Whither Latin?

From CNS about Latin:


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. eyeclinic says:

    Fr. Dan! A great young priest of our Diocese of Gaylord. Now Monsignor!
    We want him back ASAP!

  2. Fern says:

    Too cool!!! I am looking forward to attending at least one Mass in the Extraordinary Form during a visit with family a week before Christmas. How sad that “every” parish doesn’t have one, however, one must be grateful for any Mass celebrated.

  3. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    For too, too, brief a spell, Fr. Dan and I shared Latin teaching at Sacred Heart Sem in Detroit; then the Holy See scarfed him up. We want him back too. Sed, necessitates Ecclesiae, and all that.

  4. acardnal says:

    I must complement CNS which has been producing some high quality videos lately centering on the long-standing traditions of the Church such as the TLM/EF Mass and Latin. As a reminder, it has been reported by Fr. Z and others that the Holy Father will soon promulgate a Motu Proprio to establish a Pontifical Academy of Latin which Fr. Dan alluded to in passing in the video.

    Long live Pope Benedict XVI.

  5. Fr. Dan Gallagher, the narrator, is a former student and worthy successor to the redoubtable and extraordinary Fr. Reginald Foster. I find much to applaud here (standing ovation, in fact) and also two points I’d like to make for which the word “objection” seems too strong and the word “quibble” far too weak. First, the term “Latin Mass” is used in connection with images of the Extraordinary Form only, as if the Novus Ordo Latin Mass — the genuine Vatican II Latin Mass and a treasure in itself — didn’t even exist; second, to my mind it is *never* acceptable for the laity not to understand the meaning of the words they’re hearing, contenting themselves with an experience of mystery and incohate beauty without actual comprehension. What the Church has got to do — from the parish hall to the Apostolic Palace — is RELEARN HER LATIN. I do not at all think that Fr. Gallagher would disagree; indeed, quite the contrary. And I do realize there’s only so much you can say in a less-than-four-minute video.

  6. Mike says:

    But wait: the minister of music in my parish told me that chant and Latin were barriers to full, conscious, and active participation in the Liturgy!

  7. gracie says:

    The analogy to Shakespeare is a good one although I wish he had gone a further and pointed out that often when text is updated some of the original meaning is lost and sometimes the new translation can even point us in a different direction. A well-known example is “awesome”.

    Separately, I’m still confused as to which form of Latin is thought to be the better one to learn. My understanding is that the Church Latin is a later dialect/street slang of the original Latin which makes me wonder which Latin the Mass and the Church documents are in. If you learn one can you understand the other one?

  8. Horatius says:

    Understanding the Mass. Well, we don’t want to misunderstand it. On the other hand, as a mystery and a gift from God, the Mass is not, in any simple way, ‘understood.’ So, welcome back ineffable beauty, truth, and goodness, of which the source is God, and of which one necessary expression is the two forms of the Roman Rite. One cannot be against understanding, but one can exaggerate its place.

    Gracie: you must learn Classical Latin, spending years. Then move on to the Fathers. I doubt you can really understand the Fathers without Classical Latin. Augustine without Cicero and Virgil–I just doubt it.

  9. ConnerW says:

    There does seem to be a large amount of interest in Latin and the Extraordinary Form of the Mass on the Internet, but this does not seem to be translating into actual change at the typical American parish. I think we are a long way off from this, aside from any future papal dictate. I acknowledge that organic development is the purest form of liturgical change, but sometimes patience is difficult.

  10. kallman says:

    Like every language Latin evolved over time. “Classical” and Ecclesiastical Latin have much more in common than by way of differences.

  11. Andrew says:

    My understanding is that the Church Latin is a later dialect/street slang of the original Latin which makes me wonder which Latin the Mass and the Church documents are in.

    St. Jerome’s Latin is a linguistic delight of captivating elegance, wit, clarity, and stylistic purity. Believe me, the early Latin Fathers did not use a second grade Latin by any stretch of imagination. But where then is the difference between classical and ecclesiastical Latin? The language is the same, but the content is different. “Classical” Latin is pre-Christian. Ecclesiastical Latin is Christian. There is a notable shift whereby the language of the empire with the introduction of Christianity found a way to express the mysteries and the realities of Faith in a manner not known to “classical” authors. For example the word “gratia” (grace) has a richer meaning in ecclesiastical usage from that of the classical usage. Yet, it was through divine providence that the Church encountered Latin, a language that was eminently suited for this very process. “Gratia” was just the right word to capture the Christian concept of God’s sanctifying action in the baptized. Hundreds of such examples could be used to show the process of the Church’s early “inculturation” about which Pope John Paul II said: “… the Church cannot abandon what she has gained from her inculturation in the world of Greco-Latin thought. To reject this heritage would be to deny the providential plan of God who guides his Church down the paths of time and history.” (Fides et Ratio, 72) Not everything written in Church documents is elegant, but there have been individuals in the Church at every age who wrote elegant Latin. Pope Leo XIII is a good example. Reading his Latin works you can see that he didn’t need a dictionary to express himself in Latin.

  12. Precentrix says:

    There’s no real distinction – though much ‘Church Latin’ is somewhat later in style and therefore more familiar to us in terms of sentence structure and so forth (I can remember trying to read Virgil, in Latin, as a teenager who’d never learnt Latin, and waiting on tenterhooks for the verb). I picked the language up as I went along and it took me years before I learnt the names for the cases (anyone can work out “Dixit Dominus Domino meo” and what it means…).

    Incidentally, there is a book shown at one point. The ISBN is 978-0865163812. Not linking to Amazon to avoid being stuck in the queue.

  13. gracie says:

    Horatius, Andrew, and Precentrix,

    Thanks for your input. It helps to have a direction in which to go.

  14. jorgens6 says:

    My favorite quote from this video…”the changes happened so fast that I think people didn’t realize what was being tossed out…and that now we are …I think…experiencing a feeling and even young people are experiencing a dryness of not being able to connect to what preceded us…”

    Father Z- CNS posted 2 videos after this one…on vocations. Please watch both of them when you have time….SO MUCH to say about the state of vocations to the consecrated life!!!!!
    This one: http://www.youtube.com/user/CatholicNewsService?feature=watch
    And this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3OE6WZWpyE&feature=BFa&list=UUDfNrxA5dMp0…co1siQOLrjg

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