When ever we try to share God’s love for the Holy Latin Mass, the most common objection from these people is: “I can not understand Latin”. A convert to the Catholic faith when the mass was offered in Latin and then changed into English, said it well: “It has lost its otherness, its sacredness, now being said in the common language”.
Before Vatican II, during Vatican II and today, 50 years after Vatican II, Latin is still the official language of the Catholic Church. All the pope’s encyclicals are still first written in latin and then translated into other languages.
Does anyone have any idea of how many spoken languages there are in the whole world. I would imagine thousands of different languages, (and that would also include the dialects). And where did this all come from? The tower of Babel (the word Babel is the root of the word “babbling” or not to be understood when speaking). The sin of pride and trying to be like God (as satan wished to be), brought about a separation of all people by them each speaking a different language.
If you happen to travel a lot, like I do, you know that people speak so many different languages that it would be impossible for us to learn them all. So what happens, we need translators most of the time.
When I was at the Sacra Liturgia conference in Rome, they had simultaneous translations in English, Spanish, German and French. And as great as a gift this is for many people to understand in their own language, it still takes a great deal of effort. First you need all the electronic equipment. Then the person giving the speech needs to have written his speech so that the translator can be reading it as it is being presented. And even then, the translator has a difficult time putting certain sayings into another language that does not think that way or use those examples. Often there was a lag while the translator struggled with the concept, not so much the literal translation. Then the presenter/speaker had to keep to written the text of the speech being given. And that makes it very mechanical and not very heart moving.
Now if for some reason or other you just might not know one of these four languages, you were out of luck, you were excluded. And sad to say, many people from other countries had difficulty understanding or were simply not there or because their language was not one of the four being translated.
When I was young I knew some people who were promoting a new language (Esperanto) for all people to speak. I thought that this was a great idea, since I had already tried to learn Latin, Spanish, French and Italian.
Well, God has already gave us a great solution to this problem, and that is Latin. It is already the root of many languages and still used extensively in the medical and biological worlds.
The division of Babel was overcome by the unity of Pentecost. When God sent the Holy Spirit on Mary and the Apostles, they did not speak latin, but aramaic. But as they were speaking this language to everyone from around the world present in Jerusalem for the feast of booths, all were able to understand by a miracle. There was absolutely no simultaneous translation going through a written script being read and translated through earphones. Miraculously, God brought everyone back together by them understanding their own language while aramaic was being preached.
God wants us who belong to the One, Holy, Apostolic, Catholic Church, to be united in faith, love and the Holy Sacraments. Before the liturgical revolution, you could have your child baptized, been confirmed, assisted at Holy Mass, received Extreme Unction, receive absolution, been married in the exact same language every place in the world where the Roman Rites were being done. In Latin.
Almost every Catholic in the world belongs to the Roman Rite. There are many other rites and languages, but in comparison to the Roman Rite, they are minis-cue.
The place St. Peter made for the center of the Catholic world, was not Jerusalem, but Rome where everyone spoke and wrote incredibly sophisticated Latin.
By far, the great classical writings in the world, are in Greek and Latin. That is just a fact. These cultures and societies, although pagan, were very sophisticated. Their writings still are. The only problem is that we are so uneducated that we can no longer read these great classics in their original language. Before, any well educated person getting a classical education would have studied Greek and Latin and know this great body of works. And now, just because we are uneducated, we look down on Latin and Greek. But the reality is that Latin and Greek look down on us.
In the Great Roman Empire, Latin was the language for worship, law, the army and the government. At the same time Greek was commonly used in the Roman Empire and in the early Catholic Church. The New Testament and the writings of the Church Fathers were in Greek too.
Now, when Rome became the center of Catholicism, many priest missionaries went out from there to preach to the rest of the world. These priests offered the Holy Mass in Latin where ever they went. The languages of the countries and tribes where they went were too crude and wanting in words for the purpose of worship and theology. Therefore the public ceremonies of the Catholic Church was in Latin, and the local language for the preaching and teaching.
All Catholic Christians worshipped in Latin or in the original language from the time the Apostles first preached. It was not until the protestant heretical revolution in the 16th. century did other Christians begin to have worship services in the common man’s language.
And so now we have worship in every different language, like the heretics wanted, and we are now separated again like at the time of Babel.
As everyone of you know, on any given Sunday at any given parish, you will find many different groups having “their” mass in Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese, French, Vietnamese, Korean, English, Mung, Tagalog, and many other languages. It divides the Church and parishes into individual racial groups. What some priests have done to bring people together is have bilingual and even trilingual masses.
Where is the One, Holy, Apostolic, Catholic Church anymore? Just in the Chinese language there are so many different forms of Chinese. God wants One Body of Christ. Latin brings all Catholics together no matter what language they may speak at one Holy Mass.
We traditional Catholics have the wisdom of the past 2000 years that we value to prove that the Church wasn’t that stupid after all those centuries. We humbly ask the pope, cardinals, bishops, priests and religious to bring the Body of Christ back together in one common language; Latin. Then we can work together for the salvation of souls.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.