Monday, February 25, 2008

Why Latin?

One of the most frequently-asked questions is why the Traditional Mass is said in Latin. After all, Christ understands the vernacular as well as Latin, it is argued. Well, consider these points about the beautiful Latin language.

1. Latin is the official language of the Church. And it is neutral in the context of most political mundi agenda which associate with the Church.

2. Latin has been time-proven to be a very unifying language.

3. Latin binds the different cultures within today's Church.

4. Latin binds current-day Catholics to the saints, popes and other Church faithful of the past.

5. Latin adds a poetic touch to the most beautiful expression of God's wonderful gift given to us in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

6. Latin makes the Church universal and tries to develop a common bond amongst all Catholics.

7. The sacral nature of Latin adds the important element of SERIOUSNESS to the worship, similar to Hebrew in Judaic worship, Arabic in Moslem worship, or Sanskrit in Hindu worship. A Catholic can more easily identify with his Faith through Ecclesiatical Latin.

8. Latin stabilizes the Mass and the Christian meanings behind it, not subject to change from Sunday to Sunday (except the Propers) and not victim to the political correctness of the vernacular language.

9. Latin is the "Immutable language of the Western Church." (Pope John XXIII)

10. Vatican II said Latin is to be preserved in the Liturgy.

11. Latin is the doctrinal safeguard of the Church.

12. Latin becomes the cure for the extreme split-personalitied, modern Babel of vulgar tongues.

13. Through Latin, Church has inherited the universal character of the Roman Empire, in which Christ walked the earth.

14. The Latin language, in whatever form, was responsible for spreading Christianity for over 1600 years.

15. There is some evidence Christ may have spoken and understood Latin himself. "Domine non sum dignus," conversing with Roman officials, INRI above the cross.

16. Latin language is the essence of the gemstone, similar in some ways to the Italian opera or the German cantata or even a modern foreign-language pop song.

17. Canon 249 explicitly states that priests and seminarians must study Latin.

18. Latin lends itself well to the use of great classical and hymnal music used by the Church for generations. There are scores of great classical works by JS Bach, Mozart, et al (including non-Catholics) which have been inspired solely by the Traditional Latin Mass.

19. Latin has been considered a scholarly language for many centuries. Today it is still very much used in law, biological taxonomy, medicine and pharmacy. Latin phrases usually lift ordinary conversation to a more scholarly level.

20. For reasons not yet fully understood, Latin seems to restore a certain amount of masculinity to the worship (one needs to read "CHURCH IMPOTENT: The Feminization of Christianity" to appreciate this.)

21. The learning of the Latin's well-organized grammatical rules extends to the learning of English grammar as well, thus the ability to communicate better for most English-speaking people.

22. Latin students consistently outperform others on SAT scores.

23. Mathematical skills may be reinforced in Latin study. (

24. Even amongst non-Catholics, Latin opens the door to the study of outstanding classical liturature, such as Virgil and Cicero.

25. Latin provides an understanding of the classical impact on our modern culture.

26. The study of Latin trains the student in the essentials of scientific method: observation, comparison and generalization.

27. Latin provides a wonderful foundation for the study of other modern languages.