Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 1, 2004
Retired bishop disputes 'exclusive language'
Bishop Remi De Roo makes pastoral appeal for inclusive words
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
Many believe the debate over inclusive language in the Church's liturgy is subsiding in North America but it may just be "less strident," says Msgr. Bruce Harbert, the executive director of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL).
"But you can be assured that all 11 bishops of ICEL are aware of the seriousness of that issue," Harbert told the Canadian bishops Oct. 21 at their annual assembly.
"The priorities have to be weighed out," he added. "A choice has to be made between using the word 'man' and using the words 'human being.'"
Harbert was responding to comments from Bishop Remi De Roo, during a question period following his talk on the revised Roman Missal and Liturgiam Authenticam (The Authentic Liturgy).
De Roo, the bishop-emeritus of Victoria, had pleaded with his fellow bishops to look at the issue of inclusive language "pastorally as well as academically."
He said there was much more involved in the issue than simply a question of linguistics. "It's a bit too easy for us here, a male audience, to sit here and academically justify the fact that we don't have inclusive language," De Roo said.
"There's a very profound pastoral issue here that touches on the very credibility of the leadership of the Church at this time," added De Roo, banned by the Vatican five years ago from speaking at the world congress of the International Federation of Married Catholic Priests, in Atlanta, Ga.
"I'd like us to be conscious that it's not just a question of being faithful to the Latin. We also need to be faithful to our own faithful people who are deeply wounded because we have not honestly come to grips with all the assumptions behind the justifications for the exclusive language."
In his address, Harbert said Liturgiam Authenticam is not an isolated document but one that reflects modern developments in the understanding of language.
"Its recommendations seek to enhance those elements in liturgical language that are more than the reporting of facts, (and) to draw celebrant and people into the liturgical action through their language."
He concluded, "The language recommended by Liturgiam Authenticam is the language of active participation."
Liturgiam Authenticam, the fifth instruction for the right implementation of the Second Vatican Council's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy was issued in May 2001.
The official Latin text of the latest Roman Missal came into effect in March 2002 after it was presented to Pope John Paul.
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.