Saturday, June 26, 2021


Dictionary : VERNACULAR IN LITURGY Catholic Dictionary Term VERNACULAR IN LITURGY Definition The use of the common spoken language of the people in the Catholic liturgy. It was authorized on principle by the Second Vatican Council, declaring that "since the use of the vernacular, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or in other parts of the liturgy, may frequently be of great advantage to the people, a wider use may be made of it" (Constitution on the Liturgy, I, 36). In practice, within ten years of the Council, the vernacular became the norm in the Roman Rite, and the use of Latin the exception. All translations had to be approved by the Holy See. To obviate difficulties about meaning, Rome declared that "a vernacular translation of a sacramental formula . . . must be understood in accordance with the mind of the Church as expressed in the original Latin text" (Instauratio Liturgica, January 25, 1974). (Etym. Latin vernaculus, domestic; from verna, native slave, probably from Etruscan.)

Language Barriers

Language Barriers Stephen P. White THURSDAY, JUNE 17, 2021 Liturgy can be a very divisive and contentious matter in the life of the Church. It is a sad reality that the setting in which we are most perfectly united to each other – literally “in communion” with one another – can become a source of division and disunity. It is one thing when these division arise over aesthetic preferences, or generational divides, or even serious disagreements about the theology of the Eucharist. But in recent decades there’s been another kind of division that has received much less notice. It begins with a story we all know well by now: The Second Vatican Council opened to the promise of a new engagement of the Church with the modern world but was followed promptly by a period of dramatic upheaval in Catholic life. Men abandoned the priesthood; monasteries and (especially) convents emptied; Catholic marriage rates began a long decline from which they have not recovered; Mass attendance fell; sacramental discipline evaporated. And, of course, there were the changes to the Mass: a new rite, versus populum, and in the vernacular. There were, of course, good reasons for the Second Vatican Council to allow the celebration of Mass in the vernacular, just as there were also good reasons the Council explicitly called for the preservation of Latin as the norm for the Latin rite, as it did in Sacrosanctum Concilium (“On the Sacred Liturgy”). [T]he use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. I don’t know what fraction of Catholics have ever read Sacrosanctum Concilium, but I doubt very much that it is even one in fifty. Most Catholic have no idea that what the Council actually said about liturgy – about a lot of things, really. There’s no clearer instance of the actual words of the Council being countermanded in practice by the “Spirit of the Council” than in the liturgy. But this isn’t a column about all that. At least not exactly. In the United States, Mass in the vernacular doesn’t necessarily mean Mass in English. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles, to pick one example, is home to some 4.3 million Catholics. Mass is regularly celebrated within the archdiocese in 42 different languages. In all that multiplicity and diversity, we see all the nations of the earth sharing in the one sacrifice of the Mass. * Viewed from one perspective, this is a remarkable testament to the universality of the faith – to its catholicity. The Church, in proclaiming the Good News and celebrating the Eucharist, is truly a light to all the nations. Viewed from another perspective, however, it is a reminder of how Catholics, especially in a place as diverse as Los Angeles, can be separated by language at the very moment when the communion of the Church – its oneness – is, or ought to be, most evident. Mass in the vernacular can create a deep separation, based on language, between Catholic communities within the same local Church and even that same parish. This is not always, or even usually, a hostile separation. More often, what happens is that communities that share a common faith, live in a common place, and even share a church building, have very little cause or occasion to interact with each other. This is perhaps especially true of the one place they ought to be most united: the Mass. Of course, there is only one perfect sacrifice of Christ, so every Mass is, in some real sense, a participation in the same reality, regardless of language, rite, place, or time. We shouldn’t dismiss or discount that fundamental reality. But neither should we discount the importance of worshiping together with other people in a shared space in a particular time. You need not be in a place as exceptionally diverse as Los Angeles to see the challenge presented by local churches divided liturgically along linguistic lines. Virtually every diocese in the United States has a Spanish-speaking minority that is large and growing. If all the Spanish-speaking Catholics go to one Mass and everyone else goes to another, where do the two parishes-within-the-parish meet? It is easy to celebrate diversity and appreciate the unique differences and contributions highlighted, but how do these communities become one? In the past, one of the most pressing pastoral questions the Church had to face regarding immigrant communities was one of cultural integration. And while the old urban-ethnic enclaves of the Northeast and Rust Belt may have had parishes divided by ethnicity (St. Joseph parish for the Italians, St. Stanislaus parish for the Poles, St. Patrick for the Irish, St. Boniface for the Germans, etc.) the liturgy celebrated in each was largely the same. If liturgy was once the universal common denominator for Catholics the world over, it no longer is. At least not in the way it once was. None of this is meant as a criticism of pastoral efforts aimed at ethnic (or linguistic) minorities. These are good and necessary, and likely to become more important, not less, in the future. It is simply to point out one unintended (and underappreciated) consequence of liturgy in the vernacular. My concern is less about cultural or linguistic assimilation than it is about solidarity. In the coming years and decades, the Church in the United States is likely to have to draw on every available source of solidarity. Returning to our common liturgical language for all or most Masses in the United States, or even in a given diocese, is unlikely to happen anytime soon. But a concerted effort to strengthen a shared ecclesial life – and especially shared liturgical life – across linguistic barriers ought to be a pastoral priority. *Image: The Mass of Saint Gregory the Great by Adriaen Isenbrandt, early to mid-16th century [J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles]

Pope Francis: Mass in vernacular helps people understand God, live the faith

Pope Francis: Mass in vernacular helps people understand God, live the faith Pope Francis: Mass in vernacular helps people understand God, live the faith Mar 9, 2015 by Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service Vatican ROME — Allowing priests to celebrate Mass in the language of the local congregation rather than in Latin allowed the faithful to understand and be encouraged by the word of God, Pope Francis said. "You cannot turn back. We have to always go forward, always forward and who goes back is making a mistake," he told parishioners after commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first time a pope celebrated Mass in the vernacular following the Second Vatican Council. "Let us give thanks to the Lord for what he has done in his church in these 50 years of liturgical reform. It was really a courageous move by the church to get closer to the people of God so that they could understand well what it does, and this is important for us: to follow Mass like this," he said as he left Rome's Church of All Saints on Saturday. On the same date in 1965, Pope Paul VI publicly celebrated Mass in Italian for the first time in accordance with the norms established by the Second Vatican Council. In his homily at the parish, Pope Francis said people need to be able to connect the liturgy to their own lives. "The liturgy isn't something odd, over there, far away" that has no bearing on one's everyday life, he said. "The church calls us to have and promote an authentic liturgical life so that there can be harmony between what the liturgy celebrates and what we live out" with the aim of expressing in life what has been received in faith. He said the Second Vatican Council's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, defined the liturgy as "the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit." While the liturgy is, in part, about doctrine and ritual, its real essence is to be "a source of life and light for our journey of faith," he said. Going to church is not just about observing one's duty and "feeling right with a God who then must not be too 'bothersome'" afterward in one's daily life, he said. People go to church "to encounter the Lord and find in his grace at work in the sacraments the strength to think and act according to the Gospel," he said. "Therefore, we cannot fool ourselves, entering into the Lord's house and, with prayers and devotional practices, 'covering up' behaviors that are contrary to the demands of justice, honesty and charity toward others," Pope Francis said. Authentic worship and liturgical celebrations should lead people toward "a real conversion" of heart by letting them hear "the voice of the Lord, who guides them along the path of rectitude and Christian perfection." Just like Jesus sought to "cleanse" or purify the temple by driving out the moneychangers, people must continue to be committed to "the purification and inner cleansing of the church," the pope said, so that it be a spiritual place and not a superficial place of worship "made of material sacrifices and based on personal interests." The pope said he hoped that commemorating the first papal Mass in the vernacular rather than Latin would remind people that the house of God is meant to be a source of spiritual strength, where they can hear his word and feel "not like foreigners but as brothers and sisters" who are united in their love for Christ.

My Fair Lady - Why Can't The English?