Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Casualty case

Talk about signs of the times... Local priests have been hearing Confessions at our local Corpus Christi High School over the last days. So, one girl came to me was doing fine until she came to the Act of Contrition. She looked up from the words printed on laminated paper, hesitating to start. When I asked what the problem was, she asked whether she was supposed to say "O, My God..." or "OMG" or what?   Containing my annoyance/laughter/frustration I reminded her that on this occasion she really WAS talking to God, and so it was right to use the phrase. It was on other occasions that it was inappropriate. She looked bemused/surprised/amused and pressed on...
OMG/O my God has entered ordinary speech and especially email/Facebook speech and completely lost its literal meaning.  I saw in the newspaper not long ago that some pupils questioned a teacher about the use of "Jesus" in a hymn, as they were under the impression that it was a bad word to use.
Oh dear... I suppose I'm sounding like an elderly canon - Oh, I forgot I am indeed not-such-a-young canon - but where have we come to? Some have drifted so far from their faith roots that they don't even recognise God-language being used in the correct way. On the way out of the school I overheard a member of staff telling a pupil not to use blasphemous language in her presence.  Perhaps we should all be tightening up on this language business. Maybe it would be a good way of celebrating Advent. Let the Word that becomes flesh be a Word of beauty and of special respect, not one tossed so casually from lips that are uncaring or unknowing.

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