Monday, 30 April 2012

If Latin were a barrier...

Thanks to a link from The New Liturgical Movement, I have been reading Pope Paul Vl's comments on the introduction of the Vernacular and the end of Latin as the principle language of Catholic Worship.

It is all worth reading of course, but I was particularly struck by this:
12. If the divine Latin language kept us apart from the children, from youth, from the world of labor and of affairs, if it were a dark screen, not a clear window, would it be right for us fishers of souls to maintain it as the exclusive language of prayer and religious intercourse? What did St. Paul have to say about that? Read chapter 14 of the first letter to the Corinthians: "In Church I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue" (I Corinthians 14:19).
Who could argue with that? If Latin were having that effect, clearly it should not be retained as the exclusive language.

Actually, I could argue with that.

I think that Liturgy should not be designed to attract children, youth, the world of labor and affairs, to be a clear window and not a dark screen...

It's principle purpose is to enable us to approach the throne of Grace, to be taken up into the very life of Christ, and to live with Him His Passion, Death and Resurrection, and be filled with His grace; to unite with Him in offering the supreme Sacrifice to the Father, in thanksgiving, adoration, contrition and in supplication for the living and the dead.

To me that quotation expresses how the zeitgeist which had ben admitted into the Church at the Council, caused a secondary consideration to be mistaken for the primary one.

And even on their terms,  I maintain that the 'if' was not proven (and indeed subsequent experience suggests the reverse); and further that we shifted from Latin as 'exclusive' to de facto excluding Latin (for several decades at least: thankfully that is now shifting.)

There is much else one could comment on in this address, and I may return to it...


Ttony said...

Ben, I'm not convinced that you can isolate these words on the use of Latin from the main thrust of Pope Paul's audiences at that time, which were all about the imposition of the New Order of Mass.

If anybody is interested, the Apostolic Constitution is here, and Fr Z has some podcasts in which he reads the text of the three General Audience addresses, here, here, and here, in which the Pope addressed the whole issue.

Ben Trovato said...

Thanks, Ttony.

As ever, a useful and thoughtful contribution. If you keep it up, you may oblige me both to research and to think before I blog... But that'll take a while!

Ttony said...

No, no, no! I think my view is that something you and either Part Time Pilgrim, or e-Church Blog were discussing on Twitter - the idea of a reading circle - might be a good way to get through some of these issues. (Though a) we'd be limited to what is available online and b) I travel to much to be other than an every-now-and-then contributor.)

My problem is that I know exactly as much as I do: neither enough to be authoritative, or sufficiently little to compel me to keep silence. I'd love to work my way through things with people as keen as I am.

Meanwhile, we should have the courage to post what we understand to encourage the brethren.

Ben Trovato said...

My problem is that I know less than I think (or pretend) that I do: too little to be authoritative, and probably sufficiently little to compel me to keep silence. Yet on I blog!

WIll blog on reading circle idea soon and see who is interested.

Patricius said...

I am very happy to contribute my ignorance to the pool.