The Latin Language and Eucharistic Celebrations in Small Groups
We continue on this week in our study of Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI’s 2007 Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis on the Holy Eucharist as Source and Summit of our Christian faith (¶ 62-63) and discuss the Latin language and the Eucharistic celebration in small groups.
Beginning with the Latin language, Pope Benedict shares his desire to express more clearly the unity and universality (in view of last week’s article on having more large-scale Eucharistic celebrations now than ever before) of the Church, in harmony with the directives of Vatican II, that with the exception of the readings, the homily, and the prayer of the faithful, the use of the Latin language is fitting for use in these liturgies. Moreover, he states: “Similarly, the better-known prayers of the Church’s tradition should be recited in Latin and, if possible, selections of Gregorian Chant should be sung.”
He concludes by encouraging future priests to learn Latin and how to say the Holy Mass in the Latin language, and that they should use Latin texts and rediscover Gregorian Chant. He reminds us also that the faithful can learn the more common prayers in Latin and participate in Gregorian Chant too!
Concerning small scale Eucharistic celebrations, the Holy Father recognizes that the liturgy celebrated on a small scale can create a more conscious, active and fruitful participation. However, pastors must always be aware of the entire flock under his care. Small scale Masses could result in a conflict of interests among the entire family of believers in a particular parish community or diocese, and pastors must encourage faithful participation of the entire community to preserve as much as possible the unity of the liturgical life of individual families.
NEXT WEEK: We move into a new section of the letter called, “Interior Participation in the Eucharistic Celebration.”