Thursday, January 17, 2008


Previous parts:
Pars prima / Pars secunda / Pars tertia / Pars quarta
Pars quinta / Pars sexta / Pars septua / Pars octa

Section I - Latin in the Liturgy

61. The use of the vernacular is the norm in most liturgical celebrations in the dioceses of the United States “for the sake of a better comprehension of the mystery being celebrated.” However, care should be taken to foster the role of Latin in the Liturgy, particularly in liturgical song. Pastors should ensure “that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.” They should be able to sing these parts of the Mass proper to them, at least according to the simpler melodies.

Very few do that, unfortunately. My most recent former pastor did, however. As badly as things went sour in the end, I do commend him for his want for Latin, even with some nasty complaints from some of the people (including an e-mail I got from one person just hours after I started teaching part of Gloria VIII, stating that I am singlehandedly driving people out of the parish). We taught Sanctus XVIII and Agnus XVIII in my first year, Mortem Tuam in my second, and Gloria VIII my third year. In fact, before I had gotten to Holy Ghost, the pastor was leading the Sanctus and Agnus a cappella with the people. I urge more pastors to take that route. Just don't fire your music director in the process if your congregation starts getting bitter over it.

62. At international and multicultural gatherings of different language groups, it is most appropriate to celebrate the Liturgy in Latin, “with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful.” In addition, “selections of Gregorian chant should be sung” at such gatherings, whenever possible.

Ah, this is what I had pointed out at the end of pars octa.

63. To facilitate the singing of texts in Latin, the singers should be trained in its correct pronunciation and understand its meaning. To the greatest extent possible and applicable, singers and choir directors are encouraged to deepen their familiarity with the Latin language.


64. Whenever the Latin language poses an obstacle to singers, even after sufficient training has been provided—for example, in pronunciation, understanding of the text, or confident rendition of a piece—it would be more prudent to employ a vernacular language in the Liturgy.

I often find this paragraph a chance for those who are simply against Latin in the first place to "act dumb". I've run into at least a couple of choirs that would "act dumb" if there was a particular piece of music that didn't fit their little agenda.

65. Seminarians should “receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate
Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant.”

I couldn't agree more!

66. In promoting the use of Latin in the Liturgy, pastors should always “employ that form
of participation which best matches the capabilities of each congregation.”

I fully believe the average adult has the capabilities. It's the will (or lack thereof) that creates the issue. If people are willing to try something, they'll get it, more likely than not.

Of course, I'm not saying "fully immerse them with Latin in one sweeping blow". It just won't work. Bits at a time is sufficient, especially for those who haven't had any Latin except for singing the Latin endings of Immaculate Mary, O Most Holy One, and Hail, holy Queen enthroned above. And keep repeating those bits until it sinks into their heads. That's what we did at Holy Ghost over my three years there. We would teach the Latin Ordinary in the order I mentioned between paragraphs 61 and 62, above. We'd start it in November, and use it weekly until Easter. After Easter, we would use the Latin Ordinary on the last Sunday of each month, even during the summer months. During Lent, we did it weekly, as it gave me something to do a cappella.

In pars decima, we start covering "the different kinds of music".

No comments: