Choose a topic from Vol 3:


Reason proves God's existence
Primitive monotheism
Mystery of God's inner nature
Personality of God
Providence of God and the problem of evil


Immortal destiny of man
Can earth give true happiness?
Do human souls evolve?
Is transmigration possible?
Animal souls
Freedom of will
Free will and faith


Religion and God
The duty of prayer
The mysteries of religion
Can we believe in miracles?

The Religion of the Bible

Historical character of the Gospels
Canonical Books of the Bible
Original Manuscripts
Copyists' errors
Truth of the Bible
New Testament "contradictions"

The Christian Religion

Christianity alone true
Not the product of religious experience
Compared with Buddhism, Confucianism, Mahometanism, Bahaism, etc.,
Rejected by modern Jews
The demand for miracles
The necessity of faith
Difficulties not doubts
Proofs available
Dispositions of unbelievers

A Definite Christian Faith

One religion not as good as another
Changing one's religion
Catholic convictions and zeal
Religious controversy
The curse of bigotry
Towards a solution

The Problem of Reunion

Efforts at the reunion of the Churches
The Church of England as a "Bridge-Church"
Anglicans and the Greek Orthodox Church
The "Old Catholics" of Holland
Reunion Conferences
Catholic Unity
The Papacy as reunion center
Protestant hostility to Catholicism
The demands of charity

The Truth of Catholicism

Necessity of the Church
The true Church
Catholic claim absolute
A clerical hierarchy
Papal Supremacy
Temporal Power
Unity of the Church
Holiness of the Church
Catholicity of the Church
Catholic attitude to converts
Indefectible Apostolicity
Necessity of becoming a Catholic

The Church and the Bible

Catholic belief in the Bible
Bible-reading and private interpretation
Value of Tradition and the "Fathers"
Guidance of the Church necessary

The Dogmas of the Catholic Church

Dogmatic certainty
Credal statements
Faith and reason
The voice of science
Fate of rationalists
The dogma of the Trinity
Creation and evolution
The existence of angels
Evil spirits or devils
Man's eternal destiny
The fact of sin
Nature and work of Christ
Mary, the mother of God
Grace and salvation
The sacraments
Holy Eucharist
The Sacrifice of the Mass
Holy Communion
Marriage and divorce
Extreme Unction
Man's death and judgment
Resurrection of the body
End of the World

Moral Teachings of the Catholic Church

Catholic intolerance
The Spanish Inquisition
Prohibition of Books
Liberty of worship
Forbidden Socieities
Church attendance
The New Psychology
Deterministic philosophy
Marriage Legislation
Birth Prevention
Monastic Life
Convent Life
Legal defense of murderers
Laywers and divorce proceedings
Judges in Divorce
Professional secrecy

The Church in Her Worship

Why build churches?
Glamor of ritual
The "Lord's Prayer"
Pagan derivations
Liturgical symbolism
Use of Latin
Intercession of Mary and the Saints

The Church and Social Welfare

The Church and Education
The Social Problem
Social Duty of the Church
Catholicism and Capitalism

Use of Latin

1313. Why is Latin used in the Roman Catholic service instead of English, or the national language of each country?

We can scarcely say that Latin is used "instead of English," when both Latin and English are used. All sermons and instructions are given in English, or in the language of the country in which the Church happens to be. I have heard Italian priests preaching in Italian, French priests preaching in French; German priests preaching in German, etc. You yourself would never hear a priest preaching in a Catholic Church in this country save in English.But you must remember that the Catholic religion does not consist merely in preaching and the singing of hymns. She has an official liturgical worship, of which the chief element is the Sacrifice of the Mass. And for this official liturgical worship, which is offered to God, and not to the people, she uses her official liturgical language - Latin.The Mass is an act of sacrifice to God. And whether the Mass were in Arabic, or Greek, or Hebrew, the people would understand it as an act. In the old Jewish law, the high priest retired to the Holy of Holies to offer sacrifice, and the people assisted in spirit, each praying his own prayers.The Church reserves Latin for her liturgical worship for many reasons. Firstly, the significance of her rites is preserved in its original form. Latin is a dead language, not subject to the constant changes of meaning which we find in all living languages. For this reason, the Jews still use Hebrew in their Synagogues-whether they be English Jews, or German Jews, or American, or French, or Italian. Now Latin is the basic language of European civilization. Italian, Spanish, French, and even English to a great extent, are but modern variations of Latin. The Catholic Church retains the Latin, avoiding the variations. In their prayer books, of course, Catholics have the translation of the Latin liturgical language, and in their own countries can follow the prayers in English, Italian, French, or German, as the case may be.Secondly, the Catholic Church, as a universal Church, needs a single universal language, so that at least her essential rites may be universally the same. This could not be, were the Mass offered in the language of one particular country. But, wherever a Catholic travels he can assist at Mass and be quite at home, finding it said in Latin, just as in his own country, whether he be in Palestine or Africa, Fiji, Alaska, Belgium or Austria, or anywhere else. If an Anglican minister celebrated his English service in a remote Japanese village, because he knew no Japanese, the villagers would be sadly puzzled. If I went there, the moment I began the Latin Mass, every Japanese Catholic would feel quite at home, for I would offer Mass just as every Japanese Catholic priest offers Mass. There are other reasons, but I have said enough to indicate the chief grounds for one common liturgical language in the one great universal Church.

1314. St. Paul says, "In the Church I had rather speak five words with my understanding that I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue." 1 Cor. XIV., 19. Reconcile that with your use of Latin, an unknown tongue

There is no opposition whatever between the text you quote and Catholic practice. The terms of comparison need explanation, not reconciliation as if they were opposed to each other. St. Paul's allusion to speaking in an unknown tongue does not refer to any natural use of a foreign language. He is referring to a special and miraculous gift of God to certain Christians in the early Church by which onlookers were suddenly made aware that the speaker was subject to a supernatural power. This induced them to pay attention when the speaker did explain Christian doctrine to them in their own language and quite clearly. But the gift of speaking in unknown tongues was not given for its own sake. It was merely a means to winning attention to the preaching of the Gospel. Unfortunately some of the Corinthians began to regard the teaching of Christian doctrine as quite secondary and the cultivation of the more astonishing gift of tongues as of higher importance. St. Paul rebukes them for this, and in the verse you quote, brings out the importance of teaching cleanly the true doctrine of Christ. "I would rather use my natural gifts of understanding to teach others, than take pride in astonishing people by speech in unknown tongues. What is the use of speaking in such unknown tongues, if you do not interpret so that people can understand, or seize the opportunity of their awakened interest to teach them Christian doctrine? For it is more important to teach than to speak in unknown tongues."Thus you have the explanation of your text.Now take your reference to the use of Latin in the Catholic Church.Firstly, you are wrong when you suggest that perhaps all our prayers are in a tongue unknown to the vast majority of people. The prayers after Mass, at evening devotions, during the Stations of the Cross, etc., are in the language of the country; here, in English. All sermons, notices, and teachings are given in English. Latin is reserved only for strictly liturgical functions. And even in this restricted case, granted that the majority of Catholics do not understand Latin, your text has no bearing whatever on the case. For firstly, the use of Latin has no reference to any claim to be speaking in virtue of a miraculous gift of the Holy Spirit, to which alone St. Paul alludes. Secondly, it is not a question of speaking in a language the sense of which is unintelligible and profitless to those present, for they have the English translation of the Mass in their prayer books and can follow quite easily all that the priest at the altar is saying. In not one single point, then, is there any conflict between St. Paul's words, and the Catholic practice of celebrating Mass in the one universal language - Latin.

1315. Mass should not be read in Latin by the priest, as the congregation cannot thereby follow the Mass.

As a non-Catholic, unfamiliar with the Catholic religion, you are not in a position to judge what Catholics are able, or are not able to do. Your Catholic friends will tell you that they are quite at home in assisting at Mass, and their verdict should satisfy you. It is well to note that Catholic prayer books for the use of the laity have the full translation into English of all that is said at Mass, and the people are thus able to follow the Mass perfectly. It is also well to note that the priest, when celebrating Mass, is praying for the people, but not to the people. He is praying to God. And God understands Latin. All that you have said is based upon a lack of knowledge of the Catholic religion, and even upon wrong ideas of it. It is not surprising that you come to wrong conclusions about it. And the sensible thing to do is to rectify your lack of knowledge by studying the Catholic religion until you are familiar with its teachings and practices.

1316. I believe that in Palestine the Mass is said in the common tongue.

There are Churches of both the Western and Eastern rites in Palestine. In Churches of the Western rite, Mass is said in Latin, even in Palestine. In Churches of the Eastern rites, Mass is said in various Eastern languages. Usually these are ancient forms which present-day members no more understand than they would Latin. For example, the Greek Melchite Church, which is in union with Rome, uses the Arabic language in the Mass. The language in which Mass is said is really unimportant in itself, for the Mass is not addressed to the people; it is a sacrifice offered to God. And God understands all forms of human speech. It is for wise reasons, however, that the Western Church has retained Latin as its liturgical language.

1317. Is it true that one of the reasons why the Church of England digressed was because the Church of Rome refused to recite the service in the common tongue?

No. When Henry VIII., broke away from Rome and set up the new "Church of England," there was no talk of replacing Latin by English. Later on, when Protestant ideas became current, the whole character of religious worship was changed. The Mass and the Catholic idea of the priesthood were abolished. The thought of' a minister of religion turning his back on the people, and addressing himself to God by the offering of sacrifice was rejected. The minister was ordered to face the people, and adjust the service to them. The ministry of preaching supplanted the ministry of sacrifice. And as the congregation became all important, the language used in all services was adapted to the requirements of the people. In the Catholic Church, such sections of the service as are directly addressed to the people are given in the languages of the respective countries. But the liturgical worship which is addressed directly to God is offered in Latin, the uniform language of the Western Church.

1318. Why does the Catholic Church insist that even the nuns must pray in Latin, a language they cannot understand?

Passing over your supposition that nuns in general cannot understand Latin, the Church does not insist that nuns "pray in Latin." Their private and personal prayers, as well as their ordinary community prayers, are in English; and they say far more prayers in English than they do in Latin. It is only when saying their "office," or official liturgical prayers that they use Latin. And that is because in this particular exercise, they are really "lending their voices" to the Catholic Church which prays through them in her own official liturgical language - Latin.Even if the nuns did not understand, it would not matter. The Church knows full well the meaning of the prayers she asks her nuns to say for her, and God certainly understands the worship being offered to Him in the name of all the faithful. And even such nuns as are not able to perceive the full sense of every word, can lift their hearts to God by their own interior dispositions of reverence, praise, and love. But the chief thing to remember that, in these official prayers, it is the Church praying to God through the instrumentality of her religious orders.



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