From the Desk of Canon Olivier Meney, ICRSS

CM 2

A brief explanation of some aspects of the Mass in its Extraordinary Form

The Latin

           Latin is the ordinary Liturgical Language of all the Catholics of the Roman Church, even though translations are authorized. Many rites cohabit under the same language, Ambrosian (from Milan), Mozarabic (in Spain), Carthusian or Dominican (proper to the respective religious orders). Latin appears therefore as a link between all the Catholics of the world but also between those of all ages in the past and present times. As Latin is a dead language and doesn’t change, it is particularly fit to express the immutable dogmas. In the Eastern churches, diverse liturgical languages are used for the same reason (Aramaic, Arabic, Syrian, Coptic…).

Latin is then the official language of the Church and all the official documents are written in this language.

As Latin is not the proper language of any country, it is suitable for the Universal Church.

“Latin is a universal language without frontier, and the Holy See is very attached to it. We address the young people in particular: May they welcome the patrimony of Latin and make it bearing fruits.” JP II (27/11/78)

Do we need to know Latin to follow the Liturgy of the Mass? Let’s consider first what is Mass? Mass is nothing less than the continued Sacrifice of God made man, who died on a Cross and continuously offers Himself—Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity—as Food for our souls. Could any language ever explain that? It is the Mystery of Faith. The Sacredness of the Latin Language helps us to enter into this mystery. At Mass, it is with reverence that we enter into the Unique Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ, words being far from giving justice to the Sacred Reality of the Divine and Substantial presence of Jesus Christ on the Altar.

 

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