Deny Fathers (and Reality) at Your Peril
Fr. John Kiley makes an excellent point in an RI Catholic column that is, for some reason, not online:
And it is not just television that demeans men. Catholics would be surprised how often a priest goes to another parish to celebrate Mass only to find all the male pronouns penciled out of the Sacramentary and Lectionary. Some have taken the liberty of revising the Sign of the Cross with its explicit use of the male terms “Father” and “Son” into the gender neutral “in the name of the Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier.”
Thus a warm relationship (father/son) is replaced by three anonymous functions. The recent novel “The Death of a Pope” narrates a discussion resulting in God being addressed as “Our Parent” rather than “Our Father.” Mary Daley, a professor at Boston College no less, sees the fatherhood of God to be a mere extension of male domination. Man reads himself into God. Her book is chillingly entitled, “Beyond God the Father.”
Our society has had (and will always have) work to do ironing prejudices and other markers of human error out of the culture, but attempting to expedite the process through the control of language is an attempt to recreate the world according to our own specifications. Jesus Himself used the “Father” construction frequently and deeply; it must have consequences to insist that the word choice was arbitrarily made within a context of patriarchal oppression.