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Originally Posted by Dr John
I KNOW (and I mean really KNOW) the "et cum spiritu tuo" / "and with your spirit" language referring to the imprint of ordination to Holy Orders. But, in truth, most non educated Christians haven't a clue about this. So, as with our younger kids, is this really something I need to focus on? The fact is, we're back to the basic Commandments stuff: love God, love your neighbor; don't screw your boy/girlfriend before the seal of commitment; don't deceive on your stock portfolio; don't lie/cheat to get a business advantage; don't dissemble to hook up with your neighbor's spouse or to get a lock-down on your neighbor's property; don't go to court and lie through your teeth; and don't neglect to observe the Sabbath and take time to rest and sleep so that your body will have strength to provide for yourself and your family. (You get the idea!)


Forgive me, Dr. John, but you have made my point for me. If "most non educated Christians haven't a clue about this." then this is precisely what needs to be held onto by what some may consider stilted language or "traditionalistic" or what-have-you. The liturgy instructs when done properly. By changing translations left and right, one should be asking what is being lost for the sake of dumbing down to the (now dumbed down) people.

"So, as with our younger kids, is this really something I need to focus on?" Clearly, if they don't understand the meaning behind "And with your spirit", this is PRECISELY what needs work being a truth of the faith which is passed on to us.

This is the crux of the matter: does the liturgical translation accurately and faithfully present the traditions which have been taught to us? Many people feel that the switch to increased use of gender neutral language (such as in the Creed viz Rome's ruling or other aspects of the first ICEL translation of the Latin Rite Mass) does not do so.

It's all fine and good to assert that gender neutrality (and lack thereof) are mere political ideologies. If this is the case then I can see why it shouldn't matter since the sex/gender in the language is a mere cultural construct. The problem is the Church asserts in a number of instances that sex/gender has meaning (and the language surrounding sex) beyond a political ideology. If this is the case then it transcends any modern (or ancient) language and something about it must be observed as part of the (big T) Tradition passed on to us since God is teaching us something about ourselves and Himself. Until BOTH sides can discuss the various changes made to the liturgy (and scripture) with an understanding of the roles of sex/gender, the conversation (i.e. this conversation) won't get much further than assertions that all this is meaningless argumentation because gender/sex is a political ideology.


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I agree with your point about "the crux of the matter". The verbiage used in liturgical language MUST be accompanied by good catechesis and sermonizing. The "and with your spirit" comes immediately to mind. If this is not explained to the community, we end up with seriously fractured understanding of the liturgy. And this involves study - which we are too reluctant to do. We have "School of Religion" for the kids. What about the adults?

And too often, the time commitment to religious education excludes many who have the study and education to accomplish this in the congregation/parish. And so we end up with the "Hallmark" religious folks or the Maria Schrivers who write books about heaven being our sitting on clouds, etc. The Ruthenian metropolia has a cantors' institute; what we really also need is a well grounded educators' institute with solid textbooks and perhaps internet coursework that is more than a series of mini-workshops.

The cultural issues are extremely important - including attitudes about gender and sex - but these don't generally make it into the discussions. We spend a lot of time on icons and the lives of the saints, etc. and these are absolutely critical for our community. But other aspects are not included and this leads to a skewed perspective in the education of our people (including 'borrowings' from the Latin and Western communities).

With specific regard to 'gender' issues, we do indeed need to respect Tradition (with the big "T"), but we need to make sure that we don't confuse Tradition with 'traditions' which can provide some folks with a rationalization that any emendation is per se 'evil' and 'sinful'. Change is part of the cosmos; both we and the world around us are constantly changing and to ignore this reality puts the Church in danger of becoming something static and after a time - archaic. We are not Amish. (Except for the black clothing!)

Unfortunately, as Mike J points out, the conversation about gender/sex is potentially part of a political ideology. And there are those who stake their positions on a more political ideology and ignore the theological foundations. And this leads to strife - which we Christians aren't supposed to engage in.

Questions about the roles of men and women in the Church community should be developing and ongoing, and we should - in my opinion - be making use of everyone's talents to further the message of the Gospel. So we have to find the people, uncover their talents and integrate them into the missionizing of the Church. (Who'd have thought 40 years ago that nuns would be Chancery officials for dioceses?) But it has happened - and good things have resulted. We need to continue to pursue this effort because in the face of the non-Christian - and even anti-Christian onslaught, we need all the troops we can muster to present the Gospel's teachings.

I am just concerned that the 'traditionalist' perspective will relegate the women in the Church to roles that don't take into account their talents and zeal. And their graces and talents will be lost to us if we just willy-nilly relegate women to historically pre-defined and ancillary roles. Corporeal plumbing isn't destiny. It's just plumbing.

If a woman is "golden-tongue" like "Chrysostom", then open the door to her teaching/preaching/internet'ing/DVDing and rejoice that she's a gospel-preaching Christian and not some Wall Street hack. The seculars make use of everyone who furthers their goals (financial, marketing or whatever) so why should we be hamstrung? "Zeal for the Apostolate" should be our guiding principle. And if we can't use gender-neutral language where possible to ensure that all God's children get the message of 'inclusiveness', then we are just shooting ourselves in the foot once again for the sake of 'tradition' (little 't'). And Eastern Christianity in the U.S. will be little more than a footnote in the ethnic history of the nation.

With Blessings to All!

Dr John

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Originally Posted by Dr John
I agree with your point about "the crux of the matter". The verbiage used in liturgical language MUST be accompanied by good catechesis and sermonizing. The "and with your spirit" comes immediately to mind. If this is not explained to the community, we end up with seriously fractured understanding of the liturgy. And this involves study - which we are too reluctant to do. We have "School of Religion" for the kids. What about the adults?

This wasn't really my point there. My point was that many people feel that using gender neutrality does not faithfully translate the liturgy. The focus has been on cultural norms and adjusting to them, not on any arguments of substance indicating an understanding of gender beyond what our culture (a very short lived culture at that) says it is.

As for how and when adults are to learn... I seem to recall a weekly event where the community gathers to be fed by the Word of God...

Besides, why do we assume that Christianity is convenient?

Originally Posted by Dr John
Corporeal plumbing isn't destiny. It's just plumbing.

To a certain extent, this is true. In different ways, it's very not true. JP2's Theology of the Body indicates ways in which the feminine and masculine are the same and are crucially different in modern language. Similarly, there are reasons why the Church has no authority to make women priests. Some may call this "relegating women (AND men) to predefined roles", sure, but there are reasons behind it and until you or anyone else grapples with this deeper logic, all we have are cliches about exclusion/inclusion/"what modern people can hear" etc.

Originally Posted by Dr John
If a woman is "golden-tongue" like "Chrysostom", then open the door to her teaching/preaching/internet'ing/DVDing and rejoice that she's a gospel-preaching Christian and not some Wall Street hack. The seculars make use of everyone who furthers their goals (financial, marketing or whatever) so why should we be hamstrung? "Zeal for the Apostolate" should be our guiding principle. And if we can't use gender-neutral language where possible to ensure that all God's children get the message of 'inclusiveness', then we are just shooting ourselves in the foot once again for the sake of 'tradition' (little 't'). And Eastern Christianity in the U.S. will be little more than a footnote in the ethnic history of the nation.


There is a certain focus here on the DOING as opposed to the being, which, in my understanding of how East and West are typically compared and contrasted, sounds far more Western than Eastern. Too much Martha and not enough Mary and if the council asked the East to be more Eastern, even this focus might be seen as a "latinization". Eastern Christians need to see that they exist, by and large, in a Western culture and (blindly) accepting how the secular (Western) culture does things is dangerous to the Eastern identity, in my opinion. As I suggest above, there may be elements of the language of sex/gender which are part of big T tradition and until one grapples with what that is it's all tearing down walls when you don't know why the wall was put there in the first place. Blindly (and this would be blind without that discussion) accepting the cultural norm (i.e. gender neutrality) does far more toward obliterating Christianity, grounding it into a powder to be absorbed in the culture, and making it into that footnote in my opinion than retaining language which, by the very fact that it's different or archaic sounding in the modern ear, attracts attention and promotes thought on the truths contained within it.

I re-iterate: Until translators indicate that they understand how and why gender/sex exist, compliment, compare and contrast, and how it's used in scripture and Tradition (i.e. Liturgy) movement toward gender neutrality in language is the blind (our culture) leading the blind (us if we don't see those reasons either).

Peace,
Mike J.

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Christ is Risen!!

I hear your points and I think that I understand them, but I suspect that there is a fundamental difference of understanding about the role of the liturgy and the role of the members of the community.

At one point you write:

"many people feel that using gender neutrality does not faithfully translate the liturgy. The focus has been on cultural norms and adjusting to them, not on any arguments of substance indicating an understanding of gender beyond what our culture (a very short lived culture at that) says it is."

That's the problem. Our (legitimate) Christian liturgies have gone through many iterations since the Lord's Paschal Meal. The 'Apostolic Constitutions' devolved through Hippolytus and through the various Greek/Syrian/Coptic/Aramaic and Latin versions. The Scripture itself is immutable, but - of course - interpretable with prayer, study and grace.

The liturgy, however, as its name implies "laos ergeizei" (=the people act) must be an ongoing celebration - organically developing from its previous formulation of the people's worship. Updating is not just a possibility, but a necessity that responds to the realities of the worshipping community.

Although the "older version" of the Byzantine liturgy has the deacon command: "Guard the doors" to keep out the unbaptized, perhaps the deacons today should have an injunction at the beginning of the liturgy to command: "Shut off the cell phones! Silence the beepers! Let us be totally attentive!!"

The Liturgy cannot be immutable. And to insist on having an understanding of the liturgy as of XYZ year, and imposing that on the current community isn't evangelization but anachronism.

"As for how and when adults are to learn... I seem to recall a weekly event where the community gathers to be fed by the Word of God..."

Agreed, but when the words don't adequately mirror the Gospel message, then there's a problem. If, for an example, the ENTIRE liturgy were silent except for the words of consecration and the epiclesis, would it be "legitimate"?

No litanies, no readings, no psalms, no 'prayers', no hymns, no blessings. Just the Lord's commanded words of institution, and the priest's prayer to the Holy Spirit to ratify what he has accomplished. That's the essence of the eucharistic celebration. (It's a bad idea since it would not be an organic development of the peoples' practices - the liturgy is there for the people!) Satisfying? Probably not. Legitimate? I think so since this constitutes the Lord's specific verbal command: "Take, eat, ..... Drink of this all of you.... Do this in memory of me..."

So, insisting on accurate and adequate 'translations' misses the mark. That only ensures adherence to past practice.

(Let's not even consider the Christians of the Near/Middle East offering liturgical/psalm prayers for Zion's conquest of others... in light of the current political situation. Makes my flesh crawl.)

Blessings to All

Dr John


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Originally Posted by Dr John
The liturgy, however, as its name implies "laos ergeizei" (=the people act) must be an ongoing celebration - organically developing from its previous formulation of the people's worship. Updating is not just a possibility, but a necessity that responds to the realities of the worshipping community.
And this is the key point. Organic development is not something that is promulgated, mandated, and then shoved down the people's throats.

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My concerns is always with the Biblical references from which Liturgical prayers and petitions are taken.

For example, take Psalm 1, which is chanted at every Great Vespers.

Gender neutral translations will sometimes say "Happy are those who avoid the ways..." etc, instead of "Blessed is the man..."

But in Greek (even in Hebrew, and even Latin I hear)the word is not anthropos, or any generic man in the world, it is aneros, a particular man. The remainder of Psalms 1,2,3 tell us that it is Christ being referred to.

Gender neutrality will often remove Christological references if the translator is not aware of them, or does not take typology seriously, which few do.

THAT is my concern about such things. They are better left alone.

For a good read, see Fr. Pat Reardon's article "The Latest Liturgical Monstrosity."

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Prester John,
A general excellent source for comparing texts and translations is to be found at: www.blueletterbible.com [blueletterbible.com]
My only gripe with the site is that it doesn't include the vowel pointing on the Hebrew.

As to your issue with Psalm 1: the Hebrew uses "ish" indicating man, male though mankind is within the semantic range of the word. There is a feminine version of this word "ish-ah". This, however, is an interesting point that John Paul II raised in the theology of the body: that this word, "ish", is not used in the Genesis narrative until after God creates Eve. Before that, it is simply "adam" (a man/person) for which, to my knowledge, there is no feminine version. If I were translating the original Hebrew, I'd use "man"... but then I have no problem with the grammar rules I learned in grade school.

I also think JP2 was on to something with his TotB which placed importance on the complementarity of the sexes and the symbolism of their roles. I'd sooner retain the grammar of my childhood (which really was only 2 decades ago!) and be free to examine that complementarity than be forced to learn Hebrew and Greek to see what was REALLY passed onto the Church as opposed to some banal and ideologically purified version...

The only iota I know of Greek is that they tend to be very important in the middle of big words found in the Creed.

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And if we can't use gender-neutral language where possible to ensure that all God's children get the message of 'inclusiveness', then we are just shooting ourselves in the foot once again for the sake of 'tradition' (little 't'). And Eastern Christianity in the U.S. will be little more than a footnote in the ethnic history of the nation.

This was beautifully said -- if we don't spread the word and communicate the Gospel to those on the outside then we will gradually fade away.

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As a woman, you know what I think? The Byzantine Catholic Church is OVER ESTIMATING the power of inclusive language. It will not save our church. The only thing that will save our church is evangelization. Until we get that right, tinkering with a few words will amount to a hill of beans.

I for one, did not feel excluded with the use of the word mankind. And I know I'm not unique in that regard.

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Ditto to everything Stephanie said!

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Originally Posted by PrJ
if we don't spread the word and communicate the Gospel to those on the outside then we will gradually fade away.
We do not need gender neutralized language to reach "those on the outside".

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Originally Posted by Recluse
We do not need gender neutralized language to reach "those on the outside".

Amen!

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Originally Posted by Prester John
My concerns is always with the Biblical references from which Liturgical prayers and petitions are taken.

For example, take Psalm 1, which is chanted at every Great Vespers.

Gender neutral translations will sometimes say "Happy are those who avoid the ways..." etc, instead of "Blessed is the man..."

But in Greek (even in Hebrew, and even Latin I hear)the word is not anthropos, or any generic man in the world, it is aneros, a particular man. The remainder of Psalms 1,2,3 tell us that it is Christ being referred to.

Gender neutrality will often remove Christological references if the translator is not aware of them, or does not take typology seriously, which few do.

THAT is my concern about such things. They are better left alone.

For a good read, see Fr. Pat Reardon's article "The Latest Liturgical Monstrosity."

Just to confirm what you have heard about the Latin: vir is the word used in Ps 1, which is essentially the same as Greek aner. "Beatus vir, qui..." (Blessed the man, who...).

And in Ps 3, 2, the same circumlocution cannot be used: Non est salus ipsi in Deo" (RSV: "there is no help for him in God"). [In fact, the dative singular of ipse has only one form: ipsi.]


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Originally Posted By: PrJ
if we don't spread the word and communicate the Gospel to those on the outside then we will gradually fade away.

The ends don't justify the means.

The whole Creed, without an iota missing, is what needs to be on the inside of the Church and presented to those on the "outside." The faith gives us the fullness of truth and it has the effect of restoring man's nature which is now joined to the Divine nature in Christ. One of the great consequences of being faithful to the Greek text, would not only have been a certain restoration of the philosophy of man, but a good lesson to youngsters on the proper use of the English language!

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a good lesson to youngsters on the proper use of the English language!

With all due respect, I can see nothing in the Scriptures or in the Holy Canons or in Holy Tradition that would indicate this is a duty to which God has called His church. We are to proclaim the Gospel -- let us leave instruction in "the proper use of the English language" to academics. The Church has not been called by God to teach English -- she is to proclaim the Gospel.

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