Monday, August 20, 2007

Fatima learnt Arabic

I found this on Overheard in the Sacristy, it reminded me when I first came to the parish and a rather charming Muslim couple brought some baklava over to welcome me. I used to drop into see them. The parents, especially the mother had been very involved in Natural Family Planning with Catholics, in their homeland of Indonesia. Their daughter Fatima was almost four at the time and they were beginning to teach her to read the Koran, she wanted to show me how clever she was, and was shocked I couldn't read Arabic, unlike her!
For so many children learning a "sacred" language, Arabic, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Church Slavonic or Greek is a normal part of their religious education, in fact it seems to be abnormal not to. I knew a six year old who insisted on saying the Rosary with his parents everynight in Latin, because, "I like it, it lets me think about the pictures in my mind and it sounds nicer".


Anonymous said...

Am surprised nobody has commented on this post yet. What a delightful rendering of the Ave Maria. In Lourdes last week I was pleased and heartened to hear more Latin in the processions - the Pater noster and the Gloria Patri in particular - and being interested in languages it was fascinating to hear the Ave Maria said in so many different ones including Vietnamese. But the one language not used for the Hail Mary in the torchlight processions was Latin! I should like to add that to hear the Hallelujah Chorus played on a trumpet after Benediction in the underground Basilica was extraordinarily uplifting!

Henry said...

There is a very good reason for not having liturgy in English and the troubles over the revised translation demonstrate the problem.

The way people use English is highly political. It is used to define people's class, where they come from, their age and social group and their level of education. This is divisive.

And having the liturgy in a vernacular makes one take the words for granted and people are liable to just sit and daydream.