Last month Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith wrote up a list of ten Church buzzwords he would like to eliminate. An interesting list and one I mostly agree with. Some of the buzzwords listed were not ones I had thought much about, but can see that they are indeed buzzwords.
So this got me thinking about my own list of buzzwords and phrases I could do without. Now I would admit that some of the ones I am going to list might just be perfectly acceptable and even be used correctly in faithful circles. I am going by mostly my own reactions to them and the negative connotations they have for me. So that should be enough of a disclaimer.
- Presider. The announcement at the start of so many Masses that Fr. so-and-so will be the presider. This has the Mass as meeting connotation where instead of a priest as In persona Christi we have heading this meeting is. Now the term “presides” and “presider” does show up in English translations of Vatican documents. I just think the use of this just before Mass starts is not helpful. Though really the Mass needs no introduction such as this. Heck if they are going to go ahead and do this I would almost prefer a Soap Opera substitution phrasing such as “The part of Jesus is now being played by Fr. so-and so” — well not really. Celebrant doesn’t annoy me as much, but let’s just skip the introductions.
- Worship Space. I like how the term shows a proper orientation towards God. But what is wrong with the world “church”? Why substitute “worship space” which seems much more abstract? “Honey it is time to wake up the kids so we can go to worship space.”
- Faith Community. Again a fairly accurate term, but I pretty much only find the word used in more liberal environs. Welcome to our faith community is another part of the introduction I hear from time to time. Just use “parish” instead of going with more wordy phrases.
- Sending forth hymn. This one grates on me whenever I hear it which just shows how irrational pet-peeves can be. Maybe though it is because when at the end of Mass the Cantor announces a “Sending forth hymn” it is usually a hymn that really sends me forth to escape the sounds attacking my ear drums. It is rather amazing how many times a “Sending forth hymn” is accompanied with castanets. Now Peter was called to cast a net, but not the choir. Besides “Recessional hymn” is good enough for me. Though the whole 4-hymn or 5-hymn sandwich for Mass I could also easily rant on.
- Prophetic voice. It is pretty much a certainty when somebody says they are speaking with a prophetic voice they are doing anything but that. Just the problem with the pride of calling yourself a prophet or the group you associate with is enough to set off warning signals. Those who proclaim a prophetic voice seem to know nothing about the prophets. The prophets were persecuted and martyred because they called Israel back to the faith and proclaimed against their errors. The self-proclaimed prophets are more pathetic than prophetic. They call people away from the faith and then proclaim errors as truth. They say the Church will change her teachings — just add time.
- Healing Mass. Technically there is no specific category of a Healing Mass, generally though all Masses involve healing. What is usually meant by this term is Mass followed by some kind of healing prayer service. Sometimes you even see the Sacrament of Anointing given out like a blessing where people just stand in line and receive the sacrament. When I have encountered this there was no discernment regarding danger of death or any other caveats about when it is appropriate to receive this sacrament of healing. When prayers for healing in a liturgical or non-liturgical occur in context of the norms of the Church I of course have no objection. I just prefer accurate terms.
- Progressive. Chesterton said enough about this in Heretics that I will not attempt to improve on him.
- Seamless Garment. I am not critiquing Cardinal Bernadin’s original use of this which certainly reflects a truth. Rather I critique what it has morphed into. In the modern use I call it the “Shameless Garment” since it is used rather shamelessly to be an excuse to vote for pro-abortion politicians or be involved with pro-abortion groups just as long as they also do some objective good. The hierarchy of truths which the Seamless Garment should reflect has been flattened down to make all issues equal.
- Catholic Identity. Used mostly by those who should be sued for Catholic Identity Fraud. Usually is a term used as a veneer to apply a Catholic patina to an institution that has mostly lost it’s Catholic faith.
- Eucharistic Minister. Part of the flattening out of the clergy and the laity. It is not just for ease of use that the actual title “Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion” is replaced. I don’t have to rant about how ordinary the extraordinary is at Masses since that has been well-covered in the Catholic blogosphere. Really though this one was just easy pickings to round off my list to ten.
What are your least favorite Catholic buzzwords/phrases.