A series of Catholic schools in the Australian city of Brisbane have rolled out new policies aimed at ensuring God is interpreted as “gender-neutral.”
The girls schools, including All Hallows, Stuartholme, Loreto College and Stuartholme are all attempting to push for a more feminist interpretation of the scriptures, and insist that, for example, the word “Godself” is more appropriate than the term “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 school spokeswoman told The Courier-Mail.
In a shocking move, Loreto College has even deleted the word “Lord” from their recited prayers, deeming it an overtly “male term.”
In addition, Pupils at All Hallows school now refer to “the Creator, Jesus and the Holy Spirit” when doing the sign of the cross, instead of reciting the traditional mantra, “the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
The director of the Catholic Office for the Participation of Women, Andrea Dean, told the outlet that she was absolutely “thrilled” by the change of wording.
“It’s terrific that they’re sensitive to the implications of how God is named. God is not of any gender,” she said. “In the times the scripture was written [Lord and Father] were terms of honour – most of the terms of honour were related to men.”
Many other Christian schools, both male and female oriented, have made moves towards using more “inclusive” language when it comes to the spiritual elements of their educational programs.
Brisbane’s leading Catholic boys’ school, St Joseph’s College, recently swapped the term “brothers” with “sisters and brothers” and “brotherhood” with the more broad, “international community.”
“This has been an area of growth for us in recent times,” a spokesman added. “We have made changes to a number of prayers to be more gender-inclusive.”
Last year, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, argued that God should not be hemmed in by gendered definitions. “God is not male or female,” he said in a lecture, according to the Guardian.
“God is not definable. All human language about God is inadequate and to some degree metaphorical.”