At NLM, Peter Kwasniewski easily handles the facile notions of Msgr. M. Francis Mannion at the ultra-progressivist Pray Tell about Latin and vernacular in the Church’s sacred liturgy. In a nut shell, if people can’t understand the language (Latin) they will stop going to Mass, hence we have to have the vernacular. Also, even if young people today seem to be attracted to Latin, that’ll soon pass. I’m a little surprised that Mannion would go to the zoo like this. Perhaps he was writing for a particular audience.
Peter ably dismantles Mannion. I don’t have to do that here.
I would add, however, that reducing the language of our sacred rites the equivalent of a spoonful of pureed carrots and “Here comes the choochoo!” played a decisive role – not exclusive – in the constant drift of people out of our churches, men into anything but our seminaries, and respect for the Church in the public square down the drain.
As Peter touches, what is it that we are trying to “understand” in our rites? Mystery. Also, the content of our rites properly grasped (not twisted into the usual modern enclosed circular mutual affirmation hour it has become in so many places) is really hard.
What about Mass is easy?
If we can admit that, yes, this is really hard stuff (NB: my use of choochoo language for Pray Tell readers… and choochoo is better than airplane because of global warming) then perhaps we can take the next step and admit that the signs and gestures and language of Mass might help us encounter Mystery if it is hard. There is an apophatic dimension of our rites that is mostly neglected.
I often say here, “We are our rites.”
If our rites are facile, then what are we?