Thursday, February 11, 2010


Latin is a unifying factor for all Roman Catholics. I hope and pray that the Holy Spirit will move our Pope and bishops to bring back Latin as a sign of the oneness of the Church.

God, help us all. "It's always been done that way" is such a retarded reason for doing anything. Retarded, as is a retarding growth or development. Retarded as in stupid, too.

I would think that social justice or caring for and feeding the Poor would be a much better "sign of oneness". You know, those minor, piddling, little things that Jesus (not the old white dude in Rome) said we ought to be doing. Shouldn't the direct commandments of Our Lord and Savior be the Truly Unifying factor for Catholics?

Sure, the Church used Latin for 1500 years. (The author fails to note what it was using before that.) So what?

Does he seriously think that making men learn Latin will make them better priests? Who gives a damn, if they can say Mass in Latin? "Increasing popularity of it"?? Great, 10 people want it in stead of 5. That's a 100% increase!! He fails to observe that requiring priests to be able to have a Latin Mass does not mean the people can follow it. They'll sit - stand - kneel and spew forth words that they might recite by rote. (as many of them do in the Vernacular) Why not require parishoners to speak Latin before they're even allowed to attend mass in Latin? Can't recite the Mass in Latin? ... oh, well, can't make your Confirmation. We'll be a much, much, much smaller Church, but, by God, we'll all speak Latin!

Will learning hosana, hosana ... agnus dei qui tolis (serious miserere here) ... Vater Unser ... uh, oops ... kyrie eleison ... uh, oops ... adoramus te ... Pater noster qui in caelis ... OMG WTF?

Does God speak Latin? Given the proportion of the population of the Catholic Church, She likely speaks Spanish. Now that's a much more practical language to learn to unify the Church.

Latin is a unifying factor for all Roman Catholics. Really? Sexist bullshit is a pretty unifying factor for the Church offices in Rome; I already know they're Hell-bent on never changing that.

Latin is a unifying factor for all Roman Catholics. Really? Which Catholics is he talking about? 'Cause none of them are the ones I know. The handful of the "I want to be able to go to a Latin Mass" crowd whom I have met all think Latin is a divisive factor (admittedly they wish it wasn't, but they realize it is). And, I've never personally met anyone who thought the Mass should only be in Latin.

Latin, for any American Catholic under 40, has no ability to unify or create community. Some people @ St. John's in East Lansing thought it was nice that we sang the Lamb of God (a.k.a. Agnus Dei) in Latin occasionally. It had a very nice musical setting, admittedly. This is an appreciation for music, not an in depth connection with the divine they want every day for eternity.

A friend in Michigan worked at Zondervan's bookstore (a publishing house of Christian material ranging from bibles to theology to fiction). Garth had a woman come into the store one day who had recently converted to a sect which really emphasized personal bible study. Not remarkable in that part of the state. She was looking for a copy of the King James (not revised) version as being "more authentic". These are people who hold to the "infallible transcription" theory of biblical liturature. My friend pointed out to her that the original texts were written in Greek. She seemed devastated and on the spot decided she needed to learn old Greek, to put the least distance between her & the Word of God. Greek, not Latin.

Perhaps this deluded Catholic missed his language by a few centuries ... We ought to go back to having the liturgy in Latin, but keep the proclaimation of the Gospels in Greek, and the Psalms in Hebrew. None of this mamby-pamby 20th Century Vatican 2 bullshit ... NO! WE WANT TO BE UNIFIED ...

unified with whom?

How about unified with the Rest of the Roman Catholic Church? (read: 75% of the 1 billion Catholics in the world who are all living in poverty in 3rd/developing world countries). They don't speak Latin.

Using Latin will unify the American - and possibly European - Catholics who are all AARP members. It won't do shit for the woman in Mumbai living on 2 cents/day, who knows that when the Poor shall inherit the earth, she's going to be sitting pretty.

I've never heard a justification for Latin in the Church other than "that's the way we've always done it". Hey, we've sinned and fallen short of the glory of God for all of Human History. That's what we've always done ~ why change now? Sin is the one, true unifying experience.


Joachim said...

Hi, HealthyGopher,
Thanks for your outrage. I had nine years of Latin at school, and I was fairly good at it, and I still think you are right. A few remarks: 1) It was Greek before it was Latin, but this was not a general rule - and I guess the Galilean Fishermen probably spoke Aramaic only. So we can never establish unity with them. (Too bad for them.) The Latin-obsession results in my opinion from the liturgy reforms of the Tridentine Council; these reforms were necessary at the time, but there was clearly no need to even think that the reforms should be valid in perpetua. 2) I don't think Europeans Catholics are in the AARP - because it would have to be the EARP... (sorry, couldn't resist to point that out). 3) From time to time, I like a little Latin at Mass: It indeed may help promoting the unity among those that do not share a common language during service/prayer. But this requires that people understand what is going on. And nowadays, you cannot just throw a Hagios athanatos, eleison hemas (sounds all Greek to me...) at someone and expect him/her to understand. Now that could (!) be a nice start to dig into the old texts and learn about the history of faith, of liturgical language, of metaphors, of the relations between Latin and your own vernacular language etc. (E.g. = exemplum gratia, "etc." = et cetera is one of the frequently used terms directly taken from the Latin, i.e. = id est at least a little Latin is around in the English-speaking world.)
When I came from Germany to the US (oh my God: 10 years ago!), I really liked to pick out slight differences between the German and the English bible translation(s); it was very helpful to get some inspiration how other translators interpreted the Latin bible version (which is a translation in itself). In this context the "New Roman Missal" may provide "more unity" among Catholics, but IMHO definitely less inspiration and less consideration for a language's style and history.
Last remark: My parents were in a church choir for at least 30 years and have sung Mozart's Ave Verum hundreds of times. When my aunt was buried, the organist played that piece, but my mother thought it was a poor choice. For a short moment, I thought so, too, but then remembered the text ...Esto nobis praegustatum in mortis examine. I think my mom never understood what she was singing...

Peter T said...

"I hope and pray that the Holy Spirit will move our Pope and bishops to bring back Latin as a sign of the oneness of the Church." Greek. It should be Greek. Koine, the common form of Greek around AD 0, was the language of the church from its beginning for more than hundred years. Many orthodox Christians still use it today - we would like to be one with them, too, wouldn't we, and why should they change the original?

"Hey, we've sinned and fallen short of the glory of God for all of Human History. That's what we've always done ~ why change now? Sin is the one, true unifying experience." I really enjoyed the posting, thanks.

HannahJ said...

what's with using the word retarded? just wrong any way you look at it. don't you know anyone with special needs? Haven't you been listening to what we've been saying. enough already.

Gopher MPH said...


"what's with it" ... well, I refuse to let anyone dictate what I can or cannot say. I used it because it most accurately reflects my opinions on the topic.

I am a scientist. When I use the term "retarded growth" about microorganisms ... I am not talking about 'developmentally disabled' bacteria.

The Roman Catholic Church is not "developmentally disabled". With regards to this particular topic, it's retarded. As in 'retarded growth' or 'retarded development'. It is not a person and does not deserve the same respect that a real person does.

BTW - piss off with the criticism. *I* am "handicapped" or "disabled" or whatever the hell people call it today. Go read someone else's PC blog, if you don't like my choice of words.

If you have anything to comment about THIS topic (the Latin liturgy for the Catholic Church) ... I will be happy to post it here, as long as it's intelligent. If you think it's great, tell me why ...

Gopher MPH said...

@ HannahJ

1) please accept my apology for getting your name mixed up with another person. I apologize.

2) check back in a few days; there will be a post about the very topic you mentioned: the use of the term 'retarded', which will include other PC-terms such as 'crippled'.