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Disclaimer 1: This post won’t be religious, per se.  I’m not in the business of convincing people to change their religious views.

Disclaimer 2: I am Catholic, which is the basis for my observations.

I attend Catholic mass (nearly) every Sunday, as well as (most of the) Holy Days of Obligation.  The readings we hear are mostly familiar, or extremely familiar.  Recently, the Catholic church updated some of the language to make it more modern, or to make the intent less ambiguous.  And I understand that.  Language evolves over time, and so the biblical translations will need occasional updates.  Anyone who has struggled through their first experience at Shakespeare understands this.

There is a part of me, however, that mourns the loss of the more elegant phrases that the previous version contained.  This strikes me particularly twice a year: at Christmas when the shepherds are no longer “sore afraid” and the angels proclamation is no longer, “fear not, for behold I bring you tidings of great joy”; and at Easter.  Christ once proclaimed to Peter that, “before the cock crows twice, you shall deny me thrice.”  Now He simply says, “before the cock crows, you shall deny me three times.”  As I mentioned, there is no loss of meaning, but the elegant language is now common.

It’s hard for me, as a writer, to accept this change.  How things are said is as important as what is said.  I can’t help wondering if this change, meant to help more people comprehend the message, is losing something.  God is after all, greater than we are.  Shouldn’t the language we use to invoke Him be on a higher level, too?


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