Latin the new Hebrew?

Do you think there is a connection between Hebrew being a sacred language before the New Covenenant, and then Latin being a sacred language after the New Covenant, or is that not correct? But if it is correct, shouldn’t we keep Latin going rather than discarding it for the vernacular in the Mass for the most part etc. ?

[quote=Oren]Do you think there is a connection between Hebrew being a sacred language before the New Covenenant, and then Latin being a sacred language after the New Covenant
[/quote]

Of course there’s a connection. Hebrew was the prominent language of early Jews, and Latin was the prominent language of the early Church (and I’m talking about the post-Nicene era, when the Church was able to freely function - and communicate - as a public body). But the connection is meaningless - of course these early folks would adopt the vulgar (common) tounge for their purposes. They used the language that the “common” people knew.

…shouldn’t we keep Latin going rather than discarding it for the vernacular in the Mass for the most part etc. ?

Latin is still the “official” language of the Church (and Bulls, etc are first issued in Latin and then translated for various languages). But there’s nothing special about Latin (if the earliest Christians weren’t persecuted, the “official” language of the Church would be Greek instead of Latin). I think it’s nice if some small (and well-understood) portions of the Mass (Kyrie, Agnus Dei, etc) are in Latin (because it brings a historical connection and also a Catholic (ie, universal) element to the Mass), but I don’t believe the whole Mass should be celebrated in a language that is foreign to the vast majority of the Faithful.

Remember, early Jews and Christians used the language which was commonly spoken in their time. We ought to follow their example, IMHO.

No, I don’t think so as Latin is only the language of the Latin Catholic Church.

My Church, the Byzantine (Ruthenian) Catholic Church uses English and Church Slavonic. The Melkite Greek Catholic Church uses English and Arabic.

When one thinks of the Catholic Church they must think of it as a whole not just the Latin Church.

[quote=ByzCath]No, I don’t think so as Latin is only the language of the Latin Catholic Church.

My Church, the Byzantine (Ruthenian) Catholic Church uses English and Church Slavonic. The Melkite Greek Catholic Church uses English and Arabic.

When one thinks of the Catholic Church they must think of it as a whole not just the Latin Church.
[/quote]

Exactly. :slight_smile:

Hi Byz,

Hebrew was not a sacred language. It was the language of the Jewish people. But one could claim that it had become a sacred language at the time of Jesus, since it had disappeared in favor of Aramaic.

If any language was sacred in Christian times, it was Greek. I t was the first language of the Church among the Gentiles.

Latin was also the language of the people, mainly in Northern Italy, Spain and Northern Africa. It was spreading in Gaul. A language usually becomes “sacred” when it is “dead”.

Verbum

I have heard it argued that Latin is the ideal official language for the Church because it ceased early in the life of the Church to be a living language, thus insuring that the liturgy and Church documents were in a language that would not change meaning over time. Greek has the same advantages. It’s an interesting thought…

Some interesting responses. I was not sure if there was in fact a connection. It seems like there is at least something in common, if not something significant.

[quote=DavidFilmer] I think it’s nice if some small (and well-understood) portions of the Mass (Kyrie, Agnus Dei, etc) are in Latin (because it brings a historical connection and also a Catholic (ie, universal) element to the Mass), but I don’t believe the whole Mass should be celebrated in a language that is foreign to the vast majority of the Faithful. Remember, early Jews and Christians used the language which was commonly spoken in their time. We ought to follow their example, IMHO.
[/quote]

David I agree with your comments. Latin was the vulgar language and Greek was spoken and written by the educated. Latin has been handy for Church communication in the babel of modern times, but as the ICEL experience tells us translating from Latin into English has its pitfalls. The Kyrie by the way is Greek.

Hi Voci,

I have heard it argued that Latin is the ideal official language for the Church because it ceased early in the life of the Church to be a living language, thus insuring that the liturgy and Church documents were in a language that would not change meaning over time.

Latin was spoken right into the 800’s. In Charlemagne’s time, priests were ordered to preach in the language of the people. Which means that Latin had been still spoken some decades before.

The reason Latin stayed around for so long is that the “vulgar” tongues had not yet developped to a point where they could support liturgy and theology. By the time the “Reformation” came along, all the European languages had already developped extensive literatures and could have taken over. But the Protestants got the idea before we did. So, not wanting to imitate the Protestants, we waited another 400 years.

Verbum

[quote=DavidFilmer]I think it’s nice if some small (and well-understood) portions of the Mass (Kyrie, Agnus Dei, etc) are in Latin
[/quote]

Whoops! The Kyrie is Greek, not Latin.

The Eastern Roman Empire used Greek as its *Lingua Franca/] and the Western Empire used Latin. Hence the Eastern Orthodox used the Suptuagint (in Greek) and the Western Church used the Vulgate (in Latin).

rossum*

But the Protestants got the idea before we did. So, not wanting to imitate the Protestants, we waited another 400 years.

when the church switched from greek to latin in the third century, it was switching to a vernacular language at the time. in the balkans (i think croatia) the vernacular mass was permitted back at least back in the 14th century, and in some other places as well. and of course when sts. cyril and methodius evagelized central europe and the slavs, they had permission by the pope to celebrate mass in the vernacular.

slavonic]…for it is used amongst the various Slavic nationalities of the Byzantine Rite, whether Catholic or Orthodox, and in that form is spread among 115,000,000 people; but it is also used in the Roman Rite along the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea in Dalmatia and in the lower part of Croatia among the 100,000 Catholics there.

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.