Friday, July 09, 2010

Connotations

Interesting piece of business, the English language. I heard a usage on the radio yesterday that I had not heard before. Not quite wrong, just out of tune. The news reader was reporting on someone's conviction for something or other involving a death and said that the person had not qualified for the death penalty. Yes, "qualified". Makes it sound like we've got a really disappointed defendant here. If only he'd tried harder, he could've qualified for the death penalty. Maybe he'll get another chance later.

It reminds me of my longstanding objection to calling confession "Reconciliation". No, it's not really wrong. "The end of the estrangement, caused by sin, between God and humanity" says one definition. Fair enough. But the connotation. It feels like some sort of equality is involved. I say I'm sorry and God says He's sorry and we make up. Pals again. Uh. . . .no. I liked Penance better. Or even Confession.