Latin? In MY Mass?

The typical parish experience of the Mass is devoid of the faithful saying or singing certain parts of the Order of Mass (like the Our Father or the Holy, Holy, Holy) in Latin. In fact, most of the faithful have absolutely no ability to do so. And yet, our weekly experience of the reformed liturgy includes 1) an expanded Lectionary, 2) the regularity of homilies, 3) the Prayer of the Faithful, 4) the use of the vernacular, 5) the partaking in the sacrifice offered at that Mass (rather than Hosts consecrated at a previous Mass and retrieved from the tabernacle), 6) Communion under both kinds, 7) and a new rite of concelebration.

Those seven reforms I just mentioned are part of the typical parish experience (priest shortage notwithstanding), and they are the products of articles 51-58 of Sacrosanctum Concilium. Yet among those articles, right in the middle of article 54 (concerning the use of the vernacular in the Mass), is a sentence about the reform which seems to have been overlooked completely. Article 54 reads:
In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place to the readings and “the common prayer,” but also, as local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people, according to tho norm laid down in Art. 36 of this Constitution.

Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.

And wherever a more extended use of the mother tongue within the Mass appears desirable, the regulation laid down in Art. 40 of this Constitution is to be observed.
So why have the other reforms been so successfully implemented (and then some!) and generally well-received, but that pesky little sentence in article 54 about Latin can’t seem to get its foot in the door? Why are Catholics who are benefiting from the reforms listed in articles 51-58 impotent when it comes to praying in Latin at Mass? And it goes beyond lack of ability: why do some Catholics who otherwise support the reforms they experience from articles 51-58 become indignant at the mere mention of possibly making Latin responses at Mass?

What’s the problem with that sentence about Latin in article 54? People — at least some people — were making the responses in Latin before 1963. Why did it become impossible and undesirable? Is it obsolete? Opposed to “full, conscious, and active participation”? A monastic ideal not appropriate for normal parish life? A compromise sentence which was never meant to be taken seriously?

In the Church what I attend the Ordo (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) is sung by the people in Latin, the propers (Introit, Gradual, Offertory, Communion) chanted by the cantor also in Latin. The Creed is recited in English, and the Our Father is chanted in English, and everything else is in English too.

I believe this the Mass envisioned by the XXI Ecumenical council.

People don’t like Latin. I even had a deacon tell me he didn’t like it; he even put it in a most disturbing way by stating ‘he couldn’t stand Latin’. That made me flinch.

I’ve heard many negative comments about Latin. Really I don’t know where it comes from. I think it might be because they are afraid that the sign of more Latin at Mass is a sign that the Latin form will replace the OF eventually. Like that’s going to happen!:rolleyes:

We have a Gregorian Schola that chants the propers at Vigil Mass.

Just an FYI: The Kyrie is Greek, not Latin.

I agree, Latin should be (as the documents of Vatican II very clearly state) retained for certain parts of the Mass.

I don’t know why some people are ‘afraid’ of Latin when they’ll have no problems memorizing a few Spanish phrases at their jobs, or when they’ll cheerfully put their toddlers in front of the TV to watch “Dora the Explorer” or “Ni Hao, Kai Lan” and boast of how their little darling can burble a few words of Spanish or Chinese. Heck, some people even pride themselves on learning KLINGON (a great language). . .yet these same people cringe at Latin? When so many English (not to mention French, Spanish, Italian etc.) words are COGNATES (meaning the root is the same and it is easy to figure out the Latin meaning because it’s so similar to the non-Latin word?)

For some it might just be a guilty conscience. (Even if they weren’t themselves alive when the OF was formulated and the EF to all intents and purposes ‘banished’ some 40 years ago.)

Because they might reason, "40 years ago people who loved the EF ‘lost it’ and had absolutely no voice in getting it back for decades --therefore, if I allow one "credo’ or ‘ave’ in **my vernacular OF Mass which for some reason I think must ALL be 100% vernacular **. . .then somehow, somewhere, conspiratists are lurking with EVIL INTENT:rolleyes: and will STEAL MY MASS AWAY and replace it with 100% horrible hoary Latin! :eek:

Bah. Humbug. Benigne. (No, thank you.)
But I don’t want to be mean :D. Even though this is a scarcely rational ‘thought’ on their part, no doubt they are sincerely worried, and this worry needs to be addressed with compassion. :hug1:

So. . .dear lovers of the OF “vernacular” – we do not wish to deprive you of an OF.:slight_smile: We only wish you to have a legitimate, proper, valid OF as was originally set forth through the documents of Vatican 2 and was improperly rendered by some over the last decades into a 100% ‘Latin-free Mass’. This should not have been done and the wrong now needs to be corrected. But only those few parts in Latin should be in Latin --the rest should remain in the vernacular just as you wish. :slight_smile:

I don’t know the answer to your question. I do know that my convert husband was extremely relieved when he first attended a Mass and found out it was NOT in Latin. He can’t really give a rational explanation for it but he maintains something of a fear of the EF even though he’s never actually experienced one. I also know he grew up with a disdain for ceremony and pomp in general, whether in a Church environment, an educational environment, a political environment, etc. (He’s grown a bit more accepting of it as he’s aged.)

I do think that a lot of the older people I know still have an image of the Church prior to Vatican II as teaching a vengeful God and the Church after Vatican II as teaching a loving God. This (Whether or not this is a correct view of the Church is irrelevant because it is about emotion, not fact. But I know that it is a view that is held by clergy and laity alike.) view of the Church has been handed down to subsequent generations and I believe Latin has somehow become a symbol of the “Vengeful God Church.”

I think the reason the EF is now becoming more popular is because the younger generations don’t view the EF and Latin with the same emotional baggage as do many of their elders.

I agree with your assessment of the Church prior to VaticanII.

I do not ever remember hearing “God is love” or hearing about the mercy of God. It was always hell and brimstone from the pulpit.

It resulted in much anxiety, fear and guilt. I myself, have a struggle with scrupulosity as a result.
There was no sense of balance prior to VaticanII.

Then in the late 60’s, 70’s, catechesis did a 360, resulting in a lax sense of sin. My childeren were educated in this era and have all fallen away from the Church.

So, I don’t know what the answer is. But, I don’t think Latin had anything to do with it.

Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison, Kyrie Eleison (Greek for: Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.)

Right now, we are singing the Kyrie during the Penitential Rite.

Being that most people in the U.S. are not bilingual, it would be helpful if when people are asked to sing a foreign language, that English subtitles are below the verses.

It would also be best that people understand Early Church history, and that these songs in their language honors the Early Church and the first gentile Christian converts.

If we are going to say any part of the Mass in Latin who is going to teach us the Latin? It would seem that our priests aren’t taught Latin any more. A priest who is an acquaintance of mine told me that Latin wasn’t on the curriculum at seminary and that he didn’t know Latin.

The information is readily available on the internet and in countless books (like my own).

Pope Paul VI released Iubilate Deo back in the early 1970’s as the desired minimum repertoire of Gregorian chant for parish use in the Order of the Mass.

We sing that one in Greek :cool:

There are inserts for the hymnals. That is what our parish uses.

In addition in 1974, Pope Paul VI issued a repitoire of common chants to be used in the Liturgy (yet another sign on how the Pope of Vatican II really wanted the liturgy to go). That missal was called “Jubilate Deo”, and it is available as a free download.

adoremus.org/JubilateDeo.html

I LOVE this line from the document

Would you therefore, in collaboration with the competent diocesan and national agencies for the liturgy, sacred music and catechetics, decide on the best ways of teaching the faithful the Latin chants of Jubilate Deo and of having them sing them…. You will thus be performing a new service for the Church in the domain of liturgical renewal

This was sent to all the bishops of the world, and we can see how our bishops really failed us in regards to the liturgy. Far too many bishops decided that the “best way” of teaching the Faithful these chants was to simply ignore the whole thing.

One of the reforms that +Benedict put in was that all seminaries must teach, and all seminarians must learn, sufficent Latin to be able to say Mass in Latin.

So the local seminary should be able to assist now at least.

My current parish we sing the Agnus Dei and sometimes sing a Latin Hymnal (Panis Angelicus)

The Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy was written in 1963.

One of the key elements that many fail to read is further down in the document which states;

  1. To ensure that adaptations may be made with all the circumspection which they demand, the Apostolic See will grant power to this same territorial ecclesiastical authority to permit and to direct, as the case requires, the necessary preliminary experiments over a determined period of time among certain groups suited for the purpose.

So it was over the course of years, that the experiment in the use of the vernacular was seen by the Bishops as more successful than the attempts to retain Latin and so the Mass evolved completely into the use of the vernacular in most parishes across the world. This also kept with the spirit of the document which stated in the very beginning;

  1. This sacred Council has several aims in view: it desires to impart an ever increasing vigor to the Christian life of the faithful; to adapt more suitably to the needs of our own times those institutions which are subject to change; to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ; to strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church. The Council therefore sees particularly cogent reasons for undertaking the reform and promotion of the liturgy.

And so, the Mass evolved into what we have today and few parishes use Latin in their celebration of the Mass.

There has been a rise in the use of Latin, but its still in the minority.

Jim

Except that there were minimal, if any, attempts to retain Latin. And that, of course, is in direct contradiction to explicit statements elsewhere in the same document.

It seems to me that is is quite misleading to suggest that the quoted item from Sacrosanctum Concilium was license to perform “experiments” that were clearly opposed to to principles specifically stated by the same Council in the same document.

malphono

Except that there were minimal, if any, attempts to retain Latin. And that, of course, is in direct contradiction to explicit statements elsewhere in the same document.

Well the change was rapid because the use of the vernacular was overwhelmingly accepted. It doesn’t contradict anything in the document because the document’s purpose
was to evolve the Sacred Liturgy in such a way that active participation by the faithful would be achieved.

It seems to me that is is quite misleading to suggest that the quoted item from Sacrosanctum Concilium was license to perform “experiments” that were clearly opposed to to principles specifically stated by the same Council in the same document.

Well you’re interpretation doesn’t match what the Bishops did.

If the use of Latin was more accepted over the past 50 years, thread this like this one wouldn’t exist.

Instead we’d have a minority of people opening threads asking why more use of the vernacular isn’t allowed.

Jim

Jim, the immediate context of the sentence you quoted is:
D) Norms for adapting the Liturgy to the culture and traditions of peoples

  1. Even in the liturgy, the Church has no wish to impose a rigid uniformity in matters which do not implicate the faith or the good of the whole community; rather does she respect and foster the genius and talents of the various races and peoples. Anything in these peoples’ way of life which is not indissolubly bound up with superstition and error she studies with sympathy and, if possible, preserves intact. Sometimes in fact she admits such things into the liturgy itself, so long as they harmonize with its true and authentic spirit.

  2. Provisions shall also be made, when revising the liturgical books, for legitimate variations and adaptations to different groups, regions, and peoples, especially in mission lands, provided that the substantial unity of the Roman rite is preserved; and this should be borne in mind when drawing up the rites and devising rubrics.

  3. Within the limits set by the typical editions of the liturgical books, it shall be for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, to specify adaptations, especially in the case of the administration of the sacraments, the sacramentals, processions, liturgical language, sacred music, and the arts, but according to the fundamental norms laid down in this Constitution.

  4. In some places and circumstances, however, an even more radical adaptation of the liturgy is needed, and this entails greater difficulties. Wherefore:

  1. The competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, must, in this matter, carefully and prudently consider which elements from the traditions and culture of individual peoples might appropriately be admitted into divine worship. Adaptations which are judged to be useful or necessary should when be submitted to the Apostolic See, by whose consent they may be introduced.

2) To ensure that adaptations may be made with all the circumspection which they demand, the Apostolic See will grant power to this same territorial ecclesiastical authority to permit and to direct, as the case requires, the necessary preliminary experiments over a determined period of time among certain groups suited for the purpose.

  1. Because liturgical laws often involve special difficulties with respect to adaptation, particularly in mission lands, men who are experts in these matters must be employed to formulate them.
    Articles 37-40 deal with the introduction into the Roman Rite of elements particular to each culture. I do not think it is justifiable to quote SC 40.2 as permitting the virtual exclusion of Latin from a particular culture’s celebration of the Roman Rite.

UPDATE: SC 54.3 does refer back to SC 40:
54. In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place to the readings and “the common prayer,” but also, as local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people, according to tho norm laid down in Art. 36 of this Constitution.

Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.

And wherever a more extended use of the mother tongue within the Mass appears desirable, the regulation laid down in Art. 40 of this Constitution is to be observed.
But this does not affect SC 54.2; it merely permits expansion of SC 54.1.

And articles 51-58 are specific reforms decreed by the Second Vatican Council: “For this reason the sacred Council, having in mind those Masses which are celebrated with the assistance of the faithful, especially on Sundays and feasts of obligation, has made the following decrees in order that the sacrifice of the Mass, even in the ritual forms of its celebration, may become pastorally efficacious to the fullest degree.

This means that the Bishops at Vatican II decreed that “the faithful [should be] able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” and that this element, among many, leads to the most pastorally efficacious celebration of the sacrifice of the Mass.

So would you suggest that the use of Latin in the Order of the Mass by the faithful is somehow contrary to those four aims of the Council? I don’t see why the Council Fathers, especially Pope Paul VI who promulgated Iubilate Deo to our bishops for use in our parishes, would have promoted Latin’s use in the reformed liturgy if it went against their reasons for reforming and promoting the liturgy!

But as I recall that same Conciliar document leaves it up to the local bishops as to the extent of the use of the vernacular and Latin. It would be easy to interpret this as meaning that for a period of experimentation the vernacular could completely replace Latin, at least in theory. This seems to be what has been lived out in practice. :shrug: One way or another the Church is now on the upswing of reestablishing itself within authentic tradition and not being tossed around willy-nilly in the name of liturgical “experimentation”. :thumbsup:

So would you suggest that the use of Latin in the Mass by the faithful hinders their “active participation”?

And we could very easily direct them to SC 36.1 and SC 54.2, which explain why, although there is a gracious amount of use of the vernacular in the Roman Rite, we still pray and make certain responses in Latin.

Instead, when people ask why SC 36.1 and SC 54.2 seem to be dead letters in the liturgical experience of the Roman Rite today, we have to say that the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy contained enough loopholes to permit Latin’s eventual expulsion (while at the same time seeming to promote its use!). We have to say that liturgical experiments proved SC 36.1 and SC 54.2 to be wrong (or optional, or ignorable).

japhy

So would you suggest that the use of Latin in the Order of the Mass by the faithful is somehow contrary to those four aims of the Council?

Nope, because the document doesn’t make a mandate one way or another.

If the Bishop of a dioceses sees the use of Latin well received and its use done properly, then that Bishop obedient to the spirit of the document will continue its use along with support for it.

However, that is not what happened in the majority of Dioceses and it wasn’t because Bishops were being disobedient to the document, but in fact, following it fully.

I don’t see why the Council Fathers, especially Pope Paul VI who promulgated Iubilate Deo to our bishops for use in our parishes, would have promoted Latin’s use in the reformed liturgy if it went against their reasons for reforming and promoting the liturgy

Again, go back to the part I pointed out.

This document was written in 1963, they had no idea how the vernacular use in the Mass would develop. So they allowed for experimentation and development as a result.

Its how we arrived where we are, which is the question of the OP.

Jim

The change was “rapid” as you say, because the vernacular was imposed without recourse.

Yes, it very much contradicts, but I’m not getting into that except to say this: nothing about the use of Latin, whether in whole or in part, precludes what the post-conciliar era calls “active participation” (as if there was no participation previously, but I’m not going there either).

Evidently not.

If Latin had been used more over the past 45+ years, threads like this wouldn’t exist.

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