Review of “The Voice of the Church at Prayer by Fr. Uwe Michael Lang

The Voice of the Church at Prayer by Fr. Uwe Michael Lang comes at an opportune time in the life of the Church. Just six months ago, the English speaking world began using the new translation of the 3rd edition of the Roman Missal. Five years ago, Pope Benedict XVI gave new life to the Traditional Latin Mass (the Extraordinary Form), with the publication of Summorum pontificum. And, during the past seven years of his Pontificate, the Holy Father has stressed the importance of Latin, during the celebration of the Holy Mass.

All who are in love with the Sacred Liturgy of the Church will want to explore the sacred language of the Church. Fr. Lang gives a historical background to how a Sacred Language has developed in the life of the Church, especially in the Roman Rite. He begins by looking at language within Holy Scripture, continuing with Sacred Language itself and how “every form of belief in the supernatural, … leads necessarily to adopting a form of sacred language in worship.” He continues by giving examples of “Rhetoric of Salvation” through a careful study of the Roman Canon, the prefaces and various other prayers of the Mass. Father brings in the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas’s views on Sacred Language. He writes about the modern age of vernacular and proper translation.

While we all watch the Reform of the Reform go forward, especially by the example and teaching of Pope Benedict, this book of Fr. Lang’s will definitely give food for all to contemplate. Is vernacular as we have seen in the Roman Rite for the past 40 years here to stay? This we do not know. But as we come to understand, desire and encourage Sacred Language within the Mass, our attitude of divine worship will be transformed. And this transformation will be an indispensable part of the New Evangelization.

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