January 9, 2009

Extraordinary Form Kit, Continued

I spent most of yesterday going through the materials of my FSSP kit for learning the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Not that I read everything, but I looked it all over and watched the instructional DVDs with the Missal in front of me. It's all very helpful, and I think I'm almost ready to offer my first Mass in the EF.

One thing really surprised me, though. Nowhere did I hear or read that the priest or seminarian who wants to learn the EF ought to really learn Latin first. This is partly because many of the instructional materials are reprints from the days when all seminarians would have learned Latin as a matter of course. But in our day, even though the current Program of Priestly Formation urges the learning of Latin (and Greek) in several places, I'm not sure this is the norm. Perhaps those who put these materials together--priests of the FSSP, after all--aren't aware of the world in which you can get to be a priest without ever encountering the ordinary language of the Western Church.

It would seem to me very irresponsible to try to offer Mass in Latin without a sufficient sense of grammar and vocabulary to be really praying with mind and heart. For me, I would wonder if it would be a serious defect of intention, but I'll leave that one to the canonists.

So, if this is you, learn a little. To this end I've written the previous post, "Learn Latin."

1 comment:

ben in denver said...

I'm not so sure how important really knowing Latin is, beyond know the general sense and how to properly pronounce the words.

Look at St. Jean-Baptiste Marie Vianney as an example of someone who reportedly had a very poor knowledge of Latin but still prayed the Mass and Office in that language.