Manipulating language

Manipulating language

Carol V. Phillips

Fran Swindale's sarcastic letter in the November AD2000 amazed me. She criticises Philip Holberton, and, presumably others of his ilk, for being upset about "one word".

Philip is not upset about one word. He is clearly concerned about the whole concept of "inclusive" language, and also seeks the most accurate translation possible of Latin into English.

Even it were only "one word" that upset him, he has excellent grounds for being so. What is a "termination" of pregnancy? Is it not killing a child? What is a human "blastocyst"? Is it not a newly-conceived baby? What is a woman's "choice"? Is it not the alleged right to murder her own child?

What was the Nazi final "solution"? Was it not the total extermination of the Jews of Europe? What was Germany's "lebensraum" (meaning "living room")? Was it not the policy to invade and conquer other European countries?

These are all words, sometimes single words, that have been utilised in order to manipulate another's understanding of, and viewpoint on, a particular issue.

By all means be happy in your Catholicism, but please allow others to express their concerns about incorrect translations and unnecessarily intrusive, and distorting, agendas. The Church has the duty to ensure that the Word of God is transmitted to the people of God accurately. Where is the harm in raising awareness of this?

Pat Hurley (November AD2000) may be right when he states that "homines" should be more accurately translated as "people", but our Latin dictionary has both "human being" and "man" as the meaning of the singular "homo".

Burswood, WA

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