Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Stop ‘IT’ !

May 19th, 2018, Promulgated by Diane Harris


In a post from February 2012, I made some critical comments regarding a DRE “pastoral minister” using the feminine gender for the Holy Spirit. In reply, I was told that the faithful Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz had approved such usage! Untrue, but how to prove it? In the months which followed, I had the opportunity on an EWTN call-in show to speak with Bishop Bruskewitz directly, and here is a link to that conversation:

Why bring this up again? Because there is another element of abuse related to the Holy Spirit’s so-called “gender.” Coming up fast is “Pentecost” Sunday. Once again, many Catholics will be subjected to an abuse some will not even recognize. So here is a plea – to the preachers and to the listeners:  STOP CALLING THE HOLY SPIRIT ‘IT.’ Christ gave us a gender to use for the Holy Spirit, and it is masculine, not neuter. And it is certainly not feminine! There may be symbolism of a dove, flame, wind, oil and more, but that does not make the Holy Spirit an ‘IT.’  Translation after translation of the Gospel of John uses the masculine pronoun. So does the Catechism.

John 14:26 reads: “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”  One would certainly expect that the true author of the Sacred Scriptures, i.e. the Holy Spirit, would have known what He wanted to be called!

But it is not just the matter of accurately translating from the Greek; further, the Church has consistently used the masculine gender for each Person of the Blessed Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as God has revealed to us.  For example, from the CCC 798:

Pentecost by Titian

               Pentecost by Titian

“The Holy Spirit is ‘the principle of every vital and truly saving action in each part of the Body.’ He works in many ways to build up the whole Body in charity: by God’s Word ‘which is able to build you up’; by Baptism, through which He forms Christ’s Body; by the sacraments, which give growth and healing to Christ’s members; by ‘the grace of the apostles, which holds first place among His gifts’; by the virtues, which make us act according to what is good; finally, by the many special graces (called “charisms”), by which He makes the faithful ‘fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church.'” (capitalization of masculine pronoun added.)

Let’s think about doing, whatever we are able,to restore the dignity of Personhood to the Holy Spirit in speech and in practice, shall we? He is not an “it.”


2 Responses to “Stop ‘IT’ !”

  1. avatar christian says:

    Thank you for posting this Diane.

    Since we are on the eve of Pentecost, I thought it would be appropriate to reviews the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit that we first learned prior to our Confirmation.

    1. sapientia – Wisdom

    2. intellectus – Understanding

    3. consillum – Counsel

    4. fortitudo – Fortitude

    5. scientia – Knowledge

    6. pietas – Piety

    7. timor Domini – Fear of the Lord

  2. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Today was another one of those days! The Holy Spirit was again called “it.” But it wasn’t a slip of the lip of a preacher; rather, it was created by the NAB translation from the USCCB. All English-speaking countries use the RSV-CE (Revised Standard Version-Catholic Edition, which is also the basis of the Catechism) in their liturgical readings, except the US, which requires use of their own copyrighted New American Bible Lectionary used in readings at Mass.

    This isn’t about a little two letter word, it is about using the neuter gender for a PERSON! Imagine how rude it would be to call one’s spouse or child “it”…. how much more so for the Holy Spirit to be so demeaned. Accidental? maybe. But there seem to often be evil forces afoot when God is being demeaned. What did the readings, approved and mandated by the USCCB, actually say? Here it is:

    “Concerning the salvation of your souls
    the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours
    searched and investigated it
    investigating the time and circumstances
    that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated


    testified in advance
    to the sufferings destined for Christ
    and the glories to follow them.

    1 Peter 1:10-11

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