The abbey I’m associated with uses Gregorian chant Latin propers and ordinary for the Mass (in the ordinary form); Lauds and Vespers are in Latin Gregorian chant.
Since I became an oblate 10 years ago I have obtained a working knowledge of church Latin (at least enough to chant it and read it fluently, but comprehension is some considerable distance behind my reading ability), joined a Gregorian schola, and joined the Gregorian Institute of Canada of which I am now a director.
The one thing I learned is that the Church has a huge and rich treasury of Gregorian chant, dating back 1000 years and more, in addition to other chant forms (Ambrosian, Mozarabic, Sarum, etc.)
If there is to be one, and only one reason to learn Latin, it’s to preserve this treasure, not as a museum piece, but as a living, working part of the liturgy. I’ve sung chant in recitals for the public, but it really only attains its full richness when sung in its proper liturgical context.
A second reason is international gatherings. I’ve attended a couple in Rome (and am heading to the World Oblate’s Congress next week in Rome). For large multilingual groups, Latin really does work much better.
The third reason is that while Latin is really only the vernacular of the past, it’s pretty much permeated the history of the Latin Rite Church.
However I am also a realist. It’s not realistic to expect Latin to be used everywhere, in every culture. The Church is expanding beyond Europe to places where languages are so different from European languages that Latin is indeed an obstacle. And in our own part of the world, it is really no longer taught except in higher academic circles. It’s unrealistic to expect Latin in every parish. In the past, it was taught in high school and everyone had at least an elementary notion of it. It’s no longer the case and we shouldn’t burden people with excess obstacles between them and God.
But Latin should be preserved and the laity should get at least some exposure. The mandate of our “flying schola” is to bring Gregorian chant to a different parish of the archdiocese every month during fall, spring and winter. We want to keep the laity in touch with their heritage. We aren’t welcome everywhere-there’s a lot of recent baggage in the Quebec church-but we go where we can. Moreover it should be preserved and studied in monasteries; we should all be grateful to Solesmes for their work on restoring chant in the late 1800s and continuing to study and perfect it to this day.