Thursday, January 30, 2003

From New Oxford Review: 'Old' words translated into newspeak

a.. the House of God => worship space
b.. St. Mary's Catholic Church => St. Mary's Catholic Community
c.. hymn => song
d.. Holy Sacrifice of the Mass => liturgical festivities
e.. sacred Host => bread
f.. precious Blood => wine
g.. Transubstantiation => [huh?]
h.. priest => presider
i.. Bishop Smith => Bishop Bob*
j.. The Holy Father => the bishop in Rome**
k.. Kingdom of God => Realm of God
l.. Our Father in Heaven => Our Parent in Heaven
m.. "...God and His love" => "...God and God's love"
n.. Son of God => Child of God
o.. Our Lord Jesus Christ => the Christ figure
p.. A.D. (Anno Domini) => C.E. (Common Era)
q.. Our Lady of Guadalupe => Our Woman of Guadalupe
r.. husband and wife => partners
s.. shack-ups => partners
t.. orthodoxy => fundamentalism
u.. dissent, heresy => creative fidelity
v.. sin => alternative lifestyles
w.. Hell => [shhh!]
x.. May God Bless you. => Have a nice day.

Pretty accurate decoding of the lingo of aging liberal church workers, but:

* In Byzantine Rite usage, a universe removed from such church workers, clerics go by title, then first name, but of course bishops don't go by nicknames. If Basil Krajlenko is consecrated to the apostolic ministry of bishop, he is Bishop Basil, not Bishop Krajlenko.
** 'The Pope of Rome', on the other hand, is not pejorative, but a title used for him in Byzantine usage by Catholics and Orthodox alike.

On the same subject...

'Reproductive rights' among terms that require clarification
Marina Jiménez
National Post

Friday, January 17, 2003


The Vatican is planning to publish a dictionary of words it says have been hijacked by feminists, abortion advocates and the UN General Assembly.

The 1,000-page text will give interpretations sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church to such terms as "gender," "reproductive rights" and other words commonly used in discussions of the family, life and ethics.

The publication is necessary, said Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, head of the Pontifical Council on the Family, because several terms pertaining to the family are under threat from "cultural manipulation."

He told 30 Giorni, an Italian Catholic magazine, the lexicon will clarify the meaning of words such as "gender," which "literally means the masculine or feminine gender, but in international debate is used to indicate radical ideological feminism."

The term "reproductive rights," he said, is in fact used not to promote the right to reproduction, but the presumed right to abortion.

Professor Paul Perron, a semiotician at the University of Toronto, said the lexicon will define vocabulary from a Christian, family perspective and gives a moral basis from which to judge deviations from this interpretation.

"It will succeed in identifying usage of ambiguous words at a given point in time," he said. "However, what it cannot do is control the evolution of meaning ... as new ideas and new forms of social structures and groups evolve."

Cardinal Trujillo said the family as a unit is under threat in part because same-sex and common-law couples are increasingly being given the same rights as married couples. As a result, some words now mean the opposite of their "literal meaning."

He cited the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as an example. The convention, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979, is often described as an international bill of rights for women.

"To say something good and just, women must not be discriminated against. But if we dig a little, we learn that this CEDAW is campaigning to protect women from marriage and the possibility of having children, which, according to feminist ideology, are two forms of slavery."

Suzanne Scorsone, a spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, said she has not seen the new lexicon, but suggested it could be the Vatican's attempt to clarify the meaning of certain vocabulary.

"It would be premature to comment on the document itself," she said. "But for fairness in public debate, it is necessary to be clear about the meaning of certain words. No group should seek to hijack a word as though they are the only ones who have a right to it."

For example, she said, some groups use the term "women's reproductive health" to mean access to abortion, instead of all aspects of medical treatment, including pre- and post-natal care.

Father Ronald Mercier, dean of Regis College at the University of Toronto, also noted that, within specific academic disciplines and in theological discourse, it is important to clarify the meaning of language so everyone has a frame of reference.

Mr. Perron added: "Language is always contextual and words will take on enormously varied meanings. You cannot control language."

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