From a reader….
I recently discovered the SCDF declaration Instauratio liturgica (Jan. 25, 1974), which says that the meaning of a translated sacramental formula is that of the original Latin, understood according to the mind of the Church.
Especially in the case of not-so-literal translations, this means that, ironically, priests who celebrate sacraments in the vernacular might not actually know what they’re saying. Of course, they understand the vernacular words, but unless they understand them in the same sense as the Latin, which they may have never seen, they don’t fully understand what they’re saying.
To take a concrete example that comes to mind, Bishops’ Conferences have fought to keep from translating “pro multis” literally—successfully in the case of the new Italian Missal. But the Italian priest who says, “per tutti,” is actually saying, “pro multis,” and probably doesn’t know it. I find this terribly ironic given the criticism of priests who say Mass in Latin without understanding well what they’re saying.
The irony flows like a waterfall in spring.
While there is not a manifest question here, there are several implicit questions.
Firstly, can Latin Rite priests really know what the prayer really says if they don’t know Latin? “What does the prayer really say?”, is an important aspect of prayer, you would think. It is important for sacred liturgical worship.
Over the many years that I wrote my weekly columns on liturgical translation of the collects, etc., in both the Novus Ordo and the Vetus Ordo, I discovered layers of meaning in the vocabulary and structure that simply can’t be brought into a smooth English version.
If sacramental forms are to be understood according to how the Church understands the LATIN, then that is also the case for the other prayers, such as collects, the Prefaces, the Canon, etc. etc.
I ask often, what does it mean for a community when their priest doesn’t know the language of his own Rite?
Imagine for a moment that a university’s French Department would hire a professor who couldn’t read French. Imagine for a moment that a medical school would pass through someone who couldn’t pass gross anatomy. Although I did hear something as deeply stupid as it was troubling the other day. The Classics Department of a major university has dropped the requirement to learn Greek and Latin. That means that the dupes who go through the program, at great expense, will get a half-assed degree and, worse, be at the mercy of other people’s translations.
Which sounds exactly like the present state of affairs in Catholic seminaries.
A priest of the Latin Church who doesn’t know enough Latin to celebrate his own Rite is… what?
Another implicit question is, why is this the case? Why is there no Latin when can. 249 explicitly says that seminarians are to be “very well formed” in Latin?
I’m not making that up.
Can. 249 — Institutionis sacerdotalis Ratione provideatur ut alumni non tantum accurate linguam patriam edoceantur, sed etiam linguam latinam bene calleant necnon congruam habeant cognitionem alienarum linguarum, quarum scientia ad eorum formationem aut ad ministerium pastorale exercendum necessaria vel utilis videatur.
How is this translated on the Vatican website?
Can. 249 The program of priestly formation is to provide that students not only are carefully taught their native language but also understand Latin well [FAIL!] and have a suitable understanding of those foreign languages which seem necessary or useful for their formation or for the exercise of pastoral ministry.
Calleo is “to be practiced, to be wise by experience, to be skillful, versed in” or “to know by experience or practice, to know, have the knowledge of, understand”. Sure, “understand” can translate calleant, but in this context that is the weakest of our choices. We get the word “callused” from calleo. We develop calluses when we do something repeatedly.
So, calleo is already “well versed/skilled”. Then bene calleant is “let them be very well versed/skilled”.
Review also Sacrosanctum Concilium 36 and Optatam totius 13, just to point to documents of Vatican II. … unless you “HATE VATICAN II!”, as the libs throw about.
Oh… and by the way… when rectors or others stand up during ordinations to attest before God that the men to be ordained for the Latin Church have been properly trained…. is that true if they have no Latin?
So what are they stating before God and the Church? Are they telling the truth? Not objectively, they aren’t.
Latin is necessary. Its benefits are so numerous that they shouldn’t have to be enumerated.
And yet we are faced today with a clergy of the LATIN Church who are nearly totally ignorant of Latin!
Pope John XXIII in 1962 famously issued an Apostolic Constitution – not some mere encyclical – an Apostolic Constitution called Veterum sapientia in which he mandated the preservation of and teaching and use of Latin. I am not sure there was another document as blatantly ignored as Veterum sapientia, unless perhaps Ex corde Ecclesiae.
This disastrous situation didn’t happen by mistake. It was engineered.
The Modernists who had taken the reins with the Council and beyond knew full well that to change the Church’s trajectory into becoming a sort of NGO for globalist unity, they had to unhitch the Church from her moorings. They had to destroy the culture, the ethos of the priesthood. They had to slam shut the treasury of sacred music, the beauty of which connects people to the Truth. They had to dumb-down everything so that people would be more susceptible to the “wisdom of this world” that Paul warns against.
The key was the suppression of Latin.
Latin militates against the Modernist project precisely for the reasons John XXIII laid down, as Pius XI had before him.
Thus the “knowledge and use of this language,” so intimately bound up with the Church’s life, “is important not so much on cultural or literary grounds, as for religious reasons.” These are the words of Our Predecessor Pius XI, who conducted a scientific inquiry into this whole subject, and indicated three qualities of the Latin language which harmonize to a remarkable degree with the Church’s nature. “For the Church, precisely because it embraces all nations and is destined to endure to the end of time … of its very nature requires a language which is universal, immutable, and non-vernacular.”
Note that reference to the Church’s nature.
They had to get rid of Latin.
We have to reclaim our Catholic identity. This is why Latin liturgical worship is important in the face of the cataclysmic demographic sinkhole that is opening up under the Church.
And for those who mewl about Latin being “toooo haaard” or that there are “more impoooortant things to doooo”….
Multitask. Do the important things remembering that Latin is one of them.
If you can’t learn Latin, then… what are you doing? Who are you?