Tuesday, January 5, 2021


Fortunately, John Nolan has come to our rescue to make sure we all know that Amen is Latin: " 'Amen' may be borrowed from Hebrew, but it is still a Latin word, and as such has the stress on the first syllable." 

One of the problems, of many problems, with the use of Latin in the Ordinary Form of the Mass is that it doesn't make any sense to do so. It becomes an idiosyncrasy of the priest, the parish or the diocese with no real need for it other than preserving the official language of the Church by three very parochial entities. 

Prior to Vatican II, the use of Latin in the Latin Rite of the Church was to unite the world's Latin Rite Catholics in a common Mass and language. No matter what Latin Rite parish you went to in the entire world, the Mass was the same. All that was needed was the hand missal for the changing parts of the Mass. 

Thus an English speaking Catholic could worship in a Chinese parish and still feel as though he was in his home parish except for the difference of ethnicity. A Spanish speaker would not know what the homily was about or the announcements, but everything else would be at his fingertips in his dandy St. Joseph Missal (which I still have). 

But more importantly, any missionary priest could go anywhere in the world and celebrate Mass. All he would need is an interpreter for his homily. 

But now that the vernacular has splintered the Latin Rite Church, that can no longer take place, even in a single parish with multiple ethnicity and languages. 

Thus if I have a mega parish with multiple Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Republic of Georgians, Russians and Jews, I would have to find priests who could speak Hebrew, and all the other languages. I could not do any of those Masses, especially the Hebrew Mass. 

But if Vatican II had emphasized the importance of Latin for the unity of the Church and the sanity of priests, I could offer Mass for each language group in my parish and simply have someone interpret my homily and give the announcements. How cool would that be?


John Nolan said...

Hebrew Mass? Jews have their own rituals and Russians and Georgians are not in the main Latin-rite Christians.

Vatican II did indeed emphasize the importance of Latin in the liturgy, and not just as a sign of unity. Apart fom anything else an all-vernacular liturgy restricts the choice of music to that written after 1965, which is a considerable impoverishment.

Pierre said...

When I lived in a suburb of Chicago, there was a parish I attended from time to time that was split pretty evenly between native speakers of English and Spanish. The priest celebrated the EF and it was wonderful not to be "balkanized" into different Masses because of language. John XXIII knew what he was saying when he stated in Veterum Sapientia that "Latin is the language which joins the Church of today." Unfortunately, he was not heeded.

Pierre said...

John Nolan,

The music was the greatest loss with the abandonment of Latin in the Mass. My mother, a former Methodist, soloist in the Methodist choir, and a radio singer in the 1940s, commented that when the Mass was being "reformed," that for her, the loss of Chant and polyphony was the real tragedy.

Anonymous said...

No argument at all as to the universal being spintered into disunited local/nationalistic churches by change to vernacular.

However, then the problem still remains, as it did in the push for vernacular vs traditionalists, that many MANY Catholics even in the richest countries in the world, simply are poor and cannot afford a handy local language missal. Much less, where MAJORITY of world Catholics live with dirt floors and no regular running water or electricity.

And never have I seen a push by the wealthy to provide these missals to their own poor members, much less to poorer areas of the world. A grave failing on the part of the wealthy, making SURE the vernacular is here to stay, even while they rail against it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 12:51,

Strange, my parish made missals available to all before the disaster known as Vatican II and it was not a wealthy parish by any means. You sound a lot like Kavanaugh

Anonymous said...

I am not talking before Vatican II....I am talking NOW and all the languages and dialects in the entire world which still lacks 100% coverage of even a Bible. We are not talking YOUR parish only, which likely did not have a dirt floor, nor your house, which is a lifeboat mentality quite at odds with true Christianity.

You REALLY need to take up a different vocation besides FrK Sniffer Outer, as you must be providing endless mirth and amusement to him and his trolling efforts in making them hundreds of percent more effective by your constant annoying misidentifications doing tremendous damage to participation by readers of this site. Keep it up, and I will say something profoundly unpriestly to you where "get stuffed" is the G-rated version.

Anonymous^2 said...

The big exception to this was Slovenia where the Tridentine Mass was celebrated in Old Slavonic, the so-called Glagolitic missal. Technically, you should say "the mass was the same everywhere except Slovenia."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

John Nolan, my former parish in Augusta had a sister parish relationship with Saints Peter and Paul in Tbilisi, Georgia. Georgia’s Catholics are served by the Latin Rite rather than the Eastern Rite. Thus the Latin Rite Mass was either in Russian or Georgian, Georgian a very peculiar language with a separate alphabet. Father is Mama and Mother is Dada!

The were renovating a former gymnasium into their Cathedral which was the Cathedral before the Communists made it a gym. That Cathedral is Latin Rite. The bishop back in the late 90’s and I presume still today is an Italian. Of course the predominant rite there is either Russian or Georgian Orthodox.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, it's Croatia not Slovenia where the Tridentine Mass was celebrated in Old Slavonic (and I hope somewhere still is). I even found a link:

Anonymous said...

EWTN's Mass always had a nice use of Latin and English. I think the importance of English is because that is what most of the people in the pews were accustomed to. The importance of the Latin? First, it is the proper language of the Mass. Second,it kept the priests in good practice of that language. Third, it familiarized the people in the pews of the language, possibly with the hope that the vernacular could one day be dropped. I recall when Pope Benedict asked that Latin be incorporated into the Mass,a parish I attended did so for maybe a month. What a disappointment as I was hoping for at least a partial return of the TLM.

Anonymous said...

The ordinary rite is so simple now that no hand missal is required. The assembly just needs the booklet with the ordinary chants that Paul VI sent to every bishop of the world and can be downloaded for free. In a very short time any assembly, with proper introduction and catechesis would be participating. The readings of the Liturgy of the Word and the homily would be in the vernacular. Planning the Mysterium Fidei rather than springing it on the assembly is a good idea too.

Most parishes use Latin at some points in the liturgical year for the Sanctus and Agnus Dei. Some missalettes have the ordinary parts in Latin.

I have seen this done beautifully at the Norbertine Abbey in Southern California and the wonderful parish in Palo Alto, St. Ann’s

John Nolan said...

Say what you like about the Novus Ordo, but it kept the musical structure of the Mass intact. The whole corpus of Gregorian chant was retained, and chants had to be written for those parts of the Mass which were not previously sung, e.g. the introductory rites and the embolism after the Pater Noster. Because of the calendar changes the chants had to be redistributed but Solesmes did a good job and the new Graduale Romanum was completed by 1974.

The reformed ICEL was also exemplary in the way that it provided English chants for the Mass Ordinary and incorporated them into the new translation of the Missal which was effective in 2011. A sung or solemn NO Mass can use these alongside the Latin without any jarring. Since the Collects etc. and the Prefaces are now more-or-less accurately translated, those used to the all-Latin NO would not find their use particularly objectionable. Indeed, most traditionally-minded Catholics, myself included, do not object to the vernacular per se and concede that it is of benefit to many.

Some people adopt absolutist positions. I met one woman who would not attend a Tridentine Mass in a church where the Novus Ordo was also celebrated, and I dare say there are priests who would refuse to countenance Latin on principle, although they would probably argue that it was 'not necessary'.

A plague on both their houses. At least the woman had the excuse that she was probably barking mad.