Dec 23 2009

Latin News

Along with my blogging, I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from my Latin lessons lately, but that’ll change after Christmas.  There’s just been too much going on between work and holidays, but I should be able to spend more time on these side projects soon.

Anyway, it looks like I’m going to get a chance to teach Latin to real people in person.  We’re going to start a second, slower-paced Latin class at St. Rose, which will start over at the beginning, taking more time to go over some of the concepts people are having trouble with, and probably taking more time to review some English grammar that you really need to understand if you’re going to get Latin.  My vague plan is to go as slow as people need to, and make sure they get it, so I hope people will ask a lot of questions and stop me if I get to going too fast.  I’ve done some tutoring before, but I’ve never taught in a classroom setting, so it should be interesting.

The class should start soon after the first of the year.  If anyone is interested who hasn’t been to Father Devillers’s class before, please contact me, as we need to determine what night would be best for everyone’s schedule.  We’re probably looking at Monday or Tuesday, but I’d like to pick a time that’s best for everyone.  People are also welcome to attend both classes, if they like.  I certainly won’t mind if I’ve got students smart enough to correct me if I make mistakes!  The rectory has the textbooks, which I think are $10 or $15.

I’ve also started putting the Latin Mass propers that I make up for Sundays and Holy Days on a side page here on my blog, free for anyone’s use.  Maybe I can save someone else the trouble of copying and pasting and proofreading that I’ve gone through for the past year.  We’re almost up to where Fr. D. started saving them last year, so I won’t have to do them most weeks, so I’ll have time to re-proof them and publish them online.

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12 Comments

  • Andy Flachs says:

    Why study a dead language?

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    • Aaron says:

      For several reasons. Latin is one of the main foundations for English, and even more so for several European languages. So learning Latin improves your English and makes it easier to learn other languages. It’s also the language many classics are written in, so if you get serious about it you can read classic literature in the original language. Along the same lines, it’s the official language of the Catholic Church, so Church documents are released in Latin and then translated into other languages, and translations are never perfect. If you can read the original, you can get closer to the original meaning. With the Traditional Latin Mass returning to common use, it’s actually not a dead language at all, since we use it every day. Many legal and scientific terms come directly from Latin, so an understanding of the language will help you know those terms without having to memorize them by rote.

      And it’s fun!

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  • Andy Flachs says:

    “With the Traditional Latin Mass returning to common use”

    That is funny as I don’t recall the “Traditional Latin Mass” being used in our Catholic Church. Common or uncommon?

    For those that have converted or baptised since Vatican II the Latin Mass means nothing to us. Expect to relive the past a past that has no memory for many Catholics.

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    • Aaron says:

      I didn’t say it was returning to common use in every parish. But it’s no longer being suppressed, and bishops are required by Pope Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum to do what they can to make it available to people who ask for it. The biggest hold-up right now is the amount of time it takes to train new priests in the rite.

      For people like you and me who grew up after Vatican II, you’re right that we have no memory of it. That’s our loss, but fortunately, we can change that. Hundreds of churches around the country now offer the Latin Mass, and that number is growing steadily. That’s what I meant by “common use.” In many areas, even little Quincy, people can commonly attend the Latin Mass every day, which certainly wasn’t the case a couple years ago. Far more people now have the opportunity to experience the Mass which formed people like St. Francis and St. Teresa of Avila and thousands of other saints.

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  • Andy Flachs says:

    The readings are also in Latin?

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    • Aaron says:

      Yes, the reading and gospel are in Latin, and then the English translation is normally read before the homily. However, on weekdays at St. Rose, only the English translation is read. I think that’s basically for the sake of time, so people can fit Mass into their lunch hour. Other parishes may handle that a little differently.

      Thank you for the comments!

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  • Andy Flachs says:

    I just can’t see the big deal if mass is in English or Latin. To each his own. I thought about attending once but have not as of yet. That is a pretty church with great windows. Our son’s wedding was the last official act in the church before it was closed.

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    • Aaron says:

      Well, the Latin is only part of it. I think it’s an important part—for one thing, using a “dead” language ensures that the meanings of words don’t change over time, as they do in a constantly evolving language like English—but it’s still only part.

      I wrote about seven different reasons I love the Traditional Latin Mass in my series Why the Latin Mass?, and that was when I was pretty new to it. I could probably come up with several more now. If you decide to go sometime, I hope you’ll come back and share your own perspective (and come introduce yourself in the hall after Mass). I’d recommend the 11:00am High Mass on Sunday for anyone who’s completely new to it; the ceremony and music still give me chills sometimes. If nothing else, you’ll get to see those windows again, and they sure are spectacular.

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  • Andy Flachs says:

    I really do not feel God really cares if you follow on way or the other. Like I said to each his own. I read through your Latin Mass link. This really doesn’t appeal to me. I fact I really doubt if Jesus would be impressed with either service. Too much frill.

    Of course my opinion and $1.99 might buy coffee in some places.

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    • Aaron says:

      Well, I’m sure that, at least for my lifetime, the new Mass will continue to be said in plenty of Churches, so people who prefer it will be able to continue to attend it at their convenience. Hopefully we’ll soon reach a point where the same can be said of those who prefer the Latin Mass, that it will become available enough that they don’t have to drive long distances or go at strange times to attend it.

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  • Andy Flachs says:

    As those folks die off there will be less people that remember the Latin Mass. So what would make a person with no prior knowledge want to go? I don’t think the current mass will die out. You know we expect people coming to the US to speak English. Then why wouldn’t we want our church sevice the same way?
    For those that want the old way fine. But this Catholic will look somewhere else if the old Latin Mass is made for everyone.

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    • Aaron says:

      That’s interesting: first you said you had thought about attending, but now you’re saying you’d refuse to attend it if it came to your church even though you haven’t tried it once. What happened to your curiosity?

      But like I said, I don’t think you have to worry about the Latin Mass being forced on everyone. Out of 19,000 parishes, only a few hundred offer the Latin Mass, and many of those only offer it intermittently or at inconvenient times, like every other Wednesday afternoon. You say “for those that want the old way, fine,” but that’s the problem: many of those people still don’t have it available anywhere nearby. That needs to change.

      I was born in 1969, so I certainly don’t “remember” the Latin Mass. I was lucky enough to discover that it was coming to Quincy when I was looking for something more. It’s good that you bring up the importance of English as the universal language of the USA, because having Latin as the universal language of the Church makes sense for many of the same reasons. There are Catholics outside the US, after all. A single liturgical language binds us all in much the same way that a single language binds a national culture.

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