Inclusive language

Inclusive language

Eamonn Keane

Contradictions of the Church's teaching and disobedience to its liturgical norms lead to bad outcomes for both individuals and communities. For several years, going back to at least 2004, people have been baptised in one Catholic parish in Brisbane without use of the words 'Father, Son and Holy Spirit.' Instead, so-called 'inclusive' terms were used, e.g., 'I baptise you in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier.'

On 1 February 2008, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a ruling approved by Pope Benedict XVI to the effect that all baptisms conferred with inclusive terminology are invalid and that any subsequent sacraments received after such invalid baptisms are also invalid. It ruled also that all such persons would have to be unconditionally re-baptised with the correct and traditional formula.

For several decades Thomas Groome has been a leading protagonist for the cause of radically altering the language used by the Catholic Church in its prayer and worship. Suggesting how we might use inclusivist language to address the Persons of the Holy Trinity, Groome says, 'Terms like 'Creator, Saviour and Sanctifier' seem worthy candidates, at least when speaking of the Trinity's relationship to us ...

'A formula that might more adequately represent our faith in the triune relationship within the Godhead ... is suggested by an inclusive language breviary text which prays 'Glory to you, Source of all Being, Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit'' (Language for a Catholic Church, p. 53).

Groome's program for the reconstruction of the language of Catholic faith along inclusivist lines has influenced various religious education curricula in Australia which have based themselves on his Shared Christian Praxis methodology. His theological and pedagogical project is directed to the politicisation and deconstruction of the Catholic tradition, i.e., the dissolution of the historical Church, whose existence across time is rooted in its liturgical history going back to Christ himself.

All of this is present in Groome's on-going assault upon Catholic sacramental realism, something that is evidenced in his continuing propaganda against the Catholic Church's doctrine on the ministerial priesthood.

Cherrybrook, NSW

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