Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Is the Church threatened by "inclusive language?"

Sunday's StarTribune had three more letters reacting to Nick Coleman's column in the Strib of more than a week ago reporting on the walkout at St Stephen's. Two agreeing with Coleman, and one opposed. Michael Bayly wondered why the Church is so threatened by "inclusive language." I commented.

They kept the faith

My heartfelt support — emotional and spiritual — goes to the people of St. Stephen’s parish who have chosen to relocate their worship service (“The push for conformity shoves away parishioners,” March 2).

I know a number of people, myself included, who choose not to support the worship dictates of the men who call themselves our leaders. We have kept our faith, but we have lost our church.

Diocese spokesman Dennis McGrath states that “they had plenty of warnings to get their act together.” What a heavy-handed, thuggish way of putting it!

Apparently they did get their act together and found a place where they could celebrate their faith in a way that harmonizes with their values.

Susan Weyrauch, Eden Prairie

Whose gospel is it?

Let’s see if I got this right — among other things, the parishioners of St. Stephen’s Catholic Church thought they, mere mortals, could improve upon the teachings of our creator, our Lord Jesus Christ, and change the words to the prayer that Jesus himself taught us to pray (“Our Father and Mother, Who Art in Heaven”?)

Yikes! Who died and made them God?

Joe and Becky Eibenseiner, Sauk Center, MN


What would Jesus do? I doubt very much he would alienate devoted followers using tough-guy talk like Dennis McGrath did when he said, “They’ve had plenty of warning to get their act together.” This is the type of intolerant leadership that drives people away from the church.

For many people, congregations such as St. Stephen’s and St. Joan of Arc’s are their last stop before leaving the church for good. The basic tenets of the Catholic Church are faith, hope and charity, yet for these faithful, it gives no hope or charity.

Would Jesus put more emphasis on carrying out the message of his gospels or following the rubrics?

I think he’d be leading the disenfranchised parishioners out the front door of the church down the road to where faith, hope and charity have real meaning.

Joe Boller, Minneapolis

Ray from MN comments:

Michael asked: Why do folks like the Eibenseiner’s and those in Chancery feel so threatened by inclusive language and thus by feminine images of God?

Is this a matter of "feeling threatened" or is it a matter of humility and obeying the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church?

Nobody brings this up much, but you can use all the inclusive language you want in personal prayers and group prayers that are not a part of the liturgies of the Church. That's between you and God, and your prayer partners.

The prayers of the liturgy are a different matter and are determined so that the Church remains ONE, holy, Catholic and apostolic.

I have "issues" with many of the translations of the Church also. Just how did "Et cum spiritu tuo" get to be translated as "And also with you?" How did "pro multis" get to be translated as "for all?" I don't like it but I don't spend much of my time griping about it.

I think what we have here are lots of folks who have many complaints about the Church and they want changes to be made on a parish by parish basis.

In other words, they want to break up the Church into thousands of denominations, just like the 30,000 or so protestant denominations and independent churches.

That is not what Jesus wants. When He named the apostle Simon as head of the Church [the one Church], He said: "You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church [singular]. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it [singular]. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven." [Jerusalem Bible trans.]

It appears that Jesus believed that those who "hold out against" the Church are being influenced by the underworld.

When the Church tells me how they want me to pray in Mass, I humbly submit as that is Jesus talking. What I think about it makes no difference.

On my own time I can acknowledge the infinite aspects of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and pray to all of them if I wish.

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