Were the readings ever only in Latin?

A Protestant acquaintance of mine,who is a former Catholic,stated that,before Vatican II, the readings from the Bible during Mass were all in Latin.Consequently,those who were not fluent in Latin had to depend upon the priest’s interpretation.I do not recall that the readings were in Latin.Was that the case?Wasn’t the vernacular always used for the Gospel?

Wasn’t the vernacular always used for the Gospel?

In a traditional mass, the epistle and gospel are chanted in Latin.
The priest however can, and oftentimes does, repeat the readings in the vernacular before the sermon.

Yes, the readings were only in Latin before Vatican II. (there never was a practice of re-reading them in the vernacular at the homily here in Australia, aparently that was done in some places)

In the traditional Latin Mass of my youth. (in the 50’s) the Gospel was always in proclaimed in English, as was the homily (back then they were sermons). The other readings (Gradual, Collect etc) were not read to the Congrgation, but rather by the priest and were in Latin. Many had a Missel. For the Ordinary of the Mass (said every Mass) the latin was on the left and the English was on the facing page. The Proper (Gospel and other readings that change daily) were only in English.

I still have my old Missal. There were Daily Missals and Sunday Missals.


In my youth in the 40’s and 50’s the readings were always in English. Your friend is just wrong!

Growing up in the 50’s, I can recall that the readings along with everything else was in Latin, BUT, before the homily, the epistle and gospel were read in English from the pulpit. Most of us had a Latin/English Missal and followed along with the priest anyway, so that we were always reading the Mass in English.

Fact is, using the missal force me to keep my attention on the Mass. Nowadays, my mind tends to wander. No, it’s not just age!


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