Deplorable churchy jargon

This amusing piece came from the UK’s best Catholic weekly, The Catholic Herald (do you subscribe?):

The English language is not a walled garden, but rather a trampled field over which many passers through have left their mark. The French language has an academy to protect it, which can ban certain words and which has the legal power to enforce its will. But on this side of the Channel, if you use a new word or phrase, as long as it sticks, that word or phrase may well find its way into the next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Some of these neologisms have a certain charm or energy to them. Others are ugly, lazy or debased and come, all too often, from America. [?!? I seeeee.  Brits have never made up words.  Noooo….] (Britain has a tendency only to take the worst of American neologisms, rarely the best.) But there is another community of speakers who seem to enjoy scraping the marble cladding off the language of Shakespeare and reducing it to brick. I mean, of course, the Catholic Church. This is one Romanist conspiracy that is sadly all too real.

Here are 10 examples of Catholic-speak that should be banned.

1) Formation. This word has nothing to do with making things out of clay or Plasticine. Rather, you will encounter it in the following setting: “religious formation” or “clergy formation”. It means something wider than mere education or studies, and is supposed to cover all those activities that go on in seminaries. Sometimes a priest may ask another priest: “Where did you do your formation?” The word comes to us from Italian (formazione) but what the priest really should be saying is: “Where did you do your training?” [Although, perhaps in a religious community novices need to be “molded” (beaten, squeezed into shape) according the spirituality of the group they hope to join.]

2) Robes. Those things you see your priest wearing at the altar? They are not robes. They are vestments. [Amen.] A robe is what you wear on your way to the bathroom. Judges wear robes, but priests vest. Priestly vestments are distinct and important. Robes sound like what they wore in Star Wars.

3)?Share. As in “thank you for sharing”. The only possible legitimate use of the word “share”, this side of California, is in the context of the stock market. So, instead of inviting people to share at the next meeting of the parish council, just turn and say: “So, what do you think?” [THINK?  No, Father.  “Feeeeel”….]

4)?Delicate. This is another import from Italian. Italians use the word delicato where we might use the words “awkward” or “embarrassing”. [Or “complicated”.] You are told that the situation in the parish is “delicate”. This means that everyone should bury their heads in the sand, because they are too embarrassed to mention some elephant in the room. Go ahead: mention it and see what happens. And while on that topic…

5) Elephant in the room. This phrase should never be used. Instead, try saying the following: “Major infraction of canon law, which is clear for all to see, but which we are all pretending does not exist.” [Yes, though this is a delicate subject, I am sure we are all more comfortable referring to a large gorilla.]

6) Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Just ban it. Now. Never let these words be mentioned together again. Ever. [Would that it were so easy.]

7) Outreach. It seems like a good idea to reach out to people, but why this involves the invention of a new word, I am not sure. What happened to “mission”, a word good enough for the Church’s founder? [Yes.  Ban it now.]

8)?Guideline. As in “only a guideline”. This is a favourite of those who fear they may be on the wrong side of canon law. It isn’t a guideline, it’s a law. So deal with it.  [But… hang on!  We can break guidelines!]

9)?Ongoing. This is a great favourite, especially when nothing is in fact going on. “Our investigations are ongoing” translates as: “We are doing nothing about it at present, except fob you off with words.” This is often found with the first example, as in “ongoing formation” (outside the Church, what is called in-service training), another form of words that masks a lacuna of activity. [For those of you in Columbia Heights, “lacuna” is Latin for “empty place, void, blank”.  It often refers to something that should be present, but isn’t.  Lacuna pairs well with “elephant in the room”, doesn’t it?  In the one case, you “see” something that isn’t there but should be and, in the other, you don’t see something that is incredibly obvious.]

10) I know you are very busy right now, Father. Well, he might be or there again, he might not be. [sic] But whichever way, he was ordained to minister to the people of God, so speak to him. But whatever you say, do not use any of the words and phrases outlined above. [And please get to the point quickly.  Thanks in advance.]

The 10 words that I have nominated for banishment could perhaps be joined by many others. Every Catholic will have his or her own list. This is mine.

But there is a serious point behind all this. The new translation of the Roman liturgy, and all the talk of a new evangelisation, rest on the concept of communicating timeless truth is a way that is attractive and even enticing. The words and phrase above are either ugly or obfuscating, or both.

We need to tell it like it is, to use one American phrase which is good, direct and powerful. Throwing away the jargon is one small, but necessary, step towards this.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Lighter fare and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. APX says:

    he was ordained to minister to the people of God, so speak to him.
    Unfortunately, some priests have forgotten this, thus it is understandable why some people will preface what they say with, “I know you are very busy right now, Father” just as an offensive mechanism to help soften the possible on-coming backlash for bothering Father when he’s so busy. I have run into such backlash, and it’s not very pleasant, especially when it’s for something spiritually important. I don’t use the aforementioned phrase. I just don’t bother bothering priests, unless it something of uber importance for someone else.

  2. tominrichmond says:

    How about “dialogue” “Faith Community” “minister” or “ministry” “reconciliation” “faith journey”?

    And can we re-introduce the use of articles, as in “We are [IN or BELONG TO or ARE MEMBERS OF] THE Church” instead of “We are Church.”

  3. dep says:


    To say nothing of “faith tradition” as an euphemism for “some other church.”

  4. irishgirl says:

    Right on, tominrichmond and dep! The words both of you mentioned are among my absolute pet peeves!
    I got another one: ‘faith sharing’. Another teeth-grating term.

  5. wmeyer says:

    Presider. As in “the presider for this Mass will be….”

    Liturgist. Ban the word; ban the position.

  6. eyeclinic says:

    11. Minister/ministry-never to be used in combination with “Eucharistic” unless referring to priests or bishops. Forbidden usage includes phrases which describe questionable or mundane functions e.g Bingo ministry or groundskeeping minister. Acceptable usage includes “Extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.”

  7. eyeclinic says:

    I’m too slow at the keyboard…by the time I typed my reply, 6 others sneaked in ahead of me!

  8. Glen M says:

    “Dialogue” is dissenter code for “No, we’re not going to stop doing what we’re doing, but hey, let’s talk about it anyway”

    More dissenter code words:

    I’d like to see all parishes stop the novel descriptions and call it what it is: The Holy Sacrifice Of The Mass. Not: Lord’s Day Liturgy, Children’s Liturgy, Korean Eucharist, Vocations Eucharist, Sunday Worship, etc

    Same goes for the Sacrament of Confession. It’s Confession, as in “I confess to almighty God and…” We don’t say “I reconcile …”

    The Eucharistic Minister is the priest.

  9. APX says:

    “Be Eucharist” Blegh! Just typing it makes me cringe. There is a priest back home who uses this phrase frequently during his homilies.

  10. Indulgentiam says:

    Ok maybe it’s not, strictly speaking, a Church word but it is used by modernists in place of Charity. The word NICE which originally meant, late 13c., “foolish, stupid, senseless–See

  11. Legisperitus says:

    That Stephen Covey term “mission statement.” Every parish, diocese, and ad hoc group writing its own “mission statement.” We’ve already received our mission statement:

    “All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.”

  12. harrythepilgrim says:

    How about “discern,” as in discerning a vocation?

    How hard can that be? Why not just get new glasses?

  13. AnAmericanMother says:

    My personal UnFave is “faith journey”. Means nothing, says nothing, blah blah blah.

    When we were still Episcopalians, I went with my daughter to her first Confirmation class. That term was so overused that after about 10 minutes she and I started a “faith journey count”. We got up to about 50 or so then gave up because we (1) missed so many in the first 10 minutes (2) got to giggling and people were looking at us.

    Interesting note: daughter was a bit peeved at having to go through Confirmation all over again. But she loved the class at our new Catholic parish — she said it had substance and hard information, as opposed to the jargony gas pushed by the Piskies. Plus they had exams and essays and an oral examination. They did have a class for the parents to attend while waiting for the kids, and I can speak directly to that: it was substantial and orthodox and pulled no punches.

    Our (then) new archbishop seemed impressed when he confirmed the class. He examined them live on open mike, and not a single one put a foot wrong. The confirmation class director and his assistant, by the way, had no idea that His Excellency was going to put the little ones on the spot, and to say they were quietly having kittens in the background is an understatement.

    The confirmation class director went on to be director of vocations for the archdiocese, now he’s teaching in Rome. Good job Fr. Ballman!

  14. Father K says:

    Another – ‘Church’ without the definite article [as in ‘we are church, let’s do eucharist] both without capitals…I do rather object to ‘training’ wrt seminarians. We train animals not humans…’formation’ is a much broader concept and as long as it is used in a good sense it is better than ‘training’ I think anyway.

  15. Mike says:

    Well, I think “Formation” is a good word, a useful word. Training sounds fine for priests in terms of their ministry, but formation, I believe, covers far more than that. It applies to anyone who is getting help shaping their soul along the lines of the good and the true and the beautiful, by reading, spiritual direction, prayer, study.

    Interestingly, I never hear the word in my “Gather us in” parish.

  16. DLe says:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned “Spirit of Vatican II”, which has been used to justify pretty much anything and everything done to liturgy, theology, etc.

    In that same ballpark is “a step backward” which seems to have been used liberally by many to refer to elements of the reform of the reform…

  17. wmeyer says:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned “Spirit of Vatican II”, which has been used to justify pretty much anything and everything done to liturgy, theology, etc.

    The problem with that one is that it opens an endless list of things done wrong.

    I have never understood why “a step backward” should be viewed negatively. After all, it may simply be a recognition that, as fallible beings, we erred. To correct an error should be considered laudable, not regrettable.

  18. Legisperitus says:

    wmeyer: Exactly. When we run into that, we should immediately up the ante: “Well, I think we need to take several steps backward to evaluate what we’ve been doing.”

  19. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Umm… “pastoral”, anyone?

    Actually, many of these words, like most words, can be used perfectly soundly, or abused. Bit cheeky of the Brits, eh? :)

  20. acricketchirps says:

    I keep two lacunas in the corral between my elephant pen and my gorilla cage. Their wool makes lovely sweaters–I mean jumpers.

  21. JonPatrick says:

    As for #6, it is not the title it is the current constituents of that “conference”. If it is ever reconstituted with Catholic religious faithful to the Magisterium, I would suggest a more appropriate Catholic sounding title such as “Daughters of Mary Leadership Conference” or something like that.

    As for “faith tradition”, I object to our Protestant brethren to be referred to as “churches” since there is only one Church, to which anyone validly baptized is a member, some of whom are in schism from it. So “faith tradition” may be a better term. We could call them “heretics” but that is not very diplomatic :-)

  22. wanda says:

    Dr. Peters, You beat me to it. ‘Pastoral’, eecchhh, I get queasy seeing it or hearing it.

  23. AnnM says:

    I’m always irritated by “Pre-Cana”, which sounds insufferably coy and airy-fairy. In Britain, it used to be called “Marriage Preparation”. What’s wrong with that?

  24. Sissy says:

    “seamless garment” and “social justice” are phrases that make me grit my teeth, not because there is anything wrong with the original concepts…but because they are so often cited as justifications for doing that which the Church teaches is wrong.

  25. APX says:

    @Father K
    Is “let’s do Eucharist” seen as “let’s do lunch?”

  26. Andreas says:

    Worship/sanctuary space? Arghhh…

  27. Cafea Fruor says:

    Really, though, some of the words in the deplorables list are words that are frequently used in many places, be it business, education, etc., and so I would not call them “churchy” jargon. I would just say that they are words that should disappear from the English language altogether, at least in their current usage.

    Some of my most loathed, cringe-inducing words are:

    -“Faith community” in place of “parish”. Not only is “faith community” cheesy, but why use five syllables when two do nicely?

    -“It” or “its” as pronouns for the Church instead of “she” and “her”. You TOTALLY lose sense of the Church being Christ’s bride when you make her a neuter.

    -“Music minister(s)”. How about “choir”, “choir director”, “cantor”, etc.?

    -“Anticipated Mass” – Really? Doesn’t “vigil” roll off the tongue so much better? Besides, “vigil” actually conveys that whole sense of waiting and watching.

  28. wmeyer says:

    …but because they are so often cited as justifications for doing that which the Church teaches is wrong.

    Amen to that! And why is it that we hear all sorts of citations (supposedly) from Vatican II in support of changes, but never the ones which reaffirmed traditions?

    EMHCs (another abhorrent term, because the E is ignored) should be safe, legal, and rare.

  29. tominrichmond,amen

    A few I’d like to add: “community” “lay-led” “pastoral associate” “administrator” –insert other horizontal words as see fit

  30. dep says:

    @JonPatrick: Let’s split the difference and refer to them as protestants, then. Though I’d accept “heresy tradition” where appropriate. Or we could say Baptist, Presbyterian, Moon worshiper, whatever — just call the thing by its name. But “faith tradition” implies something a little softer than the reality of it. Additionally, we have our own small-t and large-T traditions. And the term “faith tradition” is insulting to all around. I am a Catholic. If someone said I was of the “Catholic faith tradition,” I would involuntarily think uncharitable thoughts, even though the phrase would probably have been uttered in hope of doing something nice. And I know no Jews who would not prefer being called Jews to having the corners sanded off by modifiers. Indeed, it’s utterly insulting, every time the phrase “faith tradition” is used. It implies the need for euphemism. I used to be Episcopalian until I gave it some thought and decided Hell was unattractive.

  31. Midwest St. Michael says:

    One that just makes me (almost) livid is the “Church-speak” phrase: “Unloving choice towards God”

    What in Purgatory does that mean, you ask?


    OMG! I just spelled the word sin. ;)

    I wonder if it will ever make it into our “religious ed” books?


  32. Carol H. says:

    I don’t like the mostly secular “benchmark.”

  33. wmeyer says:

    Additionally, we have our own small-t and large-T traditions.

    The difficulty in these terms is the lack of any fixed meaning. In my experience, the speaker has decided–unaided–that the topic under discussion is “small-t” in nature, and hence changeable according to his wishes. Oddly enough, the things which are “large-T” seem to be very few.

  34. Jamin says:

    @ Cafea Fruor
    The problem with “Vigil” for most Saturday night Masses is that there are very few Liturgical Vigils. The Saturday Night Masses are not liturgically “vigils” we are not keeping vigil with the Liturgy like the Easter Vigil, or the other liturgical vigils. The Saturday night Masses are anticipatory of the Sunday Liturgy, it is the Sunday Liturgy done the evening before, as opposed to a different liturgy with specific prayers and readings.

  35. VexillaRegis says:

    “Pre-Cana” has irritated me aswell, since the day I first heard it. Before Cana? – Cana isn’t synonymous to wedding, it’s a village. Perhaps we should say Post-Cana instead of marriage? Or “We have the honour of inviting You to our Cana in octember”.

    Anyway, I would at least remember to wait for the best wine to be brought in at midnight…

  36. ghp95134 says:

    The current buzzword in fashion — which I have grown to hate — is “grow.” Grow now is used in lieu of “expand.” I’ve become sick of hearing “to grow the economy,” “grow the business,” “grow your revenue,” and even “grow in mission.” Just say INCREASE or EXPAND!



  37. Kate says:

    “Fellowship”- as in “…and after Mass, we will meet for coffee and fellowship.”.

  38. VexillaRegis says:

    Arrgh: synonymous with wedding. Need new glasses and a better brain.

  39. Banjo pickin girl says:

    The term “faith journey” probably doesn’t mean much to a cradle Catholic but to a convert it means a lot actually. Some converts have a very long one and some have a shorter but more intense one. John Henry Cardinal Newman comes to mind.

  40. disco says:

    Kate, nothing wrong with fellowship after mass, it’s fellowship during mass that needs to stop.

  41. Northern Ox says:

    “stewardship” / “being good stewards” etc.

  42. mysticalrose says:

    How about “big tent.” As in: Catholicism is a “big tent” — which translates as: the Church is big enough that it can tolerate heretics. Also on my most-hated list: “little c Catholicism.” Why not just say “protestant”? And lastly, “evangelical Catholicism.” What does this even mean? Obviously, the Church is grounded in the Gospel, hence it is evangelical. It teaches and dispenses the graces for living the evangelical counsels. And it is charged with evangelization by Our Lord. “Evangelical Catholicism” is redundant.

  43. PA mom says:

    Gathering space. Didn’t cathedrals used to have lovely words to describe their various chambers? We are “gathered” the whole time we are there, it just sounds unnecessarily mundane.

  44. MAJ Tony says:

    Re: “training” That’s what we do in the Army to learn tasks simple to complex. Education is what we do to learn higher-level “thinking” work, like planning an operation or strategic planning.

    wmeyer “I have never understood why “a step backward” should be viewed negatively. After all, it may simply be a recognition that, as fallible beings, we erred. To correct an error should be considered laudable, not regrettable.”

    Kinda like when you find yourself in a minefield, maybe? Definitely a good time to stop what you’re doing, assess the situation, and carefully back out of that (or perhaps get someone to clear the path back first). Problem is, some folks wouldn’t know they were in a minefield even if they set off the first landmine.

  45. robtbrown says:

    Turning dialogue into a verb is worst. “We were dialoguing”. Why not epiloguing or prologuing?

    Then there’s ministry, which is a legit word, e.g, “Father was in a parish–in a sacramental ministry”. But then the Protestant use arrived: Music ministry, Hospitality ministry (for ushers), Buffet ministry (after funerals).

  46. robtbrown says:

    I don’t like training used to described formation. Training refers to learning techniques.

  47. Father K says:

    ‘fellowship,’ When one of the members of ICEL gave a talk to the priests of our diocese about the new translation of the Roman Missal, when commenting on the word ‘fellowship’ as in ‘the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,’ he said the word reminded him of weak tea and stale biscuits in a Presbyterian church hall.

  48. Bea says:

    My choice of word was


    Nicey, Nicey words and then …….


    Just before the “attack”

  49. Johnno says:

    ‘Ecumenism’ should be changed to “demonstrate to other religions through discourse and action why our religion is correct and why therefore they must convert.” Much longer to say, but more apt leaving no room for interpretation. Nice and straight to the point.

    ‘Peace be with you’ should be expanded to mean ‘May you have the assurance of God’s salvation and triumph at the end of life, and hope for contentment while you yet live.” So not merely the absence of war and impoliteness, criticism and financial and emotional stress etc. It’s for something far greater.

  50. AnAmericanMother says:

    I get what you mean . . . maybe it’s just that (like Pachelbel’s Canon) it’s been over-used.

  51. ScholaLady says:

    “Mature Faith.” As in, “We don’t need to take Church teachings so seriously now because we have a mature faith.”

  52. Mercer says:

    Oh man, where to begin?

    There are various liturgy-related terms that need to be dumped that some folks here have already mentioned, like “presider” (eradicates the distinction between priest and congregation,), “minister” (used to refer specifically to celebrant, deacon, and subdeacon at Solemn Mass, as well as anyone authorized to administer sacraments but now basically refers to anything noticeable in the liturgy), “worship space” (downplays the fact that the church building is a symbolic, visible expression of the Church, that is, the Body of Christ), etc. I’d like to add “Eucharistic celebration,” “Eucharistic liturgy,” or similar phrases instead of “Mass” (makes Mass appear to be something more like a party and implies Mass is something that we who “celebrate” perform, rather than a sacrifice which Christ performs); “assembly” (basically includes all who assemble, including the priest, thus helping further to eradicate the distinction between the priest and the congregation); “gathering” (trivializes worship, as we also gather for meetings, sporting events, and everything else involving more than one person in the same vicinity); “song” used in reference to hymns and proper chants (makes them appear to be the musical equivalent of pop tunes, which in all too many churches today, would seem to be the case in practice); “Word,” “Eucharist,” “Church,” and “Liturgy” when used without the definite article (makes those terms into whatever the person — usually a liturgist — wants them to mean); “sinfulness” (we’re all sinful, but that’s because we commit sins; “sinfulness” removes concern over specific sinful actions and replaces it with a wistful feeling of regret that we as a society are so “sinful,” especially in regard to “structures of oppression”); and “preparation of the gifts” instead of “offertory” (preparing the gifts just isn’t the same as offering them; heck, why even offer ourselves with the bread and wine on the altar to be transformed with them by Christ if it’s merely “preparation” and not offering?).

  53. JKnott says:

    All of the above as well as:
    “Catholic Christians”
    “Welcome to our Family Celebration”
    Please rise and greet our “celebrant Father Nicky”
    “The ‘Campaign’ for ‘Human Development'”
    Eucharistic Celebration in place of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

  54. pelerin says:

    I’m surprised nobody has so far mentioned that many Catholics now use what was once a purely protestant phrase as in ‘I’m going to church’ and ‘He was at church’ instead of ‘Im going to Mass’ or ‘ He was at Mass’. I still talk about being at Mass and cannot bring myself to say that I was in church as so many do today. Protestants go to church but we go to Mass.

  55. Suburbanbanshee says:

    If you never just go to church, how do you go to a Liturgy of the Hours, then?

    Actually, a lot of American Catholics didn’t get to go to church back in the old country, as it was more like “Let’s go to the Mass Rock and hope not to get arrested.”

    In Middle English, “gon to church”, “comen to church”, or “usen church” were the usual expressions for Catholics attending Mass, as was “at church”. There was even an expression, “at church and cheping”, for going to church and the market. The verb “to chirchen” was for a priest not only churching a new mother, but for him assisting with Matrimony, doing Baptisms, bishops ordaining priests, and all sorts of other sacraments.

    So it’s not a Protestant way of thinking, so much as an English/Germanic language thing. The Protestants stole it from good English Catholics of yore, and we’re just using our birthright. Mwahaha! Thus I defend the both/and of Catholicism, and the breadth of tradition!

  56. Imrahil says:

    For those of you who either understand German (I don’t think you need much to get a general idea) and/or the game of Bingo, see here:

  57. BLB Oregon says:

    Most of these words are only hated because of the actions and attitudes we have been taught to associate with them. If the words were banned but the attitude and actions remained, there would just be more ruined words!

    My pet peeve is when a noun is used as if it were also a verb. Why is it that only people who pretend to be fluent in English ever do this? I have resigned myself to “xerox” and “microwave”, but I have no plans to reconcile my ear to the use of “gift” as a verb, particularly in prayers: “…You have gifted us….” Arrgh! What, “granted” wasn’t good enough? “Given” was too….what? Too petit bourgeois? (I can’t say. Alas, I have never learned French…)

    Perhaps it is too much to hope that Americans will ever be a nation of polyglots, but grant us fluency in our mother tongue, Lord.

  58. Charles E Flynn says:

    I am not certain that “vibrant” should be banned outright, but if we heavily taxed it, we could train more people to sing real music.

  59. Cosmos says:

    Glen M says: “Dialogue” is dissenter code for “No, we’re not going to stop doing what we’re doing, but hey, let’s talk about it anyway”

    It might be more accurate to say:

    “Dialogue” is dissenter code for “No, we’re not going to stop doing what we’re doing, but we are pretty confident that if we commit to talking about it at some indefinite point in the future, you will all go away for some reason.”

  60. Glen M says:

    Sit through as much of a “liturgy” on YouTube from the LA Religious Education Congress as you can – I’ll bet every third word used to describe the event would get listed here. Please Archbishop Gomez, clean that mess up.

    Jamin: thanks for the clarification on the “Saturday Night Vigil”.

  61. Gaetano says:

    My two least favorite words during formation were “challenge” and “broken”, which meant: We will stick you in a difficult situation with no preparation, training or support so you will become frustrated with your own broken-ness.

    In the military the break you down, so they can build you up again. Religious formation under the “Spirit of Vatican II” broke you down, and succored you with vague platitudes from pop psychology, while withholding the treasures of a 2,000 history of faith and reason.

  62. gambletrainman says:

    Vexilla Regis:

    To add to the Cana thing. It seems to me that a “pre-Cana Conference” was a preparatory meeting before a trip to the village of Cana. Another saying that I don’t like, which has nothing to do with religion (unless you’re referring to a Catholic school student), would be news media reports of “Little John Doe, a RISING fifth grader”. What that means to me is that he is constantly getting up out of his seat. And, from the accounts of it, he is doing this all the way through the twelfth grade. I have yet to hear of a “rising” fourth year college student, or a “rising” seminarian. It seems thet the student stops “rising” after he/she has graduated from high school.

  63. Michelle F says:

    My #1 pet peeve is the word “Eucharist.” The word is theologically legitimate, and some faithful Catholics use it properly, but it has become a code-word used by people who do not believe in Transubstantiation.

    My #2 pet peeve is the word “gather.” Every issue of my diocesan paper reports the activities of our bishop by saying “Bishop X gathered with ___ at___….” Every time I see this I can’t help thinking, “Gathered what? Pansies?” (They use it for priests too, not just the bishop.)

    My #3 pet peeve is pretty much everything everyone else said above: presider, faith community, ministry (of whatever type), dialog, pastoral, relevant…etc., etc. Ick to all of them!

  64. Luvadoxi says:

    Gathering Song. What are we–pre-kindergartners??? I’m a convert from the Presbyterian Church. For one thing, we never applaud during announcements….but back to the topic–we call it, properly, the Processional. Or the Entrance Hymn. Also, what’s with “turn to page x in your Glory and Praise Book”? Aaaaghhh!!! What about hymnal. We’re treated like children. I just hate it.

  65. Luvadoxi says:

    That is to say–as Presbyterians, we never applauded. There was a sense of “decency and good order.”

  66. Luvadoxi says:

    ScholaLady–that reminded me of another one…”thinking Catholic”!

  67. Shonkin says:

    These three words:
    Oregon, Catholic, and Press
    when used to describe a missalette, music collection, or PowerPoint slides projected during Mass.

    (I finally broke down and bought a Sunday missal after seeing all the obvious errors in the OCP slides they projected in our church during Mass.)

  68. Mariana says:

    Share and ongoing, argh!

    Also, in the book Rome Sweet Home, ‘challenge’ for ‘discussing’ – challenge sounds to me like slapping someone across the face with an embroidered glove – ‘Ha, Sir! We meet at dawn in the meadow behind St Eustache.’ Or a sentry’s “Who goes there!”

  69. Mariana says:


    “For those of you who either understand German….”

    ROLF! Thanks!

  70. Clinton says:

    I agree with Charles Flynn above: “vibrant” rings the alarm bell, hard. That’s because
    you can bet that whatever is being described as “vibrant”, isn’t.

  71. VexillaRegis says:

    Imrahil: LOL! Imagine someone shouting BINGO at the end of the sermon :-P

  72. pinoytraddie says:

    Speaking of Deplorable Jargon….

    Replace the Terms “Conservative” and “Liberal” with Respectively “Orthodox” and “Modernist”,and We will know which side in the Church stands for the Truth.(Dead Giveaway)

  73. APX says:

    I’m surprised no one else said it, but “social justice” makes me cringe. It’s really just a fancy buzzword, like “rehabilitate” is used in corrections.

  74. Sissy says:

    APX: ha ha, beat you to it by 20 hours! ; )

  75. Volanges says:

    I agree with most of these but “Faith Community” does not necessarily mean parish. Before I moved here I belonged to a Catholic Faith Community. We weren’t a parish, we were a group of Francophone Catholics for whom the Bishop had appointed a Chaplain. We didn’t have a church, we didn’t have a Pastor. Our members came from ~15 different geographical parishes in a 400 square km area. Our sacraments were recorded at the geographical parish where our school/community center was located.

    I also think that you might be able to train a man to be a priest but I’d rather you form one to be a priest. One has the knowledge required, the other has truly become one.

  76. mike cliffson says:

    Fr K et al: training.
    Not UK only , surely? a training college, or in full a teacher training college, was where teachers were supposed to learn how to teach.Not unintellectual, lowlevel , just applied.
    NB Maybe it’s not so much stuff FROM America as from exactly WHICH Americans, I mean as a general rule it’s not Mark Twain, or Bishop Chaput, or catholic priest bloggers, it’s those Americans beloved of the American media and hence the worst of Britsish media too? Not watched , say, Beeb for months, but I’ d bet that , say spokesnuns(?) and statements from Leadership Conference of Women Religious, have had 10times the BBC airtime of the Holy Father.
    Equally , there are more, and more creative, American liberal catholics than Brit ones, absolutely, and if you want to break with tradition then someone’s invented a figleaf ready to hand. Admittedly , Vatican English can also be..Hmm.. sui generis?

  77. AnnAsher says:

    Journey. I hate the word journey. Makes my skin crawl. “It’s my faith journey” “where are you at in your journey?” Invariably the “journeying” folks are parked somewhere at a roadside rest area singing Gather Us In and baking unleavened bread.

  78. AnnAsher says:

    I agree with every other submission with particular high-fives to “gather”, “presider”, and “liturgist”. I want to add : PSR Parish School of Religion. How about good old Catechism or Confraternity of Christian Doctrine ? What people don’t know is doctrine. We read our bibles without fear, which is good, but we read them and personally interpret which is bad. So I hate PSR and we abstain from it. It’s code for : fluff and sugar.

  79. robtbrown says:

    The use of minister as a verb: He was ministering . . .

    Why is magister not used as a verb? A prof could say that he was magistering to his students.

Comments are closed.