Liturgy of the Word

In an OF Mass celebrated in Latin can the Readings in the Liturgy of the Word be said in Latin? or does it have to be in the vernacular?

I do not believe there is a requirement of the vernacular in the OF Mass, we have regular diocesan Masses which incorporate many languages. I would think it would be ok. However, I do consider myself a “liturgist” but I have never been asked that question. I’m sure there are others here who could help.

I just can’t recall any documents prohibiting this. It’s not adding to the OF, or incorporating from the EF, so my guess would be yes; it can be done.:blush::shrug:

It can be done, but how many people in the congregation are fluent in latin?


391…Language should be used that can be grasped by the faithful and that is suitable for public proclamation, while maintaining those characteristics that are proper to the different ways of speaking used in the biblical books.

Latin is “suitable for public proclamation” and some will be grasped by the faithful, especially with help of the printed vernacular translations. I do not believe this citation from the GIRM excludes the official language of the Latin Rite Church.

I know this is not what you are saying, but keep in mind the significance of the language of the Church. It does not matter that most are not fluent in Latin.

No, the GIRM does not exclude latin. As you said, that is not what I was saying. The GIRM, however, does seem to lean towards the vernacular.


It should be borne in mind that the primary purpose of the translation of the texts is not for meditation, but rather for their proclamation or singing during an actual celebration.

Language should be used that is accommodated to the faithful of the region,

Perhaps, I am misunderstanding the intent here, so I will yield to your authority. :slight_smile:

At Papal Midnight Masses of Christmas, the gospel has generally been sung in Latin. Any of the readings can be said, or more likely, sung in Latin.

With mixed cultures (Spanish and English, for example) this might pose a problem. Either give readings in both langauges or Latin. The missalettes in the pews may have the English or Spanish so people can still follow along in whatever they are comfortable with.

In one of his videos Cardinal Arinze has said the entire Mass, including the sermon, may be said in Latin.

I appreciate your perspective, it made me go back and read the GIRM again to see it from the eyes of the faithful.:thumbsup:

Everything in the OF is by default Latin. The intent of the fathers at Vatican II was really only to have the readings and presidential prayers be in the vernacular where necessary, but through some political maneuvering, some factions in the Church successfully petitioned Pope Paul VI to allow everything in the vernacular.

In the EF, it is customary to chant all the readings in Latin northward, and then before the homily, read them in the vernacular toward the people. The former was a solemn ritual act of worship (the readings are chanted northward by ancient tradition because the Church in Rome was evangelizing the peoples in central and northern Europe), and then the latter is didactic (a somewhat “recent” addition to the Tridentine Mass, its purpose was so everyone in the congregation could hear and understand the readings; this was in lieu of the homily consisting of the priest paraphrasing the readings to the congregation, which was terribly inefficient). The Mass of Paul VI combines the two into one, with the intention being to chant the readings in the vernacular towards the people, both as an act of worship and didactic preaching. I think this to be one of the places where the OF in theory is an improvement upon the Tridentine Mass. Unfortunately, in practice this isn’t really the case because it’s very rare to hear the readings chanted.

So to answer the OP: yes, everything can be in Latin, including the readings.

BTW, if the readings are to be in Latin, I believe the Nova Vulgata is used for the scripture readings in the OF.

I hope they can be distributed freely like the Jubilate Deo.

The NV is freely available on the Vatican website, but actually one would need the Lectionary for Mass in Latin. One can get the “Missae cum lectionibus” on Paxbook for USD $35:

I’d note that even in the EF, the gospel is almost always read in the vernacular, if not in Latin and the vernacular. In fact, I’d be surprised if there’s a licit EF anywhere that doesn’t read it in the vernacular.

But what about the other readings in the OF?

From the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship (

“One or both of the readings preceding the Gospel should be proclaimed in the language understood by the majority of those assembled.”

Sure, it’s only the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship so take it for what it is. And it’s about multilingual Masses, not specifically Latin Masses but I think the purpose of that instruction is something to strongly consider.

I don’t know if an individual Bishops’ Conference has the liturgical authority to actively prevent the use of Latin in any part of the liturgy. I’m somewhat certain that this kind of regulation would have to go through the CDW first, and they would veto it.

In Low Masses, the readings may be done in Latin, Latin followed by the vernacular, or vernacular only.

In Sung Masses, they must always be sung in Latin, but they may be followed by the vernacular.

There are plenty of them. It is up to the priest. Most EF parishes do this on Sundays and holy days, but not often at weekday Mass. In my own parish, at one point we did not have the readings re-read in the vernacular after they were said or sung on Sundays in Latin, because the pastor felt that people had the translation in their missals and did not need to have the readings re-read. Ultimately he returned to having them because people did prefer to hear them, but I can assure you that as an FSSP parish, we are quite licit. :tiphat: There are other FSSP priests who feel the same way.

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