Liturgy & Language

I have what may seem a strange question. Where I live there’s a large Polish community. Sometimes Mass is celebrated in some local churches in Polish. I’m absolutely certain Polish is an approved vernacular language for Mass. I’m also quite certain it’s used here with full permission. What I was wondering is this - will permission have been needed to say Mass in Polish here or can a language be used anywhere if it’s been approved for use in the liturgy?

I believe that the bishop that has jurisdiction approves such things as needed. If there were enough Polish speaking Catholics in a parish, this could be approved. I know that near where I work or live, there are selected parishes using Spanish, Chinese, French, and Korean at Mass.

As long as you dont ask the diocesan liturgical commission for a mass in latin you are ok :rolleyes:

So long as the texts are approved translations somewhere in the Church, no special permission should be needed from the bishop. A pastor must approve any Mass celebrated in his own parish church, whatever the language.

Bishops sometimes an ethnic community as an apostolate–the Chinese Community, etc., and this includes having a Mass, but that is really more a matter of establishing a specific apostolate of a diocese, and assigning priests, than it is a liturgical language issue.

While there’s no canon that requires a pastor to run these things by his bishop, I disagree that a pastor can always do this at his own whim. Depending on circumstances, such decisions can have negative effects in his own parish, in neighboring parishes, and throughout the diocese.

Imagine that the pastor decided to change the only Sunday mass in your little town from English to Vietnamese. It would annoy a lot of anglophones, who may now start hectoring the chancery and taking up valuable time. Some may decide that sending their kids to the diocesan school 25 miles away isn’t really worthwhile, since they can’t attend the same mass they learn about at school when they’re home on Sunday. Perhaps they just watch the mass on EWTN instead, where they can get it in English, and donate to the various groups seen on the cable channel rather than parish and diocesan causes. Some may decide the “Catholic lite” feel of the local Episcopalian church is an acceptable alternative. Meanwhile, neighboring parishes may be losing important parts of their congregations as Vietnamese parishioners instead travel to your pastor’s new Vietnamese mass. That’s just in small-town America, but of course in some parts of the world a decision like this can give the perception that the Church is picking sides in an ethnic conflict.

For all these reasons, particular bishops may have a rule that they must give approval to the use of any language other than X to celebrate the mass. Other bishops probably have a more informal rule, “If you’re going to cause a ruckus of whatever type, let me know first.” In many cases there may be no rule, but a pastor may feel it prudent to run it by his bishop (and even neighboring pastors). And in many cases, it may be anything goes.

I said nothing about whims or whether or not something would be pastorally prudent. Many such changes would not be prudent. But that was not the question at hand, and I stand by my answer.

FWIW, Chicago has something like 24 vernaculars in which the Mass is said.

parishdirectory.archchicago.org/Masslang.aspx

I would imagine the sermon is given in that language as well.

There are Masses (and confessions) in other languages in our diocese, too. I doubt we have as many as 24; I know of Chinese (I don’t know if it’s Cantonese or Mandarin), Polish, Spanish and Vietnamese.

As far as I know each of these languages have been approved by Rome as vernacular languages that can be used in the liturgy. Obviously, they can be used in their own countries, e.g. Polish can be used in Poland. What I wanted to try and find out was who, if anyone, must give permission to use a language in a country where it’s not indigenous. If Mass was celebrated in my parish church in, say, Spanish is it up to the priest-celebrant to use that language, does the parish priest need to give his permission, does the bishop have to ok it, etc?

Wasn’t that answered by Chatter163 in [post=10108889]this post[/post]? :confused:

i was trying for politeness but as you wonder why I don’t think the question answered I’ll be frank: I found the first sentence in Chatter163’s post to be vague. As for the rest of his post, I might be wrong, but I thought bishops approved Mass in their dioceses and not pastors in their parishes. If that’s wrong I happily stand corretced.:slight_smile:

I’m sure everything is done above board. What I’m asking is who’s the source of the permission?

Nevertheless, it still seems to me that Chatter163 is correct. But you could always call the chancery and ask for verification.

:rotfl::rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:Sorry, but you’ve never tried to contact my diocese.

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