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Sunday, 11 March 2007

Latin used as a sacred language

Fr Nicholas Schofield had an interesting post the other day (Sacred Language) reporting on a talk given by Fr Michael Lang (left) to the Giffard Club.

From the post:
Fr Lang spoke of the importance of sacral languages, which are, by their nature, ‘conservative’ and different from everyday spoken languages. The important point was made that, when the liturgical language of the Roman Rite changed from Greek to Latin in the early centuries, this was not an example of vernacularisation (as the likes of Bishop Trautman have claimed) – the aim was not to make the liturgy more understandable. After all, those speaking Gothic or Punic would not have found a Latin liturgy more ‘accessible,’ and the Latin that was used was highly stylised (see the structure of the collects, for example).
I understand that the material for the lecture may be published as a book in due course. This would be another major contribution from Fr Lang to the current liturgical debate. He has written on the question of facing eastward for the celebration of the Mass ("Turning Towards the Lord" - Ignatius). He has also written questioning the received view of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari which presents it as an ancient example of a "Eucharistic Prayer" which does not include the words of consecration.
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