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Adoremus, Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy
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Online Edition - May 2006

Vol. XII, No. 3

Vatican "Observations" on "Inclusive Language" from 2002

The Vatican’s “Observations on the English Translation of the Roman Missal” rejecting the “ICEL Sacramentary” in 2002, said that the word “Sacramentary” is to be dropped, the proper term is Roman Missal; the word “presbyter” is not to substitute for “priest”; and commented on matters of translation, including grammar, syntax, and so-called “inclusive language”, as in the following excerpt:

In an effort to avoid completely the use of the term “man” as a translation of the Latin homo, the translation often fails to convey the true content of that Latin term, and limits itself to a focus on the congregation actually present or to those presently living. The simultaneous reference to the unity and the collectivity of the human race is lost. The term “humankind”, coined for purposes of “inclusive language”, remains somewhat faddish and ill-adapted to the liturgical context, and, in addition, it is usually too abstract to convey the notion of the Latin homo. The latter, just as the English “man”, which some appear to have made the object of a taboo, are able to express in a collective but also concrete and personal manner the notion of a partner with God in a Covenant who gratefully receives from him the gifts of forgiveness and Redemption. At least in many instances, an abstract or binomial expression cannot achieve the same effect.

– “Observations…” III.A

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