Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

Pronunciation and Contentlessness

Americanized pronunciation of English words doesn't bother me. People pronounce things however they pronounce them - if the words’ meaning is taken, then the words have done their work.

Increasingly in American culture we do not use words to mean what they mean. It starts with the innocuous example of the word
cool meaning anything but "below room temperature." C. S. Lewis warned against another trend: exaggerating everything in our speech with the words we use. Everything is awesome. When we come across something that truly inspires a soul-lifting wonder and awe, we haven't any meaningful words left, because awesome has already been used to describe in a generic way the rather tasty jam we had on our morning's toast. The trend is pervasive.

More alarming than the trend of using words for anything but what they really mean, is the
growing trend to say anything but what we really mean. That is, the dramatic increase in lying and dishonesty especially notable in politicians, corporate America, and in our schoolchildren. Theirs, I imagine, are only highly visible examples of a vice that is overtaking us all. More and more, we do not say what we mean and mean what we say. Instead, we say what we think will get us out of trouble, or get us what we want.

It is what they say that concerns me more. I do believe that the evacuation of content from our political discourse is an ill omen. This evacuation of content is closely connected with the hollowing of our national moral life as well. This evacuation of content is diplayed in almost daily on our national news. Reasoned debates about ideas and policies by men and women of character is replaced by shouting matches and soundbites between people who, rather than simply admit they haven't got much character, argue that personal character is somehow unrelated to one's work in society. This evacuation is more sinisterly played out in the widespread acceptance of the use of torture or
enhanced interrogation techniques against enemy prisoners-of-war.

These trends interweave and unite in an especially powerful way around sexual topics. Abortions are not said to kill babies, but only to terminate pregnancies. The term making love is slapped on every one-night stand, secret tryst, and vulgar act of fornication imaginable.Contraceptives are not called what they are: devices-to-enable-me-to-do-what-I-want-without-consequences. They are simply protection. Homosexual liaisons are not called that anymore, let alone the more precise terms unnatural and sodomy. They are called alternate lifestyles, and even that term seems somehow to marginalize sodomy too much - the idea that sodomy is alternate to something more common, more normal, more wholesome is to be entirely excluded from the language of our Brave New 1984 World.

Both the hollowing of our language and of our national ethic are both tidily summarized by the use of a single word to describe nearly anything and everything, except the thing to which it is most rightly attached: f---.

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