Saturday, July 22, 2017


Posted by Tim

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "THIS IS WHY I AM NOT AFRAID": 

Just a question to ask: In Yona, the Priest Fr. Andre said the Norvus Ordo mass in Latin translations. I learned that the latin language should only be used for the Traditional Tridentine Mass. What is your view? 

Dear Anonymous, I don't have a view, but I can direct you to the official instruction of the Magisterium of the Holy Catholic Church. 

Indeed, if Fr. Andre said the "Novus Ordo" (aka the Mass of Paul VI) in Latin, then he has provided you a rare example of full compliance with what Vatican II required. 

The CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY, SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM, solemnly promulgated by His Holiness, Pope Paul VI, on December 4, 1963, required:
36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.
A "Constitution" is the highest form of a church document, and Sacrosanctum was the very first document to be promulgated at Vatican II.

The use of the vernacular was permitted only partially, and was meant primarily to apply to the readings:
2. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters.
My guess is that Fr. Andre said the Mass exactly as Vatican II required, with the readings and some, if not all of the Propers, in English, and the Ordinary (the Canon) in Latin. 

The challenge with most Vatican II documents is that while the Council made very clear demands, it left holes in these same demands by almost always handing over the ultimate authority to the "territorial ecclesiastical authority," as does SC in the very next paragraph:
3. These norms being observed, it is for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, to decide whether, and to what extent, the vernacular language is to be used; their decrees are to be approved, that is, confirmed, by the Apostolic See. And, whenever it seems to be called for, this authority is to consult with bishops of neighboring regions which have the same language.
But even with this, we can see that Latin was to remain the primary language of the Mass, with the use of vernacular as something needing permission. 

Also, the current General Instruction of the Roman Missal underlines the same: Latin is the "official" language of the liturgy and the vernacular is something that is "permitted":
12. ... Since no Catholic would now deny the lawfulness and efficacy of a sacred rite celebrated in Latin, the Council was also able to grant that “the use of the vernacular language may frequently be of great advantage to the people” and gave the faculty for its use.
Many wonder why should Latin be retained if no one can understand it? 

First, there is no need to "understand" it. At Mass, the priest is the "alter Christus," another Christ. He acts "inpersonna Christi," in the person of Christ. At Mass, and more precisely in the "Liturgy of the Eucharist" (as opposed to the Liturgy of the Word) Jesus Christ offers himself to his Father. It is Christ himself speaking to his Father, NOT TO US. Our "participation" at this point is to place ourselves at the foot of Christ on the Cross on Calvary.

But to a practical point, any decent modern missal has both the Latin and the English printed in it, such as this one.  And since the Ordinary of the Mass, the Canon, is usually the same (or with certain small variations), it won't be long before any attentive Mass goer knows exactly what is being said. 

Another reason for the preservation of Latin as the primary language of the Mass was demonstrated a few years ago when the English speaking churches were essentially forced to quit using the English translation of the Mass they had been using for forty years, and to "fix" it (as instructed to do by John Paul II in Liturgiam Authenticam) . Every translation is also an interpretation, and the English translation of the Mass which most people my age grew up with was not only weak, but imparted questionable theology. 

Lastly, the General Instruction acknowledges the modern challenge of a world in which
41. ...faithful from different countries come together ever more frequently, it is fitting that they know how to sing together at least some parts of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin, especially the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, set to the simpler melodies.
Well done, Fr. Andre.


  1. Masses at the Vatican in St. Peter's Basilica is said per Norvus Ordo. Mostly Latin, but some other language with readings and other parts. Latin is a beautiful language when said melodically. Our priests should say mass according to Norvus Ordo, with a mix of Latin and English according to the SC.

  2. I grew up in a "post-Vatican II" world and was taught "post Vatican II" prayers. I am only now becoming comfortable with the revised translation of parts of the mass implemented a few years ago. "Old habits die hard" and I sometimes revert to the translations I grew up with until I catch my mistake and get back on track.

    I have friends and relatives who grew up in the "pre-Vatican II" world and Latin mass. Many of them say they didn't understand what was being said back then. I am grateful to know what is going on during the mass and would be able to follow along with the Latin mass (with guidance from a missal). It may be a struggle to get used to something unfamiliar but we can learn.

    Thank you, Fr. Andre, and other priests who are doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do. Are you going to hear some of the congregation grumbling and complaining? YES! (They also complain when mass coincides with the playoff / championship games.) So don't let that discourage you.

    1. Yes, I'm familiar with those that say they didn't understand when the Mass was in Latin. Funny, that same Mass in Latin is what sustained the Chamorro people through centuries of hardship and the mega-brutality of the Japanese occupation. And since making it "understandable" our churches have emptied. Wow.

  3. I became Catholic in 1977 and was not taught any traditional prayers in my RCIA program. So in confession when the priest says, "Make the Act of Contrition," I have to admit I don't know how.