From a reader…
Can a priest say Latin mass if he doesn’t know Latin formally?
For instance, could a Novus Ordo priest be convinced to do a Low Mass even though he is not fluent in Latin? By reciting the Latin?
Context: was going to ask my parish school to do Low Mass and Leo XIII prayers for the school children.
Say what you want about the late Card. Egan of New York, but he was indisputably a good canonist and an even better Latinist.
When he commented on Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum in 2007, Egan – not a friend of Tradition – wrote that:
Priests who choose to celebrate Mass in the “extraordinary” form must have a sufficient knowledge of the Latin language to pronounce the words correctly.
This is excellent. It applies the proper interpretive principals. A priest does not have to be an expert Latinist. He must have sufficient knowledge to pronounce the words. That is what is wrapped up in idoneus along with proper faculties: idoenus points to minimum qualifications, not to expertise.
Let’s use an analogy. Say there is a priest who does not speak Hmong fluently, but he has learned to say the texts of the Mass in Hmong. Should he not be allowed to say the Novus Ordo Mass for the Hmong community because he is not fluent? Say that they want the Traditional Latin Mass and he has someone who will translate his brief sermon into Hmong with proper transliteration. Should he not be allowed to preach?
So, a priest whose knowledge of Latin is not all that strong, but who is able to pronounce it properly, can use the 1962 Missale Romanum.
Fathers. Put on your Big Boy Underwear and learn your Rite!
If little boys can learn to pronounce the Latin prayers and memorize them, so can a grown up Roman Catholic priest.