Priest urges women to protest at 'sexist language' in missal


CATHOLIC WOMEN should write to bishops around the country in protest at sexist language in the new version of the Roman missal, one of the founders of the Association of Catholic Priests has said.

Speaking yesterday as the first of many changes to the Mass were introduced in churches here, Fr Seán McDonagh said it was obvious from the language of the new missal that not a single woman had been consulted while it was being drawn up.

Changes to some prayers and responses were introduced at Masses yesterday for the first time, including to the wording of the I Confess, the Gloria and the Profession of Faith. They mark the beginning of the introduction of a new translation of the missal, which will be used in full from November 27th.

Critics have said the new version, which includes multiple uses of man and men to mean both men and women, is sexist. Responses such as “and with your spirit” to replace “and also with you”, have been criticised as archaic. And the use of words like “consubstantial” to replace “one being with” have been labelled elitist and obscure.

Fr McDonagh said it was regrettable that priests had to fight a linguistic battle over inclusiveness when it should be taken for granted. “Women should write to their bishops and tell them ‘I am not a man’,” he said.

Outside the church of St Vincent de Paul in Marino, north Dublin, where the Apostles’ Creed did not include the phrase “For us men and for our salvation”, parishioners had mixed feelings about the changes.

Phyllis Sparks, who said she was “two years off 90”, found the changes unnecessary and said they had been introduced by “silly old men” in Rome.

“I used to be a holy Roman, I’m not anymore; I’m very disappointed in them,” she said.

Philip Walshe said yesterday’s changes didn’t bother him much. “There wasn’t a great deal to give out about this morning, but I’ve heard people say there will be too much reference to men and not enough to women, so we’ll have to see further down the line,” he said.

Bernadette Fearon said nobody liked change, but in time people would get used to it.

Local resident Amy Keogh said at first she didn’t like the idea and thought we were being dictated to by Rome. “But having been to Mass, I think it’s okay,” she said.

Fr Kevin Doran said one advantage of the new wording was it meant people had to concentrate on what they were saying and on what was being said. “On some days, I think I could say ‘rashers and eggs’ and people would reply ‘and also with you’,” he said.