The word ‘mother’ isn’t offensive. The Catholic church should say so | The Spectator

I’m used to waiting for the Catholic church to make sense. I’m a convert to Catholicism, and Catholic ideas sometimes take a while to become clear. I start from a position of suspicious distaste, but if I sit tight, I’ve found, the strangest things come right. It’s in this spirit of patient confusion that, since the beginning of the year, I’ve been waiting for the Catholic bishops of England and Wales to speak out in defence of the word ‘mother’, and to state the simple, unremarkable fact that only biological women give birth. Out of America, out of universities, from the HR department of every big business has come this push against ‘gendered language’. The reflex response is that you’re a fascist, or definitely ‘far right’, if you push back. I think it’s for the clergy to hold firm on this. I don’t see how it can’t. Mary is our mother, we’re told. ‘Behold your mother,’ said Christ to the disciple John. The word ‘mother’ is the central pole on which the Catholic church hangs. Without it the whole circus tent collapses. Perhaps the church stays silent because it hopes that the fuss will just evaporate on its own. But as of this year, the push for ‘gender neutrality’ comes right from the top. The US President’s ‘house rules’ now include using ‘gender inclusive language’, which means changing ‘mother’ and ‘father’ to ‘parent’ etc for fear of upsetting gender nonconformists. Joe Biden, a Catholic, has changed the law so that the prohibition on discrimination against women now covers discrimination against anyone who identifies as a woman as well. This week, some American bishops have taken issue with Biden’s position on abortion (against, but for choice). In my book, his casual collapsing of the gap between biological sex and self-chosen gender is worse. It’s a denial of reality, and of the truth outside self. It means that other people, the focus of Christian life, become indistinct. It means we’re living in a world of female penises now, God help us.

The word ‘mother’ isn’t offensive. The Catholic church should say so | The Spectator

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