Sunday, 21 February 2016
The Glory and Power of Latin Liturgy
I believe that every person, man woman or child, can be at ease with the Latin parts of the Mass which pertain to them, such as the Confiteor, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Pater Noster and Agnus Dei. By reciting these every Sunday at Mass (as required by Vatican II, in fact) with an accompanying English translation, they easily get to know what they are saying. They do not need to know Latin Grammar. They do not even need a word-for word translation; many of us happily sang Frère Jacque in primary school without knowing its translation, and at a recent Christmas Carol Concert by primary school children they sang one Carol with a different language for each verse: German, French, Spanish, Italian and English. No Latin of course -this was a Catholic school.
The New Liturgical Movement posted an article of great interest the other day by David Clayton. It was entitled ‘ The devil Hates Latin, says Exorcist’ (see here). it is worth a read. Yesterday I came across a post by an anonymous Caremlite nun on the Usus Antiquior site entitled ‘Why Latin?’ (see here). I was struck by the simplicity of Sister’s words, and have already put them into the Bulletin. Sister begins by asking,
Question: “Does the Devil hate Latin?
Answer: Because Latin is inherently divine? No, it’s a human tongue. Because it is intrinsically superior as a language? Maybe not. It is certainly beautiful in its unique way, and there are prayers, hymns and sequences that are only as effective as they are because of the succinct Latin drumbeat in which they are composed (e.g., Lauda Sion Salvatorem, Dies iræ, Victimæ paschali laudes, Corde natus ex parentis), to say nothing of the mind-opening secular works of Cicero, Ovid et al.
Here is the section I quoted and noted in the Bulletin:
I quoted: 'Satan hates Latin because Latin promotes unity, especially the unity of the Church, Christ’s mystical Body. Unity among the members of His Body on earth, yes, but also unity of the past, the present and the future—in fact the whole Communion of Saints. Disunity is what the Devil is all about: he divides, scatters and confuses. His very title means just that (devil, diabolo, from the Greek dia ballein, “to throw apart”). As Screwtape might have taught, anything that serves the principle of unity, especially unity of faith, should be resisted, opposed, undermined..”
I noted: Let us not resist, oppose or undermine Latin then, it is for the sake of our unity in God that we should value, support and promote Latin, not side with the devil by opposing and resisting it.
Sister also says, “As members of secular society, we are willing to put tremendous effort into learning second languages, or requiring our children to learn them, and for the sake of mere commerce and recreation. But we are members of Christ’s Body first, and the unity for which He prayed does not exist where His members do not—because they cannot—worship together.”
I recommend readers to read sister’s post and to reflect upon its insights.
I am no Latin scholar. In fact, in our seminary in the 1980s/90's we went through six years of seminary without any training in Latin (contrary to the teaching of Vatican II in Optatam Totius and to the Code of Canon Law, Canon 249). In order to celebrate the Usus Antiquior I and Andrew McDowell, the ‘tie’ of this blog, attended a one year course in Latin basics so as to become at least ‘idoneous’.