Synod for Oceania: Bishop John Knight of Toronto Intervenes on Culture, Language and Women

Thursday, November 26 1998

Ottawa (CCCB) — The Most Rev. John Knight, Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto, attending the Synod for Oceania in Rome, told the Assembly that special attention must continue to be given to the language used by the Church, especially in regards to women.

“Called to live our Christian faith in our own culture,” said Bishop Knight “we are struggling in our times with some of the implications of the Good News that ‘there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus’” (Galatians 3:28). Bishop Knight told the Synod that one way culture expresses itself is in language. “Our language to women, about women and with women is an expression of our culture and must also be an expression of our Christian faith.” He continued that this applies particularly to the language of our public worship, liturgy, and translations of the Scriptures.

The Canadian auxiliary bishop invited those in the Church who have responsibilities in the area of public worship to “develop a greater openness and dialogue on this matter despite opposition or indifference from various quarters.” “Because the church is open to the contribution of every culture,” he concluded, “especially when the culture is contributing something good, we who have a responsibility must work so that what may be a point of division may become a further sign in our public worship that we ‘are one in Christ Jesus.'”

Bishop Knight, a member of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, was named by the Pope to participate in the Synod for Oceania. This special assembly has brought together bishops and observers from the countries of Oceania as well as representatives from every continent. The Synod which opened on November 22 will continue until December 12, guided by the theme: “Jesus Christ and the Peoples of Oceania: Walking His Way, Telling His Truth, Living His Life.