Fear of Latin?

It seems to me, that there are many who fear the latin language. There are some claims that people will not understand or comprehend what is going on. As a person who has attended many latin masses way before studying the language, I know for myself that this was not an issue, however it may be for others.

Latin is considered the language of knowlege. Legal Terms, Scientific terms and other terms of knowledge and education are all in latin and at one tme so was the language of the Western Church.

I bet that many people use latin every day without even realizing it. Simple phrases and words such as, caveat, caveat emptor, carpe diem, ad hoc, alter ego, bona fide, ad hominem, ad nauseum and the list goes on and on.

The word catholic comes from the greek for universal. One thing that was universal within the Church was the language used for the liturgy. That universality is gone, and now when one goes to different parts of the world, or even different parts of the country, they can kind of follow along because there are some things that are recognizable and familiar, but when it was in Latin and it was done the same way everywhere, there was no doubt as to what was going on, but I digress.

I would just like to hear the reasons for opposition to Latin within the Church. Is it fear? Is it that you would feel uncomfortable sitting in a church hearing language you don’t understand (I hope you don’t travel). If you oppose Latin in the liturgy, please explain why.

Thank you,

I attend the Latin Mass, and find no fear of Latin. Certainly not my experience.

People in our RCIA group are told to say ‘Amen’ (long ‘a’ sound) instead of pronouncing it ‘Ahmen’, because ‘Ahmen’ is the Latin pronunciation.

There are some in the Church today that have been taught that any tradition associated with the pre VatII Church is to be discarded.

I attended community masses for a number of years in a language that I pretty much didn’t understand (though my parents did).

The form of these being exactly the same as the English-language masses which I also attended, it was easy to follow along.

I don’t think it would be worse to go back to the Latin language - what I don’t think is necessary is going back to the pre-vatican 2 FORM of the Mass. A mass where both form and language were unknown to me would truly be upsetting.

Some of simply believe that it is more optimal if the Mass was understood by the congregation. So it isn’t a matter of fear.

I feel stupid when we have Latin Mass. i took Latin in school for 2 years ( flunked it, unfortunately…). If we had it more often, I think I could get used to it. As my mother remarked when she came to visit from germany to the US, " it would be easier to have it in Latin, then I could participate better". My downfall is I was born after Vatican II, so I never got to experience the Mass in Latin on a regular basis, it’s a shame, really…:crying: I feel like I’m missing out!

[quote=rkberlin]I feel stupid when we have Latin Mass. i took Latin in school for 2 years ( flunked it, unfortunately…). If we had it more often, I think I could get used to it. As my mother remarked when she came to visit from germany to the US, " it would be easier to have it in Latin, then I could participate better". My downfall is I was born after Vatican II, so I never got to experience the Mass in Latin on a regular basis, it’s a shame, really…:crying: I feel like I’m missing out!
[/quote]


Why feel stupid. Non of us are born knowing latin. Our Lord gave us the ability to learn, no matter what age.

I think even more than a fear of Latin persay, it is a general fear of learning and that which is unfamiliar. I don’t think people usually are antagonistic toward such things because of any real true dislike of them, but rather out of fear of inadequacy. Like a child who has problems reading and clams up and sweats bullets when called on to read aloud in class, and so decides that he hates books and hates reading. He’s really just afraid of looking foolish. I’m willing to bet that those people who seem so against bringing back latin in whatever amount, were they to suddenly find that they had an aptitude for Latin that they were never aware of, would quickly lose their fear of it and probably change their opinion.

The need to learn never ceases, and no one looks foolish when attempting to learn, only when they refuse to even try.

[quote=rkberlin]I. As my mother remarked when she came to visit from germany to the US, " it would be easier to have it in Latin, then I could participate better".
[/quote]

That has been my experience. I am familiar enough with the Latin Mass (TLM and NO) to participate.

And that has come in very handy with some of the International travel I do for work.

The Latin Masses I attended in Seoul and Amsterdam provided for far more "active participation’ than the French ones I attended in Paris.

And really, if our diocese and parishes had actually followed the Vatican II documents, we would ALL be familiar with the Latin Mass, at least enought to participate.

Sacrosanctum Concillium #54 mandated that all the faithful should be able to say or sing their parts of the Mass IN LATIN.

So everyone, go point that out to your DRE’s and ask when Latin Class starts.

[quote=Brendan] . . . . Sacrosanctum Concillium #54 mandated that all the faithful should be able to say or sing their parts of the Mass IN LATIN. So everyone, go point that out to your DRE’s and ask when Latin Class starts.
[/quote]

Brendan,

Or, to put it another way that might be more salient to the topic,

“Linguae vernaculae in Missis cum populo celebratis congruus locus tribui possit, praesertim in lectionibus et ‘oratione communi’, ac, pro condicione locorum, etiam in partibus quae ad populum spectant, ad normam art. 36 huius Constitutionis. Provideatur tamen ut christifideles etiam lingua latina partes Ordinarii Missae quae ad ipsos spectant possint simul dicere vel cantare. Sicubi tamen amplior usus linguae vernaculae in Missa opportunus esse videatur, servetur praescriptum art. 40 huius Constitutionis.”

:slight_smile:

John

[quote=Brendan]That has been my experience. I am familiar enough with the Latin Mass (TLM and NO) to participate.

And that has come in very handy with some of the International travel I do for work.

The Latin Masses I attended in Seoul and Amsterdam provided for far more "active participation’ than the French ones I attended in Paris.

And really, if our diocese and parishes had actually followed the Vatican II documents, we would ALL be familiar with the Latin Mass, at least enought to participate.

Sacrosanctum Concillium #54 mandated that all the faithful should be able to say or sing their parts of the Mass IN LATIN.

So everyone, go point that out to your DRE’s and ask when Latin Class starts.
[/quote]

Regardless of what the original documents of the Council called for, Pope Paul promulgated the Pauline Rite and approved its celebration in the vernacular. It has become so common as to be virtually normative. I doubt very much that you are going to see much, if any alteration, in the Pauline Rite vis a vis more Latin , though you may see the Pian Mass given greater liberty. Just as there was an uproar over the Pauline Rite’s initiation, so there would be an uproar over it’s demise (or even it’s demise in the vernacular) and I doubt that the Pope is going to attempt to heal one schism by initiating another.

It’s not about fear but laziness. How pathetic is it that we cannot learn even the most basic prayers and hymns said by our Fathers and fellow Catholics for centuries in Latin? Latin is treated by some like it’s anathema. I’m as guilty as anyone but have chosen to do something about it. Open an instruction book, buy some software and take some action. Be a leader. I’m tired of sitting there listening to some Latin prayer and having little clue about what exactly is being said and also not singing/participating. When I push myself to honor our Lord in special ways, I can feel His pleasure. For me, having a grasp of Latin is one special way and I also feel a greater connection with our deceased brethren who all used it in worship.
Latin is still the official language of the Roman Catholic Church. Our Popes have instructed us to learn it, so let’s obey them.

Jube, Domine, benedicere.

[quote=JKirkLVNV]Regardless of what the original documents of the Council called for, Pope Paul promulgated the Pauline Rite and approved its celebration in the vernacular.
[/quote]

Oh, I understand that Pope Paul promulgated a valid Mass, and one that can be said entirely in the vernacular.

I don’t see where either he or any of his sucessors removed the obligation for the faithful to know thier parts of the Mass in Latin that was articulated in SC 54.

And if it hasn’t been removed, there are an awful lot of DRE’s in the world who aren’t teaching in accord with Vatican II.

[quote=srp643]It’s not about fear but laziness. How pathetic is it that we cannot learn even the most basic prayers and hymns said by our Fathers and fellow Catholics for centuries in Latin? Latin is treated by some like it’s anathema. I’m as guilty as anyone but have chosen to do something about it. Open an instruction book, buy some software and take some action. Be a leader. I’m tired of sitting there listening to some Latin prayer and having little clue about what exactly is being said and also not singing/participating. When I push myself to honor our Lord in special ways, I can feel His pleasure. For me, having a grasp of Latin is one special way and I also feel a greater connection with our deceased brethren who all used it in worship.
Latin is still the official language of the Roman Catholic Church. Our Popes have instructed us to learn it, so let’s obey them.

Jube, Domine, benedicere.
[/quote]

I really resent this and I think you should apologize to your fellow Christians. I don’t want any expansion of Latin in the Mass at all and it isn’t because of laziness. I’m a teacher and I became a teacher because I love learning myself. I speak Spanish fairly well in addition to my native English. I collect old Latin manuscripts and I study Latin when I have time and I can read some. I’m a big believer in developing and maintaining intellectual vigor (one of the reasons I enjoy the discussions of this board). I simply believe that it is beneficial that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass be intelligible to those for whom it is being offered. I see no point in going back to having to follow the Mass in a book (“my” parts in the Mass are something I’ve memorized, rather quickly for someone who is alledgedly intellectually "lazy, and I’ve never had to follow the Mass in the missal) and I want to understand and to pray the Mass. This I do best in English, my vernacular. It has nothing to do with laziness. You ought to be ashamed.

I love the English mass. I remember the latin mass as a child and I had no idea what they were saying. Now I feel so much more a part of it. I pray the mass stays in the vernacular.

[quote=JKirkLVNV]I really resent this and I think you should apologize to your fellow Christians. I don’t want any expansion of Latin in the Mass at all and it isn’t because of laziness. I’m a teacher and I became a teacher because I love learning myself. I speak Spanish fairly well in addition to my native English. I collect old Latin manuscripts and I study Latin when I have time and I can read some. I’m a big believer in developing and maintaining intellectual vigor (one of the reasons I enjoy the discussions of this board). I simply believe that it is beneficial that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass be intelligible to those for whom it is being offered. I see no point in going back to having to follow the Mass in a book (“my” parts in the Mass are something I’ve memorized, rather quickly for someone who is alledgedly intellectually "lazy, and I’ve never had to follow the Mass in the missal) and I want to understand and to pray the Mass. This I do best in English, my vernacular. It has nothing to do with laziness. You ought to be ashamed.
[/quote]

I’m sorry you feel that way but I cannot feel ashamed for following our Pope’s instructions and glorifying our Lord in traditional ways. You should feel ashamed for blatantly criticizing Papal directives. You’re on shaky ground here brother. Most of the NO masses I attend still have Latin and to suggest we should not make an effort to understand and even participate in those sections of the Mass is absolutely pathetic and wrong.

[quote=srp643]I’m sorry you feel that way but I cannot feel ashamed for following our Pope’s instructions and glorifying our Lord in traditional ways. You should feel ashamed for blatantly criticizing Papal directives. You’re on shaky ground here brother. Most of the NO masses I attend still have Latin and to suggest we should not make an effort to understand and even participate in those sections of the Mass is absolutely pathetic and wrong.
[/quote]

I’m NOT criticizing a papal directive. I obey the Holy Father. I was addressing YOUR critique that anyone’s lack of enthusiasm had to do with laziness. It has far more to do with many other things than with laziness. Your assertion that it is laziness (I refer you to your post) is what is wrong and I call on you, in the spirit of fraternal correction, to apologize. Your assertion is simply dismissive, simply a way of shunting aside what might be legitimate concerns, and fails to address the very real fear that some have that the Mass they love is about to be tampered with. I’ve always supported a broader application of the Indult OUT OF A SENSE OF EMPATHY, because I know precisely how I would feel if they started mucking about with, started changing “MY” Mass, the Mass that has always been offered for as long as I’ve been a Catholic. I assumed that this is how many if not most Catholics felt when the Pian Mass was eclipsed BY that Pauline Mass, and so I’ve been sympathetic. That sympathy, that EMPATHY, however, has never been returned by ANY “traditionalist” or advocate for the Pian Mass on these forums, who heap nothing but scorn on the Pauline Mass. It goes FAR deeper for many of us than laziness and to suggest that that is what it is is insulting. You do me a unkindness and a diservice, which I do not deserve. I’ve been a faithful Catholic for almost as long as YOU’VE been alive, not a perfect one, but an obedient one. It is simplistic to accuse me of laziness.

To the OP, yes, it’s fear, but not fear of Latin…it’s fear of an alteration of something that’s LOVED. TRY AND GET THAT THROUGH YOUR HEADS! Some of us love the Pauline Mass, IN THE VERNACULAR.

[quote=JKirkLVNV]I’m NOT criticizing a papal directive. I obey the Holy Father. I was addressing YOUR critique that anyone’s lack of enthusiasm had to do with laziness. It has far more to do with many other things than with laziness. Your assertion that it is laziness (I refer you to your post) is what is wrong and I call on you, in the spirit of fraternal correction, to apologize. Your assertion is simply dismissive, simply a way of shunting aside what might be legitimate concerns, and fails to address the very real fear that some have that the Mass they love is about to be tampered with. I’ve always supported a broader application of the Indult OUT OF A SENSE OF EMPATHY, because I know precisely how I would feel if they started mucking about with, started changing “MY” Mass, the Mass that has always been offered for as long as I’ve been a Catholic. I assumed that this is how many if not most Catholics felt when the Pian Mass was eclipsed BY that Pauline Mass, and so I’ve been sympathetic. That sympathy, that EMPATHY, however, has never been returned by ANY “traditionalist” or advocate for the Pian Mass on these forums, who heap nothing but scorn on the Pauline Mass. It goes FAR deeper for many of us than laziness and to suggest that that is what it is is insulting. You do me a unkindness and a diservice, which I do not deserve. I’ve been a faithful Catholic for almost as long as YOU’VE been alive, not a perfect one, but an obedient one. It is simplistic to accuse me of laziness.

To the OP, yes, it’s fear, but not fear of Latin…it’s fear of an alteration of something that’s LOVED. TRY AND GET THAT THROUGH YOUR HEADS! Some of us love the Pauline Mass, IN THE VERNACULAR.
[/quote]

You are, in fact, criticizing Papal directives on this matter. I also LOVE the Pauline Mass IN THE VERNACULAR, and I also LOVE the Pian Mass IN LATIN. They are not mutually exclusive. We can celebrate and love BOTH. You’re trying to wish away those that love either the Latin mass or having Latin in parts of the NO. In your specific case, it appears it is not about laziness but fear. Based on my experiences with other Catholics, however, I make a general observation (only my humble opinion brother) that it is more about laziness than fear (of course there are always exceptions to general observations, that goes without saying). Many people appear to be content understanding 90% of the NO Mass and not understanding the Latin prayers, which is again, IMO pathetic and wrong. Shall we all just understand and pray 90% of the Lord’s prayer? How about 87% of the Hail Mary?

Learning Latin is hard and takes time. It’s inconvenient. But it is hugely beneficial for a variety of reasons. Would a musician not learn to read sheet music? RIGHT NOW, IN THIS MOMENT, LATIN IS THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH. Your appear to be repudiating that fact and consequently are being disrespectful to Rome and other Catholics. If you are knowledgeable about Latin, great, then be a leader and help others learn it as the Popes have consistently implored us to do so.

I find it hard to believe that if you just start with the promulgation of the Tridentine rite, that people did not understand the Mass for over 500 years and that only in the last 40 have people truly understood the Mass. For me personally, I don’t buy that reason for not wanting Latin.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.