Catholic schools teach God is gender neutral

Catholic schoolgirls in Brisbane are being taught that God is gender neutral.

Aiming to teach the girls at the region’s exclusive Catholic schools to use inclusive language, the girls are not allowed to use male-centric terms or the words ‘Lord’, ‘Father’ and ‘Son’.

The girls at AU$40,000 a year Stuartholme School in Brisbane, are taught to use the word ‘Godself’ instead of ‘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 spokeswoman says.

The principal of another school says prayers written for use within the college didn’t assign God a gender. The word ‘Lord’ is not used anymore as it is a “male term”.

A different view is taken at another girls’ school where gender-neutral terms are used wherever possible but for traditional prayers gendered language is still used.

That school says context is important and helps decide what language is appropriate.

The Catholic Office for the Participation of Women director says she is ‘thrilled’ and it was ‘terrific’ schools were moving towards inclusive language.

The Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference has previously suggested schools use gender-neutral terms where appropriate.

Brisbane’s top Catholic boys’ school St Joseph’s College has replaced the term ‘brothers’ with ‘sisters and brothers’ and ‘brotherhood’ with ‘international community’.

“This has been an area of growth for us in recent times,” a spokesman says.

“We have made changes to a number of prayers to be more gender-inclusive.”



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