The subject of the use of "thee" and "thou" came up in church yesterday. I mentioned how Quakers use those words for intimate relationships and "you" for common relationships. Another elder remarked how out society has made "you" both a common and intimate term and basically dropped "thee" and "thou." Perhaps that's part of the problem in so many churches — the reduction of God to a "common" relationship as reflected in out word usage. And in doing so, we've lost the sense of God as holy and sovereign. Words mean things...The real meaning of "thou" dropped out of standard English about 300 years ago; it survived in some dialects (parts of northern England — "Tha thinks?" = "Thou thinkest?" = "Do you think so?" — and the Quaker plain speech) longer. Now English-speakers see it as part of religious language (the King James Bible is conservative American Protestants' Latin) so they often mistake it for the formal you as many readers know, and as the quotation above assumes. I like it (Anglican English is my religious English), and knowing some other languages that kept the intimate form (Latin and Spanish, Slavonic and Russian), I know what it is. People at least used to think the Continuing Anglican movement is about thous and thees just like they think I am a conservative Roman Catholic because I supposedly have a fetish for Latin. (It's international, its meaning doesn't change, and it's pretty.) I understand the late Bishop James Mote of the Anglican Catholic Church, a Continuum founding bishop, could take or leave thous and thees; for him it was all about the Catholic faith as they thought it was received by the Church of England and Episcopal Church. He said the thous and thees out of obedience because that's what was in the book.
Everybody eventually comes up with a liturgy and a rite, as Fr. Peter Gillquist once pointed out, and everybody eventually comes up with a religious form of their language. For English-speakers it's Tudor. Even the new Mass in the Roman Rite keeps the English Our Father in that style. My theory: the only English prayers most Roman Catholics care about are the only ones we used for centuries, those of the rosary, which have amazingly stayed about the same even after Vatican II.