Friday, March 15, 2013

Yet another reason Catholics use Latin... it’s a dead language.

Oddly enough one of the reasons people say the Church should stop using Latin is actually one of the reasons that it’s likely never going to stop using it. No people-group today (other than the Catholic Church) uses Latin as its official language. It’s not in common use anywhere in the world. This gives two benefits to using it.

First, the Church has to communicate with 1.2 billion people around the world. What language would folks suggest we use instead? There is no one language that all people know and speak and having no official language would lead to chaos when this document is in Spanish and that document is in Italian. Using Latin shows the universality of the Church. The Church isn’t beholden to any particular nation, ethnicity, race, or gender; why should it promote one language in use today above another?

Second, because it’s a dead language it doesn’t change. No new words are created and the connotation of words doesn’t change. This means those documents written centuries ago mean the same thing today that they did when they were written. Did you know “gentleman” used to mean “a man who owns land and could trace ancestry to nobility”. Today it means “someone who is nice”. Many of our words take on new meanings as time passes; not so with Latin.

If you want a language for your nation then pick one but if you want a language for people around the entire world and a language that will remain timeless then I suggest Latin.

This is yet another reason Catholics continue to use Latin.

1 comment:

Sam Centini said...

I dont think your answer is the answer most people would be seeking, Im Christian and want to learn what I can about Catholic. I have been to several Catholic masses and weddings and one thing that is frustrating is not understanding what is being said by the priest, and I have asked several of those who are Catholics about understanding what the priest is saying and they are more or less interacting with repetition than learning. I am not trying to disprove anything about the Catholic faith just pointing out that if you cant understand what the priest is saying has no face value. In the context that you presented it is understood on a worldwide basis to speak latin is necessary but at the individual level I feel it is a disservice.