D. of San Diego – implementing Summorum Pontificum – follow up

You might remember an entry we had on the implementation of Summorum Pontificum desired by His Excellency Most Rev. Robert Brom. 

His Excellency sent a letter in May in which he announced his will to impose a competency test on any priest thinking to exercise his rights as a priest of the Latin Rite to celebrate in Latin using the Novus Ordo or use the 1962 Missale Romanum under Summorum Pontificum.

In some respects, His Excellency’s letter sounded as if Summorum Pontificum didn’t exist.

Now there is another memo from the chancery, sent to me by a kind reader, actually several kind readers:

June 3, 2008

To:     Priests in the Diocese of San Diego
Fr:    Bishop Robert Brom
Re:    Latin in the Liturgy

This is to follow up on my May 16th communication to you regarding Latin in the Liturgy.

Re: Competency Evaluation to Celebrate Liturgies in Latin.

A subcommittee to evaluate linguistic and rubrical competence includes Msgr. John Dickie, Father Frank Penko and Father John Proctor.

Again, competency to celebrate in Latin either the Mass (whether in the extraordinary or ordinary form) or other sacraments (whether according to the older or present ritual) should not be presumed but verified by this subcommittee of the Latin in the Liturgy Committee.

Appointments for an evaluation should be made through Father John Proctor:
(c) 619-892-0050
(h) 619-692-8119
jgproc@sbcglobal.net

Re: Consultation before Scheduling Mass in the Extraordinary Form

Once again, before scheduling or continuing to schedule Mass in the extraordinary form or other sacraments according to the older ritual, pastors should consult with the Latin in the Liturgy Committee.

Appointments for a consultation should be made through Father Bruce Orsborn:

(c) 619-518-0567
(o) 619-582-5722
borsborn@blessedsacrament-sd.org

Evaluations and consultations will take place in the Liturgy Office at the Diocesan Pastoral Center.
Thank you for your cooperation in this important pastoral matter.

This raises questions. 

First, the Code of Canon Law since 1983 requires that seminarians be well-trained in Latin.

Second, if there are going to be tests for Latin, will there be tests for English?   Will all the priests of habitually using the Novus Ordo be tested for competency in the rubrics?

Also, what if there is going to be, say, a sung Sanctus or Agnus Dei in a Mass and… gasp …  Father sings along wihtout having been declared competent to do so!   And will there be a separate test for Greek so he can say Kyrie eleison?

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95 Responses to D. of San Diego – implementing Summorum Pontificum – follow up

  1. John Enright says:

    God forbid a tone deaf priest from chanting the EF or the OF! What happens if a priest has a slight lisp, either in Latin or English? Since many American Catholics are hispanic, should we test their competency in Spanish? Priests are sufficiently educated to know the limits of their abilities; any attempt to “nanny” them is simply ridiculous.

  2. PGJ says:

    This is absolutely ridiculous – obviously an attempt to limit the number of Masses in the Extraordinary Form. As a history major, this reminds me of the requirement to take a literacy test in the 19th Century South in order to keep the negros from voting: “Sure, you have the right to vote, but we’re going to give you this literacy test and fail you anyways.”

    I “knew Latin” well enough to serve Mass at age 5. By 6 or 7, I knew what it all meant. If a 5 year old can spit out the Confiteor, an educated priest can offer Holy Mass in Latin.

    As Father Z said, this wouldn’t even be a problem if Seminaries did their job and ensured that their seminarians had a good grasp of the Church’s official language.

  3. Brandon says:

    Not just English Father. We’re talking about San Diego, California. What about Priests celebrating the O.F. in Spanish? Chinese? Japanese? Et al.

    The point is, the Chancery seems to be trying to limit the celebrations of the E.F. If the Holy Father has instructed that NO limits or examinations are to be required, why is this to be permitted?

    If the Holy Father has already stated that priests do not need an Ordinary’s permission or certification to celebrate the E.F., are they (the priests) bound to honor, by law, the code and process which their Ordinary is implementing?

  4. J.D says:

    I think we should all call these people on their phone numbers that they gave
    out and politely express our opinions.

  5. Michael Garner says:

    If I were a priest and in this diocese I wouldn’t pay any attention to it. I would continue saying Mass in Latin in the ordinary form and continue celebrating Mass in the extraordinary form without any approval from the “committee.” If they have a problem with it they can talk to the Holy Father.

  6. Michael Garner says:

    If I were a priest in this diocese I would not pay any attention to this. I would say Mass in the ordinary form in Latin and I would say the extraordinary form as well without talking to the “committee.” If they had any problems with this they could talk to the Holy Father.

  7. Bill says:

    My pastor, a mere 51 himself, tells me he had no training in Latin at seminary. Hence, my request to him for TLM would be pointless.

  8. tzard says:

    As has been mentioned before – bucking the bishop or the chancery can be hazardous. While I appreciate those who choose to be martyrs (in the sense of witness) – we can’t demand it of anyone.

    What would be interesting, however, is to see what happens if someone is *denied* permission to say the Extraordinary form because of such a tribunal. It’s not really to the point whether they *are* competent or not, but if such a document is produced, I’m sure Rome would like to see it.
    (perhaps with a cover letter in impeccible latin describing the situation… :) )

    The worse case, however, is the scheduling of such tests could be dragged-out and scheduled weeks or months in advance. Perhaps even required “retests” with nothing other than verbal documentation. Can someone perhaps wear a “wire” under their cassock?

  9. Ole Doc Farmer says:

    It’s striking that this bishop is issuing these decrees, not only in contravention of the plain language of S.P., but also prior to the clarifying oocument pending from PCED. Que cajones!

    I wonder if San Diego is offering itself up as some sort of test case on what a bishop can get away with.

  10. Central Valley Catholic says:

    When is there ever obedience to the Code of Canon law? I have asked the diocese of Fresno Ca. more than once why most seminarians and priests in the diocese don’t know any Latin. The Code says they are to be “proficient”, not just have knowledge of it. It’s interesting how traditional Catholics are called rigid or even referred to as cafeteria Catholics. Aren’t the Bishops, by refusing to follow this section of the Code being cafeteria Bishops? Sadly, I have seen priests and deacons assisting in the Fresno diocese at communion for the Extraordinary Form and they can’t and won’t even try to learn one line of Latin.

  11. “to celebrate in Latin either the Mass (whether in the extraordinary or ordinary form) or other sacraments (whether according to the older or present ritual) should not be presumed but verified by this subcommittee of the Latin in the Liturgy Committee”

    hmm… so the problem IS Latin. The fear of Latin has been disproportionate for decades. I say “fear” because that is what it is, a fear of the unknown instilled in the middle-aged generation (my generation) by the self-deluding concept that learning a foreign language is too hard. In fact, the generation that rejected learning Latin was actually rejecting a willingness to work hard, to study hard and to learn hard. In large measure the failure of the liturgical reform championed by Vatican II was due to laziness, a ready willingness on the part of the so-called sixties generation to take the easy, instant gratification path in all things. We suffer the consequences. I, myself, have great hope in the younger, less elf-centered and more ambitious younger generation.

  12. My typo “less elf-centered” might be even more appropriate than what I intended…

  13. prof. basto says:

    PRIESTS ARE PRESUMED TO KNOW LATIN BECAUSE DISRESPECT OF THE LAW BY A BISHOP IS NOT TO BE PRESUMED, AND SINCE SEMINARIANS ARE REQUIRED BY CANON LAW TO BE TRAINED IN LATIN NO BISHOP WOULD ORDAIN THEM TO THE PRIESTHOOD IF THE CANDIDATES WEREN’T SO TRAINED. THAT’S THE PRESUMPTION.

    This local regulation, therefore, implicitly contradicts the Code of Canon Law. Also it forbids Latin Rite Priests to use the OFFICIAL LANGUAGE of the Latin Rite!!!! How can this be??? There is merely a permission thecnically, that the vernacular may, as a faculty, be used instead of Latin, but the Vatican II’s Constitution on Sacred Liturgy preserved Latin as the official language of the Latin Rite, and therefore, it is the standard language, that can always be used by any Latin Rite priest to administer the Sacraments and sacramentals. Redemptionis Sacramentum confirms that a priest has a RIGHT to always use the Latin Language:

    “[112.] Mass is celebrated either in Latin or in another language, provided that liturgical texts are used which have been approved according to the norm of law. Except in the case of celebrations of the Mass that are scheduled by the ecclesiastical authorities to take place in the language of the people, Priests are always and everywhere permitted to celebrate Mass in Latin.

    There is a footnote in that item of Redemptionis Sacramentum making reference to Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 36 § 1 and to the Code of Canon Law, can. 928.

    So here, what we have is a direct violation not only of Vatican II norms themselves, and of the Code of Canon Law, canon 928, but also of Redemptionis Sacramentum, too.

    For all those reasons, it is null and utterly void, and should be so declared by the Holy See.

    To me, this is a form of liturgical abuse. Abuses happen not only when Mass is disfigured, but when liturgical law is twisted. So, I think that every faithful has the right to lodge a complaint against this under Redemptionis Sacramentum, 184.

    Could someone please report this to Mons. Ranjith, Secretary of the CDWDS, asking the Holy See to clarify if the San Diego Regulations conform with Church Law or if they violate, as it surely seems to be the case, the above mentioned provisions, especially RS, item 112?

  14. prof. basto says:

    I forgot to add this to my last post…

    Not to mention that, in what concens the EF, the requirement to schedule an appointment with a comitee and then to be approved, apart from being an incredibly complex form of red tape obviously conceived so as to stop priests from trying to say the EF in the first place, also violates the priest’s right to say the EF without any kind of license, either from the Apostolic See, or from the Ordinary (SP, art. 2)

    The approval of Latin skills is a form of license, and as such, the requirement of one is against the Law.

  15. prof. basto says:

    PGD is right in remembering the “literacy tests” of the past that effectively blocked the right of African-Americans to vote in the American South. This is a similar thing.

    Here is a Bishop making a poorly disguised attempt at “circumverting” Church Law! Will it stick? It will depend on how serious the Holy See is in enforcing its recent pronouncements quoted above and seeing that they are faithfully applied.

  16. Eboracensis says:

    This really is bold. In regard to the Extraordinary Form, this doesn’t advance beyond what some other bishops have already done in establishing committees to evaluate linguistic and rubrical competence, as reported by Fr. Zuhlsdorf previously; e.g. Cincinnati. However, in the light of Cardinal Castrillon’s recent remarks, the evident contradiction with the mind of the Holy See is even greater.

    However, Bishop Brom does break new ground in seeking to regulate the Ordinary Form in Latin also, through the same mechanism. To Prof. Basto’s point above, concerning Redemtionis Sacramentum, it seems to be that the Bishop is saying that EVERY Mass in his diocese is always “scheduled by the ecclesiastical authorities to take place in the language of the people” unless he gives prior permission otherwise. That is also obviously contrary to the mind of the Holy See. It also naturally brings this document not only before the Ecclesia Dei Commission but also before the CDW as well. We shall see what transpires!

    It occurs to me that there is some precedent for this. Within the past few years, one American Ordinary attempted to order that every Mass in his diocese be in the vernacular. Does anyone recall which diocese, and whether anything was done?

  17. Phil says:

    For it is unlikely that the diocesan priests will challenge their bishop, can’t the laity take action, and send a nice letter to Cardinal Hoyos, describing the situation, and attaching a copy of the worthless “guidelines” issued by the bishop?

    Fr. Z, please advise if you may, because I am afraid that in my diocese, similar types of stalling techniques are in the works.
    Thank you.

    Phil

  18. Other Paul says:

    I’m not surprised. I suppose it’s not unreasonable to expect some basic proficiency in Latin if you’re going to try to celebrate Mass in it. And, yes, you can point to Canon Law and claim the seminaries are supposed to ensure some exposure to Latin, but is it really happening? Um, no. It’s not. We know that. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that at least here in San Diego proficiency in Spanish is a lot easier to come by and to maintain than is Latin. So is it fair that they want to ensure proficiency in Latin where they have no collateral insistence on Spanish proficiency? No. On the other hand if you put a priest with a smattering of Spanish in a predominately Spanish-speaking parish, you can pretty well expect that he’ll maintain and even improve his proficiency in the language over time. Can you say the same about Latin. Probably not. There’s very, very little support for developing and maintaining proficiency in Latin outside – and even inside – Mother Church. That is what needs to change. The Church needs to shepherd Latin back into even uncommon use, if not common use. Enforce Canon Law regarding learning Latin in seminary. Put your documents out in Latin (www.vatican.va). Start celebrating Mass in Latin again. Give people a reason to learn – and use – even a little Latin. Papa Benedict is doing just that, God bless him. But as my Grandmother was fond of saying, “The Church is a very large ship with a very small rudder.” For me it’s enough that we’re clearly in a state of transition.

  19. Larry says:

    As I’ve said before the seminaries in the US have not been doing their job for many years and in many ways in spite of Canon law, so it is reasonable to ask that a priest be competent in a langage be fore he starts saying Mass in that language. That being said it is obvious that this particular case seems directed at discouraging Latin. I know that our seminarians study Spanish and that is good. The priests seem reasonably able to say Mass in Spanish but I also have experienced priests from foreign countries who have no idea how to speak English celebrate Mass in English. It can be a real problem.

    On a different side of this topic can anyone explain why on the Vatican web page the MP is still only available in Latin and Hungarian? Even the USCCB only has an “Unofficial translation” from VIS. What is going on?

  20. Matt Q says:

    Time to rage against the Machine–the machine of this sort of mindless episcopal nonsense!!

    The Holy Father has already given his permission, what further needs to come from a bishop, and how dare any of them put these kinds of obstacles in the way of the Faithful practicing a legitimate form of Catholicism, permission given to us by the Pope himself.

    For a bishop who has to pay out millions for his misdeeds regarding the molestation scandals, filed a false bankruptcy ( and they are still under the court’s scrutiny ), one really can’t take him seriously about any pastoral guidance regarding the Tridentine Mass. Well, my opinion anyway.

    Other Paul wrote:

    “I’m not surprised. I suppose it’s not unreasonable to expect some basic proficiency in Latin if you’re going to try to celebrate Mass in it. And, yes, you can point to Canon Law and claim the seminaries are supposed to ensure some exposure to Latin, but is it really happening? Um, no. It’s not. We know that. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that at least here in San Diego proficiency in Spanish is a lot easier to come by and to maintain than is Latin. So is it fair that they want to ensure proficiency in Latin where they have no collateral insistence on Spanish proficiency? No. On the other hand if you put a priest with a smattering of Spanish in a predominately Spanish-speaking parish, you can pretty well expect that he’ll maintain and even improve his proficiency in the language over time. Can you say the same about Latin. Probably not. There’s very, very little support for developing and maintaining proficiency in Latin outside – and even inside – Mother Church. That is what needs to change. The Church needs to shepherd Latin back into even uncommon use, if not common use. Enforce Canon Law regarding learning Latin in seminary. Put your documents out in Latin (www.vatican.va). Start celebrating Mass in Latin again. Give people a reason to learn – and use – even a little Latin. Papa Benedict is doing just that, God bless him. But as my Grandmother was fond of saying, “The Church is a very large ship with a very small rudder.” For me it’s enough that we’re clearly in a state of transition.”

    )(

    Hopefully, I didn’t misread what you stated, but to me you’ve put forth a one-sided argument regarding Latin proficiency. One either needs to be proficient in whatever language he is saying Mass in or he doesn’t. Latin or any other language is no exception.

    As I said, I get the impression what you have put forth is like what the Voting Rights Act had to correct. In bygone days, there was a law which stated one needed to be able to read and write in order to vote. When a black man went to the polls, he was handed a Chinese newspaper and asked whether he could read it. Well, of course he couldn’t but that was his test and he didn’t get to vote. Seems like you and the bishop smack of the same thing, further discrimination against the Tridentine Mass.

  21. Dob says:

    If their intention is to ensure a proper and competent offering of Mass then I see no problem in this. If they are seeking to provide training where necessary and resources then that would be a great sign. If throughout this diocese there is widespread liturgical abuse that goes unchecked then we all know what this is.

  22. Fr D says:

    Has anyone thought to enquire what degree of competence in either Latin or the rubrics of the EF the 3 wise men of the sub-comittee have?

  23. lmgilbert says:

    Here in the Archdiocese of Chicago a test for proficiency in English would be a terrific idea before allowing a priest to celebrate or preach. One reason I became a lector is so that the congregation would hear at least some comprehensible English in the course of the Mass instead of an entire Mass of English strangled into incomprehension by Telagu, Polish or Spanish speakers. My rant.

    Obviously simply issuing a decree that all seminarians be proficient in Latin is not enough. The language has to be resurrected and for that one Reginald Foster is not enough.

    We need among other things Pimsleur in Latin- with the vulgar pronunciation.

  24. What a wonderful clarificatory memo!

    Let’s put a bit of English on it, shall we?

    Let’s parse “should”…

    “Should”, used multiple times, does not imply obligation, but a choice contigent upon circumstances, as in “should, if…”

    The follow up depends on the “Pastor”, whatever he thinks is prudentially expedient for himself in his desire to fruitfully offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
    If he thinks that he has enough Latin sufficient to offer the Holy Sacrifice with decorum and enough understanding to confect the Sacrament amidst the Sacrifice, he need not present himself to any committee or subcommittee thereof.

    If he thinks that he needs the ministrations of such a committee as an aid to offer the Holy Sacrifice well, then he may present himself with thanksgiving (and the hope that the (sub)committee is really there to assist him.

    Then again, he can avail himself of other sources as well, such as WDTPRS, the Cantius crowd, the FSSPers, etc.

    Cheers!

  25. As a classics professor, re: this issue of “testing” I have always been most curious to SEE an actual test. I gather from casual conversations and e-mails with colleagues that no classicist I know has ever been asked to contribute to such a test, or advise re: such an exam. It would be most interesting to see what a diocese expects. And, I wonder what each of these dioceses is doing…requiring???…to make sure their seminarians henceforth learn Latin (not to mention Greek).

  26. Tom S. says:

    I’m with those who think it would be okay – IF a similar test was given for every language in which a priest wishes to celebrate mass. For instance, one of the masses I attend often has a foreign-born priest whose English is sometimes unintelligible. And an American priest who, when celibrating in spanish, would probably not qualify as “idoneus”.

    But no one seems to mind…

    Nor would they mind if their Latin was occasionally less than perfect, either.

  27. Jon K says:

    Yesterday at noon I attended a Novus Ordo in Reading, PA, celebrated by a Mexican priest. His English was highly accented, and with much pausing and jittery starts, he groped his way through the Missal.

    Do you think Bishop Brom could help him?

  28. It’s quite simply, really. Beyond assuring that the priest is at least competent to say either form of the Mass (as opposed to being an expert), the bishop’s decree is illicit. Any Catholic or group of Catholics is empowered to send the memorandum itself, with a VERY brief cover letter, to the PCED in Rome.

    Until then, no one who konws the situation, or the bishop in question, should be surprised. Those who watched the USCCB proceedings on EWTN last fall, know that Brom has a hard time taking “No” for an answer.

  29. Kris says:

    What about approval for Aramaic, to read the Passion according to Matthew?

  30. lmgilbert says:

    “I think we should all call these people on their phone numbers that they gave out and politely express our opinions.”

    In Latin.

    Seriously, a phone call from one or two Latin speakers to the listed phone numbers could be very revealing, and possibly give pause to the recipients.

  31. Fr. J says:

    The new document from Bishop Brown states that “competency to celebrate in Latin either the Mass “whether in the extraordinary or ordinary form”…”should not be presumed but verified by this subcommittee of the Latin in the Liturgy Committee.”

    I seriously doubt their competency to make this requirement since it goes directly against Canon Law which states:

    “The eucharistic celebration is to be carried out in the Latin language or in another language provided that the liturgical texts have been legitimately approved.” (Can. 928)

    I am not a Canon Lawyer, however, from the text, I would presume that we must say Mass in Latin or in another language that has been approved by proper authorities. Canon law says nothing about testing the priest’s Latin skills. Canon law also states that every priest in good standing has the right to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    I would suggest that any priest who is forbidden from celebrating the “ordinary form” in Latin write to the Holy See.

    What we really need is a very clear and concise clarification from Rome. Bishops who do not want Latin in either the ordinary or extra-ordinary form will continue to make rules and excuses.

  32. peretti says:

    I talked to a recently ordained priest, whom I know to be very reverent. He spent his last several years of seminary training at Denver’s St. John Vianney. I asked him if he intended to say Mass in the EF. He told me that he could not. The reason he gave? “No training in Latin.”

  33. Ioannes says:

    Episcopus iste potestate sua abutitur atque extra fines legis iurisque errat. Castigandus est et obiurgandus.

  34. Fr W says:

    What a great idea. Call up the priests/committee and speak Latin: ‘Vales?’ What a laugh!

    Paul made a comment about the learning of Latin and that Spanish was easier to learn because…it was used. Precisely. The way to learn Latin is to USE it. One begins with a rudimentary knowledge, and then using it every day, and with the Office, one acquires a very workable knowledge. I’m living proof.

    Many of our priests are bright men. I remember my Latin teacher’s advice: Latin is hard, life is short, start early. But we live longer now, so never too late to start.

    God bless the priests of San Diego. Please pray for them.

  35. RBrown says:

    The new document from Bishop Brown states that “competency to celebrate in Latin either the Mass “whether in the extraordinary or ordinary form”…”should not be presumed but verified by this subcommittee of the Latin in the Liturgy Committee.”
    Comment by Fr. J

    The bishop is named Brom not Brown–he is no member of my family.

  36. Anthony says:

    What a blessing for the folks in the San Diego Diocese to have so many experts in Latin and on the rubrics of the traditional Mass that they can even form an entire committee. Surely the Catholics who desire to have the Mass offered in that rite will have no problem at all getting one of those priests to offer it! (/sarcasm)

  37. My pastor, a mere 51 himself, tells me he had no training in Latin at seminary. Hence, my request to him for TLM would be pointless.
    Comment by Bill

    Obviously. Indeed, no one would want a priest like Bill’s pastor, illiterate in the language of the Church, presuming to celebrate a Latin Mass in either form.

    So perhaps we ought to be more appreciative of Bishop Brom’s presumably well-intentioned effort to promote competence in liturgical Latin in his diocese.

    Seriously, what is to be gained by celebration of a Latin Mass by a priest who is not competent in Latin? The same as is gained by the celebration of a Spanish Mass by a priest who knows hardly a word of Spanish, and whose pronunciation of those words is unrecognizable to the Hispanics in attendance? (Some readers in other countries may be unaware that this is not an uncommon occurrence in the U.S.)

  38. AM says:

    I am intrigued by the suggestion even tongue in cheek that anyone phone the numbers and talk in Latin. For surely the reason to use Latin in the liturgy has nothing to do with the possibility that there are actually speakers of the language. In fact the opposite: Latin is preserved in the Latin Rite because it is the hieratic (priestly sacred) language which with its history and associations hooks an anchor in the liturgical tradition. Latin is not “just another language that people might speak”. Surely?

  39. pseudomodo says:

    We have a vietnamese pastor at our church. I must admit that many times I have absolutly no clue as to what he is saying as his english on some days can be very bad. When he begins mass I often wonder if visitors think that Catholics believe that there are 5 to 7 persons in the Holy Trinity as he prays, “In the name of the Fathers and of the Sons and of the Holy Spirit”!!

  40. Daniel Muller says:

    Latin is not “just another language that people might speak”. Surely?

    Carissime AMe:

    Non habes linguam latinam?

  41. pattif says:

    AM -

    You might not be aware that the entire proceedings of the Second Vatican Council were conducted in Latin. Only the non-Catholic observers had simultaneous translation.

    Latin USED (within living memory) to be a language people spoke with great fluency. It is difficult to believe that the world is a vastly better place now that very few can.

  42. pattif says:

    AM -

    You might not be aware that the entire proceedings of the Second Vatican Council were conducted in Latin. Only the non-Catholic observers had simultaneous translation.

    Latin USED (within living memory) to be a language that people spoke with great fluency. The world is not a noticeably better place now that, on the whole, they no longer can.

  43. mother undercover says:

    I can’t figure out what this is in response to. Are there hoards of parishioners demanding the EF at parishes across the diocese?

    According to the latest stats (2004) from Catholic Hierarchy, San Diego has 98 parishes and 234 diocesan priests. Other than the Traditional Latin Mass Society in San Diego (the “indult parish”), I know of only two parishes that publicly offer Latin in the liturgy–a monthly Latin OF Mass in Escondido and a weekly EF Mass in Oceanside. Is that really so alarming? Alarming enough to send out these letters, form this committee and bring more public scandal to our diocese?

  44. From the preface to Dom Matthew Britt’s 1928 “A Dictionary of the Psalter”, recently reprinted by http://www.pcpbooks.com :

    “Moreover, the Priest at least, among the many who daily use the Latin Psalter, is the guardian of the Latin language and of the culture to which the classics lend enduring vigor. Latin is the official language of the Church. Latin is the language of all his prayers at the altar and in choir. Latin is the lasting matrix in which is graven ineffably the doctrine which he believes and teaches. Latin may be called the sacerdotal tongue. As a sacred trust it is committed to the keeping of the priest; and he is false to that trust who does not make due effort to cultivate the priestly language.”

    Amen.

  45. I often ask myself what it means for the Latin Church, for a priest of the Latin Church, never to say Mass, never to pray, to read, even to consider anything in the language of his rite. Schizophrenic? Can we know who we are? This is part of our crisis of Catholic identity which must be addressed. Surely there will be, therefore, massive and entrenched resistance to a revival of Latin. Latin brings with it a world view.

  46. Diane says:

    Fr. Z: First, the Code of Canon Law since 1983 requires that seminarians be well-trained in Latin

    I love it! Essentially, by putting out such a silly requirement as they have, such dioceses are putting a spotlight on their own incompetent training (with regards to Latin).

  47. Patrick says:

    To build on Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s last comment…

    It seems that ALL priests should be ready, willing, and able to celebrate the sacraments according to approved books of a Rite. That means ALL Latin Rite priests should be fully capable of celebrating using the books from 2002 (vernacular), 2002 (Latin), and 1962. This really doesn’t seem like too much to learn for seminarians or existing priests. The corporate emphasizes and demands continuing education, why not the Church?

  48. Prof. Basto says:

    The Seminary Rectors should be sacked, for this confirms what we knew all along: they stood before the Bishop and declared the candidates ready for Ordination when they knew that, contrary to the requirements of Canon Law, candidates weren’t versed in Latin, and were, thus, unready for promotion to the Sacred Priesthood.

  49. Other Paul says:

    Fr W – “Many of our priests are bright men. I remember my Latin teacher’s advice: Latin is hard, life is short, start early. But we live longer now, so never too late to start.”

    I’m 48. I started self-study of Collins’ “Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin” several months ago and I’m about half way through it (still missing 4th and 5th declension nouns and subjunctive verbs). I went the self-study route when I could find no community college courses teaching Latin. Even University of San Diego – a Catholic university – only offers one class of Latin 101 once a semester. There are useful resources for learning Latin on the Web. So it can be done.

    Personally I think that if Bishop Brom wants to institute a subcommittee to test “linguistic and rubrical competence” then he also needs to provide the means of acquiring said competence. Otherwise the subcommittee is simply an impedimentum.

  50. Patrick: This really doesn’t seem like too much to learn for seminarians ….

    Evidently not. Among the first fruits of Pontificum Summorum, still less than a year old, we’re already hearing reports of newly ordained priests (from diocesan seminaries) celebrating their first Masses in the extraordinary form.

  51. Cerimoniere says:

    The seminarians who are now starting to say their first Masses in the traditional rite are largely self-taught, or are working privately with experienced people. Anything’s possible for those who are intelligent, committed and eager to learn. This isn’t a new phenomenon: there have been young clerics doing the same for years, albeit in smaller numbers and perhaps under even greater pressure.

    It should also be borne in mind that many of them start with a good understanding of the liturgy and how it works. Their vocations were often nourished at places where the new rites were celebrated in a traditionally-informed way. They are not starting from scratch, as many people would be, who have almost no concept at all of what the liturgy has been like prior to the last forty years.

  52. Father Zuhlsdorf,

    Why is it not mentioned that San Diego has had a weekly indult TLM since February 1985? Last month alone Bishop Cordileone offered two pontifical low Masses for the Latin Mass community (and has had Pontifical High Masses in the past). Bishop Brom might not have made the TLM available in multiple locations around diocese yet, but unlike Los Angeles or Orange County it’s not being suppressed.

  53. Heartland: The TLM is not really the only issue here or, in a sense, the main issue. The main point is the Latin language.

  54. TNCath says:

    Bishop Brom wrote: “Once again, before scheduling or continuing to schedule Mass in the extraordinary form or other sacraments according to the older ritual, pastors should consult with the Latin in the Liturgy Committee.”

    Notice His Excellency said “should.” He didn’t say “must” or “are required to.” This directive has absolutely no validity to it. Had he said “must” or “are required to,” this would have made this directive even more irrelevant. Obedience or not, the bishop has no legal right to contain the Extraordinary Form.

  55. RBrown says:

    The Seminary Rectors should be sacked, for this confirms what we knew all along: they stood before the Bishop and declared the candidates ready for Ordination when they knew that, contrary to the requirements of Canon Law, candidates weren’t versed in Latin, and were, thus, unready for promotion to the Sacred Priesthood.
    Comment by Prof. Basto

    The bishops weren’t in the dark. Almost every seminary has a Board of Trustees manned by bishops of the province.

  56. Fr Zuhlsdorf wrote:

    I often ask myself what it means for the Latin Church, for a priest of the Latin Church, never to say Mass, never to pray, to read, even to consider anything in the language of his rite. Schizophrenic? Can we know who we are? This is part of our crisis of Catholic identity which must be addressed. Surely there will be, therefore, massive and entrenched resistance to a revival of Latin. Latin brings with it a world view.

    I can not speak to your suggestions about the schizophrenia of this all, but I wholeheartedly agree that it is impossible to identify yourself while denying an essentail part of your make-up. I have many Jewish friends of various piety. Not all of them know Hebrew, yet not a single one of them denies that Hebrew is part of the essence of Judaism and they all expect their rabbis to know Hebrew. The Roman Catholic clergy who do not know or refuse to learn Latin have imprisoned themselves in their small cultural world. Far from being “liberated” from the perceived drudgery of Latin (a common mantra in the late 60s) they are now enslaved to a single worldview, tied to a single chronological era (our often meagre times), fed on a malnourishing monolingual diet. The saddest part is that the massive resistance comes from a supposed “educated” sector of the church. As you say, Latin brings with it a world view; it also brings with it the liberty (in Josef Pieper’s sense) to enter into certain higher truths of the universe.

  57. Andreas says:

    One curious element of this Latin-hating phenomenon has not been mentioned here: that of “classicists” hating ecclesiastical Latin and snubbing efforts to learn it as a spoken language. Catholics are naïve if they think that classicists are their allies. Far from it!

  58. Former Altar Boy says:

    Heartland,
    San Diego was the first U.S. diocese to have an indult Mass (under Brom\’s predecessor) — in the masoleum of the local Catholic cemetery. Brom has done little to improve things except allow a second Sunday Mass due to the severe over-crowding in the extremely hot (most of the year), un-air-conditioned chapel. (Yes a small sacrifice for the glory of the TLM.) His latest two directives show he is doing his best to intimidate priests and curtail the expansion of the TLM in the diocese (San Diego and Imperial counties — an area larger than at least 3 East Coast states).

  59. Allan says:

    HEARTLAND CATHOLIC. If you think forcing the cancellation of two scheduled North County TLM masses and requiring people to travel 70 miles round trip, at early morning hours “not supressing” the TLM you are quite wrong.

    The two pastors that have started the North County TLM’s, are both very holy men that have readied themselves to do an excellent job in celebrating this wonderful mass for their flocks. Now an “inquisition” committee is developed as a stumbling block. One on the committee is openly hostile to the TLM, the others, with the exception of Aux. Bishop Cordeleone, do not say the Latin mass in any form.

    We need intervention here in San Diego, both to allow what the Holy Father desires in issuing the MP, AND in cleaning up the rampant absuses found throughout the diocese in the NO. The bishop would do well to start a committeee to insure that the guidelines of the church are followed in the NO, before putting stumbling blocks in the way of the TLM.

  60. John P says:

    Let me say a word in defense of classicists. I am a trained classicist (Toronto, Cambridge, Princeton). Last year I volunteered to teach ecclesiastical Latin (Collins) in our parish, where we have the ER celebrated by an Institute of CK priest, and managed to get through the whole book in less than a year.

    John P

  61. magdalen says:

    Listen I had two years of Latin in hish school 30 years ago. And I had and have no access to the TLM in my diocese. I pray now with the Latin/English missal and have listened to tapes…

    AND EVEN I CAN READ THE MASS IN LATIN WITH PASSABLE PRONUNCIATION. IT IS NOT ALL THAT DIFFICULT!

    We have two new priests in our diocese–one from Africa and one from Columbia. My Latin is better than their English.

  62. mother undercover says:

    Allan:

    When you say, “forcing the cancellation of two scheduled North County TLM masses,” do you mean that they have already been canceled? Or that they are in danger of being canceled?

  63. jacobus says:

    That’s wonderful John P, but with that education, surely you must know that you’re an outlier among classicists.

    There seems to be a split among young and old Classicists on using Latin as a living language that mirrors the split in the Church between the young who are interested in tradition and the old who are not. Interesting times.

  64. Allan says:

    mother of undercover. I meant in danger of being cancelled. I have not yet received word that either mass will be cancelled.

    It is not a good situation however, and people are very angry at this type of obstructionist activity.

  65. Monica says:

    What about all the native-English speaking priests who do the Mass in Spanish? Do they have to take a competency test in Spanish before being allowed to say the Mass in Spanish???

  66. Edward C. Yong says:

    My turn, as a 20-something BA Classicist and MA Byzantinist (both at King’s College London), former Roman Catholic and now Greek-Catholic, to chip in on this in defence of Classicists. I suspect I may be partially of the camp of ‘non-allies’ referred to in a the comment by Andreas.

    While there are large numbers of Classicists who turn their nose up at anything from the post-Classical age, there are also many of us who don’t. I’m primarily a Byzantinist, and so I view the Greek linguistic, historical, cultural and literary inheritance as a continuum. When teaching Greek, I value Homer as much as I do Anna Comnena and the New Testament. I try to teach my students of Greek a pronunciation appropriate to the period of literature on which they intend to focus. Hence, if their primary interest is NT or Byzantium, I use pretty much the modern Greek pronunciation (extremely close to the Byzantine) so that they won’t be thrown off when attending Greek church service.

    Likewise for Latin – I’m quite happy to use material from Vergil to Dante. I use whatever’s suitable for illustrating Latin usage, so in addition to Classical texts written in very correct Latin, I often use extracts from the Vulgate or the fathers while pointing out Late or Mediaeval usage differences as well as the occasional (or not so occasional) barbarism. Again, I use a pronunciation appropriate for the period – so for those who intend to read primarily NT and Mediaeval texts, I use a sort of what has been called ‘Hilliard Latin’, which would largely have been the pronunciation used by most of the Middle Ages, without the elements in the Italianate pronunciation that are exclusively the product of Italy in the last 300 years or so. Those elements of pronunciation I strictly forbid in my students during class.

    I don’t snub efforts to learn it as a spoken language – not if it’s accompanied by rigorous grammar work. The ‘Let’s learn Latin the way the Romans did – by speaking it all the time’ approach does not work in our age. It only worked for the Romans because they were thoroughly immersed in it from birth, and the writers whose works we wrote grew up being drilled in Vergil and Cicero. The only people who went without the literary training were the lower classes, who often spoke abominable Latin (see Trimalchio in Petronius’ Satyricon for an example), misusing moods, tenses, prepositions, cases, mistaking deponents for passives, making active forms of deponents and so on. This gets worse in the Middle Ages, with writers telling us of monks with horrible Latin. Personally, I’m not too keen on sounding like the average 3rd C Roman fruit vendor or even the average 12th c German parish priest. If that makes me a snob, so be it – I’m a grammaticus. I’d similarly deplore a situation where people who sound like George Bush attempt to teach English and complain that academics in Oxford are their enemies. I certainly don’t hate ‘ecclesiastical Latin’, because there really is no such creature. On the one side you have St Augustine who could write with Ciceronian grace, and on the other, you have idiots who write things like ‘Mater Dei, Mater Mei’.

    What I’m curious about is whether Andreas’ accusation of Classicists hating ‘Ecclesiastical Latin’ is primarily due to our intense dislike of the Italianate pronunciation. Oh, and I call it the ‘Italianate pronunciation’ because that’s what it is, no more, no less. It’s not the ‘Roman pronunciation’ becuse nobody used that, even in Rome, before the 1700s. Even Pope Pius XII of blessed memory didn’t use it. I refuse to call it the ‘Church pronunciation’ because there were (and still are) plenty of legitimate pronunciations in use before Pius X’s attempt to legislate on the matter, which really was beyond his rights. It’s as silly as the Patriarch of Moscow trying to impose the Muscovite pronunciation of Church-Slavonic on the Ukrainian, Old Believers and Serbs, each of whom have their own venerable (and often far older) pronunciations.

  67. Allan says:

    I’m just finishing up a letter to Cardinal Castrillion Hoyos of “Ecclesia Dei”. We need help in this diocese, if we are to be fully Catholic. Yes, it is a respectful letter, with only the facts. The Vatican needs to know of our plight.

  68. Andreas says:

    Edward:

    To a classicist, Latin is a very narrowly defined discipline, with near archeological precision. It takes one or two centuries and a handful of authors to define its parameters. Which would be fine IF they did not discount everything else. A good “classical” dictionary will not even mention authors such as Tertulian, Cyprian, Augustine, Jerome, Gregory, Leo not to mention countless others. Even St. Bernard writes beautiful Latin: better than any classicist of our time. But to a classicist, Bernard is non-existent. OK. But to give no credit to Jerome, a master of Latin prose, is absolutely ridiculous. He’s the most prolific Latin author after Cicero. Ever!

    The pronunciation issue is also ridiculous, and you must admit, no one can really tell with absolute certainty, unless they can find an audio recording of Cicero, what his pronunciation was really like. And even if we did, there is no good reason to impose it on others. If someone freely wants to use it, great, but don’t tell everyone else that they are “wrong”. And then you have the silly stuff: like objection to a letter “j” or making every “u” and “v” look the same. Why? So my eyesight can be further strained? What is the damage in using a “j”?

    A language cannot strive unless it is spoken and used. And not everyone who uses a languages delivers oracles worthy of recording by scribes. There is a time for chatter and there is a time to talk fancy, and there is a time to sing poetic passages, or to compose highly polished prose, but the fancy stuff will not come without the ordinary and even the erroneous. Classicists have in a way “taken away the key of knowledge: they themselves will not enter in, and those who are entering, they hinder.” Even places such as Latinitas in Rome have caught this virus. Take a look around and see who gets all the recognition these days. Those who kow-tow to the classicist tune. Ecclesiastical Latin is treated similar to the TLM: barely tolerated at best or bitterly opposed. I have experienced personal attacks and vulgar language just because I don’t say Kikero and Kaaeesar. I wish catholics would at least know what’s going on and how a university professor can get fired if he speaks Latin to his Latin students.

  69. Edward,

    Those elements of pronunciation I strictly forbid in my students during class.

    Pius X’s attempt to legislate on the matter, which really was beyond his rights.

    I guess the good news is that half your stated views are sensible. It seems clear to me as a professor that you have every right to specify the acceptable pronunciation of Latin in your own class, and as a Roman Catholic that the Pope has every right to specify its acceptable pronunciation in the Latin liturgy of his own Church.

  70. AnAnonymousSeminarian says:

    Patrick,

    That means ALL Latin Rite priests should be fully capable of celebrating using the books from 2002 (vernacular), 2002 (Latin), and 1962. This really doesn’t seem like too much to learn for seminarians or existing priests.

    Respectfully, I must partly disagree. It certainly should not be too much to learn for seminarians. However, there are priests who are not competent to celebrate the EF Mass and who simply have too many responsibilities to learn it.

    I can give the example of a priest that I know who is a diocesan chancellor, vocations director, and the bishop’s emcee. He is competent to and sometimes does celebrate the OF Mass in Latin and is a fantastic and orthodox priest, but has not been able to take the time to learn the EF properly. He is the coordinator for the EF Mass apostolate, yet has never celebrated Mass for them because he does not know how.

    When classes are back in in the fall… I will be offering him my newly-acquired copy of Fortescue to use…

  71. David O'Rourke says:

    If Bishop Brom wishes to ensure a decent knowledge of Latin for priests wishing to celebrate the EF (which must be in Latin) or the OF in Latin he is surely to be praised. He seems to have a number of priests listed wo are proficient in Latin and they can surely be of great use in instructing and advising those priests who wish to celebrate in Latin. I find it hard to imagine that any priest would want to celebrate Mass in Latin if he knows himself to be incapable of ensuring that at the very least he able pronounce the words sufficiently to ensure validity.

    It should go without saying that there would be no question of permission being sought or denied. Surely Bishop Brom is providing a service for his priests and would only intervene to prohibit Latin celebrations when he encounters a priest who is truly inompetent in Latin and stubbornly refuses generous offers of assistance from the diocese.

    With a little good will (which must, of course begin with the bishop, this could be a a win win situation which surely Bishop Brom who is no doubt inflamed with a pastoral desire to serve hsi flock will sieze such an opportunity.

  72. Eboracensis says:

    Mr. O’Rourke: I’m afraid your assessment of Bishop Brom’s two documents is far more favourable than the texts justify.

    First, the sub-committe that certifies competence to celebrate in Latin, or according to the older use, is purely that: there is no suggestion that they will provide instruction to priests. Their terms of reference require them to conduct examinations, not to teach.

    Second, there is every question of “permission being sought or denied.” The initial document provides, among other things, that “Pastors may accede to requests [for the tradtional Mass] only when they come from their own parishioners” and “Permission of the Bishop is needed by any priest who wishes to preside at a celebration of Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962 or at a celebration of the other Sacraments according to older rites outside of a parish church, for example, in chapels…Permission of the Bishop is also required for individuals or groups of the faithful who desire interparochial or non-parish-based celebrations of Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962 or celebrations of the other Sacraments according to older rites.”

    According to the Motu Proprio, these decisions belong to pastors, rectors of churches, or individual celebrants. A priest on retreat at a religious house does not the Ordinary’s permission to celebrate the older form in the chapel. A pastor does not need permission to celebrate the older form for an interparochial Knight of Columbus chapter in his church. Most glaringly of all, a pastor does not need permission (according to Cardinal Castrillon) to celebrate a parochial Mass in the older form, whether the request comes from his own parishioners, faithful from elsewhere, or from no-one other than himself!

    The Bishop is attempting to use obedience to require his priests to defer judgment on all pastoral questions concerning the use of the traditional rites (Mass and sacraments) to a committee of his nominees. This is beyond his authority. The Pope commits these decisions directly to the judgment of individual priests (or pastors, for parochial functions) and not to bishops. This is precisely the essential change from “Ecclesia Dei” to “Summorum Pontificum”.

  73. Crusader says:

    Since most of those who despise Latin are also probably liberal environmentalists, we should take them to task for contributing to global warming by making those devoted to the TLM drive so far to get to Mass. Shame on them for making us ruin the environment to get to a Mass we have every right to attend!

  74. Crusader says:

    Since most of those who despise Latin are also probably liberal environmentalists, we should take them to task for contributing to global warming by making those devoted to the TLM drive so far to get to Mass. Shame on them for making us ruin the environment to get to a Mass we have every right to attend!

  75. Edward C. Yong says:

    omnibus – apologies for the length of this reply to Andreas.

    Andreas:

    To a classicist, Latin is a very narrowly defined discipline, with near archeological precision. It takes one or two centuries and a handful of authors to define its parameters. Which would be fine IF they did not discount everything else.

    As a published Classicist, I know what Latin means to me, thank you very much, and I’d say you were generalising. Would you like to state your qualifications to make the statement you just made? You’re being unfair – I cannot speak for the state of Classics in North America, but this is certainly not the case in Britain and Europe. Career Classicists will specialise, but rarely will one find European (and British) Classicists discounting the later corpus. On the contrary, a good number see the later developments as part of a continuum.

    A good Classical Latin lexicon will not mention the later authors simply because they don’t belong to the Classical age. There are lexica of Later Latin for that purpose. Most people, when learning to read Latin, begin with Caesar, and work their way up to Cicero and Vergil, so the lexica are made for those. I would not expect to find references to St Romanos the Melode, Anna Comnena, Procopios, Michael Psellos, St Photios the Great or Sophronius of Jerusalem in a lexicon of Classical Greek, even though many wrote in highly classicising styles that match the ancient authors, but I would in the later lexica of Byzantine Greek. Likewise, I would not expect to find those authors you mentioned in a Classical Latin lexicon. An lexicon that attempts to cover such a wide range would be confusing to beginners and too detailled to be of wide appeal.

    Re: St Bernard writing beautiful Latin – de gustibus non disputandum. St Jerome wrote beautiful Latin, to be sure, but he is not included in the lexica simply because he lived after the literary age in which the lexica specialise.

    You seem to be accusing us Classicists of unfair discrimination when the simple fact of the matter is that it’s not a matter of unfair discrimination, but simply compartmentalisation and manageability. There is a corpus out there of Latin writing that stretches over a good 2300 years. It’s not like English lit, which has about a thousand years worth of material; nor French, nor German, nor Russian. No one can specialise in everything, so we choose what we wish to focus on. Simply because there is a greater number of people with an interest in the earlier body of material doesn’t mean we don’t care about the later material. Fashions may come and go – a hundred years ago, Byzantine studies were in their infancy, but are booming now. Perhaps we may yet see a blossoming of the study of Mediaeval Latin and the literature associated with it. Also, Classicists tend to focus on secular writing, be it prose or poetry. The huge amount of extant religious writing, which in the later periods far exceeds the secular output, simply does not fit into the focus on secular literature.

    A look at the state of Greek studies (as well as Classical Chinese studies) should make my case easier to understand. These are the two languages which have the longest continuous history of use, and exist in multiple historical versions (including formal Classical versions). Greek literature has some 2800 years of material, Chinese has 3300. Scholars of Classical Greek focus on the period roughly 800 B.C. to 300 B.C., most will be familiar with the earlier corpus of Hellenistic/Koine Greek, but few will be familiar with the Mediaeval Byzantine corpus. I don’t hear Byzantinists and New Testament Greekists accuse those who specialise in the earlier material of not being their friends. For crying out loud, the Byzantine and Classics departments in King’s College London (my alma mater) share the same wing and resources, not to mention having staff and students who belong to both. Similarly, Classical/Old Chinese scholars focus on the period roughly 1100 B.C. – 9 A.D., and while Classical Chinese (of varying flavours) continued to be the literary language of China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam until roughly into the Early Modern Era, scholars and lexica of Classical Chinese cannot be expected to cover the entire historical and geographical corpus. Instead of whining about those who specialise in the 1100 B.C.-9 A.D. period, scholars from Japan, Korea and Vietnam, or indeed, elsewhere, who desire to read the texts of the later period, know the importance of a firm grounding in the earlier form of the language and a familiarity with the earlier corpus in order to appreciate the later material.

    No, we can’t tell with absolute certainly, but we can reconstruct within reasonably close limits what the sound of Latin in Cicero’s time was, and it’s not far from the Reconstructed Classical, as compared with the Italianate, which is a bit like hearing the English trying to speak French. I suggest a reading of W. Sidney Allen’s Vox Latina. I don’t say people who want to use the Italianate pronunciation are wrong, I only use my compromise ‘Hillard Latin’ for paedagogical purposes – to ensure students don’t mentally mix up E, AE, and OE. Most Classicists have no wish to impose their pronunciation on others – only to ensure that texts are read according to a pronunciation that’s true to the period, particularly with regards to metrical poetry. Reading Vergil with the Italianate accent makes a dog’s breakfast of the vowel lengths and other issues, for a start. Similarly, reading the hymns of St Thomas Aquinas with Classical pronunciation and paying attention to the vowel lengths then completely wrecks the stress patterns.

    Orthography? I don’t really care either way. I prefer J and V for consonantal I and U in later literature, but not for the earlier. Editions of Classical works tended in earlier times to have J and V, but seem to prefer I and U these days, though one can easily find editions with J and V still around. I’d be highly surprised if anyone tried printing post-Classical stuff without the J and V (outside of enrichment chunks in Classical Latin textbooks), and I haven’t seen any, please let me know if you have. Have you seen or heard Classicists trying to push for the Missale and Breviarum to be printed without J and V? If not, then please don’t whine about what orthography we Classicists prefer in the texts we study and teach.

    Certainly there is a time for high and a time for low Latin. I would rather write and sound like Quintillian or Horace, but if someone wishes to write and sound like Trimalchio, unless I’m being paid or asked to teach him Latin, I simply plug my ears and close my eyes.

    Classicists have in a way “taken away the key of knowledge: they themselves will not enter in, and those who are entering, they hinder.”

    Would you care to elaborate on this? Recognition? Do you have any idea of the battle that Classicists are facing in Europe today? To speak only of Britain, with which I am most familiar, Departments of Classics have been closing down all over Britain and shrinking when not. The efforts by the Joint Association of Classical Teachers and the The Association for Latin Teaching in spreading knowledge and love for Latin and its literature of all periods have been tireless. The constant updating of the discipline to make sure we are not perceived irrelevant is exhausting. On what grounds do you accuse us of taking away the key of knowledge and all that? I certainly hope you don’t imply that the context refers to us, thereby calling us Lawyers and Pharisees.

    Ecclesiastical Latin is treated similar to the TLM: barely tolerated at best or bitterly opposed.

    There is no such creature as ‘Ecclesiastical Latin’. There is Latin of the Mediaeval, Renaissance and Baroque periods, and writers in each of the periods who write in a range of styles, from high to low. How precisely do you define ‘Ecclesiastical Latin’? If you’re talking about writings in Latin, on religious topics, from the Middle Ages and onwards, would you care to show an example of bitter opposition? I don’t know of any places where this happens, the worst is probably a total indifference, which is different from bare toleration. This victim-mentality is very odd.

    I have experienced personal attacks and vulgar language just because I don’t say Kikero and Kaaeesar.

    If you’ve been told your pronunciation was ‘wrong’ by one or more Classicists and experienced such things, I apologise on behalf of the academic community for your hurt, but please don’t take it out on all of us. I, on the other hand, have been told that only the Roman Catholic Church preserved the true original pronunciation of Latin, and that Vergil would have said ‘chee-cheh-ro’ and ‘chay-zar’, by over-zealous Trad Latins. The same Trad Latins insisted that the entire Reconstructed Classical pronunciation, with its emphasis on vowel lengths, differentiated vowels and focus on historical evidence, was an attempt to undermine the authority of the Catholic Church in which I was colluding, with my attempt to point out that pronunciation has changed over the ages. These are also the sort who, when I’m speaking English, have the temerity to correct my ‘si-suh-ro’ pronunciation of Cicero to ‘chee-chay-ro’. Please don’t think Classicists are the only ones capable of making ignorant and rude statements about these things.

    I wish catholics would at least know what’s going on and how a university professor can get fired if he speaks Latin to his Latin students.

    I’m Catholic, and having had short teaching stints at two English universities, I can safely say that no Classics department in Britain would possibly fire a professor for doing so. In my undergraduate days, we even had an annual debate in Latin. Where does this state of affairs, to which you refer, exist?

    Would you now like to tell us your experience and qualifications in the subject so that I can better understand why you have spoken of us Classicists so? I’ve taught Latin to members of chant scholas and seminary candidates, not caring if they use the Italianate pronunciation, even after leaving the Roman Church, so I can hardly be accused of not being an ally.

  76. Edward C. Yong says:

    Henry Edwards,

    Much as I respect the rights of the Pope of Rome, I don’t think the legislating of a uniform modern pronunciation of a liturgical language that is used by countless ethnicities, some of which have unique historical pronunciations in which they take pride, is within them. Pope Pius XII certainly didn’t stick to it, nor does the current Pope.

    None of the Eastern Patriarchs would dream of legislating something like that. None of the Armenian patriarchs care if the congregation uses Western or Eastern Armenian pronunciation in the services. The Syrian Patriarch doesn’t care if the Indian Orthodox use their historical East Syrian pronunciation of Syriac in their West Syrian Liturgy.

    None of the Popes of the centuries past attempted to legislate a uniform pronunciation of Latin till Pius X – why was that so? It certainly wasn’t because everyone pronounced it the same way. Pope St Pius V must have had to listen to all sorts of Latin accents in his time, but despite the edition of his Missal being so precise in rubrics and every detail, no mention is made of pronunciation. If some wish to follow Pius X’s attempt to impose a uniform pronunciation based on Modern Italian to the letter, good for them. I, on the other hand, don’t think that those who regard his attempt as any more than fond wish, which is not of obligation, may be faulted too much.

  77. Edward: Perhaps your reply has more to do with the feasibility than with the right of a pope to desire uniformity of pronunciation of Latin in the liturgy of the Roman rite.

    However, the conclusion of your final sentence in the preceding post is reasonable enough; surely no one would suggest that the liturgy police should include pronunciation squads. Beyond that, it seems to me that the issues that you raise in your lengthy reply to Andreas may be tangential to the principal topic of this thread and the immediate question of lay and clerical access to Latin liturgy, and hence perhaps more appropriate for personal e-mail between those interested in pursuing them.

  78. Calleva says:

    Sorry this is a little off-topic but it concerns SP.

    On June 14th Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos will say a Pontifical High Mass in the Tridentine (Extroadinary) Form in Westminster Cathedral, London. He has been invited by the Latin Mass Society.

    It is hoped that a petition can be presented to the Cardinal asking for wider provision of the TLM in England and Wales. At present there are too few opportunties for people to attend a Tridentine Mass.

    The wording of the petition doesn’t specify that only Catholics of England and Wales sign, it’s just a polite appeal to the bishops to respond generously to the Holy Father’s request that the older form of the Mass be available.

    Anyone who visits the UK or who is concerned about the TLM being available is requested to sign here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/TLM/index.html

    Please consider signing! A number of excellent priests have put their name to it.

  79. Andreas says:

    I appreciate your reply. This blog runs fast and our comments will soon be history. Let me just say this much: I think we’ve given enough to chew on to anyone who’s never been exposed to these questions. And some of your comments actually confirm what I’ve been saying. As far as a university professor who might be accused of speaking Latin to his Latin class students, it would be enough to check on a particular school’s policy or State regulations regarding the matter, which clearly spell out what is and what is not to be taught. Something like “Latin is not to be taught as a spoken language” will most likely be the written policy of the institution wherever you might be. And if a student chooses to complain that his teacher expects him to understand spoken Latin, you better believe the teacher will be disciplined. Latin, according to most universities is to be translated, analyzed, decodified and examined like a cadaver, but not to be spoken as a living language. You talk long enough to a classicist, he’ll convince you that Latin is not even a language, that it is some artificial construct of the Roman elite.

    And the anti-spam word I had to use to post this comment was “Lewis and Short”. Grrrrrrrr!

  80. David O'Rourke says:

    To Eboracensis: I’m sorry tht my atempt at sarcasm caused you so much effort to show me how wrong I was. Actually I was just showing how with a little difference in approach Bishop Brom could alleviate what ever legitimate concerns he might have and truly help those priests who wish to celebrate in Latin.

    Unfortunately Bishop Brom’s intentions are, as you point out, clearly oppressive and the icey bureaucratic tone of his letter suggests that he isn’t inflamed with anything let alone a pastoral desire to serve his flock. Next time I shall have to drip a litle more acid from my sharp tongue.

    Re: Latiin pronunciation, has anyone notice that Pope Benedict says “Oreemus” rather than “Oraymus”? Also, that great friend of the EF, Archbishop Haas (among others)hardens his “g”s in words like “genuit” or “virginis” There have been national traits in the pronunciation for centuries. I have a CD of the Third Mass of Christmas in the Sarum Rite and it is almost impossible to follow.

  81. Eboracensis says:

    Mr. O’Rourke: how embarrassing! Please forgive my tin ear; it hadn’t occurred to me that you were joking. I had noted some earlier comments that seemed unreasonably deferential, and yours (taken at face value) was simply too much for me.

    As you say, a diocesan commission could be of enormous help, if it were set up simply as a resource with the proper motivation. In fairness, this could still turn out to the case in San Diego, because Bishop Cordileone is well known to be a friend of the traditional use, and of good liturgy in general. Still, most of these norms must be struck down, because they’re obviously contrary to universal law, and are bound to have a dampening effect.

  82. David O'Rourke says:

    Eboracensis: I am sure that you and I both wait with baited breath for the upcoming “Summorum Pontificum for Mitred Dummies.”

    By the way, should one take from your moniker that you have any connection with York? I was there about three summers ago for a week and I fell very much in love with the place. My own city, Toronto, was formerly named York.

  83. Edward C. Yong says:

    David: His Holiness the Pope of Rome does indeed do that. He also says ‘zanktus’ and ‘tseh-lee’ instead of ‘sanctus’ and ‘chay-lee’, though not consistently. I know that CD of the Sarum Mass, and it’s a reconstructed Tudor pronunciation, nobody actually uses that anymore, heh. What I’d love to hear is a recording of chant from the Medicean Graduale, but with authentic 16th C Roman pronunciation of Latin – dropping of final consonants and so on.

    Henry Edwards: You’re right, and I do apologise for the lengthy replies. I’d add only that Andreas, in his comments, insulted not only my entire profession, but the honour of those of us who are Catholic Classicists in particular. I therefore was obliged by honour to reply. Were this another, better age, he would not be at receiving end of rapier-typing, but of an actual rapier point.

    Andreas: All of the Beginner’s Latin courses (i.e. ab intio) at KCL as well as those I’ve taught have had a small amount of spoken Latin. Nevertheless, as we proceed to the higher levels, the spoken element decreases due to a simple limitation of time and need to focus. I’d rather my students be able to appreciate the finer points of Vergil’s poetic style and be able to write impeccable epigrams and prose than be able to discuss the weather. Nevertheless, spoken Latin is not ignored – as I mentioned, we have an annual team debate conducted in Latin, the quality of which is far superior to anything I’ve seen in the videos on your site.

    You’re right that we don’t primarily consider Latin to be a spoken language, and we teach in a corresponding fashion. We’re here to ensure knowledge of the nuances and meanings of the best secular authors are preserved and can be read by as many as possible: this is what the students who come to our classes expect, and we make no apology for it. Those who want to focus on ‘Ecclesiastical Latin’ can go to such courses as are taught by John P. We Classicists continue to teach and study the material that, as Grammatikoi, we have always focused on. The onus of teaching the post-Classical religious material falls primarily on departments of Theology and Mediaeval Studies in Roman Catholic colleges. Please don’t blame us if you Latins decided to dump your treasured inheritance, with the result that now most of your clergy can’t even speak the barbarous Latin most of them once spoke.

    Perhaps you might do better to save the energy you use in whining about Classicists and instead focus on your movement to revive Latin as a spoken language for those who wish to have enough Latin to host Latin-language cooking shows. Your accusation that we Classicists don’t consider Latin a language but rather an artificial construct certainly brought a smile to my face.

    I’ve stated my experience and qualifications, while you have ignored my request for yours. I’ve asked for references to substantiate your accusations and allegations, which you have not provided. I will therefore consider your rants ‘in vento et rapida oportet scribere aqua’ and withdraw from this pointless line of insults to my discipline and profession.

  84. Andreas says:

    Edward C. Yong:

    I don’t think I am obliged to provide a personal resume in order to make a few simple comments. I could be an astrophysicist or a bum living in a park: either way, it has nothing to do with my comments. I agree wholeheartedly with your snappy remark: “… you might do better to save the energy you use in whining about Classicists and instead focus on your movement to revive Latin as a spoken language …” except for the word “whining”. I am not whining and I am not insulting anyone. I made certain statements: I might be wrong, but nowhere have I insulted anyone. Your comments, overall, confirm what I’ve been trying to articulate.

    Vale.

    PS I appreciate your youthful enthusiasm for your profession. It is good to see that you’re involved.

  85. Chironomo says:

    I’m going to head down a different road on this one…. It is an EXCELLENT thing that this Bishop, and others, are being up front and in the open on this issue. Perhaps the reason for the “delay” in the clarification document is to allow the rest of the leopards to show their spots… think of the humility that will be required of such Bishops when they, and the priests they have restricted, and the parishioners of their Diocese discover what was meant by Summorum Pontificum. The truth is that they already know, and that tests and other such nonsense are arising out of FEAR of their losing control. May God have mercy on these people.

  86. Eboracensis says:

    Mr. O’Rourke: Yes, we certainly wait. Cardinal Castrillon’s recent statements give grounds for considerable hope as to what it may contain. I am indeed from the County of York, and thus also from its mediaeval diocese. One day, I shall organize some York Use liturgies. I’ve always dreamed of a Requiem on the battlefield at Towton, and Masses for the martyrs at the Knavesmire. Perhaps even the Minster shall eventually see the King come into His own again. I’m delighted you enjoyed your visit.

    Chironomo: it is an intriguing possibility that the Holy See may be delaying issuing the clarification until all of the nonsense is out in the open. It makes me a little nervous to think so, since there have been relatively few instances where episcopal hubris has been openly corrected in late years, but one can always hope.

  87. I find nothing in the MP that says anything about a knowledge or competency in Latin. You’d figure that if the Church commands a seminarian to learn Latin that he would learn enough of it so as to be proficient. As to what this means, I have no idea because the books that I use to study Latin were printed in the 1930s and assume that it would take for years for one to be able to read the writings of Virgil, St. Thomas Aquinas, and the Breviary in the original.

    Therefore, do any of you know how much Latin seminaries require these days? Also, how much Latin do you need to know in order to say the Mass in either form?

  88. Le Renard says:

    Fr. Z:

    Although I, myself, have my own suspicions concerning the intent of His Excellency; you can’t seriously claim that a priest saying the Extraordinary Rite without having competency in saying the Mass (e.g., pronouncing the Latin properly, knowing the rubrics) is acceptable?

    Unlike in the golden age where seminarians were well trained in Latin; these days, such a skill is not even learned let alone taught in seminaries.

  89. Eboracensis says:

    Obviously, no-one wants a priest to celebrate the traditional use if he isn’t capable of doing so with reasonable competence. However, the mere possibility of such things occurring is not a justification for implementing a licensing scheme which is contrary to the law. The only purposes of that are to signal the bishop’s displeasure to those applying, and to delay individual priests from beginning to celebrate as long as possible.

    As to the linguistic concerns, however difficult to gain an adequate grounding in Latin in many modern seminaries, it isn’t impossible to learn to pronounce the language, or to take courses privately. If a bishop has reports of someone celebrating incompetently, he’s free to correct the situation as he would be in the case of any other liturgical abuse (assuming he ever does that).

  90. Le Renard: Unless you are kidding, if you can eriously ask me that, you have not perhaps read much of what I have written on this subject.

  91. E.,

    I agree with you wholeheartedly about bishops correcting priests that do not celebrate the TLM competently. They do have a right to correct them.

    Also, weren’t there Latin proficiency exams that were being given prior to VII? And weren’t seminarians supposed to read Aquinas et al in the original? (curious.)

  92. Eboracensis says:

    Before the Council, Latin was a routine part of seminary curricula. Indeed, many other subjects were taught in Latin in seminaries. This was required by Bd. John XXIII’s Apostolic Constitution “Veterum Sapientia”. Latin studies are still required for clerical students by the Code of Canon Law. The Code is simply ignored in many places.

  93. That’s quite sad that the Code of Canon Law is ignored in many places. You’d think that if it was the Law of the Church that it would be obeyed in every single diocese around the world. Isn’t there a commission or something that enforces such things?

  94. Michael J says:

    I wouldn’t want an incompetent celebration of Mass using the traditional form either, but what exactly should be “reasonable competence”. I notice, on this very board that the Priest giving the traditional Baptism seemed to be following the book rather closely (http://wdtprs.com/blog/2008/06/more-fruits-of-summorum-pontificum-another-traditional-baptism/).

    I realize that a Mass is more complex than a Baptism, but aren’t there Altar Cards that the Priest could rely on, at least until he becomes more experienced?

  95. For what it’s worth, Archbp. Eudes of Rouen, OFM, reqularly tested his clergy on their Latin pronunciation, comprehension and singing abilities in the 1200s in Northern France.

    If you are interested in the standard he expected you can find examples of his results in the translation of his register: see _The Register of Eudes of Rouen_, trans. S. M. Brown, ed. J. F. O’Sullivan, New York 1964. He regularly removed priests from ministry for failure to pass the tests. They were sent for further training and tested again.