Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: Church/Papal Authority

Church/Papal Authority QUESTION from TimothyL October 5, 2001
Why do so many people these days talk about the wishes of the Church regarding liturgical abuses? There was a time when the Church, through the Pope, ORDERED something, not wished it. For example, Vatican II stated that Latin was to be retained, but has it been retained? Hardly. So, John Paul II does nothing to compel its use. Why not? He has the bully pulpit, if you will, and he should (indeed, is OBLIGATED) to use it for the good of the Church. Instead, we hear things like, It is the WISH of the Holy Father... All we ever hear these days is Vatican II this and Vatican II that, but the same people who say this look the other way regarding an issue like this. Vatican II said, Keep Latin, and we discard it. Vatican II said nothing about the priest facing people during Mass or holding hands during the Pater Noster, yet we do it. Does this make sense?
ANSWER by Mr. Jacob Slavek on October 1, 2001
Dear Timothy,
Yes, these days people like to use words like wish. The reason is because it is easier language and less demanding. There is a trend these days in our culture to speak like this: but, in my opinion, it is mostly unnecessary. Does the Vatican demand Latin? YES. Does it use gentle language? NO. The use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin Rite. (n.33) Do we NEED to rephrase this when quoting it to make is easier, perhaps even more lenient to what WE want rather than the church? Absolutely not. That is why when I refer to the church's laws I use words like laws instead of wishes. Demands rather than suggests. What more can our Holy Father do? He can demand and demand, he has the documents and history to back him up, yet there will seemingly ALWAYS be those who are disobedient.
I believe I have addressed all of your concerns, if you need more help do not hesitate to write back.
Regarding Latin once again, I want to say that it has indeed been retained in our rite, it is still the official language, Vatican II was conducted in Latin, all official documents are still promulgated in Latin, all ritual books are published first in Latin, our official catechism is now in Latin, the NEW MISSAL due at the end of this year is IN LATIN (so is the current), and the study of Latin is growing and growing in the United States, especially in seminaries. It is too bad that pastors and the faithful do not see Latin's need in our daily Liturgy.
Mr. Slavek
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