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Real Latin (letter)
At first I was inclined to agree with Angus Sibley. My mind went back to 1952 when I arrived in West Australia as a European migrant and went to Mass at the Cathedral Church of Perth.
I had had a discussion with a fellow-lodger, a Protestant, who had gone to a Presbyterian service on the previous Sunday and told me he wouldn't be going back there, because he hadn't understood a word. I felt sincerely sorry for him and was pleased that Latin was the same everywhere, so I wouldn't have the same problem.
But at Mass I got exactly what Angus Sibley is proposing: a "little Latin" and a big serve of an Anglo-Saxon version of Latin. It was the sort of Latin that makes a Frenchman cringe and caused Otto von Bismarck, after he took time off to study English, to remark to a friend: "English is a language in which the word 'elephant' is written as 'rhinoceros', and spoken as 'camel'."
Let us hope that when Latin ever gets restored to the liturgy, it will be real Latin.
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 17 No 10 (November 2004), p. 14
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