Just two weeks ago at my local parish I was rather surprised when the children’s choir sang the opening hymn in Latin. I think, despite recent Papal encouragement of both Latin and the Tridentine mass, that Latin is now an inappropriate language to use for the Roman Catholic Mass.

My reasons are many, but I will boil them down here.

Primus, Latin isn’t old enough. The use of Latin is, in fact, a recent development dating to only the 6 century. Before that, Greek was used.

Secendus, although some claim virtue by using a sacred language, they can not escape the fact that Latin, in fact, uses a secular alphabet providing no sense of mystery. Consider the bilingual missal where you will see IESUS on the Latin side. Consider the mystery present in Ἰησοῦς. Be honest — aside from context who Ἰησοῦς is a mystery. See?

Tertius, and again diminishing the mystery provided by Latin, the ‘missal Latin’ commonly presented uses punctuation and spacing, a 15th century innovation. Not to mention lower case.

Quartus, although some claim that Latin unifies us across time and space with other Catholics, this in fact is not true. It deliberately excludes the Eastern Rites (to make no mention of the Chaldean).

I hope you know where this is all heading. Latin just isn’t good enough. Never settle for second best in your liturgies — demand Ancient Greek. Good enough for the Gospels, good enough for you.

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