Friday, August 10, 2012

Dueling lingos

Anyone who has ever read documents from the Vatican knows that it has its own special and unloveable style, derived from both imperial Latin and from Italian floridity and circumlocution. And here it would not be altogether inopportune to note, etc. The modern Anglo-Saxon love of brevity and clarity is offended by its curial verbosity.

Oddly enough, the aristocratic Vatican's populist competitors and opponents, embodied in the aging Boomer nuns of the LCWR, have developed a style which bloviates at least as much, if not more, but in a quite contemporary...and to my ears, feminine...jargon.

A short example, where members at the meeting are asked not to come to the closed sessions unless they are prepared to keep secrets:
(she) asked members who "cannot understand or perceive confidentiality as anything other than total transparency to consider not coming to the executive sessions, not in the interest of ever excluding anyone, but in creating the kind of environment we need to really discern* with each other in freedom and openness."
What kind of mind-web do people who talk like that live in?  It really gives me vertigo. And then there's the presidential address, if you have the stomach for it. Makes papal encyclicals sound colloquial.

I find myself remembering, with discomfort, one of the loathsome fathers of political correctness, The Frankfurt School's Theodore Adorno, and his critique of existentialism, The Jargon of Authenticity. He asserted that a philosophical language which purported to reveal was instead a massive cover-up.

Even a broken clock...

*This word is as ubiquitous in contemporary Catholicism as diversity is in the larger world. And I loath both terms. Discern, because it reeks of Jesuits. Diversity because it's just a lie.



2-rant-n-toranto said...

If the point of jargon is to appeal to and show membership in a group, our verbose sisters and our
curious blog-host give us, the lowly readers, a lot
of bang for our electronic buck.



Anonymous said...

Your church's sisters would represent the future of your church, demographically, only if your church's future was 1890 and the human lifespan could be extended for most people to 120.

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