Brothers and sisters – emended

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: When no women are present at the Mass, does a presider still say ‘brothers and sisters’ in various places, thus being mindful of including all people throughout the world?

Currently on our clergy retreat today and noted the presider only said ‘brothers’. 



A: There’s no clear rule on this. For sure, a ceremony like baptism allows for adjusting the gender of the words depending on the child, so you could argue that the same would apply to Mass. But the Order of Mass just doesn’t say.

I can see it both ways: Eliminating “and sisters” more clearly focuses the words on the group present, including them imagines others, as you say, around the world, who deserve acknowledgment.


Q: Regarding “brothers and sisters”, the Roman Missal has in “The Order of Mass With the Participation of a Single Minister”:

“I confess to almighty God – and to you, my brother,”

This is consistent with the introduction to the Commons in the Roman Missal: 

2. In the Common of Martyrs and in the Common of Holy Men and Women, all the prayer that are given for men may also be used for women, with the necessary change of gender.

3.In the individual Commons, texts in the singular may always be used for several Saints, with the necessary change to the plural. Similarly, texts in the plural may be used for an individual, with the necessary change to the singular.”


A: Thanks very much. Good eye.