What happened on November 22, 1963? Our first Catholic president was assassinated. Coincidentally, on that day, the bishops of Rome for the Second Vatican Council voted 2,158 to 19 to approve the vernacular mass. It no longer had to be celebrated in Latin.
The aim of the bishops was to call on Catholics to participate “full, conscious and active” in the liturgy and in their faith. However, today, some Catholics aspire to a return to the Latin Mass and to “traditional” rituals. In her national column, Christine Flowers (Roanoke Times, June 12) asserts that “the elimination of Latin separated Catholics from each other” by removing our “unitary language”, as if everyone in the pews understood Latin .
Flower’s love for Catholicism is evident in her syndicated columns, as is her nostalgia for the church of her childhood in the 1960s. Let me respectfully expand the picture.
Jesus spoke Aramaic, not Latin. For centuries, Mass has been celebrated in homes, led by women. The Council of Trent (1570) mandated mass in Latin. Celebrating Mass, the priests faced east and turned their backs to the people sitting on the benches.
Also a child of the 1960s, I was an altar boy who dutifully memorized my Latin Mass prayers, barely understanding what I was saying. We did not have altar girls, readers or singers / musicians, as if half of humanity was not worthy of preparing for parish leadership roles. Communion was received only on the tongue, not on the hand, which implies that tongues are more respectful than the hands.