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 Contents - Jun 2004AD2000 June 2004 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Pentecost: As it was in the beginning ... - Michael Gilchrist
Abortion: 'Pro-choice' issue emerges in US presidential campaign - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
Marriage: Statistics highlight the precarious state of marriage and family - AD2000 REPORT
Theology of the Body: Why the silence on the Church's moral teachings? - Audrey Dillon
Society: Why Chesterton is needed now more than ever - Dale Ahlquist
Education: Chavagnes en Paillers: a Catholic college with a Catholic culture - Paul Russell
The importance of beauty in the Liturgy - Christopher Pearson
Poetry: The power and beauty of religious poetry - Star-Life, Identikit, Ministers - Bruce Dawe
Poetry: The power and beauty of religious poetry - Cast fear behind thee, I am come! - Marion and Delia Craig
Letters: New Liturgy document (letter) - John Schmid
Letters: Disrespect (letter) - John Casamento
Letters: Behaviour at Mass (letter) - Michael Ryan
Letters: Options (letter) - Maryse Usher
Letter: Signs of hope (letter) - Daniel Attard
Letters: Priestly vocations (letter) - Monsignor Robert Egar
Letters: The Passion - Suffering (letter) - Dr Arnold Jago
Letters: The Passion - Not overdone (letter) - Monique Onezime
Letters: The Passion - No ordinary man (letter) - Jony Joordens
Letters: Faith and reason (letter) - John Kelly
Letters: Gospel Dating - The Jesus Papyrus (letter) - Paul R. Smith
Letters: Media Standards Australia (letter) - Denise Den-Bakker
Letters: Name changes? (letter) - Frank Mobbs
Letters: US Survey (letter) - Errol P. Duke
Letters: Catholic books (letter) - Frank Carleton
Events: Window Shopping for Non-Catholics - Fr Paul Newton
Books: The Free Press, by Hilaire Belloc - John Ballantyne (reviewer)
Books: The Outline Of Sanity, by G.K. Chesterton - Peter Westmore (reviewer)
Books: Catharine With An 'A', by Edna Keir - Joan Graham (reviewer)
Books: Looking Again at the Question of the Liturgy, Reform of the Reform? - Paul Russell (reviewer)
Books: More new titles for 2004 from AD Books
Reflection: The Holy Spirit: like a bed for the weary traveller - Fr Leo Duck

Perhaps the time has come to review some of the names of our Christian seasons and feast days. For example, "The Nativity" is arguably preferable to Christmas, as in other languages (Nativité, Navidad, Natività), but it seems impossible to dislodge for the time being.

The case is stronger with "Lent" and "Easter", for the words themselves have no meaning, even if users of English know what events are picked out by these two names.

It might be thought that the derivation of these names will give them meaning. I'm afraid not. Consider "Lent". It seems to be derived from an Anglo-Saxon word lenten, meaning "Spring". But Christians are not observing Spring when they observe Lent, especially in the southern hemisphere.

"Easter" seems to be from an Anglo-Saxon word, Edestre, the goddess of spring. Fine, but no one is celebrating Edestre at Easter, and hardly anyone has heard of the goddess.

My favourite candidate to replace "Lent" is "Preparation", that is, Preparation for the Resurrection. Using this name, one would say, "I intend to fast during Preparation this year" or "I must go to Confession during Preparation." A rival is "Forty Days", the equivalent of which is used in Romance languages (French: careme, Italian: quaresima, Spanish: cuaresma).

My favourite replacement for "Easter" is "Pascha" from "Passover". We date the Feast of the Resurrection by reference to Passover. Moreover, the Lord Jesus said, "I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples" (Matthew 26:18) as he went to his death and resurrection.

Next year let us use the days of Preparation well so that we may rejoice at Pascha.

Gosford, NSW

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 17 No 5 (June 2004), p. 15

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