Watching words
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 him—make that put the smack down on the poser—who 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:

Partial-Truth Journalism
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.' ...
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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's editorial director. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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