Rorate Caeli

So much for Latin

I am thinking here particularly of celebrations at international gatherings, which nowadays are held with greater frequency. ... Speaking more generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant; nor should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant. 

Benedict XVI

***

Thank you so much and we will see one another tomorrow. And go forward with joy, with coherence, always with the courage to tell the truth, the courage to go out of oneself to meet Jesus in prayer and to go out of oneself to meet others and give them the Gospel, with pastoral fruitfulness! Please don’t be “spinsters” and “bachelors.” Go forward!

Now Archbishop Fisichella said that yesterday you recited the Creed, each one in his/her own language. However, we are all brothers, we have the same Father. Now, each one in his/her language, recite the Our Father. Let us recite the Our Father.

[Recitation of the Our Father]

And we also have a Mother. In our own language we say the Hail Mary.

[Recitation of the Hail Mary]

Franciscus
July 6, 2013


NB: The address was given to no ordinary group of seminarians and novices, but to the main international gathering of seminarians and novices to Rome for the Year of Faith. 

66 comments:

Magdalen said...

Tower of Babel?

Malta said...

What a bunch of gobbledygook. What pope speaks like this?

Unknown said...

I don't what is sadder, these statements or the fact that I yawn now when I read them.

RJH

Athelstane said...

In our own language we say the Hail Mary.

Not that there's anything wrong with saying the Hail Mary or Our Father in the vernacular - I usually do - but I had the same gut reaction that Magdalen did: "It's the Tower of Babel."

But there are many clergy - most clergy - who have decided that Latin is a barrier to evangelization, so it must be downplayed at every turn. And it's been obvious for a while that Pope Francis is one of them.

Gratias said...

No Latin for us.

Rorateman said...

This was perhaps the most disturbing thing yet in this pontificate: a hall full of seminarians and novices all babbling away in their own vernaculars. If it wasn't an explicit kick in the teeth to Latin, then what was it?

Sancte Alphonsus said...

Maybe he just assumes people don't know the latin. Ask your typical Diocesan Priest if he knows how to say the Hail Mary and Our Father in latin and see what he says. Papa Francis came from that background and doesn't understand the Church's tradition and how it applies to modern society. That is unfortunate but keep him in your prayers that he is enlightened in this regard to see the benefit, the beauty, and the universality of the Church's traditions.

Edgar said...

More and more we see that the solution to the crisis and the recovery of the sacred will not come from above but from the laymen on the pews swimming against the tide together with our priests from traditional orders.

If I expected anything from this pontificate my illusions have quickly faded and my fears have been confirmed by what we have constantly and increasingly seen in the past few months.

Giordano Cuatto said...

I think Pope Francis must be the first pope in the history of the Church who doesn't know Latin. I dare say St. Peter knew more than he does. The shame of it! A Roman pontiff, bishop of Rome and the universal Roman Latin Catholic Church who doesn't know Latin! It is quite embarrassing. Even with all the "bishop of Rome" reductionism, I sometimes grimace at his Italian. God help us atque hunc pontificatum cito ad finem perducat!

jasoncpetty said...

Now Archbishop Fisichella said that yesterday you recited the Creed, each one in his/her own language.

Is it possible the holy father was just mimicking ol' Rino? /apologetic

Anyhow, some smug fellow probably said them in Latin. I hope so.

Matthew said...

Perhaps the most problematic bit of this post is Benedict XVI's "I ask," rather than, perhaps an "I command," or "I order that."

asignofcontradiction said...

Naturally, Pope Francis' rupture with his immediate predecessor on the matter of Latin grieves me. Yet, unless God allowed it, Pope Francis could not be pope. God knows what He is doing, even if Pope Francis doesn't.

Alphonsus Jr. said...

If there's one thing we've learned, it's that we have to be ready at every moment to evolve with the New Springtime. Let its spirit take hold of you. Loosen up, people!

This man has:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoJM5SNVBW4

Jon said...

A nightmare. As I lie here I know it's a nightmare, and I can't wake up.

Lynne said...

Fly low under the radar, young traditional seminarians! (you know there are some) Wait till it's safe to come out.

Joe Potillor said...

Pope Francis just gives me headaches...Cardinal Ranjith and his perfect Latin pronunciation can give Pope Francis lessons....God must be punishing us

Jeanne Holler said...

Sad to say the least ....
These are scary times in Holy Moher Church.
God is allowing all of this for some great reason ...
we have to go through this FIRE and be purified ....my take.
But what do I know, I am just a faithful Catholic who loves the TLM in the Extraordinary Form and wants to worship MY GOD .
Let us return to the SACRED and the REVERENCE God desires and let us fall to our knees in fear and tremebling !

Dan Hunter said...

The language of the Church is well on its way to becoming Hip-Hop.

gtaylor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. Timothy J. Williams said...

Good news for charismatics, each babbling in his own language anyway.

Muv said...

Well perhaps one day he will say (in his own language of course) "Oh gosh chaps, that was jolly messy, English finishing first with all those economical monosyllables, French and Spanish rumbling somewhere in between, and flowery wordy ultra-polysyllabic Italian taking half an hour longer than everything else, why don't we try Latin so we all finish at the same time. It's not hard, repeat after me..."

Stephen Band said...

Matthew Said:

'Perhaps the most problematic bit of this post is Benedict XVI's "I ask," rather than, perhaps an "I command," or "I order that." '

Amen, Amen, Amen. This was probably the central crises of his pontificate. A brilliant man, one could not ask for better, but if only he had used the stick...

Alphonsus Jr. said...

True, Dan Hunter. And ever evolving newspeak such as "Extraordinary Form," "hermeneutic of continuity," "mutual enrichment," "unity in diversity" continues to provide fuel for the Orwellian linguistic evolution at the core of the conciliar revolution.

The linguistic collapse we see here promoted by Pope Francis is no accident, but is in fact integral to the continuance of the revolution.

MC said...

In the Holy Father's defense, this was not the international gathering of Latin Rite seminarians and novices. There were seminarians and novices from the Eastern Churches present as well, to whom Latin would rightfully be foreign.

JB said...



Extremely cruel remarks regarding single people, as if they're all single because they're selfish. Incredibly thoughtless. Who talks like that who is a pastor of souls? More reason to tune him out.

Matthew said...

Mr. Band,

Brilliant? Surely.

The central crisis of his Pontificate? Perhaps praying in a synagogue, or a mosque, or with protestants, or at Assisi III, or attempting to establish legal equivalence between the True Mass and a "bastard rite," or, if you prefer, "a banal, on-the-spot-product." Or the hermeneutic of continuity. Those are crises.

Augustinus said...

MC:

There were Eastern Catholic seminarians and novices present but they were a tiny minority; and the presence of Eastern Catholic seminarians, novices or even hierarchs in Papal events has never been and should not be a reason for Latin Rite Catholics to suddenly become ashamed of their heritage. Certainly generations of Eastern Catholic bishops have had no problem attending or concelebrating in Papal Masses wherein many or most of the texts in Latin. What is even more ridiculous is the implication that saying two short prayers in Latin would be alienating or offensive to Eastern Catholics, who are certainly aware that 98% of all Catholics are Latin Rite.

Claude said...

AVE MARIA, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

novacatholic said...

Tower of Babel?

Sounds more to me like the Descent of the Holy Spirit in Acts...

And when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded in mind, because that every man heard them speak in his own tongue. And they were all amazed, and wondered, saying: Behold, are not all these, that speak, Galileans? And how have we heard, every man our own tongue wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, Egypt, and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome,

Jews also, and proselytes, Cretes, and Arabians: we have heard them speak in our own tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all astonished, and wondered, saying one to another: What meaneth this?

Aloysius Gonzaga said...

Very depressing.

victoria said...

The irony of it all. Pope Francis will not say the blessings in other languages (urbi et orbi) when the other popes did, and he will speak only in Italian

God bless,

Victoria

Giordano Cuatto said...

Paul VI (interpreting and conjoining passages from Vergil's Aeneid) said, "Imperium sine fine dedi, faciamque omnes uno ore Latinos" quos versus oraculum Paulus VI 'oraculum' appellavit atque de Ecclesia Romana Catholica intellegenda esse dixit...moreover he forbade the monasteries of the world to give up Latin for the Divine Office.

Even John Paul II said, "doctus dicendus non est qui nescit linguam Latinam" and quoting Cicero, "non tam praeclarum est scire Latine, quam turpe nescire"

You know you've got trouble when Paul VI and John Paul II begin to appear "traditional" by comparison.

Ne Papa quidem linguam Latinam vetare potest.

Marie-Jacqueline said...

I thought "our own language" was Latin.

JFM said...

Just embarrassing.

And all it would take is for there to be a single page hand out with the prayers printed in Latin. Another example of the Church simply letting its own traditions die. All amidst clappy happy affirmations ("You are not spinsters!").

But this is the man the Cardinals chose, which means, unfortunately, the problem is far more pervasive than one figure head. Traditional Catholicism in the Vatican now appears o be viewed more as phantom menace than heritage.

S. Armaticus said...

He he he. Those rosary counting restorationists are living rent free inside our H.F. head.:)

But seriously folks, when taken into account with the other quips that have either emanated from the HF or his sidekicks, the shallowness and pettiness of this crowd is simply staggering. We have "risen" to the level of bit parts actors, straight out of central casting, for a 1970's Dirty Harry movie.

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus.

Michael Ortiz said...


Well, love the Holy Father, with all his imperfections.

However: perhaps the college of Cardinals will, next time (may it not be soon) elect a peer who will raise the sheep up...

Sancte Alphonsus said...

I can't believe there are people here who sound so depressed that the Pope wanted everyone to pray the Hail Mary in their own language.

Who cares?

Re-double your own prayer life and stop staring and worrying about the Pope. Your salvation does not depend on what the Pope is doing.

Elizabeth said...

What a sad contrast. Babel apparently will continue in earnest.

Hayfarmer said...

Sancte Alphonsus

As advised by a holy priest, my salvation may depend on how I respond to what the Pope is doing.

Common Sense said...

Sancte Alphonsus, if that pope is St. Pius X, you'll do well indeed.

pclaudel said...

All of you critics of our pontiff's attitude toward Latin are sure going to have egg on your face when the Vatican's press office announces that the official new motto of this papacy is Ne illegitimis carborundum.

Robbie said...

I ought to be upset about this, but, sadly, I'm not. Bergoglio is truly a unique Pope because he was the first ordained after VCII. The use of Latin is just a faded, oppressive memory from his youth. I'm not even sure if he knows how to speak the language.

All of our previous post VCII Popes were ordained before 1962. They had a deep understanding of the language and what it meant to the faith. They may not have preferred it, but they still came of age with it.

Bergoglio, on the other hand, is the product of the Council. In every way, he is the Council. The Church, as it existed before 1962, means very little to him. He's only lived the Council and has no understanding of what happened before it. Given that, it's no surprise he totally dismisses the universal language of the Church.

Long-Skirts said...

Semper ubi sub ubi!

Jim Paton said...

Reading Benedict through Francis. Fr.Z is going to need binoculars for this one.

James Kohn said...

I dont really see how this is a big deal, most of the seminarians dont know Latin (though they should), plus he referenced that the Creed was said in all their different languages before hand, so they continue expressing distinct identities but the substance of the prayer is one and the same...could be a moment of reflection on this idea

7fbc6254-eb65-11e2-85d7-000bcdcb471e said...

You know, it's probably just more of what people do at Papal Masses already. Everyone responds "in his own language" as it is. I suppose this was just an extension of that.

It was still in poor taste at a seminarian event. IMO.

El Guasón said...

@Jim Paton
I laughed at that.

Yes, it's true Bergoglio was ordained in '69, but he's a Jesuit; which means he spent more than 7 years in skool, I reckon.

On his first night on the job he recited the Latin, if I recall correctly.

Augustinus said...

"...most of the seminarians dont know Latin (though they should)"

James Kohn, precisely.

A Canberra Observer said...

I am initially flumoxed by this juxtaposition but perhaps we should hasten slowly.

It is easy to place these two texts together as if they are deliberatley opposed. But is that taking them in the context in which they were given. Perhaps, albeit sadly, that had the Holy Father invited them all to recite those prayers in Latin there would indeed have been, practically, a babble because Benedict's gentle exhortation has been ignored. You cannot supply what you do not have.

It may be that there is an agenda but context is important.

A Canberra Observer said...

several commenters wanted Benedict to 'use the stick' - for those things we want or consider important. Perhaps yes, but the reality is it would likely have caused a major fight, one that Benedict could not be assured of winning.

Yet if Francis uses the stick for what he considers important [and we don't] what will be our response. I think we (me too) should be prepared to answer that, as Francis it seems to me, despite all the apparent inclusiveness has it much more in his nature to demand obedience and brook no argument.

Gratias said...

On the first Wednesday of Nov. 2012, the day after the US election, we were at the Vatican. Around noon Cardinal Bertone offered an OF Mass for Polish pilgrims in Latin except for the readings that were in Polish. Then, we all went to St. Peter's square to the general audience where Pope Benedict gave one of his famous cathequeses. At the end he asked the about 25,000 people present to pray the Paternoster with him. Our tickets had the Ave Maria written on the back, so everybody had to go by heart. I was shocked that so many people, maybe most, followed the Pope. Quite loudly. Maybe it was because there were many priests and nuns and Poles and Croatians. Maybe because so many Catholics long for Latin.

We should all memorize the three most essential prayers in Latin: Paternoster, Apostles' Creed and the Ave Maria. It is not that difficult and one can use the over and over again. A good investment.

Common Sense said...

Quaranic services are in arabic and talmudic jewish liturgies in hebrew, orthodox in old slavonic and greek. Educate yourselves first before you dismiss Latin!

Stephen Band said...

Matthew,

The crises you mention all involve the Holy Father's avoidance of the stick when it was necessary, which is my main point. All the things which went wrong or caused scandal were rooted in a reluctance to rule with a rod of iron and instead to rule with an orange, crunchy, tasty rod.

JB said...



Bergoglio is making JP II look like Pius XII at this point. Every day I listen to a recording of JP II reciting the rosary in Latin, as well as the Litany of Loreto, in Latin, with responses from a knave of people - - also in Latin. It's incredibly comforting and meditative, especially in that great voice he had.

If they all responded in their own languages it would probably sound like a hellish cacophony.

JB said...



(Make that nave, not knave... Freudian slip I think).

Hayfarmer said...

Listen to The Most Reverend Bishop Athanasius Schneider go from Latin to English with ease voicing true Catholic dogma--a bit of heaven on earth to my ears...

http://www.churchmilitant.tv/fullpreview/?vidID=vort-2013-07-12-a

slcfranciscan said...

This is just sad. I am neither a priest nor a theologian, but a simple (female) member of the TO/SSPX. I am old enough to remember when the True Mass was still The Mass on Sunday. Several years ago, I decided to improve my Latin--and I did. I wanted to be able to pray the Office in Latin and to understand the entirety of the Mass. Latin is not an easy language, but it can be learned. This "in your own language" business is just confusing. And more than confusing, it is sad. When is even sadder is that I doubt there is one NO priest in this entire diocese who could offer the Tridentine Mass correctly. I never thought our church would come to this.

boutflower said...

Just waiting and praying for Pius XIII to arrive. It is a nightmare from which one cannot wake up. They are destroying the supernatural life by raising the natural.

Kimi Brown said...

I don't disagree with any of you who are concerned, but as a 48-year-old, faithful, cradle Catholic raised in the German/Irish region of western Ohio, I have never had the pleasure of ever hearing any prayers, let alone the entire Mass said in Latin. The closest that people in our region have been to Latin is in hearing Ave Maria sung during a nuptial Mass. Does being post-Vatican II Catholics who are passionate about the New Evangelization and respond solely in English make us a part of this "Tower of Babel" that you fear in the Holy Father's words and actions? My question is sincere.

Hayfarmer said...

Dear Kimi

Latin is the official language of the Holy Mother Church, a way for all of us to clearly understand every word no matter where we are on earth while assisting at Holy Mass or reading a document from the Vatican. But the use of Latin is only part of that of which you are deprived.
The Mass of All Ages, the Tridentine Mass, is in Latin--but more important, it is a Holy Sacrifice that teaches our faith from apostolic time. Keep searching and you will be amazed at the richness of our faith hidden from so many of us for so long!

Alphonsus Jr. said...

Sadly, Kimi, it does (objectively speaking). But as you seem to be of good will and would thus like to escape this rot and everything associated with it, I'd recommend 1) forever renouncing any further participation in the Novus Ordo service, and 2) going here and finding a parish near you:

http://fssp.com/press/locations/

Also, listen:

http://www.audiosancto.org/categories/liturgy.php

Bill said...

Did EWTN set a precedent for thins kind of thing when it aired a distracting video where everybody prayed the Rosary in his own language? During the Protestant "Jesus Film," Christ speaks in Hebrew-sounding language while the Narrator reads from the King James Version. Why weren't the KJV's words in subtitles? In a Restoration Radio episode about monarchy and Neoplatonism, Stephen Heiner joked that Sir Charles Coulombe would do a dramatic reading of Quas Primas. I don't know about you. But I would have preferred that to a room full of pray-ers who sounded like charismatics speaking in tongues.

New Catholic said...

Some people really have a hard time grasping what is meant... As the labels indicate, this is NOT a criticism of Pope Francis, it is beautiful that he prays with these young people. The issue is the strong discrepancy between pontificate and pontificate that makes what seemed to be a concern of the Catholic Church herself, not the man who holds the papal office (for instance, the promotion of Latin in international gatherings, both in liturgy and in common prayers), become apparently just the whim of a pope. No reform of the reform, or reform in continuity, can survive like that.

NC

Fr Dickson said...

Dear novacatholic,
It is not like Acts, where the Apostles were preaching in every language to a very diverse crowd; the Pope was asking the crowd to pray to God. I think One Faith one baptism sits very nicely with Lord: one community absolutely requires one common language for purposes of communication, common sense of identity and the experience of unity.

Edward More said...

Dear Kimi,

Latin is the language of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, and as such it is a symbol of unity, and because it is a dead language, a symbol of the immutability of the Church, of God and His laws, as well as being a symbol of the transcendence of the Church. Moreover, one cannot deny the usefulness for the clergy in knowing such a language for communicating amongst themselves, for reading the works of the great doctors of the Church (St Augustine, St Thomas Aquinas among many others), etc.

The "New Evangelisation" I am very much afraid, is not really the solution the church needs now. We need to go back to the millenial old traditions of the church. When the Bride of Christ does so, then we will see flocks of people going back to Her bosom. The only real "evangelization" that there exists is the one practiced by the Church for two thousand years, that is, figuratively speaking, preaching out from the rooftops:

"EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULA SALUS EST."

("Outside of the Church no one is saved.")

If the pope put into practice this simple statement (COMPLETELY ignored by the post Vatican II - Church), the Church at large would realize the importance of Her salvific mission, Her missionary spirit would be thoroughly reinvigorated, and those outside the Church would get a clear message that unity is ONLY found within the bosom of the mystical body of Christ - the one true Church, the Catholic Church.

I would strongly encourage you to attend a Tridentine Mass. You will find heavenly music you may never have heard, reverence to God that you might have yourself practiced in private but never seen at mass and a whole new theology of the mass as a SACRIFICE to the eternal Father for the sins of men. For a very good primer on the problems associated with the Novus Ordo, see Cardinal Ottaviani's 1969 intervention to pope Paul VI, "The Ottavianni Intervention"(available through amazon).

God Bless you and may His light lead to the Truth.

Bill said...

Kimi,

What does "New Evangelization" mean? I keep hearing that phrase again and again. But for me, it's easy to doubt that today's Catholic ecumenists, including Francis, want to try to help anyone convert to Catholicism. In my opinion, Assisi prayer meetings and many other ecumenical events are gravely immoral partly because they hint that any religion is good enough to get its believers to heaven. From my perspective, Vatican II's teaching about religious liberty is harmful, too.

For me, the Mystical Body of Christ and the Catholic Church exactly the same thing. Non-Catholics can be in the Church as nonmembers of it when they get, say, baptized by desire. But Pius XII's Encyclical Letter "Mystici Corporis Christi" tells me that only Catholics are members of the Catholic Church. In fact, that pope makes the phrase "the Church of Christ" stand for the Catholic Church only. It doesn't stand for any bigger "Church of Christ" distinct from the Catholic Church.