Latin, a Divisive Language?

"Pope set to bring Back Latin Mass that divided Church," reads the headline for an October 11 story in the Times of London.Yeah, that's right. According to the Times of London, Pope Benedict is a divider, not a uniter, because he wants Catholics worldwide to be able to attend Latin Mass without having to jump through hoops to find a parish that celebrates it.The Catholic Church is catholic, that is, universal. It's all over the world spanning virtually every race, tribe, and tongue. Having a universal prayer language for such a diverse worldwide communion makes sense.And aside from its historical nature as the language of Catholic prayer, Latin, a dead language, is equally accessible to worshipers from all over the world, regardless of native tongue. In other words, it's equally difficult (and simple) to learn regardless of your background. So where's the divisiveness, exactly? Well, writes Ruth Gledhill, Times religion correspondent:

This led to the introduction of the new Mass in the vernacular to make it more accessible to contemporary audiences. By bringing back Mass in Latin, Pope Benedict is signalling that his sympathies lie with conservatives in the Catholic Church.

Now, to her credit, Gledhill explains towards the close of her article why many Catholic laypersons have been clamoring for the papal indult...:

Daphne McLeod, chairman of Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, a UK umbrella group that campaigns for the restoration of traditional orthodoxy, said: “A lot of young priests are teaching themselves the Tridentine Mass because it is so beautiful and has prayers that go back to the Early Church.”

...but is it too much to ask of a religion beat reporter for a major secular newspaper to cover a religious news development without mixing her personal biases?

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters