Saturday, June 4, 2011

Church Latin Was Never the Everyday Language of the People

Editor: If you're queezy about the tone of the article from the, just look at the arguments and conclusions from Father Lang. He's right you know.

At Least the New Massbook will Orient Itself on the Sacral Latin Language

The backwoods Council discovered the national languages exactly at the moment, when these were increasingly losing their significance after the end of Nationalism and National Socialism.

(, Vatikan) In every form of religion there is a sacral language -- Sanskrit in Hinduism, Pali in Buddhism or Koran-Arabic in Islam.

This was explained by German Oratorian, Father Uwe Michael Lang, this 30. May on the neo-Conservative snooze site, 'Zenit'.

Father Lang is a collaborator of the Roman Liturgical Congregation.

There are No Stable People's Languages

In Christian services there were -- says Father Lang -- in the course of history a variety of languages in use:

-Greek in the Byzantine Tradition,

-The language of the old oriental like Syriach, Armenian, Georgian, Coptic and Ethiopian,

-Church Slavonic.

-Ltain of the Roman and successors in the Western Rites.

Father Lang stresses that the increasingly stylized forms of speech were established. They differ from the common language:

"Often this division follows a linguistic development in the common language, which does not occur in the Liturgical language because of its sacred character."

Church Latin has been from start to finish -- probably also because of its regression to older Latin speech forms -- differentiated from daily Latin speech.

The Romans did not speak in the style of the canons or the Mass prayers -- Father Long stresses:

"As soon as Greek was displaced in the Roman Liturgy by Latin, a significantly stylized language was used, which serve in the service and which would have been very difficult for the average late antique Christian in Rome to understand."

Father Lang also pointed out that the Latin Liturgy would not have been understood by the Catholic Goths, Celts, Iberians and Punic peoples:

"All the same -- thanks to the foresight of the Church of rome and the unifying power of the Papacy -- Latin was the only Liturgical Language of Christendom, and consequently the foundation of Western culture."

The Council Fathers Limped Behind the Times

At this point Father Lang made a noteworthy about face.

Actually he had still shown that the Church Latin at no time part of the common language and generally understood.

Actually now he speaks of a growing "Gap between the Liturgical Lating and the people's language with the development of the national cultures and languages in Europe."

This -- which in any case existed during the entire history of the Church -- situation has "not promoted" supposedly "the active participation of the Faithful in the Liturgy".

For that reason the Pastoral Council desired to promote the use of the mother language -- said the priest.

The council Fathers had not intended that Latin would be displaced by the National languages -- Father Lang said as he attempted to rescue the long discredited honor of the Pastoral Council:

"The linguistic splintering of the Catholic Liturgy was so widely advanced that many Faithful these days can hardly recite any other prayers than an "Our Father" together --- he lamented.

In reality, the back woods Council had discovered National Languages exactly at the moment as these were just increasingly losing their importance after the end of Nationalism and National Socialism in the wake of US-Hegemony.

Link to original...


Giancarlo Ciccia said...

The only problem with this grand theory, as with so many others, is that it is simply not true. I don't, of course, expect the reverend Fr. Lang to have read the sermons of the Western Fathers (including those of the 'Punic' St. Augustine) in their original Latin, which are equally if not more beautifully crated than the Missal. Is he suggesting that the likes of St. Ambrose spoke up to 15 minutes to their congregations without a care as to whether anybody understood a word? What a farce. What the good Brompton Oratorian is unwilling to say, simply because he is a neo conservatist on the surface and probably a modernist at heart, is that the Latin language should be maintained in the liturgy, simply because it is superior in style, expression, literature, universality, age, and any other category anyone might care to mention to all the modern vernacular languages. This does not mean that Italian, English, and a few other modern languages are not worthy of our esteem. In fact, they are vastly superior to the varied collection of clicks and grunts spoken the world over currently and historicaly (and not a little of this is due because of their close association with Classical literature.) Yet, between Italian and English literature on the one side, and Latin on the other, there is an abysmal chasm the clergy refuse to acknowledge, not because of some misguided pastoral concern for the 'ignorant' laity, but their own incapacity to cross that gap and taste the riches of their own tradition. What a pity.

Tancred said...

The Sermons have always been in the common speech, whether Germans, Wends, Lombards or Cimbrians, but the common speech isn't what the Liturgy is.

It's hard to see, in any case, where you disagree with Fr. Lang at all. He's simply saying that the liturgical Latin used by the Church was always higher, or more archaizing than that used by the common people, who were, despite what linguistic demoticists insist in their yarn for egalitarianism, enriched by their special, holy, sacral, liturgical language.