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sábado, 11 de abril de 2015

Why is Latin the Church’s official language? Why attend Mass in a foreign language?

Why is Latin the Church’s official language?

When the apostles first carried Christ’s Good News to the world, they traveled throughout the Roman Empire, which governed most of the lands around the Mediterranean Sea and in western Europe.  Since the Romans spoke Latin, this language was one used by many people at that time, much as today many people in the world know English because it is economically and socially advantageous to do so. As the Roman Empire disintegrated in the 4th and 5th centuries, the emerging Church, led by the Bishop of Rome, stepped in to provide a stabilizing cultural force, and through the centuries has retained the use of Latin in official communications as a means to unity.

The Latin language is the national property of no one people, yet, through learning, can be common to all.  This feature makes it especially appropriate for a universal Church. The use of Latin by the Church started as a happenstance of history and geography, but has enabled the Church to maintain unity amidst the disciples she has made of all nations.

Why attend Mass in a foreign language?

Over twenty approved rites of Catholic liturgy are in use worldwide. Many of these have never used Latin but have always been in the native language of the local people. The retention of Latin for the liturgy was a particular feature of west European liturgical development, and extended likewise to areas of the world evangelized by west European missionaries.

Most of the faithful who attend the Latin Mass do not know Latin. So why do some still prefer the Latin Mass? They choose the Latin Mass not because of an attachment to the language, but because they believe it enhances their spiritual lives:

They find the Latin Mass beautiful. The magnificence and solemnity of the Latin Mass are the Church’s way of giving back to God grateful worship for all that He has given us. Those devoted to it believe beautiful liturgy reverently offered illuminates the mystery of God’s very Presence among us. The rich sensory experience of a Traditional Latin Mass reminds them that the Mass is a foretaste of the heavenly liturgy we will celebrate in the New Jerusalem at the end of time.

They are uplifted by a quiet reverence that is displayed before, during and after Mass. They pray quietly before Mass begins (or remain quiet so as not to disturb others at prayer), and offer prayers of thanksgiving once Mass is over. They find the dignity and formality of the Latin Mass conducive to an encounter with the Divine.

They appreciate that Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is central in the sanctuary. They show Him reverence in traditional ways of posture and quiet demeanor.

The Gregorian Chant sung in the Latin Mass enriches them. The Church has used this manner of singing her public prayers for many centuries. They find chant to be “poetry which sings on earth the mysteries of heaven and prepares us for the canticles of eternity.”