Sunday, November 12, 2006

Cardinal Arinze on Mass in Latin

From Saint Louis Today:

In his address on Saturday, titled, "Language in the Latin Rite Liturgy: Latin and Vernacular," Arinze said the Roman church used Greek in its early years, but was "Latinized" in the fourth century. "The Roman rite has Latin as its official language," he said. The great religions of the world all "hold on" to their founding languages — Judaism to Hebrew and Aramaic, Islam to Arabic, Hindu to Sanskrit and Buddhism to Pali.

"Is it a small matter," he asked, for priests or bishops from around the world to be able to speak to each other in universal language of the church? Or for "a million students" who gather for World Youth Day every few years "to be able to say parts of the Mass in Latin?"

In an hourlong, often humorous, address that received several standing ovations, Arinze suggested that, in order to give Catholics options, large parishes offer the Mass in Latin at least once a week, and in smaller, rural parishes, at least once a month. (Homilies, he said, should always be in the faithful's native language.) Latin "suits a church that is universal. It has a stability modern languages don't have," he said.

Last month Vatican officials said Pope Benedict XVI would soon loosen restrictions on the Latin, or Tridentine, Mass. In the 1960s the Second Vatican Council approved the use of vernacular translations of the Tridentine Mass, and today most Catholics are familiar with the celebration of Mass in their own languages.

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