Is Latin an impediment to comprehending the Mass?

Some have said that Latin is an impediment, a barrier if you will, to comprehending the Mass. Do you have any problems understanding the Mass? If so, Do you attribute it to poor catechisis or what? Did the saints have a problem understanding the Mass?

I felt a little lost the first time I attended a TLM. But I found with the English alongside the Latin in the missal, I was able to pick up on it really fast. But the whole time, I was able to understand the Mass, just not the actual words. So, I would say no, it is not an impediment.

When I went to Mass in Quebec City last summer, I was totally lost, because I don’t speak French. I can read it, but not understand the spoken word. (they speak really fast!!) If the Mass had of been in Latin, I would have felt right at home.

I only occasionally attend the Latin Mass (I am a convert) but I have never had any serious trouble understanding what was going on.

I don’t understand very much Latin, but the gestures and movements are obvious enough - I can tell from where the priest is standing and what sort of movements he is making which part of the Mass we are in, and I know how to say my Mass prayers.

Paramedicgirl, I’m reminded of the time in my younger days when I served with someone who didn’t speak any English. The Mass went very well actually. He and I knew the same Latin responses and knew when the book needed to be brought to the other side and everything. Oh, yes, we did shake hands afterwards. We understood that too. :slight_smile:

I took three years of Latin in high school.

That said, that was a long time ago, and I don’t quite hear or understand every word of Latin that the priest speaks, … but neither do I use a missal.

Attending Latin Mass is what I do when I want to be surrounded by a rich atmosphere of spirituality where it is often easier for me to sense the Presence of God than when I attend an English-language Mass. Therefore, I consider the Latin Mass a special gift.

Worrying about following along in the missal or hanging on every single word would ruin it for me. The important points of the Mass are obvious enough so that I know what’s going on and when.

~~ the phoenix

Sounds like a universal language to me…:slight_smile:

Couldn’t have put it better myself. If you get bogged down in the detail, you miss the point. :slight_smile:

I’ve attended NO masses in Portuguese, German, even Chinese. Never had a problem figuring out which part of the Mass we were up to - not even which prayer. When it came to the common prayers and responses I’d say 'em in English quietly to myself.

If I went to the TLM it’d throw me a little, as the Maronite Divine Liturgy did when I attended it once, simply because the order of things, on my understanding, is somewhat different and there are the prayers that aren’t in the NO to add to the confusion.

What confusion are we talking about? If anything the TLM is being criticized as being too tight and too organized. But for 1600 years we Catholics did pretty well, don’t you think, under this supposed “confusion”?

FIrst, I voted no.
Bob P, Your comments remimded me of this.

That’s a really good story!

I’m saying they take a little adjustment for someone used to the form and order of prayers as they’re set out in the NO is all, not that they’re confusing or disorganised per se. Hence ‘it’d throw ME a little’, not it’d throw EVERYONE. Lighten up!

I better understood what the Holy Mass was after I began attending the TLM. I now can approach the Mass under any approved liturgical rite in any language with that better understanding and I really appreciate it more.

That being said, I don’t think it was really the Latin language per se that was responsible for the better comprehension, but I think it added at least a little to the overall effect the TLM has had on me.

You’d still recognize the remaining 15%. Mostly Dominus Vobiscum.

Is there any concern here for those who may walk into a Catholic Church with a Latin mass who are curious about the faith and then may become discouraged because they have no idea what is going on?

Latin was okay for the first 1900 years because latin was often required learning in schools. This is no longer the case and if someone were seeking out answers about life and God and the church, walking in to a Latin mass could be pretty intimidating.

It’s all well and good for we who already know what happens in a mass, but we are not the only consideration here.

just some thoughts…:o

‘Dominus Vobiscum’ is 15% of the TLM??? Hooly Dooly that must be a quick Mass! :stuck_out_tongue:

I agree with your thoughts and have thought them before myself. And, as usual, I can’t really answer the poll. If someone walks in and sits down without knowledge of the Mass, I think Latin can be an impediment. If someone is familiar with the Mass then I think the latin/english missal works great. I think, at this point, we lack the education to use Latin in all Masses. My dad and mom were both taught it in school (public too) and routinely at home. This simply isn’t the case for most (even though it is for my children). Can it be again? I hope so! Somehow I don’t think the public schools will be on board with this one though.

What does comprehending the Mass mean? Comprehending the prayers of the Mass? Comprehending the purpose of the Mass? Comprehending the meaning of the Mass? &c.

Acutally it is the opposite. New people expect to see something strange when they go to a new place.
The demand for the vernacular comes from established members who don’t have Latin and therefore feel second class.

There are some good arguments for the vernacular. One of them is that, obviously, people who don’t speak Latin can’t understand the words. There is not much point in trying to deny this simple observation.

I don’t think they expect foreign languages when walking into a church.

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