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1. Some reasons for/benefits of using Latin at Mass include...

* The use of a single language allows us to pray "in one voice"

* The use of Latin is a sign of unity and safeguards doctrine

* With a universal language, it is not necessary to have separate Masses for persons of varying nationalities (thereby segregating the congregation and causing disunity)

* Use of a single language promotes unity both locally and worldwide

* The use of Latin "ties us together in a common culture" and unites us with those who have gone before us – it even ties back to the inscription on the cross which was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek

* "The use of the majestic Latin language in the liturgy contributes to a sacred atmosphere"

* Etc.

Note: For more benefits of Latin, try here.

+ + +

"For the Church, precisely because it embraces all nations and is destined to endure until the end of time...requires a language which is universal, immutable, and non-vernacular." (Pope Pius XI, "Officiorum Omnium", 1922 A.D.)


2. Neither Vatican II, nor the Pope who convened Vatican II, called for the elimination of Latin. The Pope who called the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII, stated...

"Finally, the Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic, and non-vernacular."

"It will be quite clear from these considerations why the Roman Pontiffs have so often extolled the excellence and importance of Latin, and why they have prescribed its study and use by the secular and regular clergy, forecasting the dangers that would result from its neglect."

"In the exercise of their paternal care they shall be on their guard lest anyone under their jurisdiction, eager for revolutionary changes, writes against the use of Latin in the teaching of the higher sacred studies or in the liturgy, or through prejudice makes light of the Holy See's will in this regard or interprets it falsely."

"And We also, impelled by the weightiest of reasons - the same as those which prompted Our Predecessors and provincial synods - are fully determined to restore this language to its position of honor, and to do all We can to promote its study and use. The employment of Latin has recently been contested in many quarters, and many are asking what the mind of the Apostolic See is in this matter. We have therefore decided to issue the timely directives contained in this document, so as to ensure that the ancient and uninterrupted use of Latin be maintained and, where necessary, restored."

[Note: The above quotes are from Pope John XXIII's 1962 Apostolic Constitution "Veterum Sapientia"]

The Second Vatican Council itself said...

"The use of the Latin language, with due respect to particular law, is to be preserved in the Latin rites" (Second Vatican Council)

And...

"[C]are must be taken to ensure that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them." (Second Vatican Council)

Also, the near abandonment of the Latin language in the liturgy was not foreseen by the Council Fathers. As Michael Davies indicated (quoting an American prelate who participated in the Second Vatican Council)...

"Who dreamed on that day that within a few years, far less than a decade, the Latin past of the Church would be all but expunged, that it would be a memory fading into the middle distance? The thought of it would have horrified us but it seemed so far beyond the realm of the possible as to be ridiculous. So we laughed it off."

[Note: Of course he is referring to the Novus Ordo Mass. Latin is still used in the Traditional Mass.]

Did you know? It is still possible – thanks be to God! – to lawfully attend the Traditional Latin Mass. The Traditional Latin ('Tridentine') Mass differs from the 1960's Novus Ordo Mass in many & significant ways (try here for more information). To locate a Traditional Latin Mass in your area, try here.


3. Yes, there is biblical precedent for use of a non-vernacular "dead language" for worship. Like Latin, Hebrew was a "dead language" when Jesus became Incarnate. Therefore, when Jesus participated in Jewish worship, he also used a "non-vernacular" language. As Fortescue states...

"[T]he conservative instinct, always strong in religion, retains for the liturgy an older language no longer used in common life. The Jews showed this instinct when, although Hebrew was a dead language after the captivity, they continued to use it in the Temple and the synagogues in the time of Christ, and still retain it in their services."

And, as Bouyer states...

"Our Lord Himself always worshiped according to the ritual of the Palestinian synagogue, in which only the readings, with a few prayers immediately connected with them, were in the vernacular. The great fixed prayers...were all retained in Hebrew, a language at least as dead then, so far as common usage was concerned, as Latin is now. If Our Lord had found such a practice intolerable, He Who so relentlessly denounced the formalism of the Pharisee would certainly not have accepted that practice without a word of criticism, as He did."


4. It is true that those outside the Church may hate the use of Latin. For example, Protestant 'Reformers' have correctly seen the use of Latin as a unifying tie which binds the Church. They hated the use of Latin and discarded its use as one of their first changes during the so-called 'Reformation'. As Dom Gueranger stated...

"Hatred for the Latin language is inborn in the heart of all the enemies of Rome. They recognize it as the bond of Catholics throughout the universe, as the arsenal of orthodoxy against the subtleties of the sectarian spirit. They consider it the most efficient weapon of the papacy."

And...

"We must admit it is a master-blow of Protestantism to have declared war on the sacred language. If it should ever succeed in destroying it, it would be well on the way to victory. Exposed to profane gaze, like a virgin who has been violated, from that moment on, the Liturgy has lost much of its sacred character, and very soon people find that it is not worthwhile putting aside one's work or pleasure in order to go and listen to what is being said in the way one speaks in the marketplace..." [Note: Of course one must remember that to miss Mass without sufficient cause is a grave sin.]


Did you know? It is still possible – thanks be to God! – to lawfully attend the Traditional Latin Mass. The Traditional Latin ('Tridentine') Mass differs from the 1960's Novus Ordo Mass in many & significant ways (try here for more information). To locate a Traditional Latin Mass in your area, try here.


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