Author Topic: Liturgical Language vs. vernacular  (Read 3780 times)

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Offline The Caffeinator

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Liturgical Language vs. vernacular
« on: December 09, 2003, 04:30:56 PM »
I guess I'm one of the Latin mass people Br. Max mentioned in the Patriarch of _________ thread.

I prefer the mass in Latin because:

1. The translating committees have mucked up the translation.

2. Latin has had such a profound impact on the English language, that Latin cognates sound ponderous and ghostly, and lift my soul heavenwards.

3. I find that when going for precision of meaning (as one should in Liturgy) it is better to stick with the original language.

4. The Latin ascends to God. The vernacular is aimed at the mob.

I'm not saying there can't be wonderful vernacular liturgies...but they shouldn't read like the morning newspaper!
« Last Edit: December 09, 2003, 04:32:10 PM by The Caffeinator »

Offline Bogoliubtsy

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Re:Liturgical Language vs. vernacular
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2003, 04:38:55 PM »
I was under the impression that God only understands Church Slavonic.   ;)
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Offline The Caffeinator

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Re:Liturgical Language vs. vernacular
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2003, 04:40:20 PM »
I would consider that another example of Godwards rather than manward prayer.

Offline Schultz

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Re:Liturgical Language vs. vernacular
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2003, 05:02:00 PM »
Slava Isusu Christu!

I've always found it humorous that people think that Latin is a more "Godly" way to pray.  

Was it more Godly when the populace spoke Latin when they changed the liturgical language of Rome from Greek to the more vernacular-esque Latin way back when?

The people have to understand what they pray in order for it to be truly "Godly".  And I don't mean reading it in a book, either.  Side by side translations are not interchangable for cognitive thought and understanding.  

I go to Latin Mass regularly with my girlfriend and enjoy the experience (Although not as much as my ENGLISH Divine Liturgy  ;) ).  However, I firmly believe in the use of the vernacular for public prayer.  If you want to pray in Latin at home, go right ahead.  But it's much more "Godly" to understand what you're praying as you're praying it.

Sts. Cyril and Methodius had it right.
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Offline The Caffeinator

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Re:Liturgical Language vs. vernacular
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2003, 05:15:21 PM »
As I've said, I'm sure there are some wonderful vernacular liturgies...but they shouldn't use newspaper English!

Offline Br. Max, OFC

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Re:Liturgical Language vs. vernacular
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2003, 08:49:01 PM »
VICKI: HERE HERE!!  before you know it well have an ebonics mass!!

Caff:  If you like the mass in moldy old Latin - that's your choice.  Personally I find it stifling and ostentatious.  I prefer to experience my worship in as personal a way possible. :) I've even been known to *gasp* sing along with the choir!! :o (Not that that is unusual for my church - we ALL sing along with the choir and we sing some very rousing and uplifting songs :) Nothing like AVE MARIA followed by O WHAT A WONDERFUL CHILD!) Worship can be both inspiring and pragmatic without being either dull or blasphemous.
"Where I live in Manhattan and where I work at ABC, people say 'conservative' the way people say 'child molester.' Leftist thinking is just the culture that I live in and the culture the reporters who populate the mainstream media

Offline The Caffeinator

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Re:Liturgical Language vs. vernacular
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2003, 07:03:21 PM »
Just a clarification, I prefer the Latin mass, not only because of its beauty, its timelessness, and its connection with the past, but because the ICEL mass is the alternative. :-X

Offline carpo-rusyn

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Re:Liturgical Language vs. vernacular
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2003, 07:13:48 PM »
[when they changed the liturgical language of Rome from Greek to the more vernacular-esque Latin]

EXCUSE ME!!!

Didn't you know there was no change in liturgical language.  It was always in Latin. Latin was good enough for use at the Last Supper.  Oh sure everybody thinks it was in Hebrew and they reclined at table ala DaVinci.  Wrong!  Jesus wore a chausable and everyone faced east. And the apostles recieved communion on the tongue and knelt. And............

Sorry I just had a Tridentine episode. :D

Carpo-Rusyn

Offline The Caffeinator

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Re:Liturgical Language vs. vernacular
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2003, 06:49:43 PM »
The gradient here seems to be Latin (Heavenly)---> traditional English (Heavenly but understandable)---> Modern English (understandable)---> ICEL English  :-X---> Ebonics(neither heavenly nor understandable).

It seems clear which languages are suited to the mass and which aren't and BY THE WAY BR. MAX AVE MARIA IS IN LATIN!
« Last Edit: December 12, 2003, 06:50:16 PM by The Caffeinator »

Offline Br. Max, OFC

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Re:Liturgical Language vs. vernacular
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2003, 09:34:08 PM »
Caff: yes I know the Ave Maria is in latin I'm not a doofus! I know SOME latin TYVM - but what good is it to celebrate LIFE in a DEAD language?  It's simple really - if mass in the comon tongue was good enough for PETER and the apostles, it's good enough for me.

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, D+¦minus Deus S+ábaoth Pleni sunt caeli et terra in gl+¦ria tua. Hos+ánna in exc+¿lsis  Benedictus qui venit  in n+¦mine D+¦mini. Hos+ánna in exc+¿lsis. ;D

oh and when it comes to reading scripture, I'm okay with THEE's and THOU's but when I hear some one pray or speak THEE's and THOU's I have one thought - "what a pretentious git.  Some one should really help that poor fool out by extracting the board from his backside."

SO we're back to just plain english. :)
« Last Edit: December 12, 2003, 09:36:47 PM by Br. Max, OFC »
"Where I live in Manhattan and where I work at ABC, people say 'conservative' the way people say 'child molester.' Leftist thinking is just the culture that I live in and the culture the reporters who populate the mainstream media

Offline The Caffeinator

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Re:Liturgical Language vs. vernacular
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2003, 11:05:56 AM »
You seem to think the language itself is pretentious. I would beg to differ. I refer you to my post re: the Governor.

Offline Mexican

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Re:Liturgical Language vs. vernacular
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2003, 09:13:46 PM »
I am not sure if the Latin rite was first all in "Greek", the Latin liturgy had always had its particularities and the Latin language of the Old Mass was not the Latin vernacular used in the West at that time. I was told by an Orthodox priest that both forms Latin and Greek existed in Rome, depending on the origin of the Bishops (there were Greek Popes who celebrated Greek liturgy, and the other popes undoubtedly celebrated the latin one).

Maybe the problem is not really that the liturgy is translated but they way it is translated. A certain ammount of ancient language in the most sacred parts of the Divine Liturgy (the anaphora in greek for example) is good, because it represents the connection between that day's liturgy and the liturgies celebrated in the distant past by the Apostles and their successors.

Neraly all religions in the world have a sacred language such as the Koran is always in Arabic, the Hindus have Sanskrit, the Jews have Hebrew, the Christian Church has its sacred languages. Why should we get rid of them?

Now, if nowadays Orthodox Christians are spread throughout the Western world and you not only have those of Eastern Orthodox countries, but those product of successive inmigrations and who were used to liturgies celebrated in other languages... why not rehabilitating ancient Greek as the language of the liturgy? It's a neutral language while English is not neutral.


« Last Edit: December 13, 2003, 09:17:04 PM by Mexican »
El Señor es tu sombra a tu mano derecha." De día no te molestará el sol, ni de noche la luna. El Señor te guardará de todo mal; guardará tu alma;" guardará tus salidas y tus entradas desde ahora y por siempre. (Salmo 120)

Offline The Caffeinator

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Re:Liturgical Language vs. vernacular
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2003, 10:46:21 AM »
Just to expound on something Mexican said...

Ecclesiastical Latin was NEVER the vernacular. It borrowed words from a vernacular (vulgar Latin) but the crux of it was Classical Latin with some differences that came from German scribes reproducing classics, and from neologisms to describe religious things.

Offline Br. Max, OFC

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Re:Liturgical Language vs. vernacular
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2003, 10:12:41 AM »
I fail to see any language as Sacred.  The whole point of the Scriptures is to make them available to the people.  This is specially evident in the NT, but apparent throughout the whole of Scripture.  Unlike Islam we do not have a vested interest in keeping people from learning the truth of our scriptures, so why keep them aloof? NOW, if that holds true of the scriptures, why should it be any different as it pertains to the Eucharist?  Does the language the words are spoken in change the substance of the Eucharist? no!

PS - please be honest - if you found someone who walked around today and spoke in THEE's and THOU's that you would not think "man this guy is wacked."
"Where I live in Manhattan and where I work at ABC, people say 'conservative' the way people say 'child molester.' Leftist thinking is just the culture that I live in and the culture the reporters who populate the mainstream media

Offline The Caffeinator

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Re:Liturgical Language vs. vernacular
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2003, 04:43:51 PM »
The point in liturgizing languages is to make them appropriate for liturgy. Thees and thous are expendible, although I like them. But due to the pride of place Latin has had throughout the centuries, Latin words, and their english cognates, have a more "vertical" dimension to them. The idea in liturgy is to lift one's soul up to God. This is difficult if you are only given a paraphrase of the liturgy in newspaper English, a la ICEL. :-X

Convert us, O Lord, and turn away thine anger from us.

vs.

Make us turn to you, O Lord, and cease being angry with us.

Offline Schultz

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Re:Liturgical Language vs. vernacular
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2003, 05:57:38 PM »
Slava Isusu Christu!

A good, poetic and uplifting English translation that doesn't have to sound stuffy, either.  Like most things in making religion accessible to people, two camps form: the reactionaries and the revolutionaries.  Nevermind that the people caught in the crossfire suffer.  The reactionaries become so staunchly conservative that they often digress to a form of religious purity, sometimes discounting everything that has to go along "progress".  The "Roman Catholic" sedevacantists fit this bill, as do many SSPX types.  On the other hand, the revolutionaries jettison millenia of tradition in order to forward their own oftentimes covert agendas which strike at the very core belief systems.  Again, in "Roman Catholicism" we see this occur in the Catholics for a Free Choice camp and everyone's favorite "Log Cabin Catholics".

But the people in the middle suffer and oftentimes end up drifting away to mainstream liturgical Protestant churches that offer something far more accessible, if devoid of the Sacraments.  But because of the Mysterious nature of those Sacraments, one can easily convince oneself that these Protestant "Mysteries" are True ones.

Religion exists to bring man to the Truth.  Anything, and I mean ANYTHING, that separates man from that Truth is detrimental.  Properly translated, by artists and poets of the Faith, the Liturgy in English, be it the DL of St. John, the Novus Ordo of Paul VI or the Qurbana of St. James, can be "vertical" and "horizontal" at the same time.  And most importantly, understandable to the mass of laity and not just to a few internet-types who would rather argue about what constitutes proper modest clothing than live a good Christian life of sacrifice, penance, and prayer (present company excluded, of course!).
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