Monday, May 21, 2007

Ghetto Catholicism

~from the Boston Catholic Journal

Face it: in the English speaking world --- and probably most other countries --- we have become so smug in our own little corner of Catholicism that we find it far more acceptable to "pray in tongues" which no one understands and never will, than to abandon our provincial arrogance and pray in Latin which many of us do not presently understand but can easily learn. There is something comfortable in the exclusivity of our ethnic and cultural ghettos where we express Catholicism on our terms, even if it isolates us from the rest of the Catholic world.

Consider this: of the 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide (according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations), all pray in Arabic, although only 80% understand Arabic. Wherever a Muslim goes, nothing separates him from his brother in prayer and worship.

Orthodox, among many other Jews, pray in Hebrew. At http://www.jewfaq.org/prayer.htm , it is argued that, "There are many good reasons for praying in Hebrew... it provides a link to Jews all over the world ... and is the language of Jewish thought."

Why, then, are some Catholics so scandalized by the prospect of praying in Latin?

Arabic is mandatory in Islam.

Hebrew is strongly encouraged in Judaism.

Except in Saudi Arabia and Israel, neither language that is used in prayer is the vernacular. Where is the problem for Muslims? Where is the problem for Jews? They hold a common (but not vernacular) language to bind them despite distance and diversity. But we are Catholics! Not mindless and backwards Muslims and Jews ... right?

We are much more "progressive" and "enlightened". Hebrew is okay for Jews who do not speak Hebrew, and Arabic is okay for Muslims who do not speak Arabic, but Latin is unacceptable for Catholics who do not speak Latin ...? What are we implying by this ... to our fellow religionists?

Our Holy Father, despite the predictably bad press, is rightly attempting to re-establish an egregiously breached continuity in the Church ... a vital continuity that pertains to an identity inseparable from Catholicism; one which has always unified Catholics throughout the world in language as well as teaching, and bringing with it a sacred dignity to worship, in place of the often mindless but trendy inanities Catholics must now endure at Mass in both the Liturgy and the appalling music.

If it is presently "correct" that Catholics are to be bashed for using Latin, then it would appear that we must bash Muslims and Jews as well. Oddly enough, we are inclined to do the one and carefully refrain from the other ...

Pourquoi? Warum? Perchè? Cur? ... in other words, in American, "how come, huh?"

Read the whole thing

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

it is a lot of nonsense since few in the clergy today understand latin and will not have neither time, energy, intelligence nor motivation to learn it beyond Pater Noster
Roman subject

Dim Bulb said...

I'm not against widespread usage of Latin so long as it is not forced upon anyone. I found this article poorly reasoned.

Arabic is mandatory in Islam. Hebrew is strongly encouraged in Judaism...If it is presently "correct" that Catholics are to be bashed for using Latin, then it would appear that we must bash Muslims and Jews as well.

But what does Rome have to do with Mecca or Jerusalem? On the day of Pentecost the apostles spoke in many different languages as a sign of the Church's universal mission. I cannot for the life of me see why some people insist on seeing the using of the vernacular language as a bad thing (the translations used are another matter).

Orthodox, among many other Jews, pray in Hebrew. At http://www.jewfaq.org/prayer.htm , it is argued that, "There are many good reasons for praying in Hebrew... it provides a link to Jews all over the world ... and is the language of Jewish thought.

What links the Church together is the Holy Spirit. The Syriac Fathers wrote in Syriac, The Greek in Greek, the Chaldean in Chaldean.

Our Holy Father, despite the predictably bad press, is rightly attempting to re-establish an egregiously breached continuity in the Church ... a vital continuity that pertains to an identity inseparable from Catholicism; one which has always unified Catholics throughout the world in language as well as teaching, and bringing with it a sacred dignity to worship, in place of the often mindless but trendy inanities Catholics must now endure at Mass in both the Liturgy and the appalling music

"Always unified Catholics?"Latin was not ever and will not be the Catholic-wide language of the Church's worship. The author has apparently confused the Latin Rite with the Catholic Church in totu