Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Motu Proprio - Reflections - Latin


The Pope in his letter to Bishops that accompanies the Motu Proprio says, “The use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often.”

The phrase “some knowledge” presumably means that the celebrant understands the meaning of what he is saying, The Holy Father regrets that both formation in the liturgy is as lacking as the formation in Latin. One would presume that the “a certain degree of liturgical formation” is necessary for the celebration of Mass in either usage, without this no priest should celebrate any Mass, but the Pope says that this is not found very often.
“Some knowledge of the Latin language” presumably would be the same as the requirement of some knowledge of French, Italian, Spanish or Chinese might be in the Novus Ordo for those for whom these languages are a litugical necessity rather than a means of social interaction.
I have never heard of anyone but the priest himself being the judge of his fitness to celebrate in any modern language, so I really cannot see that there is any intention on the part of the Holy See for anyone other the priest himself to regulate the degree of knowledge of Latin needed for celebration in Latin. Sacramentum Caritatis expects bishops to ensure that there is an ongoing formation of priests in chant, in Latin and in the ars celebrandum, therefore it would seems that Holy Father is having a gentle dig at the Bishops for failure in this area.

4 comments:

On the side of the angels said...

You mean the fact that the majority of the clergy persist in breaking their vows and canon law by refraining from ongoing study and training ?

I think His Holiness has something up his sleeve regarding this issue; and it's quite high on his 'to do' list.

Henry said...

Some funny goings-on last Sunday with visiting German priests concelebrating with the locals in Swedish.

I wonder how familiar they were with that language?

Anonymous said...

Look, "angels" -- you sound paranoid. I don't think clergy, on the whole, go around DELIBERATELY "refrain from ongoing study and training." Laziness doesn't always equal defiance. And seriously, have you surveyed all the priests? Why do you seem to assume the worst in people?

Stop expecting his Holiness to be your personal rottweiler.

Anonymous said...

on the side,
I think clergy tend to study other things, no priest takes a vow to study anthing.