I hate Latin!

In my parish, we have the Sanctus (Holy), Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) and the Acclamation of Faith (Mortem Tuam) in Latin at all of our sung Masses, and on Solemnities and Feasts, we sing the Gloria in Latin.  Our choir also sings some of the hymns in Latin.  It took a number of years for us to get to this point and along the way it was a struggle.  Even today, I someone will occasionally say, “I don’t like Latin.  Why are all of the Masses in Latin”.  I try to explain that the majority of the Mass is always in the vernacular (English).  The introductory rites, collects, readings, responses, prefaces, Eucharistic Prayer, Communion Rite, dismissal and all of the sung propers are in the vernacular for all of our Masses, except for the monthly Mass in the Extraordinary Form.  That is a far cry from the whole Mass being in Latin.  For years, I have taught how the Second Vatican Council, a number of other Church documents and all of the Popes since Vatican II, including both Blessed John XXIII and Paul VI have consistently taught that  “care must be taken to insure that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.”  The response is usually, “I don’t care, I don’t understand Latin.”

Today, my music director’s 8 year old son served the Latin Mass for the first time.  Tommy has been preparing for the past month and knows all of the prayers at the foot of the altar by heart.  It is funny to see how unbiased young people and children are to learning and attending Mass in Latin.  Just reminds me of Our Lord’s worlds: “to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 19:14)

2 thoughts on “I hate Latin!

  1. I’ve been a Catholic for 7 years now and have been teaching at a Catholic school for 12. I grew up protestant and had no exposure to Latin apart from “In excelsis Deo” in Christmas carols. I found that the children loved learning responses in Latin but it was their parents and other teachers who had hangups about not understanding it! I teach at a French immersion school so the kids are already used to using at least two languages and many of them speak several others at home. With our universe becoming more multi-lingual it makes all the more sense to use Latin where we can to bring us together! Dona nobis pacem!

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