Australian Catholic Schools to Teach that God Is 'Gender-Neutral'

Scott Slayton | Contributor | Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Australian Catholic Schools to Teach that God Is 'Gender-Neutral'

Australian Catholic Schools to Teach that God Is 'Gender-Neutral'

Catholic schools in Brisbane will soon begin teaching their students gender-neutral pronouns for God and will stop using “Lord,” “Father,” and “Son” in prayers. The Daily Mail reports that schools such as All Hallows, Stuartholme, Loreto College, and Stuartholme School “are leading a push towards a feminist interpretation of the Christian Bible.” 

A spokeswoman for the schools told the Sunday Mail that, “'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.”

This commitment to gender-neutrality has shown itself in a number of different ways at the schools. Loreto College took the word “Lord” out of their prayers because it is a “male term.” Families at Stuartholme School will pay almost $40,000 a year for their children to learn to use “Godself” instead of the pronoun “himself.” St Joseph’s College, a Catholic boys’ school in Brisbane, replaced “brothers” with “sisters and brothers” and “brotherhood” with “international community.”

Loreto College’s principal, Kim Wickham, said the prayers the college uses don’t assign a gender to God. She said the school has a commitment to inclusive language, but “admitted there were instances where gendered language is appropriate.”

Leaders in Catholic Education in Australia seem to be happy with the changes. The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference suggested that schools “use gender-neutral terms where appropriate,” but the Queensland Catholic Education Commission has not been specific about the instances which meet the criteria for “appropriate.” The Catholic Office for the Participation of Women heralded the decision. Director Andrea Dean told the Sunday Mail that she was “thrilled” and found the move away from male language for God “terrific.”

Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”

Photo courtesy: Tim Mossholder/Unsplash