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Manipulating language

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 Contents - Feb 2007AD2000 February 2007 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: The Church and globalisation - Peter Westmore
Education: Australia's Catholic school systems: the case for radical surgery - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
East Timor: priests threatened with execution - Peter Westmore
Fr John Speekman: Vatican orders reinstatement of wrongly removed Sale Diocese parish priest - Michael Gilchrist
Priesthood: Orthodox priests in a divided Church - Fr John Trigilio
The Church and the environment: address the moral pollution first - Wanda Skowronska
Salesians help rebuild post-tsunami Sri Lanka - Br Michael Lynch
Why we need holy days of obligation - Joanna Bogle
Music: Johann Sebastian Bach and the heavenly choir - Fr Finbarr Flanagan
Letters: Shared guilt - Errol Duke
Letters: Lost! - Moya and Leo Morrissey
Letters: Truth and love - Chris Hilder
Letters: Root Cause - Marie Kennedy
Letters: Safe-sex? - Jack Blair
Poetry: Gender-Bender Autos - Bruce Dawe
Letters: Limbo? - Lawrence R. Hurley
Letters: Manipulating language - Carol V. Phillips
Letters: Obedience - Matthew Buckley
Letters: Latin Mass - John Gariano
Letters: Religious materials - J.W. Smith
Letters: Catholic dolls - Anne Cramer
Books: TREASURE IN CLAY: The Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: BEGINNING AT JERUSALEM: Five Reflections on the History of the Church - Sr Mariana Handley (reviewer)
Books: SPIRITUAL DIRECTION: Who Is It For and What Are Its Benefits? - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: B.A. Santamaria's correspondence published by MUP
Books: New Titles from AD Books
Reflection: Why the Church must continue to uphold priestly celibacy - Fr Pat Stratford

Fran Swindale's sarcastic letter in the November AD2000 amazed me. She criticises Philip Holberton, and, presumably others of his ilk, for being upset about "one word".

Philip is not upset about one word. He is clearly concerned about the whole concept of "inclusive" language, and also seeks the most accurate translation possible of Latin into English.

Even it were only "one word" that upset him, he has excellent grounds for being so. What is a "termination" of pregnancy? Is it not killing a child? What is a human "blastocyst"? Is it not a newly-conceived baby? What is a woman's "choice"? Is it not the alleged right to murder her own child?

What was the Nazi final "solution"? Was it not the total extermination of the Jews of Europe? What was Germany's "lebensraum" (meaning "living room")? Was it not the policy to invade and conquer other European countries?

These are all words, sometimes single words, that have been utilised in order to manipulate another's understanding of, and viewpoint on, a particular issue.

By all means be happy in your Catholicism, but please allow others to express their concerns about incorrect translations and unnecessarily intrusive, and distorting, agendas. The Church has the duty to ensure that the Word of God is transmitted to the people of God accurately. Where is the harm in raising awareness of this?

Pat Hurley (November AD2000) may be right when he states that "homines" should be more accurately translated as "people", but our Latin dictionary has both "human being" and "man" as the meaning of the singular "homo".

Burswood, WA

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 20 No 1 (February 2007), p. 15

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