eLatin eGreek eLearn

More wired than a Roman Internet café

As many of you might be aware, Pope Benedict XVI released an Apostolic Letter on July 7, 2007, that addressed the celebration of Mass in Latin. Taking the technical angle, the English translation can be found here and the official Latin document can be read here. What are your thoughts on the reintroduction of Latin to the Catholic church, and what do you think the motives are behind it (if any, other than reinstating a tradition familiar to many older churchgoers)? Will this encyclical cascade into the delivery of Latin on other topics, and if so, in what media?

Views: 243

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I'm really not sure how this will translate into anything (pun intended).

I'm not sure that the interest in Latin in the United States, other places could be different, is caused or not caused by the Catholic Church's use of Latin. From my experience there is some interest in Latin because of Catholic tradition, but I would put that in the minority. In some circles, there is this perception that Latin will somehow teach you to think logically.

Is this an interesting development? Sure. Will it amount to much in the wider world? I'm highly skeptical that it will, but I'm ready to be wrong.
Hi Peter, for what it's worth, I have friends in Oklahoma whom I know from Biblical Greek reading groups who are really fascinated by the Catholic Mass tradition, even though they themselves are from Protestant churches. The quest for the sacred language never stops - and while plenty of folks regard King James English as if it were a sacred language, they realize it is a bit of a stretch. So I know some folks who are attending Latin masses in Oklahoma and, prompted by their questions to me, I'm putting together this summer a follow-up volume to my Latin Via Proverbs book which is sayings and phrases from the Latin Bible and also from the Mass. I'm really enjoying working on this project - I've never read through all the books of the Bible in Latin before.

One indispensable website: breviary.net. The liturgy of the Latin Mass over the course of the year is a rather enormously complicated thing, and while they are plenty of websites with a text of the Latin mass online, the breviary.net site is really good for getting into the variety of ways in which the mass is said throughout the year, the liturgies of the saints, etc.

Also, I thought I should mention that there's a really excellent website for Latin prayer texts: Preces Latinae. It has a really nice collection of prayers and meditations for the Rosary and for the Stations of the Cross.

My sense is that the Latin Mass does not really resonate with people unless they can connect it with a larger tradition of prayer in Latin, along with the Psalms, Gospels, and other important Biblical texts in Latin.

I certainly hope that non-Catholics (that would include me) will take advantage of this opportunity to connect with a hugely important part of the Latin tradition generally. When I lived in Poland, I would meet older people who could rattle off hours of Latin because of their Church attendance... even if they could not quote a word of Cicero. For all those millions of people, Latin meant the Latin of the Church, not of the ancient Romans.

We obviously have different experiences. I've never gotten the feeling from the Protestant home-schoolers that I work with have much interest in connecting with the Catholic Latin tradition. It's really more about the grammar and the "logic."

On the other hand, I introduced a group of Catholic home-schoolers to unadapted Latin literature via the Vulgate. I'd do that again. Myself, I've been to a mass in Latin, and it was much like any other church experience for me.

I've been at home-school conferences where people have asked me if Bolchazy-Carducci offers Hebrew materials! So I do know what you mean about the quest for sacred language. Every conference, at least once. It's astonishing.
thanks so much for putting up this discussion topic, Andrew! it's certainly something that many people have been asking me about over the past few days! I posted my thoughts in a reply to Peter's reply to you.

We should be clear that what the Pope did was to allow the celebration of the Mass according to the old rite:

Proinde Missae Sacrificium, iuxta editionem typicam Missalis Romani a B. Ioanne XXIII anno 1962 promulgatam et numquam abrogatam, uti formam extraordinariam Liturgiae Ecclesiae, celebrare licet.

True, this rite (a revised version of the Tridentine rite, that established at the Council of Trent in the mid 16th c.) is in Latin, but it has been possible to celebrate the Mass in Latin using the new rite (that established by Paul VI, as mentioned in the letter of Benedict).

So, really it's incorrect to say that the Pope is allowing the Mass to be said in Latin, but rather that he is allowing the Mass to be said according to the pre-Vatican-II rite (which is, to be sure, in Latin).

Also, enrollments in Latin plummeted in the '60s and '70s, taking a double hit from the decrease in pressure o
There has been a good deal of news coverage regarding prayers about the Jewish people in the old rite, e.g.: Wiesenthal Center urges Vatican to quickly remove offensive prayer

Michael Lerner at Tikkun was a very vocal critic of the Pope's decision: Tikkun.org

There is a lively discussion of this issue at Belief.net.

I do hope that this will all be an ongoing EDUCATIONAL exercise for people - in the history of the text of the Mass itself, the role of Latin in the Catholic Church, etc. As with the text of the Bible, many people assume that it is somehow an objective, fixed, unchanging thing - "the" Bible, "the" Latin Mass, but as you point out here, Latin Mass is a plural rather than a singular phenomenon.

Not to mention what to make of that mysterious Latin "missa" which gives us the word "mass" to begin with!

Benedict XVI is seen as a traditionalist. I just think he really understands Catholic Church. After Vaticanum II some movements in theological thinking have gone too far with making Church, Mass and religious life more "user friendly" and "light-versioned". Meanwhile the charm of Catholic Church is her "catholicsness", so the elements that differ Catholicism from Protestantism. I consider Latin, Tridentine Mass as one of those. It won't be fair if I will secret my point of view- I am catholic.

Some people also says that Benedict re allowed common use of Tridentine Rite for please sedevacantists, Brotherhood of St. Pius X and others not accepting the doctrine of last council. I think it's false. They all celebrate their religious life without decrees of the pope. However, connection with pope-as Petrus- is one of essential thinks in Catholicism (even Polish sedevacantists say that they are fighting for papacy). Liturgical reform in 60ties took away the Tridentine Mass from great population of believers. Today some of their children seek for the Mass because they want to feel R o m a n Catholics.
The official language of the church has always been Latin. All its primary documents are in Latin. I attend the Traditional Latin Mass (I am Catholic). It is a thrill for me to be able to bring my children to to the Latin language via our home school efforts. In addition, now they can experience Latin in use at Mass. Of course, I'm an old guy. I knew my church Latin from the 50s/60s. But I loved the classical Roman Latin studies that I had in High School too. I am grateful to you for this web site that promotes the study of Latin. Here is a website you may find interesting. (mp3 audio files of "The Latin Lover"). It talks about the use of Latin in the Catholic Church AND also has MANY programs about classical Latin during the Roman empire. http://www.frcoulter.com/latin/latinlover/index.html
In Russia, in communitatibus etiam catholicis, lingua Latina minime nota est. Verum enim vero, possunt catholici Moscovienses Missam Latine celebrare (si vellent), sed die Dominica tantum, atque hora octava vel etiam septima temporis matutini (!). Rara avis esset, quae talem Missam celebrasset! Ideo, in Russia encyclica illa Pontificalis certo nullam vim habebitur. Credo Pontificem Romanum tempora ante Concilium Vaticanum II restiture velle.

Andreas Faber, Moscovia




© 2024   Created by Andrew Reinhard.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service