“Grandfathering” Gay Priests
Before the document on homosexuals in seminaries was released by the Vatican in November 2005, there were reports two months earlier, that turned out to be false, that all homosexuals (active or chaste) would not be allowed into seminaries, but “gays” already ordained would be “grandfathered.” The conjunction of “gays” with “grandfathered” could be construed as a spit in the face of grandfathers.
Grandfathered: It’s a common term. It means to exempt from a new regulation. Your Editor is a grandfather of five (with more to come), and I have no objection to the term, however it is used.
Nevertheless, we live in a time of linguistic hypersensitivity. You’re not supposed to utter words that are “sexist,” “homophobic,” “ageist,” etc.
Under “ageist,” you’re not supposed to say “elderly” or “older people” because that’s supposedly demeaning. You’re supposed to say “senior citizen,” though some find that demeaning too. What the politically correct term is we don’t know and don’t care.
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Neither the words “homosexual” or “homosexuality” nor their equivalents in any language known to me existed before the late 19th century.
Curiously, one doesn't say "grandmothered." Had the term been "grandmothered," it would certainly have been banned by the Language Nazis.
Phony language is reprehensible, but language has a way of exacting its own revenge.