Liturgical Latin, however, was the literary and stylized form which was neither spoken nor understood very much by the people, especially since even the "vernacular" Latin was only spoken and understood in Italy and the oldest western provinces (southern France, Spain) but was incomprehensible to most of the countless peoples and nations of the 3-4th century Empire. viewtopic.php?p=634230#p634230
The formation of the Latin liturgy was part of this comprehensive effort to evangelize the classical culture.
Christine Mohrmann recognizes in this the fortuitous blending of a renewal of language, inspired by the novelty of revelation, and of a stylistic traditionalism strongly rooted in the Roman world. Liturgical Latin has the Roman gravitas and avoids the exuberance of the style of prayer of the Christians East, which is found also in the Gallican tradition. This was not an adoption of the "vernacular" language in liturgy, since the Latin of the Roman Canon, of the collects and of prefaces of the Mass, were removed from the idiom of the common people. It was a heavily stylized language that the average Christian of late antiquity in Rome would have understood with difficulty, especially considering that the level of education was very low compared to our times. Moreover, the development of the Christian Latinitas could have rendered liturgy more accessible to the people of Milan or Rome, but not necessarily to those whose mother tongue was Gothic, Celtic, Iberian or Punic.
It is possible to imagine a western Church with local languages in its liturgy, as in the East where, beside Greek, also Syrian, Coptic, Armenian, Georgian and Ethiopian were used. At any rate, the situation in the West was fundamentally different; the unifying force of papacy was such that Latin became the only liturgical language. This was an important factor favoring ecclesiastic, cultural and political cohesion.
Liturgical Latin was a sacred language separated from the language of the people from the beginning; yet the distance became greater with the development of the national cultures and languages in Europe, not to mention mission territories. "The first opposition to the Latin language," Christine Mohrmann wrote, "coincided with the end of Medieval Latin as a ‘second living language’, that was replaced by a truly ‘dead’ language, the Latin of the humanists. And the opposition to liturgical Latin in our days has something to do with weakening of the study of Latin – and with the tendency toward ‘secularism’ ("The Ever-Recurring Problem of Language in the Church", in Études sur le latin des chrétiens, IV, Rome, 1977).
The Second Vatican Council wished to resolve the question by extending the use of the vernacular in the liturgy, especially in the readings (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, art. 36, n. 2). At the same time, it stressed that "the use of the Latin language … is to be preserved in the Latin rite" (Sacrosanctum Concilium, art. 36, n. 1; cfr also art. 54). The Fathers of the Council did not imagine that the sacred language of the western Church would be replaced by the vernacular.
I think that much of the obvious contempt for the so-called "church Latin" or "ecclesiastical Latin" that is so widespread in Germanophone and Anglophone areas derives from a Protestant prejudice against Catholics and the Catholic Mass in particular and that prejudice built on the archaeologism of the late humanists who invented a romanticized Classical Era as opposed to the Christendom of their times. "Church" Latin - that is spoken and written Latin - is nothing else than the Laitn language as it existed as long as it remained a "living language" (another silly definition, but I digress) spoken by millions of people who had been evangelized. Of course there are differences, as there are in every language over the course of the centuries. But if there is a Latin form that retained the ancient "gravitas" of the Patres conscripti
that's the Latin of the liturgical books that have been in use at least
since the III-IV century (prior to that we were persecuted and litugical books were regularly confiscated and destroyed so we don't know exactly).
When students with less talent for classics were made to study "Church Latin", it was not just because it was "easier" or of a "lower quality" but only to avoid tormenting them with extra hours of study while giving them a sufficent knowledge of the language of the Church to follow and appreciate the Liturgy and keep their formation in continuity with their Western heritage and identity. If one just has to choose, it's better to be able to read Pope St. Leo the Great and his sublime Latin than some incomplete fragment of some archaic author. And if one can appreciate the perfections of St. Thomas Aquinas praefatio
for the Mass of the Most Holy Trinity, they will have surely elevated their souls better than with any pagan rambling on drunkenness and sexual excesses. When the world was less insane, schookids could do that.
FabrizioParty like it's 1773
No one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist (Pius XI)