From Fr. C. C. Martindale, S.J.
SIR,-"Latin v. Vernacular" will go on occasioning letters for
a long time: but may 1 add a point not usually considered?
First, however, Lady Winifred Tryon is surely right when she implies that so many children leave our schools not having understood either what is said or is done at Mass, to which so many so soon cease to go. A memorised catechism, especially in its present form, gives hardly a foundation for future understanding. Yet even today, when Latin is less and less taught, at least the great "hymns", the Gloria, Credo, etc., can so be taught as to be understood, if much trouble is taken.
But my point is this: power is clearly moving away from our tiny peninsula of Europe of which only a part has been "Latinized". Can Europe any more expect to carry its culture to Asia, near or far/ To tumultuous Africa?
Experience already shows that our material exports are valued, but not our mind: the Indian, the Chinese, the Mohammedan minds are different from ours, and will refuse even to try to understand that "European way of thinking" which is implied by the use of Latin. Merchants and armies are not going to teach them to do so! The problem is far more gigantic than "Catholic v. Protestant".
C. C. Martindale, S.I.
SIR.I read Lady Tryon's letter on Latin in the Mass two days after listening in to Bishop Walsh of Aberdeen (speaking in "Christian Outlook" on Network Three). The bishop stated unequivocally that he had high hopes of the coming General Council legislating for a greater use of the vernacular even as much as the whole of the first part of the Mass. Bishop Walsh also emphasised that this is not an innovation, but a return to the practice of the early Church: that the spiritual life consists of a series of fresh starts; and that the use of the vernacular is part of the general liturgical revival.
He has himself set a great example of obedience to the wishes of the Holy See by remodelling his cathedral. bringing the altar close to the people and stripping it of inessentials so that all attention is concentrated on the holy Sacrifice.
Many Sassenachs would much appreciate it if the bishop would expand his ideas on these matters: 1 am sure that Lady Tryon would give consideration to a bishop's ruling. Possibly a bishop is in a better position to know what are the needs of the uneducated (the vast majority); and quite certainly he is in a better position to know the mind of the Church. and what his brother bishops in the rest of the universal Church think of liturgical reform T. T. Lee Canonbury Square, London, N.I.