Thursday, October 1, 2015

Why the Catholic Church should bring back Latin

“More than 50 years ago, the Roman Catholic Church largely stopped using the language in services. Why revive it?  
Before the mid-to-late 20th century, Latin was a standard feature of Roman Catholic masses: Priests used it throughout the service, including for prayers and the celebration of the Eucharist. The version of the service used in Catholic churches around the world had been ratified in the mid-16th century at the Council of Trent (thus the name: the Tridentine Mass), with a few small updates made here and there.  
But in 1970, a new version of the liturgy was published: Pope Paul VI’s Missale Romanum. By that time, the Church had started allowing the use of local languages in all parts of the mass. The decision to do so had been made at the Second Vatican Council: In the decree Sacrosanctum Concilium, the bishops voted to make the mass more accessible to regular Catholics by simplifying the liturgy, encouraging more participation in the service, and allowing the use of the vernacular, among other things.”

You don’t hear Muslims worrying aloud if Quranic Arabic is too "antiquated". Nor do Jews fret that Hebrew is too “traditional”. (In fact, Hebrew was literally brought back from the dead in the twentieth century, as the national language of Israel.)

Why then, should the Catholic Church not employ Latin as a liturgical language—the global tongue of Catholicism since Roman times?

It is worth noting that Catholic Church attendance and overall membership have declined—not risen—in the West since the Church dumped Latin.

So far from making the mass more “accessible”, the jettisoning of Latin may have been a factor in emptying the pews.

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