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"In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God" (Jn 1:1). What happens when the word of God is traduced so thoroughly as to become a potent ideological tool designed to reshape the Church in the image of the creature?
The widely used 1991 Canadian Lectionary, for example, strips and defuses the word of God of its Divine power, re-wording the psalms, canticles and great lyrical passages of the Bible, deleting many of the masculine pronouns referring to God and rewriting the Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles.
Instances abound on a daily basis. In politics, law, education and employment, the changing of words, tenses or sequences is intended to alter concepts so as to advantage or disadvantage, and to chart direction.
We deceive ourselves in denying this has happened with the 1991 Canadian Lectionary, including key parts such as the Psalms, the Lord's Prayer and liturgical music.
This lectionary effectively subverts the presence and action of the word, and contributes to moulding from the very Body of Christ, a church which is scarcely Catholic.
At the heart of this deconstructed Scripture is the negation of God's integrity. Inherent is a weakening of belief in "the Word made flesh." Inevitably this must lead to a denial of Christ's Real Presence in the sacrament of his body and blood.
Some Protestant and Orthodox Churches would be aghast at what we have done with this lectionary. How can we have good preaching, reflective of Catholic dogma and tradition, if God's word has been tampered with? How can we even hope to know God fully if his word has been rewritten on our terms? Who dares disempower the word of God? Who would deprive us of our birthright?
With reference to New Zealand, who authorised this lectionary? Are we not entitled to an authentic lectionary so that we can hear the word of God in its full integrity? There is a grave responsibility to be owned and attended to here.
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 19 No 2 (March 2006), p. 15
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