A Fig Leaf for the Creed by Paul Mankowski

A Fig Leaf for the Creed

“Inclusive Language” Comes to Mass

by Paul Mankowski

Consider, if you will, the sad but instructive case of Brother Paulinus Riordan of the Society of Jesus. In the late forties and fifties, Brother Riordan worked in the library of the novitiate of one of the midwestern Jesuit provinces. He could often be seen of a morning, so I’ve been told, sitting at his desk with a pair of scissors, a pot of glue, several sheets of thick colored paper, and a magnifying glass. His goal––that is, the Final Cause of his efforts––was to help preserve the purity of Jesuit novices, an entirely honorable task. His means consisted of snipping tiny bikini bras and panties out of the paper and carefully pasting them in position over the photographs of tribal women that appeared in National Geographic magazine, so that no unwary reader be led astray into unchastity. For the fact of the matter is that, though his work was known and approved by his superiors, Brother Riordan was insane.

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Paul Mankowski is a lector in Biblical Hebrew at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. He has published Akkadian Loanwords in Biblical Hebrew (Harvard Semitic Studies #47).

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