Why Latin?

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Over 170 faithful Catholics turned out on a Wednesday night in Charlotte early last month to learn about the significance of Latin in the Mass. The talk was hosted by the Charlotte Latin Mass Community and was part of an ongoing series explaining various aspects of the ancient liturgy.

The video below features Fr. Jason Barone (a priest of the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina) discussing the importance of Latin as the liturgical language of the Roman Rite.

Here are a few key take-aways from Father’s presentation:

  • Latin is important because it is universal, immutable, and non-vernacular.
  • A non-vernacular language (Latin) is also a form of veiling that helps reveal the mystery of God.
  • The Devil HATES Latin.
  • Gregorian chant & Latin are inextricably linked. They are literally a match made in heaven.
  • Latin is a sacred language set aside for our worship of God.
  • The Church has offered the Mass in Latin for 1700 years.

And my favorite…

  • Why Latin in the Mass? Because it’s awesome!

In addition to this video, the above talking points are perfect to share with Catholic friends, family, and even priests who fail to understand the significance of Latin to Catholicism.

Technical Note: Although the talk is included in its entirety, due to technical error the video was lost for part of the talk. During this time audio along with images were inserted to fill the gap. No content was lost but the sound quality may be different during this segment.

Photo credit: Brent Hohman/The Momentum Studio 

Posted on March 5, 2017, in liturgy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Franklin P. Uroda

    I carry a grudge. Yeah I know, it’s not right to carry a grudge, especially a grudge that seems irrational to most people. My grudge with Latin is that it is the language of the hateful and hated Romans who murdered Jesus, Our Best Friend, God Almighty. IMO, the Church, in order to maintain-stay level-in the early centuries, took Latin as its liturgical and official language, not Greek or Hebrew-the Holy Spirit-Inspired languages. Rather than look at the situation from the viewpoint that the Church overcame Rome, I see it as a Roman victory over the Church which caved to its persecutors. I studied Caesar, Cicero and Virgil in Latin in HS and had no other liturgy but the Tridentine Mass when I was growing up. It wasn’t my prayer language, anymore than French was.

    • That’s not simply a grudge Frank, but flat out disobedience. Or maybe just pride. Latin is our Catholic language. Period.

    • I’m also a student of Latin, as I was a Classics student in college. I attend TLM approx. every two weeks as I drive 40 min to a Church who still celebrates it. Although, I reject a lot of what traditionalists feel about the NO mass. I will say that after the new liturgical changes their concerns will be on par when “This is My Body” is taken out of the Mass.

      Nonetheless, the Byzantine Romans (Orthodox or Eastern Rite) would argue that Greek is the true language of the Church, and they may have a better historical claim as their empire lasted until Suleiman the magnificent conquered Constantinople. Furthermore, as the author mentions, the liturgy has been Latin for the past 1700 years because from Christ to aprox. the 4th century the Liturgy was dominated by Greek. It wasn’t really until St. Jerome were the dominance of Latin come into play. At that period, we have St. Augustine who was a monolingual thinker for most of his life.

      I wouldn’t worry about those claiming you’re disobedient, prideful, or whatever. Let them continue to rend their garments instead of their hearts.

      • “Let them continue to rend their garments…”

        Cute comment which does nothing to further this conversation.

        The Latin Church has an official language. Pope St. John XXIII wrote an entire Apostolic Letter about it just months before Vatican II (Veterum Sapientia). Pope St. John Paul II & Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed it on multiple occasions. To have a “grudge” against the language of the Church is neither healthy (spiritually) nor thinking with the mind of the Church.

        As for the primacy of Greek during the early Church, I would respond with: and…?

        Latin has been the universal language of the Latin Church for over 17 centuries, and remains so to this day. That’s the point of this post and my previous comment.

        Now, go watch the linked video when you have an hour and enjoy the wonderful catechesis.

      • I’m not hung up on a grudge, and in fact, I don’t challenge the notion of the Roman Church having an official language. However, the actual historical record of the entire body of Christ and the communion of Saints indicates truth that isn’t as settled. The two Popes (JP II and BXVI) also claimed the Eastern Church to be the other lung of the faithful. As their Liturgy is Greek and their Empire laid in tact into the 15th century. They have just as valid claim as Rome. To deny these historical facts is simply myopic.

      • Please cite which pope or Council in the last 17 centuries disputed Latin as the language of the Church, or as the liturgical language of the Roman Rite.

      • Your question, or rather statement, is nothing more than a straw man. It’s an unfortunate response.

        A redirection that doesn’t address the actual history of the Church from the Apostles to Jerome, which I’ve presented in my previous comments.

        Of course, I’d have to answer none and it’s the point of the question/statement. You merely want to “win” and can’t do so with the actual early history of the faith.

      • Antiquarianism much?

        This blog post, nor this thread, are a discussion of early Church history. This discussion has been about the ecclesial & liturgical role of Latin has been established for nearly two millennia. I’m not disputing the role of Greek in the early Church; but that’s not the topic at hand, which is why you completely miss the point. Again.

      • Antiquarian? You use that word, but it appears to do not understand its meaning. In the context of this thread, I’ve addressed historical context of Liturgy that you simply cannot address. By your definition of antiquarian, libraries need to change their genre from History.

        Your failure to address the historical context every single comment is noted.

      • Where have denied the role of Greek in the EARLY Church? I simply haven’t indulged your tangent. And your obsession with the language of the first 2-3 centuries of the Latin Church, in contrast to the use of Latin since, is duly noted.

        And quit being smarmy. It may be difficult, but I know you can do it if you try. 🙂

  2. I would note that Latin was also the language of Cato and Cicero, both implacable foes of what became a tyrannical imperial Rome. We do not eschew the language of Shakespeare because if its use by the heretic queen. Side note: Yes Latin and chant were meant to be together. Little grates more on the ear than hearing a celebrant attempt to chant in English.

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