Gavin's Latin stuff
Martin Luther did not object to Latin per se. How could Bach compose settings for the Latin mass despite the fact that he was Lutheran? Luther objected (quite rightly) that worship should not be conducted in a language that people do not understand, but he had no objection to Latin used among the educated people who did understand the language, so the old Latin mass continued to be used in the Lutheran Churches for centuries after the Reformation. That ignorance leads to superstition and abuse cannot be doubted: the magic words 'hocus pocus' are merely a corruption of the words spoken at the Prayer of Consecration at the Mass - Hoc est corpus - "This is my body."
Latin is a dead language; no-one now speaks Latin from the cradle, but the strongest argument for its use is precisely that it is a dead language, immune from nationalistic pride or ethnic bias or personal favour. The Taizé community uses Latin for this reason: Since Latin is a dead language and now not frequently taught in schools, everyone comes to worship on an equal footing whatever they may be, wherever they may come from. No-one can feel out of place because everyone else feels equally awkward. Latin also has to recommend it the fact that for over a thousand years it was the language that Christians prayed in and worshipped in.
When the Roman Catholic Church abandoned the Tridentine mass in favour of the vernacular mass, its members benefited in that they could then follow and participate in that act of worship and not merely spectate. What they lost, was the knowledge that wherever in the world they might be, they could step into a Catholic church and hear mass said in a manner no different from what they heard at home. Today there is no such guarantee nor such visible unity nor catholicity.Back to home
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