Linguistics and the Mass

Explain in a post.

I believe it should be celebrated in the vernacular. I think it is very important for people to truly experience what they are hearing and saying at mass. I have found far too often at Latin Masses people saying the Rosary, private devotions, etc. There are nothing wrong with these things. I just feel the Mass should be your focus on Sunday morning, not private devotions. That being said, I have nothing against the EF or Latin OF. I grew up with the pre 1962 missal. I have much experience with the Tridentine Mass. I just prefer the mass to be in the vernacular. The East has had their masses in the language of the people for a long time. It’s actually fairly traditional to have the mass in the language of the people. The apostles didn’t need to translate what Christ was saying at the Last Supper. What are your thoughts?

I voted both. I like the Latin for many of the prayers but certainly the “Word” needs to be done in the vernacular.
I agree with the previous poster that people should not be praying the rosary etc even during a Latin mass. There are missals available so that one can follow along as needed.


I also voted for both. I love Latin and wish dearly that we heard a lot more Latin in our Masses. But I don’t have any problem with the fact that the Mass can be celebrated partly or even entirely in English, and I do love being able to hear and understand.

Now that I am really familiar with the Mass, if I had to choose a standard - I would go with readings, intentions for the prayers of the faithful, and of course homily in English and the rest in Latin. I really wish we at least had more of the Ordinary done in Latin. But I don’t think it generally makes a lot of sense to have the readings in Latin as a regular thing.


For thousands of years Catholics have worshiped in Latin. Let’s keep it that way.

I have literally never seen these in my years of attending Traditional Latin Masses.

The East has also used Church Slavonic for centuries, like the Latin Church used Latin.

How do you define “fairly traditional” to have the Mass in the vernacular? This is simply not true.

I voted both meaning both in the same Mass.

At the very least the Ordinary should be in Latin, and preferably the Propers recited/chanted in Latin from the Graduale Romanum, or if not, the antiphons from the Graduale Simplex. The readings and homily should be in most cases in the local vernacular.

I also think that the EP should be in Latin as well, but am more flexible on that. Our Mass, even the OF (where this would be permissible) should renew itself by reconnecting with our traditions.

I was a rad trad and attended the pre-1962 mass for 18 years. Remember “was” is the key word. This happens a lot. As far as the mass being in the vernacular being traditional, refer to this quote: “The apostles didn’t need to translate what Christ was saying at the Last Supper.” He spoke Aramaic and so did they. The congregation shouldn’t have to use a missal.

Jesus originally talked partly Hebrew partly Aramaic on the first Mass, still except some Jewish communities the Breking of the Bread was celebrated in Greek, what people understood.

When in the 4th century a language in the West changed to Latin, Pope St Damasus changed the language of the Liturgy to Latin.

By the 16th Century the in the West the Latin lost its role as the language of the common communication, the Church still preferred to keep the Latin, and with the exception of the Austria where the Hapsburg pushed the religion and for some reason Poland the countries which did not understood at least superficially the Latin were lost for the reformation.

It was time to change for the vernacular. letting the less than one percent traditionalist who want to keep the Latin keep the Latin and the rest let pray and understand the Mass with their heart too.

I’ve attended the Traditional Latin Mass on two continents, in half a dozen countries - never once have I seen people praying the Rosary. I have, however, seen old ladies pray the Rosary at the Novus Ordo.

Also, Jesus may not have used Latin, but the Church had decided to use it, and for at least a thousand years it worked. And, to resurrect things that have long-since been not-used is antiquarianism - something condemned by I think Pius XII.

I voted both…

I prefer it in English…but I also recognize that there are those who would like a Mass in Latin…unlike those who think it all should change to Latin and ignore us that would have no ideal what is going on. But I personally don’t think they care.:shrug:

I voted both, because it is strongly important for the congregation to understand fully what is going on so they can participate in all senses of the term. Vernacular, that is mass in a person’s native language, helps that tremendously. At the least, the readings and homily should be the first parts in the vernacular (without needing to duplicate the readings).

At the same time, the treasure trove of Latin musical settings is a wonderful expression of the liturgical patrimony of the Roman Rite, and should be used for reasons of artistic merit, allowing for the liturgy to represent the best we can put forth.

It works best as a sliding scale, with the balance of vernacular and Latin dependent on the congregation, the celebrant and the environment. I would say the readings are in the vernacular first, and the ordinary to use some Latin parts, maybe even totally Latin, if the congregation knows it well enough. The propers are a little harder. On one hand, they don’t repeat often enough for familiarity in Latin to sink in. On the other hand, is it really all that different than an unfamiliar hymn? (Personally, the collect is the one part of the propers that’d I’d do in the vernacular almost always.)

The Church allows Mass in Latin and the vernacular so there is no “should be”.

By the way, in the early days Latin was the vernacular of the day so in a way the Mass has always been in the vernacular.

There is a religion that believes that it’s language is the only perfect holy and sacred language. It’s calls itself Islam. If the Catholic Mass cannot survive a translation from Latin to English, than it is not holy at all, not perfect and not worthy of God.

Is the fact that the Mass may seem more inaccessible, more mysterious, more remote, make it more “authentic”? Why is Latin more authentic than English, or French or any other language? If we are to rely on uttering sounds that we do not comprehend than we have turned the mass into little more than a riddle to be solved rather than the answer to every human question. Christ came to bring light into the world, not to veil it in secrecy or to encode it in cryptic messages. This is my Body and This is my Blood mean the same in every utterence that calls itself language. It is the reverence for Christ that makes the Mass authentic, not nostalgia for the sound of particular words in dead languages.

Latin may not have changed, but the rest of the world has and could this not have made what is said in the Mass even more remote?

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