What's the big deal with Masses in Latin?

Greetings and peace unto you all,

I’m asking this question for edification purposes. But why is it such a big deal with many people to have masses in latin. I’ve recently converted to Catholicism so I don’t know all the facts and reasons behind this.

So if someone could kindly speak about this I’d really appreciate it.

God Bless You All,

Nelson

It isn’t simply the mass in Latin, it’s the Tridentine Mass, which is much more than the Novus Ordo in Latin. But also known as “The Latin Mass”

I think The Dietrich has some really beautiful things to say about it.

Case for the Latin Mass
DIETRICH VON HILDEBRAND

catholic-pages.com/Mass/hildebrand.asp

[quote=DaMaMaXiMuS]Greetings and peace unto you all,

I’m asking this question for edification purposes. But why is it such a big deal with many people to have masses in latin. I’ve recently converted to Catholicism so I don’t know all the facts and reasons behind this.

So if someone could kindly speak about this I’d really appreciate it.

God Bless You All,

Nelson
[/quote]

Latin is the official language of the Catholic Church and has been for 1700+ years. Latin is a dead language meaning it no longer develops, of changes. This allows for very precise meanings of words that cannot be misunderstood. Latin is the language of the universal liturgy. However to use the Latin language without instructing the Faithful in it makes no sense. If we are going to offer Mass in Latin as an option then we must also offer liturgical Latin instruction.

Many people object to the Mass in Latin, I feel because they would see it as the Church moving backward rather than forward. Also, there is a very vocal group that says they want and need and have the right to hear the Word in their own language, and that parts of the Mass being in Latin would infringe on that. Both the Novus Ordo and the Traditional Mass can be celebrated in Latin. In neither is Latin the only language used. nor is there an extensive amount of Latin involved.

Missals used in both Masses have English/Latin side by side translations, but many believe that having to read to the translations would take away from the full and active participation by the laity suggested by Vatican II.

I agree however that a wholescale reestablishment of latin could do more harm than good, if not properly planned for and appropriate catechisis should be done before any such effort was undertaken.

So my next question then is, was Latin the language being used when Peter sat as the first Pope? I know the Roman Empire ruled at the time, so was Latin the language spoken in all the areas under their rule?

[quote=DaMaMaXiMuS]So my next question then is, was Latin the language being used when Peter sat as the first Pope? I know the Roman Empire ruled at the time, so was Latin the language spoken in all the areas under their rule?
[/quote]

Greek was the common language and the Liturgical language up to about 300. Then Latin took over and became the common language.

One of the other major reasons why people advocate the return to the use of latin in the liturgy is that because it is a “dead” language (the Vatican actually keeps it developing) and is not common it adds to the sense of mystery that is supposed to be impressed upon Catholics. This is why Arameic and Old Slavonic and even Koine Greek have been retained in other forms of the liturgy.

Many also feel that when the liturgical prayers are in Latin the focus is on God alone and not what we feel or understand or getting from it in the way of consolations. The primary reason the Mass exists is to declare the word of God, especially the Gospels, which is all in the vernacular and to offer to God the one sacrifice of Christ. This second part of the Mass is what we offer to God not just about what we are receiving, be it word or sacrament. The Latin makes that distinction more clear than having the liturgical prayers in the vernacular.

Hi,
I certainly understand the argument for Latin, however I grew up with the Latin mass and don’t miss it (although having the option to do either would be nice). What I do miss are Priests that respect the Liturgy. Has there ever been any discussion of the possibility of doing the Tridentine Mass in english?

[quote=dljl]Hi,
I certainly understand the argument for Latin, however I grew up with the Latin mass and don’t miss it (although having the option to do either would be nice). What I do miss are Priests that respect the Liturgy. Has there ever been any discussion of the possibility of doing the Tridentine Mass in english?
[/quote]

Yes, there has been discussion but no serious discussion because the problem there comes down to translation and fidelity to the latin. This is a huge sticking point for many including myself. I would like to wait to see how the new translation goes for the current Missale Romanum before I would advocate anyone translating the Tridentine Mass into any language.

[quote=DaMaMaXiMuS]So my next question then is, was Latin the language being used when Peter sat as the first Pope? I know the Roman Empire ruled at the time, so was Latin the language spoken in all the areas under their rule?
[/quote]

I don’t know which language would have ben spoken then, but I am fairly certain that Latin would have been used at points durig the life of Jesus himself. Example, the trial of Jesus by Pilate. I would imagine that Pilate would have used Latin as he was a government official and I doubt that the Romans, not known for being politicaly correct, would stoop to use the language of their subjects.

I could be wrong.

Latin,gave the Mass an air of dignity and majesty that the New Mass is often lacking.
Many Catholics today are not all familiar with Latin. The rush to dump it after the second Council was awful. Recently a parish became upset with its new pastor because he tried to return some latin to the Masses in the parish. It even made the Newspapers. The Mass as celebrated on EWTN is unusual to see now days with its use of latin. For a while our Cathedral had the entire new Mass celebrated in latin at the request of many of the parishoners.

Which parts are actually said in Latin? Are the readings and the Gospel in latin? What about the songs? The homily? The Creed? The Our Father? The opening/closing blessings?

I think it’s a good idea to have the Latin Mass availiable to whomever would want to attend one but I do not support all of the Masses being in Latin. Again, I think it’s a great idea to have one dedicated Mass per weekend to accomodate those who prefer this type of Mass.

Peace

Latin is a unifying force as opposed to all these splinter masses in which catholics who at home speak at differn language attend differnt masses. In the urban cities of new york and jersey this terms into a form of segregation from your fellow parishoner.

All the arguments have been made for the latin language to be used in the mass so I dont not want to beat a dead horse.

But the trindentine mass offered with its movements, gestures, and ways is far more stunnig, solemn, and beautiful then the norvus ordo. Latin adds to it because it helps unify the church.

As for what parts are said in Latin, all of it are with the exception of the re-reading of the gospel and the homily are said in latin. (ohh and the kyrie of course)

I am struggling with some items from the discussion thus far.

  1. Jesus spoke Aramaic as did his disciples. I expect the very first liturgical celibrations including the Last Supper would have been in Aramaic.
  2. The idea that the purpose of the Mass is primarily something we give to God. While it is a sacrifice offered to God and pleasing to Him, it would seem that its natural result is more for our building up and formation in Christ, rather than something that primarily benefits God. In other words the creature is by nature benefitted by recognizing and worshipping his creator
  3. If it is so difficult to render the Latin Mass into English, doesn’t it naturally follow that unless one understands and can think in Latin, the English translation of the Latin of the Tridentine Mass found in the Missal must of necessity be lacking? Then would it not be so that the “power and awe” are not so much something intellectual as emotional in nature?

I personally would love to see a adaptation of the Novus Ordo or at least parts of it into Latin. I am a convert and I love to see the Mass celebrated on EWTN. I think seeing Mass offered from St. Peter’s (on tv) in latin was one of the most wonderful experiances for me. The universality of the Church and the Sacredness of the Mass were (are) brought out in such a glorious way. I have never attended a Tridentine Mass wish I could though. It seems to me though it would be much more difficult for the hetrodox dissents on the left to play around to much if that Sacredness of the latin were brought back at least to some points in the Mass. I agree though the faithful would have to be educated/ reeducated in liturgical latin. I wonder if the eastern rite Catholic Churches who have kept ancient languages have the trouble the latin rite seems to have with liturgical abuses? Maybe we need to follow the example of our brothers and sisters in the east but with the use of latin.

[quote=JOHNYJ]Latin,gave the Mass an air of dignity and majesty that the New Mass is often lacking.
Many Catholics today are not all familiar with Latin. The rush to dump it after the second Council was awful. Recently a parish became upset with its new pastor because he tried to return some latin to the Masses in the parish. It even made the Newspapers. The Mass as celebrated on EWTN is unusual to see now days with its use of latin. For a while our Cathedral had the entire new Mass celebrated in latin at the request of many of the parishoners.
[/quote]

It also turned many people so off that they sat in the pews praying the rosary…

[quote=A.Pelliccio]Latin is a unifying force as opposed to all these splinter masses in which catholics who at home speak at differn language attend differnt masses. In the urban cities of new york and jersey this terms into a form of segregation from your fellow parishoner.

All the arguments have been made for the latin language to be used in the mass so I dont not want to beat a dead horse.

But the trindentine mass offered with its movements, gestures, and ways is far more stunnig, solemn, and beautiful then the norvus ordo. Latin adds to it because it helps unify the church.

As for what parts are said in Latin, all of it are with the exception of the re-reading of the gospel and the homily are said in latin. (ohh and the kyrie of course)
[/quote]

That is merely your opinion. An poinion that is not shared by all Catholics.

A good rule of thumb for the days of Christ on Earth as man:

Social/Commerce: Greek language

Goverment: Latin

Religious: Hebrew (of which Aramaic is a subset)

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