13 September 2008

For us XXX and for out salvation

On the Memorial of St. John Chrysostom, I will tell you about an abuse I witnessed during his Divine Liturgy (actually, there were a couple of abuses, but I’ll just tell you about one). This summer I attended a Divine Liturgy that was celebrated in a Latin Rite chapel. I’m pretty sure everyone there was Latin Rite except for the presiding Byzantine priest. To help us Romans through the Byzantine Liturgy, some little books were handed out. I’m familiar with these little books because my fiancée’s parish uses them. They were The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom published by the Synod of the Hierarchy of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

The Liturgy unfolded as I was more or less accustomed to, until we came to the Nicene Creed. Everyone was of course following the little books because Canadian Roman Catholics say the Apostles’ Creed in Mass (praying the Chaplet of Belief is a good way to learn the Nicene Creed). Something very strange happened when we got to the line, “For us men and for out salvation.” The word “men” in my book was scribbled out, and I assume it was scribbled out in everyone else’s book because I was the only one that said, “us men.”

I’ve witnessed this kind of abuse in the Latin Rite a couple of times by the odd person in the congregation, but never in the Byzantine Rite, and never the whole congregation.

The cause of this abuse is so-called feminism (read Am I a Chauvinist? Are Feminists Feminine?). The phrase “us men” (nos hómines) is used in the inclusive sense to mean all men, male and female. To leave out the word men is not only an abuse of the Liturgy, it demonstrates  an ignorance of the English language (read Is “Inclusive Language” Inclusive?).

I wouldn’t be surprised if the next edition of these little books will leave out the phrase “and the Son” in the line “who proceeds from the Father [and the Son],” but such a change would be entirely historically and theologically correct. However, the word men in the line “For us men and for out salvation” will always remain in the Liturgy, despite the efforts of the so-called feminists, because the Catholic Church is not, and never will become, sexist.