Thursday, February 12, 2009

Patriarch Maximos IV and Sacrosanctum concilium

Here is a quote from the Melkite Catholic Patriarch, His Beatitude Maximos IV Saigh's address to the Council on the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium;

The almost absolute value assigned to Latin in the Liturgy, in teaching, and in the administration of the Latin church strikes us from the Eastern church as strange[assez anormal]. Christ after all spoke the language of his contemporaries. . . . [In the East]there has never been a problem about the proper liturgical language. All languages are liturgical, as the Psalmist says, "Praise the Lord, all ye people." . . . The Latin language is dead. But the Church is living, and its language, the vehicle of grace of the Holy Spirit, must also be living because it is intended for us human beings not for angels."

(as quoted in John W. O'Mally, What Happened at Vatican II, p. 136).

I'm not sure I would agree with Patriarch Maximos assessment that Latin is a dead language. Can a language really die? Witness the revival of the Hebrew language by the nation Israel. BTW, this is not a blanklet endorsement of O'Mally's book.

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