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B3491 The Latin Roots of Western Prayer

  • By Mr. Thomas J. Rohn, OP. For almost 2000 years, Christians in the Western tradition have prayed to God in Latin. By the 20th century this included Christians not only in the old parts of the Roman Empire, but across the entire world and on every continent. Latin is as much a part of the religious heritage that unites us as other Western traditions like the Rosary or Gregorian chant.

    St. John XXIII, who called the Second Vatican Council, said that the Church values Latin, “in which wisdom itself is cloaked…in a vesture of gold,” and St. Paul VI, who saw the council through to completion, said that Latin was “an abundant wellspring of Christian civilization and a very rich treasure-trove of devotion.”

    This attitude explains why Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Vatican II document that developed the blueprints for the reform of the Mass, instructed that “steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.”

    This book seeks to support this goal of Vatican II, moving beyond just providing a translation, to offering an explanation of what the Latin says, what it means, and how it can enrich our prayer lives.

    About the author:

    Mr. Thomas Rohn, OP, is a father, husband, and Third Order Dominican living in Indiana. He holds advanced degrees in Classics, History, Mathematics, and Business Administration.

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