Advice from India
SIR,--I have just received three back numbers of the " Herald" dated 3rd, 10th and 17th September respectively. With regard to the discussions therein on the Liturgy and the Vernacular the following facts May he of interest to your readers. Our children here are Tarnilians, speaking the Tainil tongue and Latin is more foreign to them than Greek would be to an elementary school child at home. Last Sunday, after having trained the children for some weeks previously, we began the practice of the Dialogue Mass. The latter is defined (American Ecclesiastical Review, March, 1934) as a Low Mass in which the faithful who are present respond with, or also instead of, the server to the prayers of the
celebrant. The Dialogue Mass is not a recitation aloud by the faithful of either a vernacular or the Latin text of the prayers of the Offertory and the Canon.
As Roman script is strange to our children, I had small booklets printed with the Latin text on one page written in ver narular eharac-ters (thus assuring correct pronuncia ion) and the translation on the opposite p ge. Moreover in order to have the prays recited in unison, the phrases arc prints with dividing lines. Thus for example: IPatrern omnipolentem factorem eaeli et lc rae visibilium (minium ct invisibilium et i unum Dominum Jesurn Christ
urn, etc. t has been a great success. In addition to the usual responses said by the server, the children recite together with the priest, the Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, and t le triple Donnine non sum Idignus before the People's Communion. There is no " mumbo-jumbo " whatever. Naturally the children do not understand every word they are slaying but they have the translation on the opposite page and they get the gist of it. What I mean is, when they say, e.g. Agnus Dei, they know that it means Lamb of God, etc., and I think they can say it wit devotion.
Your c rrespondent, W. P. Crampton, refers to the custom prevailing in some parts of enhany of reciting parts of the
Canon al ud. Also the Alger a nobis, Offertory, i etc. The Sacred Congregation of Riles issked if the custom could be approved by which the faithful recite aloud the Secret Prayers, Canon, and Words of Consecration, replied, 4 August, 1922: what is forbidden to priests, who must say the words of the Canon Secrete), cannot be allowed to the faithful. The above custom must be condemned as an abuse and must be entirely removed from those places where it has been introduced.
Your readers might like to hear also of the achievements of our children in singing. Writing everything down in vernacular characters in exercise books, they have learned and sing, not a la Sistina, it is true, but withoet a single mistake in the melody, the following pieces: Masses iii, iv and ix, Messe Roiyale and Missa pro Defunctis with Libera; Te Deurn, Veni Creator, Stabat ler, Adoro Te, 0 Filii et Fillet, Veni Sane e Spiritus, Litany of Our Lady, a great part ref the music of the morning services in Holy Week, and half a dozen melodies for the 0 Salutaris and Tantum Ergo and as majny motets. On the Feast of St. Francis they sang the Proper of the Mass
and the Transitus. As I write this letter the straimeof Christus Vincit (Laudes saec. viii-ix) which we are practising for the Feast of Christ the King., come wafting across from the next compound where the children ate playing. Indian children at play singing a Latin Motet!
When we consider the intricacies of many Plain Cbarit pieces, the Libera for example, and the fact that these children have to learn everything by heart—the Western method o reading music is entirely unknown to 1 them—it is to say the least, a very erediIable performance. How is it done? B sheer plodding. We have a harmoniuri but no one to play it so everything is sung unaccompanied. For the practices. half an hour every day, 1 play the melody MO one finger!
Abolish ;Latin! I have never yet heard of an Indilen being prevented from becoming a Catholic on account of Latin. If I am not mistaken, most of the objections to Latin col from Protestant English-speaking England and America. Do such objections come, e.g., from Austria? Yet their langu age is as far removed from Latin
as ours. here is no doubt that a common language ie a help towards union. It is the common practice among conquering nations to force their language on the con quered. The children of this world . .." If the entire Liturgy were allowed in English tomorrow would England be one whit nearer the Faith?
FATHER FIDELIS, O.F.M.
St. Lazarus' Church. Cowl Bazaar, BeIlary, South India.