Friday, December 15, 2006

Um, this isn't new.

I was looking at the article of yet ANOTHER rumor about the motu propio which might be freeing up the old Roman Rite.

But something caught my eye which kind of irked me. I mean it is good that they recommend it, but it is already required by canon law. The article had this line:
The document, which sources say will be issued after January 15, reaffirms the Church’s commitment to a celibate priesthood, encourages the use of Latin in liturgical celebrations, and even requests that seminarians learn the language as part of their formation.
[emphasis added]

But according to The Code of Canon Law,Book II: The People of God, Part I: The Christian Faithful, Title III: Sacred Ministers or Clerics, Chapter I: The Formation of Clerics:
Can. 249 The program of priestly formation is to provide that students not only are carefully taught their native language but also understand Latin well and have a suitable understanding of those foreign languages which seem necessary or useful for their formation or for the exercise of pastoral ministry.
[emphasis added]

Now, I am irked because I fear this may be presented in the document as a suggestion or a neat idea that we should start, rather than presenting this as something that should already be done in all seminaries. Alas, most of the priests I have known (especially diocesan priests) have never had this emphasized when they were being formed. If they took Latin, it was either as a side project, or they had all their Spanish out of the way.

Any type of transition to more Latin should be smooth. Of course this isn't just for priests. A little document called "Sacrosanctum Concilium" back in a little meeting called Vatican II said this:
#36.1 The use of the Latin language, with due respect to particular law, is to be preserved in the Latin rites.
#54 Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.
How many priests are giving their parishoners an opportunity to learn and use Latin in the Mass? Worse yet, how many priest think they are "protecting" their flock from Latin?

What is interesting is that I was talking with a friend who has never taken Latin, just some Spanish, and went to a weekly Novus Ordo Mass in Latin every week for about a year. He actually told me that after a few weeks, although he couldn't give a perfect grammatical translation (of course I.C.E.L. didn't do that back in the 70's either), he could follow the Latin well enough to understand what part the priest was at and what he was generally saying. He told me that the Latin wasn't that hard to pick up and that as with anything, you get used to it.

It just seems strange that devout Jews learn Hebrew to understand the faith better, devout Muslims learn Arabic to learn the Koran better, many Eastern Rites learn their rite's language better (even those where the rite's language is not the vernacular), so why can't Latin Rite Catholics learn a little Latin? Of course the real question might be, why WON'T Latin Rite Catholics learn a little Latin?

I guess I am getting a bit frustrated with all these rumors and rather than having anything actually come forth, I only see vehement opposition from some groups (including some bishops).

All I can do is keep praying for true liturgical reform.

Just my two cents.



Mark said...

What a pain! Silly people! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I am curious... is there a difference in Canon Law between "sacred ministers" and "clerics"? Or is it another way to describe the same function?

Also, grim as the vernacular trend has been, is it possible that using the vernacular has made it more possible to see the underlying thoughts, motivations, misconceptions etc. that run rampant in the modern church?

Also, are you receiving my PMs through SemperFi? If not, I have a bit of explaining to do about the box I left for you up at church last Sunday.

Peace and grace,
S. Davenport

Roman Sacristan said...

I believe "sacred ministers" refers to instituted acolytes and instituted lectors (which can only be men BTW) and "clerics" refers to deacons, priests, and bishops.
Instituted lectors and acolytes are a remnant of what used to be called the "minor orders" before they were done away with after Vatican II, in what seemed to be a push away from some non-existant clericalism.
The common opinion of what we all call lectors, servers, and Eucharistic ministers, are all extra-ordinary, that is, they are not what are to be used ordinarily, but are allowed to be used as a last resort with the exception of altar boys, which the Church has reiterated is a noble tradition in the Church.
Otherwise, the readings are supposed to be read by an instituted lector, Mass is supposed to be served by instituted acolytes (and altar boys), and deacons, priests, and bishops are to be the ones who distribute Holy Communion.
Unfortuately, the practice of this is that only seminarians and deacon candidates are instituted as lectors and acolytes. It's also ironic if the minor orders were supressed for "clericalistic" reasons.
The Easter Rites emphasize the instituted lector and other minor orders much more, something I think the Church needs to do properly as well.

While there is a place for the vernacular, my opinion is that it tends to take the sacred words of the Mass and make it more banal. It tends to take away some of the mystery and beauty.
Of course given the horrible translations we have had to deal with for the past 4 decades, the vernacular really hasn't revealed as much of what the prayers say as it should.

Anonymous said...

Vernacular meaning common language or low language? I'm a stickler for translations.

For example, my grandmother has a much wider and far more precise vocabulary than most kids today will ever even glimpse. Had things been translated into the much richer language, rather than aiming for the lowest common denominator, all would have been well, I think.

The mystery and beauty *could* have, ***should*** have been left intact.

The whole "I am not worthy to receive You" vs. "I am not worthy that You should come under my roof" is the most widely known translation fix in the works.

It's almost as if someone said, "I understand "roof" to mean "the roof of my mouth."

The literal translation has so many, many deeper levels of cognizance!

Who thought we wouldn't "get it?!"
Who decided we shouldn't even be bothered to try?!

There's no use pointing fingers or being angry or frustrated anymore, at least for me. I just pray the fixes stick!

And God bless Cardinal Arinze for being so plain spoken and insistant!

Thanks for clarifying the sacred minister vs. clerics verbage.

I'd be careful, though, about saying clericalism was non-existant. I have met more than a handful of old timers who have clearly shone a light on rather startling examples of it!

Stephanie D

Anonymous said...

"why WON'T Latin Rite Catholics learn a little Latin?

Because they've been propagandized to see it as "medieval" by the "Spirit of Vatican 2" weasels.

Anonymous said...

Therein lies a rather interesting irony. For whatever reason, many, many people in my generation are interested in all things Medieval. This eventually seems to lead one into a rather interesting and seemingly paradoxical love for the Latin Mass... Latin now serves as a rather obvious answer to the many chasms in the Church that otherwise separate people economically, culturally, musically, and linguitically.

As the mother of a handful of small children, I am grateful for English language Eucharistic Prayers. The repetion in the mother tongue invites contemplation, which, believe it or not, young children are quite capable of.

I do look forward to the day when all are literate, and can work with the Latin/English translations. As a student of languages, I adore the richness and texture of the Novus Ordo Latin Mass. Roman Sacristan has been most helpful by providing the actual translations!!

I am also encouraged that the Mother Church is finally saying, "! Here's what it should read! Go to it!"

Finally, finally! May we have what was intended, rather than what was lamely interpreted.

Stephanie D

Roman Sacristan said...

Hmmm, I wouldn't say that our generation likes things medieval more, but I think our generation is seeing that just because something is modern or current, doesn't mean it is better. I think so many generations have bought into the socially Darwinistic mindset that "new" means "improved." We are learning that somethings are tradition because they are the best way of doing things.

Anonymous said...

You nailed it! Guess I just have an unusual number of historian type friends. ;)

Speaking of which, don't be terribly surprised next year when we invite you to a Adventtide production at our local university. They not only provided delicious food to feast on, but the entire production was unabashedly and gloriously Christocentric. You've gotta sse it to believe it!