November 07, 2007

Hmmm, I'm not the only one who thinks so...

[A]n understanding of the importance of Latin in our Church's theological history will help us accomplish something very worthwhile: namely, to separate the opinions of the Traditionalists from the important role of Tradition itself. Here's what I mean.

A major force in the thinking of the Council fathers of Vatican II was the ressourcement movement, an effort by scholars in the 1930s and 1940s to ground Catholic theology and liturgy in the somewhat forgotten writings of the early Church fathers — who wrote, of course, in Greek and Latin. Studying the development of the liturgy over time enabled these scholars to free themselves from an ahistorical tendency to view the Tridentine mass as a kind of perfection frozen in time — a view which would keep fides and ratio too far apart, you might say.

So classical (specifically, patristic) scholarship was one major key to the renewal envisioned in Vatican II. It's even behind more recent evangelization efforts. Take that excellent guide to a solidly Catholic interpretation of the Bible, Making Senses Out of Scripture: Reading the Bible as the First Christians Did. As I think author Mark Shea would cheerfully agree, his book could not have been written had he not been able to build upon scholarly research on fourfold interpretation of the Vulgate — by scholars (none of whom could be considered "Traditionalists") who were steeped in a knowledge of Latin.

All of which leads me to conclude: While some liturgically progressive friends of mine seem to associate a study of Latin with a longing for Generalissimo Franco and the advent of theological firing squads, I personally associate the subject with the rise of evangelical Catholicism — a liberating force if there ever was such a thing.

~Elias Crim at Catholic Exchange
A New Generation Discovers Latin

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