Friday, May 4, 2012


You can watch the Mass on the Vatican Website by pressing this sentence.

Please note that this papal Mass is a hybrid of vernacular Italian and Latin. I think it is a sign of things to come in terms of vernacular and Latin. The Sign of the Cross, greeting, introduction and Confiteor: in Italian.
The Kyrie in Greek, Gloria in Latin and Collect in Italian. Litany of Saints, Latin, Orate Frates in Italian, Prayer over the Offerings: Italian, Preface Dialogue, Preface, Eucharistic Prayer: Latin, Our Father: Latin,
Embolism, Italian, Doxology: Italian, the sappy one, so Italian, Lord, Jesus Christ: Italian, The Peace of the Lord...: Italian, Let us offer each other the sign...:Italian, Agnus Dei: Latin, Ecce Agnus Dei: Italian, Kneeling for Holy Communion from the Holy Father;Post Communion Prayer: Italian, Blessing and Dismissal: Latin


ytc said...

I really don't understand why the Sign of the Cross and Greeting are in the vernacular at some Papal Masses and in Latin at others. They are simple, short and sweet, and the responses are a total of five words.

But in practically all Papal Masses the Pater Noster is in Latin. ?? There are 48 words in the Pater Noster. 48 versus five. ?? Why are we expected to do the longest prayer that the faithful say in Latin, but not the shortest responses? Granted, the Pater Noster is a very basic prayer that all Catholics should know in Latin, and I support its mandatory use in that language. But surely, if the longest prayer that the laity say at Mass is expected to be in Latin, then the short invocation/response things can be in Latin, too. Right?

I think they have a bit of a hodgepodge of Latin/vernacular at the less major Papal Masses that doesn't really make sense. Collects and readings in the vernacular? Okay. Prayer of the Faithful? Okay. Makes sense. But why do the Pater Noster in Latin but the Embolism and Doxology in the vernacular? That seems a bit short-sighted, as they make up one component of the Mass; besides, they never change, so what is the point of having them in the vernacular at all? I think the silly Doxology should be eliminated completely, as it seems a concession to Protestants; it was not part of any Roman tradition before 1969 and is used in precisely no other circumstance when the Pater Noster is prayed. It's an archaeologism dug up by Bugnini & Company.

And then, the Confiteor and the Orate Fratres and Suscipiat and the Ecce Agnus Dei and Domine, non sum dignus. Why have these in the vernacular if the longest prayer said by the faithful, the Pater Noster, is said in Latin? These are like half the length. ?? We have schoolchildren an hour away who are made to learn all of these in Latin in the third grade, because their pastor is simply fantastic!

I suppose my question is, why are some of the unchanging parts of the Mass in Latin and others in the vernacular? None of the Order of Mass changes in the OF at least as regards the responses and people's parts, so why the Latin vs. vernacular thing? Why not just have it all in Latin and call it a day? What criteria determine if something is in Latin or the vernacular? It can't be length, as is demonstrated by the Pater Noster. It can't be the well-known parts, as maybe 2% of Catholics nowadays know anything in Latin, and the ones who do generally know all the people's parts in Latin.

I advocate for every unchanging part of the Mass to be in Latin.

My two cents.

John Nolan said...

Given that Italian is simply a debased form of Latin I see no point in the vernacular at all. One of the features of the post-V2 madness was that every revolutionary change was trotted out as a 'restoration'. Thus we were told that the vernacular was being 'restored' despite the fact that the erudite members of the Consilium were quite aware that at the end of the 4th century an elevated form of Greek was replaced in the liturgy of the West by an elevated form of Latin which was by no means the vernacular of the peoples of the west.

The whole reform was carried out against a background of intellectual dishonesty which tarnishes it in the eyes of educated people but ensures that in the long run (long after we are dead) most of it will be discarded.

Nancy A. said...

I think the mix of vernacular and Latin is a good thing. When St Joseph's was doing the "new parts" of the Mass in Latin I heard many complaints from my fellow parishioners including concerns that the Mass would return to being completely in Latin. I disagreed with them and still feel that Latin should be an important part of the liturgy. However, I have attended a couple of "all-Latin" Masses and been totally lost, so a mix of Latin and vernacular seems to be a reverent solution. I do agree with ytc about the Doxology; it has always seemed artificial and pegged-on to me.

Henry said...

Although I might not make it myself, I think a rational argument could be made for the unchanging (ordinary) parts of the Mass in Latin, the changing (proper) parts in the vernacular.

In any event, some (any) fixed rational pattern would be better than the helter-skelter random what's-it-gonna-be-today to the liturgy that has thus far prevented the OF from achieving the stability form that has historically been necessary for the long-term survival of a rite. If this optionitis condemns the OF to go the way of the dodo over the next century or so ..... Well, His will be done.

ytc said...

Henry, those are exactly my own views. I'll never object to an all-Latin liturgy, but I think there is a good argument for limited use of the vernacular.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Of course I'm not clairvoyant, but whatever happens should happen uniformly and not depend on "congregationalism" or "clericalism" to make happen--that's the problem with the parish in Wisconsin where the actual fight is between two extremes, congregationalism and clericalism, each wanting their own way about perfectly legal things either way--that's the problem!

ytc said...

Yes, Father. There should be no possibility of "my way is legal and so is yours." That is the trashy mess we are in now. There should be one standard way of celebrating Mass in the Ordinary Form just as there is in the Extraordinary Form: with extreme solemnity and no nonsense.