Skip to comments.Pope pushing a Latin trend
Posted on 04/28/2005 1:09:30 PM PDT by NYer
WASHINGTON - Pope Benedict XVI loves to chant the mass in Latin and occasionally preach in this language that had long been sidelined even in the Roman Catholic Church.
Now scholars such as David Jones, chairman of the classics department at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Mich., wonder: "Is this pontiff riding a trend -- or pushing it?"
That Latin and Greek are en vogue again seems to be an international phenomenon.
"I think, therefore I do Latin," runs an axiom popular among the brighter variety of British secondary school students. It is a play on French philosopher Réné Descartes' famous dictum, "I think, therefore I am."
In some cities, such as Leeds, they band together for after-school classes in Latin to boost their analytical skills, according to the BBC.
The lack of Latin teachers resulting from the neglect of the classics in the postmodern pedagogy of the 1970s and 1980s does not seem to hamper the enthusiasm of today's high school students. These days college students are doubling as instructors. Moreover, the classics have gone high-tech. To make up for the woeful shortage of teachers, the Cambridge Online Latin Project provides digital resources including an "e-tutor."
Students can send their homework. For a fee of approximately $18, the e-tutor will mark and annotate the papers.
In Germany, once a great bastion of the classics, Internet help for Latin learners has even triggered legal battles.
A 15-year old boy has caused the ire of textbook publishers by placing his own translations of the Latin classics online to be downloaded by others.
For while Cesar's De Bellum Gallicum clearly does not benefit from copyright protection, abbreviated schoolbook versions of such texts do. And so one publisher is suing him for copyright infringements and causing his company severe economic harm.
Moreover, the publisher accused him of "advanced criminal energy" -- and threatened to have him dragged before a criminal court.
Meanwhile in the United States, the revival of Latin and Greek proceeds along more genteel lines. Christian schools, which are rapidly growing in numbers, strongly emphasize instruction in these languages said Robert Benne, director of the Center for Religion and society in Salem, Va., who serves on the board of one of these institutions.
But secular schools, too, are taken a renewed interest in Latin, according to Hillsdale's Jones, who is impressed by the skills of some of their graduates in that language.
Gone are the days when nobody in the academy wanted to hear anything about the ancient world, says Jones, who attributes the new fascination with Latin and Greek to the conservative renewal of the last 20 years.
This interest has accelerated at such a rate over the last decade that "we at Hillsdale are teaching double and triple overloads to meet the need." Every year some 100 freshmen -- more than a quarter of the first-year students -- take Latin, and some Greek as well.
The situation is similar at many other small liberal arts schools, such as St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., where professors observe a growing awareness among students that classics are essential for critical analysis.
Many Hillsdale graduates with a facility to read Latin and Greek move on to pursue advanced degrees in the German or French classical traditions, or to enter seminary, Jones says.
Others immerse themselves in these languages for the same reasons their forebears did -- simply to obtain a well-rounded education.
Meanwhile back in Rome, the new German pope will doubtless continue to promote Latin as part of "a reform of the reform," as he said when he was just plain Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, meaning that he will endeavor to reverse the triviality to which the mass had descended after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.
As his predecessor, John Paul II, had written, "Sacred liturgy is the highest expression of the mysterious reality" and the "culminating point toward which the action of the Church is directed and at the same time the source from which all her strength is derived."
Vatican II bungled the liturgical reform, states the Rev. john McCloskey, a Catholic priest with the Faith and Reason Institute in Chicago.
Since presiding at the first funeral Mass for John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, has shown to the world the luxuriant beauty of the old mass that has inspired some of history's greatest composers. And that mass is sung and spoken in the language kids on both sides of the Atlantic have come to appreciate once again -- Latin.
All I can say is.........I like it.
I'm tired of folk music during mass, especially after communion. To me, that is one of the most important parts of the mass, and I can never concentrate because of all the singing. However, if it was something like Gregorian Chant, that is another story.
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!! I love the Latin language!
Quite amazing, huh?
Remember the other day and I asked you for words in Latin?
Well, I got out my HS Latin textbooks and the doc is my instructor. You "know" I'll get an A regardless, but I am sincerely studying. :)
Fr. McCloskey could not have said it better.
My husband hates music during mass, too. We went to a wedding not too long ago, and he leaned over to me during one of the songs and whispered, "I didn't realize Peter, Paul and Mary were doing religious gigs."
Where do I sign up for classes?
Would you believe I've started doing the sign of the cross in Latin once again? it's a start.
Just when most everyone was thinking Latin was a DEAD language...now comes Pope Benedict XVI to remind Catholics that Vatican II never abolished Latin as the official language of the Church and it never had any intention of abolishing the Latin Mass of Ages, the Missal of 1962. Oh, and Vatican II also urged the proliferation of (Latin) Gregorian Chant too. American Bishops and chanceries have some slainin' to do to faithful Catholics who have been led to believe lies during these last forty years.
Not yet he hasn't. Not even close. As I said, as much of an improvement the funeral and inaugural Masses were over the "stuff" we've had to endure over the last decades. It's falls just that far short of the Old Mass in all it's glory.
In nomine Patris, et Filii, + et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.
When I get married, the service will be in Latin... just need to find the good, Catholic girl of my dreams.
Where are you? I'm getting "old" (39).
Trajan88 (aka Joseph)
Tell your husband to try to keep up with the liturgical "music is now" movement, for crying out loud. Peter Paul and Mary are so "sixties". The liturgical music makers in their wisdom have brought us up to speed with the Andrew Lloyd Weberization of the mass. Sheesh. V's wife.
Gregorian Chant, 24 x 7 from Portugal. Surf FR and be in heaven simultaneously.
Semper ubi, sub ubi!
Latin is never dead!