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!
Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in praelio. Contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur. Tuque princeps militiae caelestis, Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo divina virtute in infernum detrude. Amen.
We need to say this after Mass again, Your Holiness. We really need St. Michael's protection now!
Did you miss something? No, but you'll have to admit that these masses with the wonderfull singing were wonderful to behold. So much reverence instead of some of the silly songs that are sung at mass today. I really dislike "I Danced in the Morning" song. I cannot sing along with it as I am so offended by it's triteness.
Said another way, Latin will never die!
Thanks for the link to Gregorian Chant music from Portugal. Wonderful.
Was it a Catholic wedding?
I have it linked to my desktop. Get the coffee, click on the chant and then surf FR. Magnificent!
How sad. All this teaching of Latin, and all of it an obsession over the pagan "Classics", rather than teaching the actually useful Ecclesiastical Latin of Sts. Bede, Gregory, Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure, and de Liguori.
It would be REALLY cool if the Church adopted Aramaic instead of the language of the original Evil Empire. ;-)
Quid quid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.
Anything said in Latin sounds profound.
I think he means Caesar's De Bello Gallico. And if the original is free of copyright, it may freely be translated into any other language.
folk music during mass
LOL! Oh, man that should have been tossed on the ash heap when bell bottoms all but vanished. That does drive me a little nuts. A few years ago I was in a small Catholic church in Maine. We sung the Our Father while some ' groovy dude ' played the guitar.
I could only imagine our Father, watching this scene from above and rolling his eyes.
TLM sites in US
Sounds like my latin class in college...took a couple of semesters of it as electives - all he wanted to talk about was word etymologies and stuff not related to the school work. So I skipped his classes regularly, studied like the dickens before each test and aced them...it was hard work...but otherwise, all I would do is nap in his class.
Well, hopefully with this Pope we'll enjoy a Latin Mass in the near future.
You might be interested in this page, too:
Personally, I would either want gregorian chant or silence during communion. But that is just me.
Marvelous! Thanks! I'll sing for you!
This page has both classical and ecclesiastical links...including links to a medieval book of hours...cool!
Incredibly cool. Gratia!
That's neat...both my hubby and I like to listen to that....
My latin is very rusty...I have a study book coming in from Amazon. I was once very good at doing it...but wasn't Catholic when I studied it last...now I have much more motivation to bring it up to snuff...
I think the ORIGINAL Evil empire would probably be Messopatamian (Tower of Babel) or Babylonian ;). Even Carthage was at it's height before Rome.
If you haven't discovered this page, you must check it out:
Thesarus Musicarum Latinarum
(I wouldn't have looked these things up if you hadn't started posting links!)
The "old Mass" in less than all its glory was usually something less than glorious. It wass not until mid-century that the dialogue mass caught on. Until that time any dialogue was largely between the priest and the altar boys. Meanwhile the congregation said their beads or read private devotional books. And as for Palesttrina, forget that. We heard mostly old Victorian saws or the kind of Italian operatic pieces that Pius X so hated.
Thank you for posting this!! It is my recollection from childhood. There was no air conditioning. The church in summer was hot, packed with sweaty bodies, the priest mumbled, the altar boys responded, the nuns used their clickers to let us know when to stand or kneel, the choir sang and we were nothing more than observers. As you pointed out, many in the congregation applied themselves to praying the rosary because it was nearly impossible to follow along with the mass. Now that it has practically faded into history, memories of those who miss it fixate on certain elements, like the Litany of the Saints.
Those who were never coffered into these cramped churches, romanticize what they imagine the mass must have been. They point to 'church attendance' as an indicator of how excellent it was. Nonsense! The churches were packed from fear of eternal damnation, which is what we were guaranteed if we missed Sunday Mass.
I am no fan of the new liturgy, and totally disdain the novelties introduced in the US that have robbed the Mass of its reverence, but it irks me immensely when I read the fantacies of those who never experienced the 'real' Latin Mass.
We need to say this after Mass again, Your Holiness. We really need St. Michael's protection now!
Haven't been called "Your Holiness" before.
I kinda like it. *Grins*