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THE USE OF LATIN

Pope John XXIII's recommendations on the use of Latin: "The employment of Latin has recently been contested in some quarters, and many are asking what the mind of the Apostolic See is in this matter. We have therefore decided to issue the timely directives contained in this document, so as to ensure that the ancient and uninterrupted use of Latin be maintained and, where necessary, restored..." (Pope John XXIII, Feb 22, 1962, Veterum Sapientia)

Pope John Paul II's recommendation on Latin VATICAN, Feb 21, 2002 -- Pope John Paul II recommended the use of Latin in the Roman liturgy and in seminary training... In a message to a conference held at the Salesian University in Rome, the (then) Holy Father emphasized that Latin remains the official language of the Catholic Church, and expressed his desire that "the love of that language would grow ever strong " among candidates for the priesthood. The Pope's message itself was written in Latin, and read by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State. The conference to which the Pope addressed this message was commemorating the 40th anniversary of Veterum Sapientia, the apostolic constitution in which Pope John XXIII wrote of the importance of Latin as an important part of "the patrimony of human civilization." Pope John Paul underlined the same message, pointing out that the use of Latin is an indispensable condition for a proper relationship between modernity and antiquity, for dialogue among different cultures, and for reaffirming the identity of the Catholic priesthood.

Pope Benedict urges catholics to learn prayers in Latin Presenting the new "Compendium of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church" Pope Benedict has urged Catholics around the world to memorize the most common Catholic prayers in Latin. Learning the prayers in Latin as well as in one's own language will help Christian faithful of different languages [to] pray together, especially when they gather for special circumstances the Pope said on 28 June 2005 as he distributed the Italian version of the compendium, which included an appendix with the Latin texts of many traditional prayers, including the Sign of the Cross, the Gloria, the Hail Mary and Come, Holy Spirit. The Pope said he hoped the compendium, a 200-page synthesis of the voluminous 1992 catechism, would give Catholics and non-Catholics easy access to the basic and essential tenets of the Catholic faith.

Could loss of Latin from the liturgy affect our faith?

"The traditionally associated language of any ethnocultural collectivity is associated with the total ethnocultural pattern of that collectivity at a particular time and place. [For example,] Jews who have not lost their familiarity with Hebrew have lived a different daily life-pattern (a different Jewishness) than have Jews who did not, regardless of whether both groups continued to call themselves Jews and to be so called by others. The discontinuance of Hebrew in daily life was often lamented by rabbis and other Jewish community leaders (rabbis are not merely religious spokesmen; they are often community leaders in all other respects as well), because this discontinuance was associated with other profound changes as well: with a greater incidence of leaving the historic homeland, with a greater incidence of non-observance of then-current traditions, with a greater incidence of intermarriage, with a greater incidence of new customs (not hallowed as were the original ones), with a greater incidence of mispronunciation of hallowed ritual texts - all in all, therefore, with a greater incidence of culture change... Language shift generally and basically involves culture change..." Joshua Fishman, Reversing Language Shift, pp16.