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Archives from Pastoral Reflections: Advent 2012 - The Pontifical Latin Academy


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An essential goal of the Second Vatican Council was the renewal and strengthening of the ancient liturgical traditions of the Catholic Church.  In 1963, the sacred Council declared in Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, “Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy” (SC 14). 

While calling for a “suitable place” for the use of the vernacular “mother tongue” in the celebration of the Eucharist, the Council Fathers directed that “steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” (SC 54).

At Saint Benedict, we are blessed to be a community of great diversity in national and cultural origins, with parishioners representing over 15 primary languages.  In the holy sacrifice of the Mass, the Saint Benedict family chants and praises God in the unifying language of Latin incorporated throughout the liturgy, as the Council envisioned.  It is a tangible reminder of our ancient traditions and our fundamental unity as members of the Body of Christ.  For the Church, as the Apostle Paul teaches us, “is his body, the fullness of him who fills all” (Ephesians 1:23, RSV).

Thus, while we celebrate the Mass in the Ordinary Form, the traditions of Latin language and music are a vital part of Saint Benedict Parish in the 21st century.  For this reason, we greet with great joy the announcement by our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI of the creation of the Pontifical Latin Academy to promote and diffuse knowledge of Latin language and heritage throughout the Catholic world. 

In his Apostolic Letter announcing the new Pontifical Latin Academy, the Holy Father wrote, “In our time too, knowledge of the Latin language and culture is proving to be more necessary than ever for the study of the sources, which, among others, numerous ecclesiastical disciplines draw from, such as, for example, theology, liturgy, patristics and canon law….” (Latina Lingua, 2).  Indeed, as part of our parish school’s classical approach, we are dedicated to broadening our students’ academic, cultural, and spiritual horizons by instructing them in Catholic tradition – and the Latin linguistic heritage that forms such a vital part of that tradition.

As we enter the season of Advent, let us pray for the continued renewal of the Catholic Church, as it seeks to engage ever more faithfully and genuinely with the traditions handed down to us from the Apostles, who received their calling directly from our Blessed Lord.  “Veni, Domine Jesu” (“Come, Lord Jesus!” – Rev 22:20).

In this space, I will share articles, reflections, weblinks, and resources of current interest, that I hope will cultivate our shared faith journey.

Let us seek to grow together in knowledge and understanding of that great truth revealed through Saint Paul of Tarsus, that "there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, Himself human, Who gave Himself as a ransom for all." (1 Tim. 2:5) .Within the treasures of the Catholic Church, may we indeed pursue, in the words of the great Benedictine, Saint Anselm, faith seeking understanding.


Portrait of The Reverend James F. Kauffmann©
Original Oil on Linen   2010 
Courtesy of  the artist:  Suellyn G. Beeren



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