Should we sing in Latin"
  • From an Anglican List:

    I occasionally use the Kyrie and keep it in the Greek rather than use the English translation. I know that's not Latin, but same principle really....If you use Latin with the congregation, keep the setting simple. Can't think of any settings offhand that might be good. I'm sure other listers can.

    Sent: Friday, January 09, 2009 9:27 AM
    Subject: [Anglican-Music] Can/should I use Latin?

    I'm exploring the possibility of using Latin at my (Episcopal) church. My rector seems open to the idea. Obviously, I could (and do) use Latin for choral anthems, but I want to look at using it in other parts of the service. The "ordinary" parts of the mass are particularly attractive to me, because they get used regularly. I'm thinking along the lines of having the entire congregation sing the Latin bits, not just the choir. Lent might be a good time to try out this idea.

    Based on the little research I've done, Latin doesn't seem to be used much in Episcopal/Anglican services. I haven't found any specific prohibitions, but use of the local vernacular language seems to be a central part of the Anglican tradition from its earliest days. I fear being accused of taking things in a Roman Catholic direction, which is definitely *NOT* my intent (meaning no offense to Roman Catholics).

    Has anyone had any experience going down this path?


    -- Ed


    My comment:

    Yes, there are others that have tried this, and they have been usually very unsuccessful, been yelled at, gotten hate mail, and have been the target of concerted efforts of complaints and pressure on the Pastor to stop this awful practice of using Latin. But then, I'm only talking about Roman Catholic parishes....
  • And that raises a question. Is there anyone on this list, or on the planet, who has reintroduced Latin and had it been wholeheartedly accepted wothout any complaints...and if so, what was your @#$%^ secret, please?
  • And on the other list from a prominent Episcopal Canadian director:

    People rarely object to things being "too Catholic" these days, but their
    snobbery antennae will go up if they perceive something exclusive and
    pandering to over-educated elitism. I can't see any advantage to intruding
    such an experiment on the principal eucharist when there can only be a caste
    division between "ordinary" folk and cognescenti who can handle the Latin.
    I predict copious tears on this one.


    Very good point. Cognescenti.

    Remember, it was the RENEWAL movement in the 1970's which resulted in lay people witnessing to each other with the presentation ending with playing of the person's favorite religious song (READ ON EAGLES WINGS or your own favorite) that then resulted in these people taking over the Church, and singing these songs, which were never intended for congregational use. These people became the Cognescenti who would circle the altar DURING THE MASS and were better thaneverbody else and stamped on the little old ladies in the pews and threw out their statues.

    Their close personal relationships with religion made them better than everyone else and made what they did the law....priests gave up much of their authority during this time to become like them...and this was the start of the great migration out of religious life.

    You knew when the priests at your parish showed up to distribute Communion in red-plaid work shirts and owned motorcycles and campers that things were getting very, very strange.

    So that's when the Folkies came in and good music went out.
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    >And that raises a question. Is there anyone on this list, or on the planet, who has reintroduced Latin and had it been
    >wholeheartedly accepted wothout any complaints...and if so, what was your @#$%^ secret, please?

    We sing the ordinary and memorial acclamation in Latin two Sundays a month at the 8:30 a.m. Mass at our parish (Assumption in Nashville) and have received no complaints. We asked the organist, who is the de facto DM for the 8:30 Mass, whether we could have a schola that sang the Gregorian chant, she said sure, checked with Father, Father said sure, she practiced with us for a few weeks, and then we started singing. This has been going on since August 2008 without problem.

    Now, we've never done this at the 11 a.m. Mass, which is much more heavily attended -- we don't because most of us like to go the 8:30 with our families -- but I think it would probably be well received at that Mass, too.

    This is a fluke, I think. A very happy fluke, but a fluke nonetheless.

    Of course, if I was a superstitious person, I would now live in dread that by stating the above, we will shortly be inundated with complaints.

  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Noel: there is St. Clement's in Philadelphia and St. John's in Detroit (which I visit often). St. John's used to do Latin Gregorian chant for the propers, but now does the Anglican Use Gradual. I'm guessing they might have gotten complaints or something? Perhaps they should consider the American Gradual. It's my understanding that for Corpus Christi they have a Mozart or Haydn Mass also. Speaking of Bruce Ford, he also uses plenty of chant at his parish.

    That is one thing that keeps me wary of working at a protestant church again - "what do you mean I can't do chant and Latin?" Then again, protestants are usually more accepting of it than Catholics.
  • But after going to Mass at St. Clements, you still have to go to Mass, don't you? My wife had the chance to meet and study under Peter Conte at a summer church music conference (Sewannee) and he is magnificent and runs an incredible music program there...with podcasts...and out-Romans Romans....
  • A parish I know of banned Latin from all Masses. But kept the Sanctus and Agnus Dei in Latin....interesting, especially because these were the parts of the Mass everyone sings, while they try to get people to sing a Communion in english....where people will not sing at all.

    I'm working on a workshop plan: Dissection of the Four Hymn Mass
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Noel: Yes, a Catholic would be committing a mortal sin by attending St. Clement's and not hearing Mass (or Divine Liturgy in a parish in union with Rome) for the relevant Sunday. The sin is, of course, in missing Mass, not in merely attending the service there! Although it's hard to tell that it "doesn't count", the biggest hint should be that they do the Roman Rite correctly ;)

    I like the sounds of that workshop, Noel.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    I use Latin mass parts during Lent, and no one complains. I wouldn't try it all year, since I think the western church should have had vernacular masses 1,000 years ago. And of course, Latin was the vernacular 1,600 years ago. I don't think my congregation or pastor would want Latin all the time.
  • paul
    Posts: 60
    How about adding the dialogues (the Lord be with you...) in Latin to the sung gregorian lenten experience? we've never done it at my church but I don't think it will be a problem and I want to try it this year. BTW, I don't get the references to St. Clements... and since my church is a St. Clements, I'm kinda interested....
  • There was no intent during Vatican II to have an all English Mass. In fact, the ONLY loophole to having an entire Mass in the vernacular is in the case of a mission in the mission field.

    I think that once a Lexus drives into a church parking lot, the mission status is invalid.

    And this raises a question. Are all these 100% vernacular US Masses valid?

    [St. Clement's, Philadelphia is non-Roman, Anglican/Episcopalian but liturgically more Roman than almost another US church, including the highest TLM ones...]
  • Just saw this comment, definite bumper-sticker possibilities:

  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    "this raises a question. Are all these 100% vernacular US Masses valid?"

    Noel, if you really want to read discussions on this (very heated one, that's why I didn't post it here.), go to this.