More than 70 years ago, the English satirist Aldous Huxley wrote that modernity is the “age of noise.” He was writing about the radio, whose noise, he said “penetrates the mind, filling it with a babel of distractions – news items, mutually irrelevant bits of information, blasts of corybantic or sentimental music, continually repeated doses of drama that bring no catharsis.”
If Huxley had lived into the 21st century…
The “age of noise” diminishes virtue, and charity, and imagination, replacing them with anxiety, and worry, and exhaustion.
The Lord didn’t make us for this kind of noise. He made us for conversation, for exchange and communion. And our political community depends upon real deliberation: serious debate and activism over serious subjects. But the Lord also made us for silence. For contemplation. For quietude. And without these things anchoring our lives…
—from the online article The Age of Noise by Bishop James Conley of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska
Of its very nature Latin is most suitable for promoting every form of culture among peoples. It gives rise to no jealousies. It does not favor any one nation, but presents itself with equal impartiality to all and is equally acceptable to all.
These are the words of Our Predecessor Pius XI, who conducted a scientific inquiry into this whole subject, and indicated three qualities of the Latin language which harmonize to a remarkable degree with the Church’s nature. “For the Church, precisely because it embraces all nations and is destined to endure to the end of time … of its very nature requires a language which is universal, immutable, and non-vernacular.”7
Modern languages are liable to change, and no single one of them is superior to the others in authority. Thus if the truths of the Catholic Church were entrusted to an unspecified number of them, the meaning of these truths, varied as they are, would not be manifested to everyone with sufficient clarity and precision. There would, moreover, be no language which could serve as a common and constant norm by which to gauge the exact meaning of other renderings.
But Latin is indeed such a language. It is set and unchanging. it has long since ceased to be affected by those alterations in the meaning of words which are the normal result of daily, popular use.
It is also a most effective bond, binding the Church of today with that of the past and of the future in wonderful continuity.
—from the Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia (On the Promotion of the Study of Latin) by Pope Saint John XXIII, February 22, 1962.
What Vatican II did with the Mass, Rene Descartes did with the Academy. From the founding of the first university in Bologna, Latin was the language of the schools. […]Descartes deliberately published his first important work—The Discourse on the Method—in French. His action was shocking and, in the minds of many in the Church and the University, needlessly reckless.
What has this to do with the Latin Mass? Plenty. Descartes is telling people, in their native language, that they can “do” philosophy as well as anyone in the Academy. No one need be alienated from the world of ideas. Nothing strange, or difficult, or humbling going on here. No need for humility. No need to feel “less than” anyone else. Everyone can play. In the same way, the vernacular Mass encourages the faithful to think of transubstantiation as no big deal. We are all just getting together and celebrating our warm and fuzzy—our accessible to everyone—faith.
If we are to maintain the humility that is the necessary condition of worship and of learning, we have to find a way to remind ourselves that the liturgy is an act of sacrifice and worship, not a get-together to feel good about our faith. It may well be that a return to Latin would remind us all that what is going on at Mass is something not of this world, something much more profound than anything else happening in our lives.
We have managed to bring the Mass down “to our level” when Mass is happening as far away from “our level” as is possible. The Latin is gone, and in the vernacular that replaced it, the words of sacrifice and redemption are, Walker Percy says, “worn smooth as poker chips … a certain devaluation has occurred, like a poker chip after it is cashed in.”
—from the on-line article Lessons from Descartes on the Virtue of the Latin Liturgy by Anne Maloney
For some “all we can do is pray” is an admission of reaching the end of our rope of having tried everything possible and now that there’s nothing else we can do “let’s put the situation in God’s hands.” […] In the Christian faith, prayer is not meant to get you out of a bad situation. It’s meant to get you through every situation, to utilize the power to enable you to handle every circumstance in life, not just the ones we want to get out of or want to avoid.
—from the blog post All We Can Do Is Pray by Dr. Joe Strass
[W]e often talk about the “miracle of birth”. However a miracle is an event that occurs with no human/natural explanation. At Christmas we celebrate the only true Miracle of Birth that occurred once in human history.
—from the blog post A Christmas Thought by Dr. Joe Strauss