Friday, April 4, 2008

Sarum English or Sarum Latin

The Case for Latin

The case for Latin is a strong one and there are none who can deny that, in fact the Latin Rite Catholics of a traditional mind those who we might call brothers make a good case that one reason for the preference of Latin over the vernacular is the very fact that it has been sanctified. It is one of the Holy Languages (Greek, and Hebrew generally being considered the others), there can be no doubt that the Holy Languages all have an vast amount of power. The Latin language also provides a level of sanctity to the Holy Liturgy; because of its lack of common use it creates in our mind a wall between the secular and the sacred.

The Case for English... sort of.
Though it is true that Latin is a sacred language it is true to say that there is a certain kind of English which has become sacred. While not equal too Latin, Hebrew, and Greek, "Middle English" as it is sometimes called is certainly unique at least into todays world to the Worship of God and the Veneration of His Saints. It is inappropriate for the Anglican Church to begin to calibrate the Novus Ordo or even the Tridentine Liturgy as they have never been common to our Church. We have developed a certain tradition within our own Rite a tradition which should be respected and venerated. Even Pius V who implemented the Liturgy of Trent did so with the specific order to let those Liturgies with ancient practice be. Contrary to what some would have us believe Pius V was not like the more recent Pope who overnight destroyed centuries of tradition, Pius V had a deep respect for those ancient traditions and wanted to see them preserved this is why it was after Vatican II that we saw the abolition of the Ancient Rites and not Trent.

Given the development of our English tradition to worship God and venerate His Saints in a certain flavor and dialect of the English Church there is no good reason that this should end. Our attempt here to restore the Sarum Liturgy is not an attempt to Latinize our Church, though we must acknowledge the contribution of our Mother. We are our Mothers daughter and so while we may borrow many things from the customs and practices of our Mother we still remain Anglican. Where as Latin is intelligible to one who speaks Italian or Spanish or French but it is still sacred for its distinctness, so Middle English is to the Modern English speaker. When one prays "To Thee Lord is mine heart lifted up" or "Thou art God who maketh all things anew" it cannot be helped but to feel as if you are uttering something which should be said in whispers lest you profane it, "O Lord letteth my lips may never offend Thee so".

It should strongly be opposed that our most Sacred prayers be said in this modern vulgar tongue, but it cannot be denied that if even not to the degree of Latin, Middle English has become sacred. In otherwords if you wish to speak Latin become a Latin.

1 comment:

Canon Tallis said...

Just as the Roman Church itself translated its liturgy into Latin in the third century so that it might be understood of the people, the language of all Christian worship should be that which the laity and clergy alike understand.

Many might not remember that when archbishops Fisher and Ramsay both visited the bishop of Rome they discovered that said bishop was unable to speak Latin. They were still reading their services in that language and had been for years but they did not know it well enough to speak it. But both archbishops could and did.