I am joining a religious congregation which makes inclusive language one of its priorities. I did not know this at the time of entering. Is it ever acceptable to change the gender of words in the liturgies? What if it is just a change to a word in one of the petitions, which does not refer to a particular person, in the Liturgy of the Hours when there are women present? I am not comfortable with this but I do not know what to say to my superiors. Everyone else is so convinced that inclusive language is a good thing. Is there some documentation from the Church regarding changing the gender of words in the liturgy? Thanks.
The liturgies of the Church are public prayers of the Church. They are not our own private personal things to do with as we please. For example, if I were to claim to be reading the Gettysburg Address and then went and changed the words I didn’t like then I would not be reading the Gettysburg Address but only a portion of it. And if we start changing some words, where do we stop? Why not change the words to fit the personality of each group present or the presider of the liturgy? No one should be changing the liturgy because to do so obscures the universal and public nature of the prayers.
Can. 846 The liturgical books approved by the competent authority are to be faithfully observed in the celebration of the sacraments; therefore no one on personal authority may add, remove or change anything in them.
USCCB (emphasis added):
Therefore, no one may change any approved and confirmed liturgical text. This includes,** but is not limited to** the “Lectionary for Mass” and the “Sacramentary.”
Since you are part of a religious congregation I would urge caution and restraint in addressing the issue. I would suggest beginning by discussing it in spiritual direction.