a Father God, a feminine Queen mother and Church, a priestly brotherhood and a Christic center in which one Man dies and is raised for us all.

  • Dave

    “. . . the present pastor . . . mentioned in a homily that he was a member of . . . Call to Action so that there would be no doubt about where he stands theologically . . .”

    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t Call to Action in open defiance of several of the Church’s teachings, including the ordination of women? It’s no wonder then that the pastor has his flock stand – it’s a sign of defiance.

  • Christine

    I recently quit the choir when our new choir director forced that blasphemous Bobby McFerrin song on us. During practice I got teary and stopped singing because Jesus was nor ever will be the “Daughter”. He came to earth as a male child and grew into a man. He is the son of man.

    I never thought that this type of drivel would affect me and when it did, I couldn’t believe the emotions that came from me. Performing that garbage felt like musical desecration of the Blessed Trinity. It WAS desecration of the Blessed Trinity. I came forward and told the pastor about this musical piece. It was never performed…

    Unfortunately the musical director is still at the parish and I therefore quit the choir (I also have some health issues to deal with, so it was good timing) but the number of choir members has dropped, as has the quality of music. Thank God the music is no longer blasphemous

  • georgie-ann

    Christine,…wow,…i know you love your church music and singing,…my very deep respect and sympathies,…you had to do this,…

    “When you call Jesus a woman, you are negating who He is. By omitting who He is, do you really know exactly whom you are worshipping?”–Christine

    …and will you even know who you yourself are?

    “I decided not to be a part of the sham and if more people set their mouths to complaining and their feet to walking (to their pastor, the bishop or to another parish), these travesties against our Lord would end.”–Christine

    …yes, they would,…

    “The Fatherhood of God and the Sonship of Christ predate linguistics,human psychology and all of Creation. The feminine in God is the hidden interior life of the Trinity which we never name nor address. The inclusiveness of Christ as the new ADAM THE MALE WHO REPRESENTS US all is a touchstone of the Christian narrative.”–drpence

    “A culture of life is a sexually oriented culture related to male and female protective duties and roles. Inside Catholic should be able to present a much more robust look at the beautiful sexual symphony which is our common culture. That includes a Father God, a feminine Queen mother and Church, a priestly brotherhood and a Christic center in which one Man dies and is raised for us all.”–drpence

    this takes my breath away!,…so beautiful & so “right on!”,…thank you for this,…

  • Joe

    And Wisdom is feminine in Greek – the language
    the Book was written in.

  • Screaming Mimi

    [quoteDaniel Latinus](And inclusive language alienates more women than a lot of people realize.)

    Yes. I’m a woman, not a moron. How is it respectful of women to assume that we are going to burst into tears at the mention of the word “he?”

    Remember how, for $12.95, your child could get a personlized letter from Santa, with his or her own name inserted into the text up to six times? Maybe we should issue misallettes like that, just so no one feels jilted.

    Honestly, the doctrine that God is, in some mysterious way, masculine has been hard for me to take — but that’s MY problem, not the church’s problem. People who avoid trying to figure out why Jesus became a man are missing out on a lot of self-knowledge.

  • Christine

    Screaming Mimi,

    Jesus was a woman? All historical sources, even non-Christian, point to the fact that Jesus was a Man.

    Furthermore, when you sing, you pray twice. I am truly sad that you have not been given the gift of prayer in song. It is a beautiful gift.

    I would suggest that you take a singing class. You will find that singing is akin to walking down the street naked. You own what you sing. It becomes a part of you like nothing else and it is a very exposing art form. That’s why many people don’t sing in public. That is why singing intensifies prayer and constitutes a large part of the Mass. There is a saying you know, to sing is to pray twice…

    Finally, when I sin I am sorrowful and I sometimes express this sorrow outwardly, as are many others.

    Maybe you come from a more stoic culture (I am a fiery latina), maybe you don’t believe in outward displays of grief, but many people whose lives are recounted in the Bible did outwardly display sorrow for their sins. People wore sackcloth and repented. People showed their sorrow more publicly than perhaps you may be accustomed. God approved of their repentance and blessed them.

    The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:

  • Christine

    Thanks for your kind words…

    Pray for my parish. God works in his own time, however, not mine.

    I know that this will work out. There are too many faithful parishoners for a poor outcome.

  • Screaming Mimi

    What in sam hill are you talking about? I was agreeing with you.

  • Alan

    Wow, and I thought “Sisters and Brothers” was bad enough. And why is “Sisters” first. Surely not because of the old “ladies first

  • Ann

    What about this “Sophia Christ”? I got in a discussion one day with a random acquaintance (if that) and she started telling me all about praying to Sophia Christ (she works at a so-called Catholic college BTW).

  • georgie-ann

    i have no actual data on “Sophia Christ,” but it sounds very delusional and hermaphroditic,…& designed to appeal to the inflatable, flatter-able, female or homosexual ego in its current personal identity crisis,…if you’ll learn anything “new” from “it/her/him” it surely won’t be worth learning,…and it might be even more difficult to unlearn,…

    staying with our truthfully solid basics–Omniscient Omnipotent God the Father (Who is Love), Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Holy Scripture, the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church, Mother Mary, and all the Saints–is a vast, unlimited and dependable resource that is sure to lead you on the right path,…

    detours in other directions, taken out of “curiosity” and/or avoidance of truth and responsibility, are often demonic temptations leading into nasty spider-webby messes that become difficult to extricate oneself from,…certainly not worth the bother,…you’ll probably meet some creepy people, too,…just because they’re associated with a “Catholic” college, doesn’t give them a free pass,…buyer beware is always a very good policy,…

  • Jennifer

    I’d listen to God being called “she” only once. I’d listen to my pastor refuse to call God “Him” in “His” name and so forth only once. I’d be finding me a new church pronto.

    C’mon — that’s just craziness and heresy and sugary, feel-good liberal thinking run amok.

  • Howard Kainz

    We all(male and female) take on the identity and freedom of the first born Son. Christ is the male who represents all of us. Incorporation in his Body is the most radically inclusive proposition since eucaryotic cells developed from bacterail colonies into multi organ animal life.

    I couldn’t agree more. But it’s not necessary to torture our grammar to make that point over and over again. Think of the poor Germans, who have to attach a gender to almost every noun. Other European languages have similar challenges. You can’t just say “teacher” or “worker” or “leader” or “author,” etc. in such a way that it could mean either male or female. You have to attach a gender each time. It’s the luxury of the non-declined English language that allows extreme inclusivists to concentrate just on the “H-words.”

  • sibyl

    As a former English lit/creative writing major, and incidentally an “estrogen American” (as Dr. Ray says), I have always found it irritating to be told that we need to have both pronouns in order to avoid offending women. Well, I’m a woman and I’m offended that someone would think me juvenile enough to get my undies in a bundle over “he” for “generic person.”

    And although I’ve read a great deal of pre-modern literature in which this pronoun is used in this manner, I’ve never felt degraded, nor found the majority of pre-modern authors to have a degrading view of women. In fact, if you compare, say, Trollope to Hemingway, you know which one has more contempt for women.

    As to using masculine pronouns for Our Blessed Lord, I’m going with tradition and the usage of the centuries. Jesus was (and is) male — a Him. He, being our model of perfection, called God His Father. OF COURSE God the Father is beyond gender. But if Jesus chooses to reveal Him as a Father, who are we to get upset that He didn’t reveal Him as “Mother”? All of Christianity, in one sense, is completely scandalous. Getting rid of masculine pronouns is a laughable attempt to make God more like what we would rather have: a vaguer deity, a Creator that is less than human, genderless and personality-free.

  • georgie-ann

    it’s beginning to seem like all of this has been about finding a back-handed way to verbally & psychologically castrate God, (and men), if you can imagine,…surely this is a satisfying theme to atheists and homosexuals,…

    personally, i see God the Father as Protective, Provider, Strength and Love, in ways that really are not particularly feminine (& i’m happy to thank God for it!!),…of course that’s not a complete description–which would be impossible–by any means,…

  • georgie-ann

    i would not go back to that church either,…and i think you’re being much too kind in your assessment of what is going on there,…certainly it is not just amok, but deliberately subversive, with the motive “hidden,”…

  • Minneapolis

    Inclusive langauge is part of the homosexual angenda.

    The Blessed MOTHER and God the FATHER are Jesus’ parents. This seems all pretty obvious to me.

  • Carlist

    Mr. Hainz;

    Why do you continue to grace this “congregation” with your presence?

    Why not attend an orthodox parish?

  • Howard Kainz

    Mr. Kainz;

    Why do you continue to grace this “congregation” with your presence?

    Why not attend an orthodox parish?

    Well, then I would have to go by myself, not with the rest of my family.

  • Mena

    What kind of gender confusion is this? Liberal parishes should be made to refer to Mary as “our father” and “our brother.” Let’s see how they’d like that.

    How is it that liberals have completely lost their minds? They see men and women as enemies, not partners. They then impose their class-warfare bias back upon historical figures in bizarre ways. Is Jesus a woman or a man? Is MLK Jr. a chinese transexual or a black man? Is Eleanor Roosevelt really a Mexican man?

    WHAT???

    Liberals have to be permanently removed from all decision-making posts in the U.S.A. They are dangerous lunatics and must not be trusted with our educational system or government.

  • John

    After putting up with the antics of the American Liberals in the Catholic Church for forty years I fervently wish that they would just go and establish their own Americanized Liberal Church of Ted Kennedy and be over with it. They have the money, the wealthiest universities (Notre Dame, Georgetown), they have the full support of the Wealthy American Class. Then we could attend our own Roman Catholic Church and not have to “dialogue” with these spoiled children of the American century. Americans make up only 6% of the worldwide Catholic Church but think that they should be in charge of everything. Let us pray to see the end of American arrogance and its Kennedesque ways.

  • John

    It was extraordinarily destracting to my prayer to always have to be guessing what new invention the pastor or liturgist was going to surprise me with every week. I now belong to a Byzantine Rite Catholic church, and only attend mass in the Extraordinary Form if I cannot get to daily Liturgy. Unfortunately, the Novus Ordo changed the focus of our worship from Christ-centered to “us”-centered. The altar no longer faced the East, from whence Christ will come in Glory. The priest is the “presider”, not the person called by God according to the Order of Melchizedek to offer acceptable sacrifice to the Most High. Instead he faces the people and becomes an entertainer. The Sacrifice of Calvary has become a community meal. Mass has spectacle. This is what Christ intended when He gave his hand-picked Apostles the command to “do this in memory of Me” on that awful night when He faced His passion and death to ransom our sinful carcasses? Based on the state of the world, “progressives” now have more to be concerned with than inclusive language at mass. The time is coming soon when we may not even be allowed to hear mass or receive the sacraments. Then what? Inclusive language and liturgical abuses will become a non-issue when real persecution and difficulties begin because then only the truly faithful will cleave to Christ and his Church. Lord have mercy.

  • Ouiz

    …when someone thinks I’m so weak that I will melt into a puddle of tears when the masculine pronoun is used!

    My family attends a liberal parish as well… not because we WANT to, but because it’s the only one nearby. We are bombarded with “sisters and brothers,” responsorial psalms in which every reference to God as He has been removed, and a liberal contingent that is pushing for: “May the Lord accept the sacrifice of your hands, for the praise and glory of God’s name, for our good and the good of all God’s church.”

    Gag.

  • Diane

    Has anyone considered that the only ones who use the generic term for animals (ie dog and bitch, instead of just “dog”) are breeders?

  • Dale Price

    God is much bigger than “He” or “Him,” and the continued use of exclusionary language for God…

    Poor, ignorant Jesus, praying to His Father–if only He had had the benefit our era’s enlightened perspective, He wouldn’t have made such a ghastly faux pas

  • Dale Price

    …when someone thinks I’m so weak that I will melt into a puddle of tears when the masculine pronoun is used!

    There are a lot of self-proclaimed “strong, independent feminists” who need to be escorted to the fainting couch when exposed to gendered language. Followed by efforts to intimidate people into the approved way to think.

    The open-minded are ever-prepared to ram immediate conformity down other people’s throats.

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