Why Do You Think Latin is Important?

I have friends who ask me why I bother learning prayers in Latin and why I want to learn it someday. It got me thinking about why other people feel Latin is important.

I have a friend who’s family is Armenian Orthodox and in general speech they often use single Armenian words, whether because they are more appropriate, becase it’s a family member (She always calls her aunt by the Armenian word for ‘aunt’ for example) or because it might be a rude word and so they use Armenian. Another family I used to know would speak Spanish to each other, especially when the parents needed to reprimand their children in front of others.

That’s sort of how I feel about Latin; it’s our family’s language. It makes our conversations more private and personal because only members of our family (God, Mary, and the Saints included of course) usually understand it. It seperates us from others in a good way, especially to remind us that we’re to be seperate from the world.

I’ve thought about raising my kids (someday…maybe) with Latin being spoken in our home, if I can ever master it well enough, much like my Armenian Orthodox friend uses Armenian. Strangely, my friends understand this, because they can see the help it would be in school! :stuck_out_tongue:

So why do you think Latin is important?

From a standpoint of education, it helps in grammar, vocabulary and foreign languages. —KCT

Sorry, no. It is a dead language. It’s of interest only because it links us to the past and our history.

I agree that it is a good language to study to help study other languages.

The Wycliffe Bible Translators talk about a person’s “Heart Language,” the language that they learned from their parents and country. This “heart language” is the language that speaks best to the heart and soul.

My “heart language” is English. I simply don’t get any willies or emotional rushes or feelings of awe or connotations of reverence listening to or performing prayers in another language, any other language. If anything, the mechanics of remembering the vocab and proper pronunciation and of course, mentally translating it into English make it impossible for me to concentrate on God.

I respect other languages and the desire of others to pray, speak, sing, in another language besides English. If that is your “heart language,” wonderful.

I hope you are willing to respect all of us English-speaking hearts, too.

Latin is important especially to the Church because it is unchanging. The same words have the same meanings that they did 100’s of years ago & the same meanings that they will have 100’s of years from now. Most fitting to have unchanging words to describe and define unchanging truths.

My heart language should be Italian, but I pray both in English and Italian, and I get overemotional when I hear Latin. I studied Latin for seven years when I was young and I always hated it. I do not buy too much into the heart language theory.

Is Latin important? Well here in Texas I hear people complaining when there is some Spanish used during the Mass because “those people” should learn and use the “proper” language. However, when I mention that we should learn and use Latin because it is the official language of the Church they have hissy fits.

Yes, it is precisely because Latin is a “dead” language that it is so important to the Church. Also, the devil HATES Latin.

Yes, but kind of English? Old English, ecclesiastical English, business English, jive English, or simply, conversational English. Big difference, you know, because intent is different.

I suppose Latin can be viewed the same way, but generally for us churchgoers it does separate conversations with one another and instructions from the pulpit with our actual prayers to God.

And what’s so difficult to learn a few good Latin prayers anyway? If you ever studied and appreciated poetry, it should be even easier. And to think that you could pray with everyone else in the Catholic Church in the same language would be awesome, don’t you think?



Hmmm…I don’t think Latin per se is important. In the history of the Latin Rite Church Greek was the first language with Latin moving in during the third century and becoming dominant by the fifth century (at least in Rome). Eventually Latin became the “standard” language of the Latin Church as the study of Greek waned.

Although Latin is not a dead language (it’s still used in the southeastern region of Switzerland that borders on Italy – Romansh is actually an official language of Switzerland) it is true that ecclesiastical Latin is mostly static.

If one wishes to study the Church and her teachings or the writings of the Latin Church Fathers it’s important to know Latin. Many of the words we use in everyday English find their origins in other languages and most of those can be traced back to Latin.

Deacon Ed

Because I was asked in a PM:

“The rumors of the death of the Latin Language have been greatly built up” (exaggerated, if you will)

And the current sig sez: “Never try to second-guess the pope” and “Ladies and gentlemen: Elvis has left the building!”

Until very recently Latin was the internal language of the Church, and thus the language that almost every serious book was written in.
History, theology, and literature are all important, though not to Philistines, and Latin is a precious asset if you are interested in any of those subjects. From a Catholic perspective, it keeps the Church in contact with its past, and we do not believe that the dead cease to be members. Whilst it is possible to over-exaggerate - it is not necessary to learn Latin to be a good Catholic, or even a well-informed Catholic - it is one of things that you should consider learning if you can. Certainly every Catholic school should offer Latin.


Latin isn’t a dead language. A lot of students from my school are still learning Latin. Pope Benedict also wants seminarians to start learning the Latin Mass. :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

It is still the official language of the Church. :thumbsup:

*]## Because a lot of texts from the last 2000+ years are in it :slight_smile: (or in some form of it)
*]because it’s easier to learn than some languages, if of two Catholics one is English-speaking, & the other Finnish-speaking (for instance)
*]because it is impossible to understand the cultural references of which it is the source, if one does not know it. TV gives us all a common culture - up to a point; but not one of any great depth: whereas a shared knowledge of Latin broadens the boundaries of the culture in which people share
*]It helps give fluency & ease in the writing & speaking of good English - which helps people to understand each other’s meaning; which in its turn helps give an appreciation of the meanings of words. All of which assists clarity, & discourages jargon.
*]Sloppy use of language encourages slovenly & lazy thinking - which encourages the slovenly use of words & concepts; which ends in what C. S. Lewis called verbicide. Despite its limitations, Latin is very helpful as a counter to those bad habits of mind & speech.
*]It helps to train the ear in appreciating many different kinds of poetic metre - one of the more regrettable shortcomings of many translations of Biblical & Liturgical texts, is the absence from them of any appreciation of the music of words. One of the reasons that versions such as the AV (aka the KJV) are easy to memorise is, that those who produced them knew how to write rhythmical English. That knowledge, came in great measure from their knowing Greek & Latin.[/LIST]OTOH - I think Greek is even better :slight_smile:

Indeed, he does.

Explore Georgia Santucci

Latin is important because it is the official language of Holy Mother Church.

Latin is also important because the pope who convened the Second Vatican Council, Bl. John XXIII, said so:

…the Apostolic See has always been at pains to preserve Latin, deeming it worthy of being used in the exercise of her teaching authority "as the splendid vesture of her heavenly doctrine and sacred laws."

Of course the devil HATES Latin. Because…
Kat Ebersole uploaded this image to


Of course! :smiley:

Tooo late. Tooo bad
He’s no longer part of the LIVING tradition.

The Living Tradition - the new dogma. :rolleyes:

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