Sunday Homilies : Taking a break

from Father Kevin Laughery, Troy St. Jerome and St. Jacob St. James Parishes, Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. Note: Comments from this page do not reach me; instead, email: kl@kevinlaughery.com

The Podcasts

I am indeed taking a little break from tribunal business. It has been a long time since I have posted anything. I am recording my Sunday homilies; I am currently experiencing a technical problem which prevents me from uploading them. Friday I will be engaging in some troubleshooting. Blogs, I know, tend to be brief opinion-pieces. I am not necessarily comfortable with such, because I find that important societal issues require more than a statement of opinion. Indeed, I was recently reading a Commonweal article from a Catholic legal expert who finds the blogosphere odious because of the unthoughtful way in which so many super-Catholic bloggers respond. He finds it difficult to see charity being practiced. I can get into this frame of mind -- the short, sharp opinion! -- when I want to: say, when it comes to English grammar??? Garrison Keillor once did a sketch in which his character asks whether there is some kind of rule about the use of "whom." I find that there are a lot of people who vaguely know that "whom" is supposed to be used in certain cases. They have no idea, however, what the rule is. And then there's "between you and I." I'm told that President Obama is an egregious offender in this department. These situations are related, because both require a working knowledge of the objective case. English-speakers are not well aware of the case of nouns and pronouns. We tend to rely upon the order of words in a sentence as our indication of what's the subject and what's the object. Inflected languages, on the other hand, have noun endings which remove all doubt about the case. In English we encounter some inflection in "who/whom," "I/me," etc. The second of each pair is the objective-case form, while the first is what we call the nominative case. Direct objects, indirect objects, and objects of prepositions are to be in the objective case. So, for instance, it's always "between you and me." "I was heard by whomever was in the room." Sorry! This statement has to be analyzed so we see that "I was heard by whoever was in the room." We can rephrase this as "I was heard by anyone who was in the room." "Who" is the subject of the clause "who was in the room," and the form of "whoever" follows the case of "who"'s function -- as the subject of the clause -- and therefore it is in the nominative case: "whoever," not "whomever." I've been wanting to express this for years. If you've enjoyed this, tell all your friends you seen it here.
Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 12:15pm CST