Sunday, September 07, 2014

"Do you pray the rosary in Latin or English?"


Pater noster, qui es in caelis...

I love Latin. It's the gorgeous mother of a gorgeous language, Italian. More important, it has two roles in the church, as a template for doctrinal statements and liturgical texts, and as a world second language. That said, my traditionalism is not about Latin, and the rosary isn't liturgy (liturgical rule: priests having to recite the traditional breviary in Latin for it to count canonically), so the tradition for it is the vernacular: I always do it in English. By the way, I have a theory about Catholics and English texts. Most don't care if those are wrong or ugly because they don't have a long tradition of praying in English in church. Almost the only English prayers Catholics care about are those of the rosary. Even the most liberal Novus Ordo parish goes all Tudor for the Our Father. The Hail Mary and the Glory Be are likewise untouchable for the laity. Grace before meals is another one that's often still "thy." Same reason: it's our vernacular tradition. I understand the appeal of showing your orthodox Catholicism by using Latin (it is a great marker of belonging to the church, which is why wannabes such as Episcopalians and vagantes use it — that and it used to be the second language of the Western world, even for the Protestants), but it's not the real traditional custom.

If you're a layman and want Latin at home, there's the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, more challenging than the rosary but not nearly as hard as the real breviary, Latin or translated.

The top picture is of one of my rosaries.

6 comments:

  1. Khan Noonien Singh12:32 pm

    What do you think of the Luminous Mysteries?

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    1. No problem with their content. I forgot about them; never adopted them because they mess up the rosary's parallel to the psalter. It mimics the breviary for the illiterate. And I saw them as more Novus Ordo-ey meddling to mess up our culture; same reason I don't call confession the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and besides, only liberal church bureaucrats talk like that.

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  2. Me too, but partly because I don't know the Fatima prayer in Latin (and I don't think there's an official Latin version anyway).

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    1. And why would there be? It's never been part of the Mass or office. It's a devotion.

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  3. I say the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary very often, but in English. I have the Catholic Book Publishing Corps edition in horrible modern English with NAB Psalms.

    I don't like the banal English, but I love the rich theology of the prayers. I prefer it to the Liturgy of the Hours.

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    1. I have two versions of the traditional one, a reprint by Angelus Press (SSPX-affiliated?) with Tudoresque English and traditional (Vulgate, from St. Jerome) Latin, and a 1950s edition with modern English (because again, except for English prayers with a long history of use, Catholics usually don't care) and the version of the psalms in Latin that Pius XII ordered done, which nobody liked. By the way, the Anglicans' official Latin version of the psalms (for when they've officially used Latin, such as occasionally at Oxford and Cambridge) is still our Vulgate.

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