23 June 2007

Get some popcorn... this should be good.

You might want to head over to Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s blog, Standing on My Head. He’s got a post called Latin Questions, where he asks the following questions which he is raising after attending a celebration of the Tridentine Mass:

1. If the Latin language is so wonderful, why is it inaudible on purpose?

2. How does the priest reading the Scripture in Latin with his back to the people inaudibly in a language they don't understand help the people of God to hear and understand the Word of God?

3. How does no hymns and a choir singing in Gregorian chant help the people to particpate in the Mass, or have I got this wrong and the people are not intended to participate in the Mass at all? If so, is this better?

4. How does it help the people to understand what is going on at the Mass when they can't see what is happening at the altar, can't understand the language, and can't hear what the priest is saying?

5. I've heard it said that the Latin language is 'ancient and mystical' and that having the Mass in a dead language assists the worship by making it more mysterious. But the Mass was first translated into Latin from Greek because Latin was the vernacular at the time. In other words, it was put into Latin so people could understand it. Isn't the veneration of Latin therefore artificial?

6. If one really wants an ancient, dead language that is mysterious, why don't we have the Mass in Aramaic or Syriac, which are the dead ancient languages closest to what our Lord himself would have spoken? Why is Latin so special?

The comments are beginning to roll in. This should get interesting.

UPDATE: Shawn Tribe writes an interesting and helpful response to Fr. Longenecker's questions.