People Can Treat Liturgy Mindlessly Regardless of What Language It’s In

One of the most common arguments *against* Latin in the Liturgy is that “People pray[ed] mindlessly” or “People didn’t understand what was going on.” The latter is easily refuted in that the average layperson today doesn’t understand what’s going on at Mass, and that The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy [Sacrosanctum Concilium] (paragraph 54, I believe) provides that efforts are to be taken to better educate the laity in the “mother tongue” of the Roman Church, so that we can better participate.
In any case, I once saw the specific example given of nuns chanting the Divine Office in Latin and “mindlessly” reciting the instructions like “Hic non dicitur Glória Patri, neque Amen” (“Do not recite the Glory to the Father or Amen here”) at the end of the “Benedicite”. This comes to mind every time I hear similar things when the Liturgy of the Hours is prayed in English, even by the fine folks at http://www.divineoffice.org, and someone either reads the instructions, recites something that’s meant to be silent, or introduces the reading by saying something like, “A reading from 1 Peter” or “A reading from Hebrews 12:22-24” instead of “A reading from the First Letter of St. Peter” or “A Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews.”

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2 responses to “People Can Treat Liturgy Mindlessly Regardless of What Language It’s In

  1. Honestly, I’d chalk up most of those mistakes to plain human error, and not get all worked up about it.

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