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Vatican media official talks up role of Latin

Pontifical Council for Social Communications head Archbishop John Foley has given a forceful defence of the place of Latin in the Mass.

Archbishop Foley told the Briefing journal of the Catholic Bishops' Conferences in the UK that he feels it's ironic when he hears young people asking for Latin Masses.

"You see younger people who say we should have Mass in Latin, when they have had no experience of Latin Masses," he said.

Archbishop Foley said he still celebrates the Mass in Latin sometimes, and even speaks Latin with some non-English-speaking bishops. The universal nature of Latin, he said, impresses him.

"That's why I think it is important to be able to train people to participate in Mass in Latin, especially the sung part," he told the publication. "Ironically, when people did not travel very much, Mass was in Latin. Now that they travel a lot and want to be able to understand and identify with what's going on, [they can't because] they don't speak the local language.

"I remember a time when I was in favour of retaining the Eucharistic prayer in Latin and having the rest of it in the vernacular, for the purposes of catechesis, you might say, but of course, everything was put in the vernacular. I had advocated Mass in the vernacular, even before the Second Vatican Council, which made me terribly suspect."

Teach Latin, says Vatican archbishop (Catholic Church in England and Wales 23/3/04)

Pontifical Council for Social Communications
Catholic Prayers in Latin

24 Mar 2004