Wednesday, March 16, 2011

SC 54

About once a month, as the schedule allows, I do a "Catholic Q&A" in my parish, inviting anyone and everyone to come learn more about our faith. One of the questions I received had to do with the fact that, during the season of Lent, we've begun using the Latin Agnus Dei plainchant during daily Mass. The questioner wondered if this was just for Lent or a permanent thing.

In answering the question, I rambled a bit [no surprise if you know me] and eventually read for them from Vatican II's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, paragraph 54:
"A suitable place may be allotted to the vernacular in Masses which are celebrated with the people ... Nevertheless care must be taken to ensure that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them."
I think this surprised most of the people there. While most Catholics will tell you that "Vatican II called for the end of Latin", not many have heard that, when it comes to musical settings, through the years we were supposed to have been taught to be able to recite or sing the Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, Mortem Tuam (a.k.a. memorial acclamation), Our Father, and Lamb of God.

Hopefully by now the Catholic who attends Mass weekly knows that the English translation of Mass will be changing next Advent. Along with the prayers, we'll also be hearing new musical settings for the retranslated Mass propers. Along with the new settings in English, I think a golden opportunity exists to, about 50 years after the fact, implement what was called for by the Council.


Jeffrey Pinyan said...

May God give you courage and support as you try to do so, Father. I've recently encountered strong objection to SC 54.2 from people who argue that when the Council said "Latin" here, they meant "the liturgical language", or that SC 54.2 was an interim directive to be put aside once the vernacular took hold.

I disagree with those views, and I think a strong document trail exists which supports my belief (and yours) that the Church desires her faithful to know how to sing or say together certain parts of the Mass in Latin, even today!

CJD said...

I wish you were my Pastor :)

God Bless You