Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
Have you ever had one of those experiences wherein you got sick after eating or drinking something and then, even though you know that the sickness was probably not related to that food item, you just cannot stand to look at it or even smell it without getting nauseous?
Well I have. Nothing against Cracker Barrel, but I can’t go within 1000 yards without needing a barrel myself. Enough about that.
But I have also found that the same thing can happen with words. When I find words that occur in frequent proximity to things that make me sick, I find that I can no longer stomach the word anymore, even if used appropriately.
Much to my chagrin, I find myself facing this very situation right now. What is the word that makes me sick every time I hear it or read it?
Pastoral used to be a fine word but it has been keeping some bad company lately.
A priest decides to give out communion to active and proud homosexuals and has a float in the local gay pride parade. He says he is being pastoral.
Politicians who openly defy the Church, try to rewrite its history, and openly advocate heresy are welcomed to communion. Why? It’s the pastoral thing to do.
There are those who fight with gusto against a decent English translation of the liturgy and insist that your average Catholic is so ineffably dumb that such a translation wouldn’t be pastoral.
Recently, a wonderful Bishop stood up for the faith and backed a pastor who refused an active homosexual couple’s desire to enroll their child in Catholic School. For this, a prominent member of the Society that purports affiliation with Jesus tut tuts the good Bishop and says that he is not being very pastoral.
Since when did pastoral become the euphemism of choice for woeful prudential decisions (or worse) that are injurious to the faith and faithful? The word has now become such a red flag for me that I am vexed even hearing it.
Therefore I have come to a hard decision. It is with regret that I declare the word pastoral to be anathema. No longer will I write or say the word nor will I give credence to anyone who uses the word, even unwittingly. A pox on pastoral.
I am sorry it came to this, but the word now does too much harm. I am left with no choice. Banning it is, well, the pastoral thing to do.
Ok, starting now. For real this time.