George Simpson

Several recent letters to AD2000 have rightly complained about the use of inclusive language in liturgies. Such use is an act of grave disobedience against clearly defined Church teaching.

In 1995 The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith issued "Norms for Translation of Biblical Texts for use in the Liturgy". The matters therein do not merely apply to discipline but to revelation, and cannot, therefore, be changed by bishops or local bishops' conferences.

The instructions, inter alia, are as follows:

* The natural gender of personae in the Bible, including the human author of various texts where evident, must not be changed in so far as this is possible in the receptor language.

* The grammatical gender of God, pagan deities, and angels according to the original texts must not be changed in so far as this is possible in the receptor language.

* In fidelity to the inspired Word of God, the traditional biblical usage for naming the persons of the Trinity as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is to be retained.

* Similarly, in keeping with the Church's tradition, the feminine and neuter pronouns are not to be used to refer to the person of the Holy Spirit.

* There shall be no systematic substitution of the masculine pronoun or possessive adjective to refer to God in correspondence to the original text.

* Kinship terms that are clearly gender specific, as indicated by the context, should be respected in translation.

Unfortunately, the Canadian Lectionary predated the proclamation of the above. The Canadian Lectionary, however, probably departs from the Vatican II Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, which states:

22. (1) Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See, and, as laws may determine, on the bishop.

(2) In virtue of power conceded by law, the regulation of the liturgy within certain defined limits belongs also to various kinds of bishops' conferences, legitimately established, with competence in given territories.

(3) Therefore no other person, not even a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.

I doubt that such an extreme revision fell within the scope of the certain defined limits mentioned in sub paragraph 2.

North Blackburn, Vic

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