Priests And The Latin Mass

Are all priests today able to celebrate the Latin Mass? I was wondering if it was taught in the seminary.

Thanks for helping an inquiring mind.


No (if only they wouldn’t know how) and only in several.

No, many priests don’t know nearly enough Latin to say Latin mass.

And of those who do, most do not know the particular rubrics of the Tridentine rite mass.

Even if it were taught (my understanding is that it is not taught) , what you don’t use you will lose and since the vast majority of priests don’t say Latin mass, they probably couldn’t even if they were trained in the seminary.

It wouldn’t be all that difficult. After all, plenty of Anglo priests have managed to learn the Spanish mass responses. Plenty of priests for whom English is a second language have learned the English Mass responses. My parist priest who grew up speaking Polish (his 84th birthday was today) not only learned the Latin responses back in the day but the English ones as well.

There are also plenty of us around who can read and understand and even pronounce all the Latin prayers and responses. We’d be delighted to offer refresher courses.

You need to be clear on, by Latin Mass, whether you refer to the Mass of 1962 or the Novus Ordo Mass (1970 Missal) in Latin. Any priest can do the latter, but they may face pressure from parishioners or bishops not to.

It is best, of course, for all priests to be familiar with Latin. That they are not is a serious problem we have today.

I don’t think the priest we had before Katrina knew Latin. We had for 7 years prior to his arrival a priest who always put some Latin in the Mass - we all enjoyed it - the new, younger priest got rid of the Latin cards I had in the hymnals and none every heard him speak one Latin word. What a shame. :frowning:

He would have had Latin lessons at seminary. However if a language is neither seen as a living thing, nor the literature that is written in it as something of enduring importance and interest, then there is not much motive to become fluent.

I like the masses on EWTN cause they put some latin in there. But I think some priests may now no how to speak it, especially the new priests. My priest knows some cause when we do the expostion of the Blessed Sacrament he sings in latin. But when there is alot of people there he sings it in English. I think he think the parish may not understand Latin.

Sadly, he may not have had any Latin classes whatsoever in the seminary, depending on where he was trained.

Some of the Bishops in the last Synod on the Eucharist couldn’t understand and speak Latin or Italian. Translators were required. As far as Latin prayers go, as an altar boy back in the 40’s I could spill them off like nothing, but I had very little idea of what I was saying. I suppose God knew. I am not so sure that a priest couldn’t read the Latin Prayers at Mass, but the killer with the LTM would be the Rubrics.

My Parish(NO) has a young priest who has said Latin Masses
In fact he resently institituted the final blessin in Latin

My old church used to sing the Mass during Lent in Latin. It always gave me goose bumps.
I wish more priests would use Latin, even a Latin NO would make me happy.

Just imagine what monumental effort would be required to pull off a future council. In the past councils were basically monolingual, either in the East with minimal Latin participation or, post schism, among Latin clerics with a shared language. A future council on the scale of Vatican II would require a massive translation apparatus on a scale never before required by the Church.

the VAAAAAST majority of Priests today do not know enough latin to say the mass. In fact I would say the majority of priests know very little latin.

I cannot understand how we could expect, from 2000 years ago until the last 3 decades or so, that we could send virtually illiterate people who spoke widely different languages off to a place where the only things available were parchment books and quill pens-- no special teaching aids, no handy slide projectors, no immersion literature, etc. etc. and yet have men–of all ages, as some men came ‘late’ to the priesthood, often after losing a spouse or ending a secular career–who somehow were able to not only say the Mass, but also the Liturgy of the Hours and to do all their communcations and notations etc. in Latin–reading, writing, and speaking.

Were people so much more intelligent then? Are people today so much more stupid?

Or is it that we just are so darned lazy and demanding that we don’t want to even think that we could do something, if we only tried?

As a corollary: I guarantee that if somebody offered, say, a house or a nice new car to anybody who could be able to say the Latin Mass within a reasonable period of time (say 3 months; most companies use their immersion programs etc. and send off new employees to foreign lands in that time and expect them to be able to do their job in the new language). . .that thousands of thousands of people would suddenly find that they ‘could indeed’ learn the needed Latin.

But ask them to learn and to do for God. . .suddenly it’s a different story. :frowning:

I have no evidence to back this up, but I would say that many priests do not know Latin, but it can be learned or re-learned. As others said, doing the Tridentine Rite would be harder, but the Latin NO is very easy. The Cathedral that I belong to does one every first and third Sunday of the month. The new priests who become residents at the rectory learn how to say the NO in Latin. Our fairly new pastor also placed a huge effort into doing it. It was shaky at first, but he is becoming better and better. One of our priests in residence there also does the LTM at the one parish in our archdiocese that was permitted to say only the LTM. One of our younger priests says the NO Latin mass very well. His pronunciation is practically perfect. But he is also a musician and classical musicians tend to have to learn how to pronounce Latin well if not at least understand some of it.Training in theItalian language (if a classical singer) also helps out A LOT - at least for me. :slight_smile:

We also had a young priest in a very rural, farming community near our family vacation home who actually taught his parishioners how to chant the mass parts in Latin. They sang their hearts out - although they sang their hearts out with everything. I asked him how he did it and he told me that it was just a matter of doing one Latin chant little by little every week until they all knew it.

The pastor and associate at my parish are both young (late 30’s). Neither one of them knows Latin. They were not taught Latin in the seminary.

Not 2000 years ago. I would guess that neither Jesus nor any of the apostles spoke latin, save Peter and Paul (and that after they had come to Rome).

The early masses were in the vernacular. Which would be Greek, Aramaic, Syriac, Egyptian, etc.

As Christianity spread, it was still in the Vernacular. In the West, that was Latin. Everyone understood it. (French, Spanish, Italian are all dialects of Latin). The mass was not frozen in that language for centuries. Finally at Trent it was specified that Latin Rite masses would be in Latin.

I thought that some of the recent Pompey discoveries have indeed found that some of the early liturgies were in Latin. If so, they were probably said (pronounced) in the classic Latin, not the ecclesiastical Latin made popular by Pius X. For as long as they had the Latin, the words and meanings hardly ever changed.

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