Friday, 7 September 2007

Comrades, Brothers, Female Brothers....

Comrades, Brothers, Female brothers…..

I think this was the opening line from a spoof trade union speech from Not the Nine O’Clock News in the 1980s, anyway it always made me chuckle as an example of painfully inept attempt at “gender inclusivity” before the term became widely known.

I’ve been a grumpy old woman over this issue for nearly half of my nearly 40 years on this planet. Here’s a quote from Canada’s Catholic Register


TORONTO, Canada (The Catholic Register) – Eighteen years into a sometimes divisive debate, the Vatican has put a final stamp of approval on the Canadian lectionary – granting a recognitio to the inclusive language of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible in English.

“That this has come is obviously a positive thing, not just for women but for all people,” said feminist theologian Doris Keiser, a lecturer in theology at the University of Alberta’s St. Joseph’s College. “When we’re moving forward in the world and allowing our understanding to open up, everyone benefits.”

Canadians have been reading the NRSV at Mass since 1992, when the first edition of the new Sunday lectionary was published with approval from the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The Canadian NRSV lectionary for weekdays was published in 1994. It was only then that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith objected to NRSV translations.

The NRSV uses inclusive language, referring to both men and women, when the text refers to people. References to God in the NRSV use the pronoun “He.”

In the Pauline letters, this sometimes results in forms of address to a group of people which reads “Brothers” in Greek rendered “Brothers and Sisters” in the NRSV.

Without the recognitio, Canadian Mass texts were left in the position of being the only approved texts for English-language Masses in Canada, but at the same time lacking final Vatican approval.

Oh, this is so wearisome. This particular set of changes doesn't seem too radical, but just how far do the feminists wish to take this? If there are two positives in this they are (i) God remains He as Jesus taught us and (ii) it should make impromptu inclusive language from priests more difficult to get away with.

At Mass, kneeling before the Lord, I am not aware that gender was/is an issue. As Catholics, as far as I know we have never had segregated congregations along gender specific lines and further segregation amongst women depending on the time in the menstrual cycle. The divinely inspired words we are listening to speak totally of love and that is how we are to respond to them. If we are constantly thinking about our own gender and therefore our separation from each other, then are we any better off than Adam and Eve being expelled from the garden? Men and women are loved equally by God, the language doesn’t need to have the poetry tortured out of it to show this.

What do the feminists want to do to “the Son of Man”?

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