Adventures in Haymarsh

Bulletin Insert – Educational!

Sacred Music in the Life of the Church: Latin MusicThis past Sunday, with our parish mission, about twenty young men from the University of Mary, on retreat at Assumption Abbey with Fr. Dominic Bouck, joined us for the Holy Mass at 10:30 at Sacred Heart Church. I knew for certain that they were within the walls of our church because when we began to sing the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin, their response was bold! They indeed knew the parts of the Mass in Latin, meaning they learned them at their parish church or at the University of Mary. When I spoke with them after Mass, I commended them for their beautiful voices and they told me that they loved the use of Latin in the Mass. They disprove the tired and worn argument against Latin in the liturgy: young people do not like Latin and it jeopardizes the future of the Church. In my own experience, the faithful up and coming Catholics in the Church love tradition, including the use of Latin in the liturgy. Then why do many Catholics go into convulsions when they hear Latin within the Mass? There are several reasons for this peculiar condition. First, it’s simply a matter of obedience to the teaching authority of the Church. The common understanding is that Vatican II got rid of Latin in the Mass. If you ever hear this come from someone’s mouth, simply tell them that they are mistaken. When you go to the actual documents of Vatican II, you will find that the Church expects us to preserve the use of Latin in the liturgy. For example, in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Vatican II decreed, “The use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites. A wider use may be made of it, especially in readings, directives, and in some prayers and chants” (#36). Moreover, the council emphasized that the faithful should be able to speak or sing in Latin the congregational parts of the Mass (#55). In the post conciliar document, Musicam Sacram, we read, “Pastors of souls should take care that besides the vernacular, the faithful should be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” (#47). On the diocesan level, in the Synod Statutes of the Diocese of Bismarck, Bishop Kagan has decreed that parish congregations and Catholic schools should be familiar with the Ordinary parts of the Mass, in both English and Latin. [Chapter 5, Section IV, 220, 3). Some people ignore all of the above directives of the Church and still insist that we should get rid of Latin in the Mass, because they know of many other parishes that never use Latin in the liturgy. I guess the challenge is to tell those parishes to be faithful to the Church in imitation of Fr. Gary, an obedient son of the Church. Second, some believe that we should not use Latin in the liturgy because “no one understands it”. The faulty nature of this premise is that because the Holy Mass unfolds in the same manner throughout the world, we know exactly when the Gloria, the Sanctus, and the Agnus Dei are sung within the Holy Mass. Even though we may not be able to verbalize Latin initially, we do know these responses at these points in the Holy Mass and we can follow along in our hearts and minds until we feel comfortable singing the Latin responses. Perhaps we are just afraid of learning new things, but as we always tell our children when we introduce new foods to them, “Try it and you’ll like it.” This may be the best advice for the use of Latin in the liturgy.Lastly, I am always concerned when people express rage and anger at the use of Latin in the liturgy. To me, the concern is that the Evil One has a hold on their hearts; it’s really a spiritual matter. Most exorcists use Latin in exorcizing demons from people, because Satan hates Latin, for its beauty and its universality, which allows for unity of praise and worship in Catholic liturgical life throughout the world. Be very careful of such a livid response to Latin, because that’s the same response Satan has to Latin.With the end of Lent in sight, we will not hear Latin at Sunday Mass until the Advent season. This may make some people very happy, but for those who love the beauty and sacredness of Latin, they will eagerly await the arrival of Advent, when the Ordinary of the Holy Mass is once again taken to the level of this sublime.


  1. chuck and mila

    I am very concerned about this, the school Sisters of Notre Dame began my instruction in the Latin Mass Proper in 2cd grade for preparation in my serving as an Alter Boy. Those days the Alter Boys did all the Mass Responses, all in Latin, for the most part the congregation was silent. I was very proud of this accomplishment and is the foundation of my Faith, of Course encouraged by my Loyal Catholic Parents.
    If Mass can be celebrated in Spanish,,,, Latin being banned has no logic or common sense priciples for our Celebrations this 21st century.

    • Monica Jacobson

      I thought it was interesting that it’s used in exorcisms. The Devil is alive and well, it was really powerful seeing those 20 men taking their faith seriously. So many 20 year olds are not going to church, living lives of sexual deviancy and not seeming to have remorse or care that it offends God.

      It was really refreshing to see a large group of young men take their faith seriously.

      God Bless You Chuck and Mila! Heard you had a wonderful trip.

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