Pope Francis: Regain a Sense of the Sacred
#41
The fact is, in Catholic culture, Latin had come to symbolize sacredness.  As others have mentioned, there are versions of English which culturally also signify it (thees and thous, etc.), but the vernacular adopted in most places did not have any such sacred significance at the time it was instituted.  I think this was the result of a misapplied inculturation, which ended up being a "de-culturation."  Inculturation gets a bad rap, so let me explain a little more:

Historically, many non-Christian cultures had customs, architecture, vestments, and objects associated with the sacred and holy that were deeply ingrained in the consciousness of the culture--when these things were present, the people immediately recognized sacredness. To help such cultures recognize sacredness in Christianity, the Church often adopted and adapted such architecture, vestements, and other things that said to the culture loud and clear "this is sacred" (as far as was possible without falling into superstition or syncretism) to point to the sacred actions and truths of Christianity.

This, in fact, is the good kind of inculturation. The bad kind of inculturation--"de-culturation"-- is when we replace things a culture has long held to signify sacredness with things from the cutlure that do not have such significance. In the West, the Latin Mass was what the culture had come to hold to signify sacredness.  Ironically, I think those who were overzealous about inculturating the Mass in the West looked right past the cultural value of the Latin Mass itself, and instead tried to draw from other parts of Western culture at that time, which held little if anything to be sacred.
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