Girls schools drop gendered language in prayer

Stuartholme School is one of the Catholic girls

Some Catholic schoolgirls in Brisbane are being taught that God is gender-neutral, with prayers that dump male terms like Lord or Father. Source: The Courier-Mail.

Schools including All Hallows’, Loreto College at Coorparoo, St Rita’s College Clayfield and Stuartholme are stamping out traditional terms such as Lord, Father and Son.

Stuartholme School uses gender-neutral language – including the word “Godself’’ in place of “himself’’.

“As we believe God is neither male or female, Stuartholme tries to use gender-neutral terms in prayers … so that our community deepens their understanding of who God is for them, how God reveals Godself through creation, our relationships with others and the person of Jesus,” a spokeswoman said.

Students at All Hallows’ make the sign of the cross in the name of “The Creator, Jesus and the Holy Spirit’’, instead of the traditional “Father, Son and Holy Spirit”.

Loreto College in Coorparoo has stripped the word “Lord” from its prayers, as it is regarded as a “male term”.

“Loreto, as a leading school for girls, has a commitment to using inclusive language. There are occasions where gendered language may be -appropriate, including references to specific religious and biblical figures,” principal Kim Wickham said.

St Rita’s tries to use gender-neutral terms for God, but still uses traditional prayers such as the Our Father.

“Context is important,’’ assistant principal Richard Rogusz said.

“We strive to use gender-neutral terms for God, for example ‘God and God’s people’ rather than ‘God and His people’. ‘Spirit’ is also gender-neutral.”

Even St Joseph’s College – the city’s top Catholic boys’ school has replaced the term “brothers” with “sisters and brothers” and switched the term “brotherhood” with “international community”.

The Catholic Office for the Participation of Women director Andrea Dean was “thrilled” that schools were using gender-neutral prayer.

“It’s terrific that they’re sensitive to the implications of how God is named,” she said.

“God is not of any gender. In the times the scripture was written, (Lord and Father) were terms of honour – most of the terms of honour were related to men.”


Brisbane Catholic schools going gender-neutral (The Courier-Mail)

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