Is anyone else trying Latin?

I got the most wonderful prayer book recently - it’s the Manual of Prayers of the North American seminary in Rome, and while it is obviously geared towards seminarians and priests, most of it is truly for everyone. It also has a very interesting cover: it’s leather & has a flap that snaps closed to protect the book. I got it from EWTN’s website, but it may be available elsewhere also.

One of the reasons why I sought this particular book is that all of the major prayers are in both English and Latin. Now, I’m no throwback who advocates that everything should go back to Latin, but I have been to a couple of solemn masses in Rome (celebrated by a cardinal) and found them to be very inspiring. Everything was in Latin except for the homily, and it was chanted as well. I speak Italian so I could catch some of the Latin, but really not much - I would never want the Mass to go back to Latin, because I’d really be out of it!

I took a condensed Latin course in college, and all I can say about Latin is that it’s really, really difficult. I have enough trouble with Italian, which is the closest living relative, and I have no intention of attempting to learn Latin thoroughly. However, I would like to learn at least the major prayers in Latin because it’s part of my religious and cultural heritage. Is anyone else doing the same thing?

Hi Stellina!

I think it’s a great idea for you to pursue this. I learned the Rosary prayers in Latin a couple years ago and have found it to be a blessing. Somehow hearing myself pray in the same language that so many of our brothers and sisters prayed in for centuries makes me feel tied to them, despite my no-doubt butchered pronunciation.

I liked it so well that since then I have learned the prayers in a new language every advent and lent as a devotion. Doing so forces me to think about the prayers and the saints who must have prayed the same exact prayers when they were on earth.

Since you speak Italian, you should learn the prayers in Italian someday. The prayer after the Rosary is different in Italian than in the other languages that I have looked at and is breathtaking:

Signore Jesu, per questi mysteri del tuo vita, passione, morte e gloria, e per i meriti del tuo Santa Madre, te preghiamo: converte i peccatori; aiuta i morenti; libere le anime del purgatorio. Concede a tutti noi la tua gratia per ben viveri e ben morire, e la tua gloria per contemplare il tuo volto e amarte per l’eternita. Signore. Amen.

Cool, huh? Although I probably misspelled some words.

Pax Christi,

Jim

Actually. there seems to be a renewed interest in learning Latin lately, especially among young people. From a recent article:

news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20040721/lf_nm/italy_latin_dc_1

The article speculates that one of the factors that has precipitated this is the appearance of Latin in recent films, most notably The Passion of The Christ. My own teenage son, after seen this movie, expressed an interest in learning Latin as well (our parish also regularly uses the Agnus Dei in Latin, plays Gregorian Chant before and after daily Mass, and incorporates more Latin into our Friday night Marian Mass). I have to agree that hearing Latin used in the *Passion * gave me a thrill of connectedness with Tradition. I have a prayer book (The Catholic Handbook of Prayers, published by Sceptor), that has Latin on the facing page of each prayer. I would love to be able to pronounce them myself. It is our patrimony.

Latin is beautiful, and central to Church history. It will give us better rapport with the saints both now and (hopefully) someday, who usually prayed in Latin especially for liturgical prayer. They will understand us better, and we them, if we make the effort now and thus show our love, even if language is not the same in heaven as it is here. Latin gave the Church universality, and Latin also grew with the Church. Classical Latin is somewhat different from Ecclesiastical Latin; the latter is really the Church’s own true language. Protestant secular education teaches only classical Latin as a way of erasing Catholic history. Latin is historical and theological continuity in so many ways.

It isn’t necessary to understand Latin as one understands one’s own local language. One gets to know what phrases mean, in the Mass and in the psalms and breviary, and at that point one is using Latin. I pray from bi-lingual books, and use the Latin wherever I understand it: this is gradually more and more of the books in question. Here is a pronunciation guide, by the way.

“[T]he Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic, and non-vernacular.” Veterum Sapientia, Pope John XXIII.

I’m gradually learning Latin.

I’ve got a couple of old Latin breviaries and a Latin Vulgate Bible.

I often pray basic prayers in Latin.

Bit by bit, it’s getting easier.

I was getting frustrated with my old compact Latin-English dictionary that I inherited, and so I ordered a dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin. It’s supposed to arrive sometime this week. Hopefully that will help a bit.

I just got a great book on Latin called “Let’s Read Latin” by Ralph McInerny. He teaches it by teaching prayers. He starts with the Pater Nostra, Ave Maria, etc. It comes with a tape for pronunciation. Latin may not still be used in Mass but it is still the language of the Church. It’s also the root of so many English words. I find it very interesting.

Yes, Latin is difficult. So is Greek! You think thats hard, you should have to learn Old Slavonic (it uses the Cyrilic alphabet, as in Russian). Used in the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Yes, I’ve attended Mass in Italy, and could understand the Latin Mass. I have 4years +. I don’t undersand why Americans can’t learn another language.

Look at the prayers that are in the Mass in these different languages. Though they may look similar and function similarly they have some profound differences in understanding. Examples include the “And also with you” which in Italian and Latin is “And with your spirit” subtle yet profoundly different. “It is right to give you” Turns to “it is just and necessary to…” again small difference in words yet a profound difference in meaning.

Learn as many of these languages as you can, you will be a better person and will not regret it.

Practice your language skills at www.Zenit.org. They have a ton of news in six languages now.

I am endeavouring to learn to pray the Rosary in Latin, but oy gevalt, it’s a tongue-twister for me. My second language is French, and I used to know how to pray in it, but I have sadly forgotten.

[quote=stellina]I got the most wonderful prayer book recently - it’s the Manual of Prayers of the North American seminary in Rome, and while it is obviously geared towards seminarians and priests, most of it is truly for everyone. It also has a very interesting cover: it’s leather & has a flap that snaps closed to protect the book. I got it from EWTN’s website, but it may be available elsewhere also.

One of the reasons why I sought this particular book is that all of the major prayers are in both English and Latin. Now, I’m no throwback who advocates that everything should go back to Latin, but I have been to a couple of solemn masses in Rome (celebrated by a cardinal) and found them to be very inspiring. Everything was in Latin except for the homily, and it was chanted as well. I speak Italian so I could catch some of the Latin, but really not much - I would never want the Mass to go back to Latin, because I’d really be out of it!

I took a condensed Latin course in college, and all I can say about Latin is that it’s really, really difficult. I have enough trouble with Italian, which is the closest living relative, and I have no intention of attempting to learn Latin thoroughly. However, I would like to learn at least the major prayers in Latin because it’s part of my religious and cultural heritage. Is anyone else doing the same thing?
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Latin STILL remains the official language of the church, universally, and of all current papal documents. 75% too of the english language is made up of latin. I think the intellectual smart catholics are those who at least make an effort to value the tradition of the church, and its language. Can you beleive there are priests who are ordained without knowing latin?? Recently, Pope John Paul II has said of the importance of latin, and its wider use.

Latin is very cool. I studied it for 6 years (2 years middle school, 4 years high school; took the NYS regents and AP exam in Latin(Virgil)). It is also the most grammatically complicated language I have ever come across. It boggles my mind that people actually spoke it. I hate it when people complain about the latin in the mass. Church latin is baby stuff…any high school latin student who stayed awake in class can read St Jerome’s Vulgate. You want hard latin…try translating Cicero’s First Oration Against Cataline, Virgil’s Aeneid, Livy’s Ab Urbe Condita, or the poems of Catullus. I had to do that in high school!:eek:

I love Lent since that’s when our parish does many of the Mass prayers in Latin. :slight_smile:

My kids learn Latin in school and I would like to take a class as well. I was looking at reviews of Latin programs just today and there is one called Wheelock. It is designed for self study and no previous Latin is required.

I love praying the Marian prayers in Latin in my Magnificat and am trying to learn the Anima Christi.

BTW I have been going to Mass in Spanish lately and the Spanish translation seems much closer to the Latin in Mass than the English. Such as “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grevious fault” in the Confetior.

I have such good memories of the Latin Mass and singing responses and hymns in gradeschool. I am trying to re-learn the rosary in Latin and can do most of it now:dancing:

I find that by praying in another language, i am able to meditate better on the mysteries of the Rosary. My mind is drawn into the images of the specific mystery instead of the words of the prayers.

I got the book Let’s learn Latin, too, and am reading along with the tape and it is helping.

I love to hear that other people are learning Latin prayers. :bounce: I started it as a Lenten discipline a few years ago and am coming along pretty well. I most recently worked on the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel and don’t really have it down well – because I got lazy. :o I wish we did more in Latin in our parish.

Also, I can say the Our Father in Russian and thought I would learn the Rosary in German – talk about tongue-twisting! The Russian Our Father is easier than a German Hail Mary. Does anyone have a copy of the Rosary in Russian? I would be so grateful if you can point me to a website!!

Personally, I love the latin language, I loved it long before I became a Catholic (member of the Junior Classical League). I find it a very beautiful language. When I cross myself I do not do it in english but rather in Latin. I can say all the Rosary prayers in Latin and a few poems by Aquinas. Its a wonderful language to learn.

Back in the old days, Catholic high school students were required to take two years of Latin. I went on to take a third year and in college I studied Latin for a fourth year(Virgil).

I still remember by heart the words to the Latin Mass and the responses.I am trying to keep my knowledge of Latin alive. It is such a beautiful language and maybe someday there will be a universal indult.

My Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin arrived the other day, and already I’m finding it useful.

There was a word that had me puzzled in the hymn “Te lucis ante terminum”.

My compact Cassell’s Latin-English dictionary only offers the definition “dancer” for the word “praesul”. Even the highly regarded Lewis & Short dictionary only offers the definition “dance leader”.

The Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin offers, among its definitions, “patron” and “protector.”

Now I can make some sense out of the line in the hymn. :smiley:

That’s really neat. I’d like to try Latin. It would also be cool if masses were in Latin again (even though I was never born to be at one in my parish). Latin would be a good language to learn because it would make languages such as Spanish, French, and Italian easier to learn. Plus, it sounds neat to be speaking the language of our Fathers (Church Fathers).

[quote=stellina] Now, I’m no throwback who advocates that everything should go back to Latin, but I have been to a couple of solemn masses in Rome (celebrated by a cardinal) and found them to be very inspiring.

I would like to learn at least the major prayers in Latin because it’s part of my religious and cultural heritage. Is anyone else doing the same thing?
[/quote]

Hey, I’m not throwback either but I am absolutely bowled over by the majesty and beauty of the Tridentine Solemn Mass – all except for the osculations, that is. Ew. That gives me the creeps!

Learning the major prayers in Latin is a great thing. And The V-2 document Sacrosanctum Concilium says that congregations should be taught at least the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin. C’mon! How hard is that? And it attaches us to our own Tradition.

[quote=KateQ]Also, I can say the Our Father in Russian and thought I would learn the Rosary in German – talk about tongue-twisting! The Russian Our Father is easier than a German Hail Mary. Does anyone have a copy of the Rosary in Russian? I would be so grateful if you can point me to a website!!
[/quote]

LOL! You are the first person I have ever heard remark on the Ave Maria in German. To my mind, it is the most appalling sounding thing in the world! Maybe you and I are the only two people in the world who think so! :smiley:

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