30 July 2008

A thought about Latin

Fr. Z has posted a clip of Benedict XVI arriving for vacation in a favourite spot. The clip shows the Holy Father speaking to the assembled people and greeting them, and thanking them profusely.

In Italian.

In fluent, easy, comfortable Italian.

The anti-Latin crowd must grind their teeth at his fluency, just as they must have when John Paul II spoke so many languages. They've been telling anyone who will listen that people cannot be expected to learn a new language, especially not Latin.

But it's a language like any other. The Romance languages - Spanish, French, Italian among them - spring from Latin, which makes them easier to learn if you are familiar with the source. And so much Latin is present in common English constructions that a knowledge of it is a positive help when learning vocabulary and reading.

So to say that people cannot understand the Mass if it's in Latin is neither compassionate nor charitable. It's insulting.

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