A specialist in liturgical language says a Vatican ruling against "politically correct" words in the liturgy should also encourage non-Catholics opposed to the dropping of "ancient and beautiful prayers."

Father John Hunwicke, an Anglican priest who is head of theology at Lancing College in England, complained that "unending revision" of worship had produced "disgusting language, poor doctrine and politically correct versions."

In a document, Liturgiam Authenticam, released in May, the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, states that translations of the Bible and liturgy "must be freed from exaggerated dependence on modern modes of expression."

Hunwicke said in the Church of England's newest prayer book, Common Worship, the start of Psalm 1 from the traditional King James's Bible, "Blessed is the man" had been "mistranslated" as "Blessed are they."

He pointed out that in Psalm 14, starting with the words "The fool hath said in his heart," the fool was allowed to stay masculine. "Gender-specific language is wrong for warm and cozy people, but clearly all right for fools," he said.

"Worship is not a private game for experts—that is what the Pope is saying. How right he is," said Hunwicke.

According to the Vatican document, many languages have words capable of referring to masculine and feminine in a single term. It warns: "The abandonment of these terms under pressure of criticism on ideological or other grounds is not always wise or necessary nor is it an inevitable part of linguistic development."

Liturgiam Authenticam insists: "The traditional grammatical gender of the persons of the Trinity should be maintained. Expressions such as Filius hominis (Son of Man) and Patres (fathers) are ...

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