In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: How did the word “brethren” come to be in this translation of the Roman Missal?    I had the impression that there was a general acceptance of the value of “inclusive language” on the level of human beings.   Do you know the reasoning for having this word in this missel? Will liturgical books presently “under construction” use inclusive language?   


A: The word has some antiquity in English translations, especially at the Orate, fratres (“Pray, brethren”). In some English-speaking countries the word sounds inclusive; in others it does not. Wherever it occurs, the alternative “brothers and sisters” may be used. Yes, ICEL considers gender-inclusive language every time it shows its face at a meeting. It usually wins. I’ve said this before, but if you compare the previous English translation of the missal to the current one, you’ll find hundreds of instances where this issue was improved. That you don’t hear it is a compliment to the translators.