Christopher Howse, religion columnist for The Telegraph of London, this week examines developments in revising the language of the Roman Catholic Mass. By more closely approximating the older Latin Mass, he says, "The revision will sever any approximation to the language of the Communion service of the Church of England," he notes. But more than that, there's "no more thee and thou, nor even beseech." It's not as crazy as the Christian Aid booklet of prayers that rewrites the Lord's Prayer with "Give us this day a fairer wage," but woe unto himmake that put the smack down on the poserwho messes with liturgy. "Nothing gets people more worked up than the language used in church," Howse says.
Unless, at times, it's language used in the media. Last week's ruling by a federal judge in San Francisco against the national partial-birth abortion ban has elicited a fair amount of comment from the pundit class. But not as much as the media coverage of the ruling. Weblog first noticed exasperation from The Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web Today:
In an article on a court ruling striking down the Partial Birth Abortion Act of 2003, the Associated Press gets tripped up by the terminology: "Doctors call it intact dilation and extraction but abortion foes refer to it as 'partial-birth abortion.' " How come we get scare quotes around the plain-English term but not around the clinical one? And what do doctors who oppose abortion call it?
Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby notes that the Associated Press isn't alone, giving a rundown of media contortionism (italics are his):
Newsday: "Doctors call it intact dilation and extraction but abortion foes refer to it as `partial-birth abortion.' ...1
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