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Monday, 20 November 2006

Thawing out Latin

I realise that I am rather late with this one but I coulnd't let Cardinal Arinze's recent speech at the Archdiocese of St. Louis Gateway Liturgical Conference pass without notice. You can read the report from Catholic News Agency - I haven't found a copy of the complete speech anywhere but would welcome a link in the combox if you have seen it.

The characteristically memorable phrase is that the Latin language is currently in the ecclesiastical refrigerator. He also reportedly suggested that larger parishes offer Mass in Latin at least once a week and that smaller, rural parishes offer it at least once a month. He made it clear that he was speaking of the Novus Ordo and that homilies should always be in the vernacular. (I know of one exception to this but I suppose that for those in Reginald Foster's classes, Latin is the vernacular.)

My parish had no Latin when I came here. I have introduced it occasionally and have celebrated the old rite from time to time with a fair bit of interest from some parishioners. There have been one or two complaints and I am always anxious to introduce such changes gradually and with some explanation and catechesis. Recently, I have felt a pang of conscience that as a priest really enthusiastic about Latin, I have not brought it in more in my own parish.

It is great to have such specific encouragement from the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship. The parish is medium-sized, so to start with, I will say Mass in Latin each Saturday morning and once a month for the main Sunday Mass. I have promised to produce a leaflet for people explaining why the Church uses Latin in the Liturgy. When I get round to doing it, I will post it here in the hope of receiving some helpful suggestions for improvement.

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