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By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Apr 01, 2004

The Quixote Center in Maryland proudly announces the completion of its project to render a translation of the entire Bible in inclusive language. Yes, folks; Volume II: The Prophets, will soon be available at your local bookstore.

Well, actually you won't find it at most bookstores, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Volume III: The Writings, came out four years ago. and Volume I: The Torah followed in 2001. These Quixote people aren't stuck on the notion that I should precede II. And they avoid calling any these three volumes the "Old" Testament; they're given the non-judgmental title "Hebrew Scriptures." Their version of the New Testament, with every masculine pronoun carefully vetted, has been on the shelves since 1994.

But again, you probably haven't seen these books on the shelves, because they're not exactly best-sellers. Bookstores don't generally stock them, because book-buyers don't generally buy them. That's why this project was undertaken by a small fringe group in Maryland, and the publisher is little Altamira Press. The market of discerning readers isn't exactly clamoring for an "inclusive-language" Bible.

Now this puts us in a curious position.

The most common argument in favor of using "inclusive language" translations is that the English language has evolved, and this is the way ordinary people speak today, But "ordinary people"-- whether or not they go his-or-her-ing their way through life-- clearly don't feel a desire to have such language in the Scriptures.

Which leaves us with the second-best argument in favor of inclusive language. Feminists want to change the way we talk, as a way of changing the way we think, and toward that end they're determined to change the Scriptures whether we want it or not.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Sterling - Apr. 03, 2004 12:33 AM ET USA

    Maybe you liturgical types (that means "churchy" right?) can help me with something. So, here's my problem: I'm staging a production of South Pacific, but as a lefty/artsy sort, I need to put the song, "Ain't nothing like a dame," in inclusive language. Any ideas out there?

  • Posted by: - Apr. 02, 2004 12:38 AM ET USA

    Mr. Lawler is dead on in his conclusion, "Feminists want to change the way we talk, as a way of changing the way we think." The feminists use the same methods that the modernists and ecumaniacs have successfully done in changing the prayers of the Mass to reflect their own way of thinking. The Mass is the only exposure most Catholics get to their faith. Change the way Mass is offered and you change the faith of the people. It reflects the old adage, "the law of prayer is the law of faith."

  • Posted by: - Apr. 01, 2004 8:18 PM ET USA

    Feminists possibly got into the heretical position they are in because prayer was subverted. I have seen these women at work. No prayer, no Scripture, no Liturgy is approved until they have checked the language for inclusivity. Prayer is the key to Christian life. Once language became paramount, prayer ended Communion with God is replaced with the idol of feminism and the immaturity of the "rights" mentality. Once prayer was subverted these women became easy prey for the roaring lion.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 01, 2004 6:05 PM ET USA

    Inclusive language is required in a lot of other places other than the scriptures. Manhole=personhole; mailman=postal person: alderman=alderperson. I was once chided by an SJ who said Mass at our Parish, that I didn't seem to support inclusive language in the Mass (Creed). I told him that inclusive language was the last of the problems that the Church needed to tackle.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 01, 2004 3:49 PM ET USA

    There is a fine demolition of the case for "inclusive language" in the current number of The Thomist. Author's name slips my mind. Hunk Hondo

  • Posted by: - Apr. 01, 2004 3:46 PM ET USA

    Years ago it seems.......all the Cardinals in the US went to pay the Vatican a visit in the would think it was over the soon to be sex scandal...or the fall in vocations....or the decline of Catholic was over inclusive language. I never understood why these Cardinals felt it was so important to go to the Vatican to discuss inclusive language in the liturgy. I have never come across a member of the laity who felt inclusive language was necessary.