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Pope’s U.S Visit included Latin Mass Posted by on Sep 30, 2015 in Latin Language

Greetings Everyone! As most of you know the Pope came to the U.S within the last week for a visit and during this visit I found it very exciting that he gave a mass partial in Latin! So this article is a report of the mass, history of Latin mass, the reception of mass in Latin.

Pope Francis in August 2014. Courtesy of WikiCommons and Stemoc.

Pope Francis in August 2014. Courtesy of WikiCommons and Stemoc.

When & Where:

Wednesday’s mass in Washington, D.C., at which the Pope will canonize Father Juniperro Serra, he’ll add another linguistic twist. The main prayers of the service, along with the celebration of the Eucharist—the part of the service when people take communion—will be in Latin.


Latin! This is an exclamation-mark-worthy fact for a few reasons. “It’s very unusual,” said Father John O’Malley, the Georgetown University professor and author of What Happened at Vatican II. “It’s not unheard of, but it doesn’t make much sense, if you’re in an English parish, or a Spanish parish, to do it in Latin.”

While it may make much sense, everyone must admit it is a real treat. Latin is mass is rarity these days-moreso a Latin mass performed by the POPE!

Brief History of Latin in Mass:

Before the mid-to-late 20th century, Latin was a standard feature of Roman Catholic masses: Priests used it throughout the service, including for prayers and the celebration of the Eucharist (Latin was easier for people to learn than Greek or other languages). The version of the service used in Catholic churches around the world had been ratified in the mid-16th century.

Over the past 50 years, the use of Latin has become a marker of Catholic traditionalism, and in the years following the release of the new liturgy, the older version of the mass—often called the Latin or old-rite mass—became a bit of a political battle. At first, the Holy See granted several priests and organizations the right to use the Latin mass. But eventually the amount of churches seeking permission dwindled (1970s-1980s) and overall it was felt that the language barrier was taking away from the spiritual connection of mass.

**(courtesy to LA Times, NY Times, Telegraph, and Atlantic for sources).

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About the Author: Brittany Britanniae

Hello There! Please feel free to ask me anything about Latin Grammar, Syntax, or the Ancient World.