Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"Man?!!" Political Correctness and Getting a Grip

I've been writing tomorrow's post. It's about "in the image of God," among other things. The post will include a quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and a verse from Genesis. Both use the word "man" to mean "all human beings."

Instead of bringing that post to a full stop for a discussion of language, culture, and my take on the last fifty years in America, I decided to get that out of the way here.

Words, Language, and Culture

I often use words like "humanity" or "human being" when I mean "the sort of creature I am." That's partly because I like big words, and partly because I spent my teens in the '60s.

For decades, I lived in a culture where using "man" to describe something besides a male chauvinist pig oppressor rapist was frowned upon. Strongly.

Communicating was easier if I avoided terms that sent some folks into conniptions, so I adopted the more polysyllabic lexemes. That was easier than trying to change an entire culture. Besides, I like big words.

My native language may, someday, have a word other than "man" that is short, simple, and means "all human beings, living or dead." Right now, despite the best efforts of today's establishment, we don't.

Goodbye Crew Cut, Hello Siblinghood of Person

By "the establishment," I don't mean the pale, beardless men who held positions of power and influence back in the 'good old days.' Quite a bit has changed in the last half-century. (September 15, 2011) And that's another topic.

I remember the 'good old days,' by the way. They weren't. I do not want to go back to a day when "she's as smart as a man" was supposed to be a compliment, and that's yet another topic.

Some of what happened in America over the last half-century was, I think, for the better. And, in the case of dealing with broken 19th century treaties: long overdue. Still more topics.

Sadly, in addition to needed social reforms, America got a new establishment: whose members pursued their strange notion of 'tolerance' with the zeal that the older establishment had shown while hunting commies in Hollywood.

The good news is that change happens. Today's establishment likes about as much as their counterparts back in the '60s did. (January 26, 2010) Me? I wasn't on the same page as the establishment a half-century ago, I'm not now: and I insist on being hopeful.

Cultural Sensitivity

I've made the point before, that the Catholic Church is literally universal. (November 27, 2011)

When missionaries reached my ancestors, we were conducting human sacrifices. Killing people as part of cherished cultural beliefs had to go, although the process took several centuries. (January 19, 2010) The habit we had of dragging at least parts of a tree inside at the winter solstice became part of a Christian holy day: and that's another topic.

The point is that the Catholic Church is okay with local customs. Provided they don't violate the 'love God, love your neighbor' principles my Lord established. (April 9, 2012)

Here's part of the explanation for why the Catechism of the Catholic Church, English translation, doesn't have the contorted language that America's current establishment prefers:
"Is this Catechism intended to be used 'as is' in all the pluriform Churches throughout the world that make up the universal Church?

"Although it is translated into several languages, there is only one Catechism for the whole Church. The Catechism contains what the Church holds and teaches throughout the world. It is a resource for the development of culturally-sensitive catechisms and catechetical materials. By its own acknowledgment, the Catechism does not intend to achieve this cultural sensitivity itself. Rather 'such indispensable adaptation, required by differences of culture, age, spiritual life, and social and ecclesial condition among God's people,' belongs in other catechisms inspired by this work, and is the particular task of those who teach the faith."
("Question and Answers on the Catechism of the Catholic Church," Reverend John Pollard, via United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (revised by staff 4.07)) [emphasis mine]
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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.