Beware When Church Leaders Manipulate the Language: Part I, by Phil Lawler

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Photo by Alberico Bartoccini on Unsplash

By Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, May 27, 2021

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

Coming next: the misuse of language by American Church leaders.


As an editor, a writer, and a reader, I cherish clarity of expression. As a Catholic, I am appalled by the abuses of language—the pretense, the confusion, the obfuscation, and even the outright deceit—that I see in many recent pronouncements from our Church leadership.

Last week the Vatican announced that a meeting Synod of Bishops, which scheduled for October 2022, will be postponed for a year, to allow for broader discussions of the chosen topic: synodality. The Vatican has suggested a full program of consultations: in parishes, then at the level of dioceses, then episcopal conferences, and finally at the “continental” level, leading to the bishops’ session in Rome. …