What I do to avoid grading papers
The dateline “Indianapolis” on a news-program this morning made me recall the one time I’ve been in that city. I was attending Sunday Mass, I believe in the cathedral, at which a priest read the Gospel in which Christ indicts the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees. Where the priest should have read: “They have widened their phylacteries,” he said instead, “They have widened their prophylactics”–which gave quite another image!
This led me to recall another memorable moment in the pulpit, only this was in my seminary days, in what passed for a course in homiletic. (“Tell a story!” our mentor would repeatedly admonish us; “Long after they’ve forgotten what you had to say, they’ll remember the story!” Advice I didn’t and don’t agree with and have happily ignored for forty-five years.) Anyway, one of my classmates was giving a practice-homily for the feast of the Circumcision of the Lord, the name then given to the regularly changing feast celebrated on January 1st. The classmate, who has since gone on to greater things, began by giving us a little lesson in liturgical theology, to the effect that the liturgical feasts give us an opportunity to participate in the mysteries of Christ. “Today is the feast of the Circumcision,” he went on somewhat solemnly, “and it reminds us that we must cut off the old man!” Well, the whole audience–males only, of course–winced and instinctively covered our vital parts.
After we had stopped laughing, the priest-mentor said that we had to be careful in our use of language, as also in our pronunciation. He described one priest who spoke of Peter, during Christ’s trial, warming his hands at the brassiere.
Anyone else have malapropisms to share?