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Full Version: Dr. Jeff Mirus: Wrong About Latin
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The catholicculture website won't link to FishEaters- whenever you try, the link gets broken.  Now this about the guy who runs it

Very interesting...well worth a read.
Its a good thing one cannot link to catholicculture here on FE, because its a crappy site. Jeff's arguments are basically “yeah, well, nobody needs stinkin' Latin anymore” or some variation of “western domination”. Which is all a bunch of malarky. Makes one wonder what sort of doctor this guy is.

We should stop visiting these subversive sites (I mean, when you are supposedly a Roman Catholic not only being neutral to Latin but actually bashing it, well, I'm sorry, but wtf?); these guys are pretending to form parallel magisterium (sounds like American version of what LT did in Latin America, just shoving Anglo-Saxon liberalism down Catholics' throats). Besides, if one wants to know what's going on at catholicculture, just read Poche's posts  Grin
Thanks for the share. It's an excellent rebuttal.

I'm coming to notice that the vast majority of arguments contra Latin are based on what could be called a "sociological functional" analysis with respect to how the common man interacts with Latin, i.e. how does the common man look at, approach, and react to Latin particularly vis-a-vis certain good Catholic principles exaggerated by a liberal or modernist agenda, such as active participation.

Analyzing Latin based on its sociological function is fine and in fact very good; it tells us many things about where people are and nothing much about the language actually since the language is static but people change with respect to it. Such studies can give us insight into how to further proceed, how to re-incorporate Latin into a Catholic culture, how to draw people to its beauty and its vitality despite its unchanging status. It's getting people to see that "dead" language doesn't mean useless, backwater, old-fashioned, etc.

However, this style of analysis is always combined with hidden presumptions, presumptions that link inevitably to forms of subjectivism and ultimately, deconstruction. For example, if Latin is to be booted, then what is to become of the LATIN, ROMAN RITE or any of the other LATIN rites for that matter? Are they now to become the "Multi-lingual, global, all-inclusive Roman-but-not-Roman-at-all rite OF THE FUTURE"Huh??? One of the key assumptions is that the language of a specific cultural liturgical rite is purely arbitrary; phrases such as "Latin has been consecrated" through its historical association with the Latin rites become absolutely meaningless. The argument could run thus:

1. If something is a social construct, it is essentially arbitrary (with an ironic use of "essential" since this is basically nominalism).
2. If something is arbitrary, then it may be replaced with respect to the various rites and other activities of the Church.
3. Language is by "nature" a social construct.
4. Therefore, any language may be replaced with respect to the various rites and other activities of the Church.

The above deductive argument, however, has to be fleshed out. From a traditional point of view, premises 1 and 2 are seriously problematic and require further distinction, distinctions that modernists are happy to ignore. It sometimes betrays the strange paradox that a modernist becomes even more of a realist than a realist--for the realist realizes that reality is a balance of substance and relation, of nature and culture, but the modernist exaggerates the "reality" of substance and combines that with a rejection that we can access reality; hence culture's total "un-reality" with respect to nature. This is a very anti-realistic view and yet one that paradoxically arises precisely because what is counted as "real" is substance alone without any respect for relation. Culture IS natural--it is precisely what is natural for humans! Creating culture is precisely what humans naturally do; hence our constructs are not to be treated as un-real even though they may change.

And liturgical rites historically arise from culture and always retain key features of specific cultures, but they simultaneously transcend culture because of their venerable tradition in which the Divine has decided to manifest itself through the particular. Is it our place to question God's providential use of particular cultures and circumstances to manifest Himself?

Anyway, thanks for the share!
I find it interesting that a lot of Mirus' arguments against Latin boils down to lack of education. Latin, like any other language, can be learned provided the local Church has the will to teach it, and the importance of learning it is emphasized. Up until the 1960's I believe, Latin still formed part of basic education in certain parts of Canada, so anyone who went through public school there at the time had at least a functional grasp.

One comment on the linked article was very interesting:

Quote:Hindus and Buddhists chant in Sanskrit – a language as dead as Latin. Muslims all over the world pray in Arabic. Al-Islam website says: “Prayer in Arabic cements the Islamic brotherhood and emphasizes the universal character of Islam. Islam has come for the entire Human race.” Wonderful! Does this not apply to Latin?

I think the commenter nailed it on the head. If it's good enough for those other "churches", why isn't it good enough for us?
I'm reminded of this post from a long time ago. Dr. Mirus quotes a lot of prelates at the Council as against the use of Latin. Oddly enough, he omits this story from Cardinal Stickler:

As the subject of the language of worship was discussed in the Council hall over the course of several days, I followed the process with great attention, as well as later the various wordings of the Liturgy Constitution until the final vote. I still remember very well how after several radical proposals a Sicilian bishop rose and implored the fathers to allow caution and reason to reign on this point, because otherwise there would be the danger that the entire Mass might be held in the language of the people-whereupon the entire hall burst into uproarious laughter.
Latin was the language of our Western patrimony for well over a millenia, and to pray, say, the Office using the vulgate psalter just to use one example is to literally use the words of the saints. Something immeasurable is lost when Latin is dropped.

I love KJV style English and have no doubt there could be a decent liturgy in hieratic English but that's not the point, the Latin language is an important part of our Catholic heritage and should not just be cast aside for any reason.

It's actually quite sad when many Catholic laity, priests and even prelates cannot recite the Pater Noster, the Ave Maria, the Gloria or the Credo in the language of our Church stretching back to the times of the Roman Empire.

Every Catholic ought to take the time to learn enough Latin to say basic prayers.
I think there is a valid point that if the person saying the prayers or reading the passages of Scripture or the Fathers does not understand the language and does not know what he is saying or receiving, then something is missing.  The bishops quoted in the CC article all seem to acknowledge the value of Latin, but see this as the problem.

Where I disagree is with the other premise they use, which leads to the conclusion that Latin should simply no longer be used: The clergy don't really understand Latin and, as Cardinal Frings' put it,  "the Church can do nothing about it."

It would have taken some work and dedication, but I think something could have been done about it.  Of course, now the issue is ten-fold worse so it would take even more work and dedication from all involved to put the cat back in the bag--but it is certainly doable if the pastors of the Church really wanted to do it.
What kind of doctor he is?

A stupid doctor, that's what!

The loss of Latin has IMO highlighted just how broken and disconnected the Church has become. It shows a lack of unity where everybody is out for themselves.

How is it that a Catholic can't even a watch a Papal Mass and know what's happening without a translator telling them?

How is it that Catholics from the United States, Italy, Germany, China, Argentina, Brazil, the Philippines, Poland, etc, etc, know no common language with which to worship?

How is it that in an increasingly globalized world, the Catholic Church has moved further away from uniting itself globally?
I was thinking about this thread last night while I was trying to sleep, and where he talks about the Eastern Churches using non-Latin languages, etc.

Doesn't the Eastern Church (Ukrainian, for example) use an archaic and "church" form of that language for their liturgy?
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