Saturday, August 29, 2009

Learn Latin with me ;-)

Here is a phrase in Latin that is very important, that is easy to learn, and I think everyone who is a believer can agree with:

Credo in unum Deum

I believe in one God

The "e" in Credo and in "Deum" is pronounced like a long English "a," like it would be "Craado in unum Daaum." It is sung during the Mass by the priest and is also the title of various sacred music compositions, such as by Bach, so you can hear audio clips for the correct pronunciation!

It is the beginning of The Credo, the profession of faith.

Those of you who speak English and other Romance languages descended from Latin will see that there are similarities, of course, between certain of your language's words, and the Latin that they descended from. Here is the introductory paragraph of Wikipedia's Latin entry:

Latin (lingua Latīna, pronounced [laˈtiːna]) is an Italic language historically spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. Through the Roman conquest, Latin spread throughout the Mediterranean and a large part of Europe. Romance languages such as Italian, French, Catalan, Romanian, Spanish, and Portuguese are descended from Latin, while many others, especially European languages, including English, have inherited and acquired much of their vocabulary from Latin. It was the international language of science and scholarship in central and western Europe until the 17th century, then it was gradually replaced by vernacular languages, especially French, which became the new lingua franca of Europe. There are two main varieties of Latin: Classical Latin, the literary dialect used in poetry and prose, and Vulgar Latin, the form of the language spoken by ordinary people. Vulgar Latin was preserved as a spoken language in much of Europe after the decline of the Roman Empire, and by the 9th century diverged into the various Romance languages.

See. when I was growing up, Latin was still the language used in celebration of Mass in the Roman Catholic Church. Far from being "exclusionary" or "haughty," it was the closest to a global language that was ever achieved. Yes, English is becoming the language of both business and ordinary speech around the world. But when Latin was celebrated in Mass globally, people of wildly different native languages could attend a Catholic Mass in any church and, using their Missal (prayer book) follow along just as they did in their home land. Any Catholic could say to another Catholic "Oremus," and be understood as saying "Let us pray." People who refer to Catholic Latin speech as "gibberish" just do not understand the missed opportunity when the Church, going along with the "modern and hip" thinking of making the "Mass" "relevant" to "local people," took away the chance for one billion Catholics to have a common language.

By the way, as an aside on my teaching about "watching for hypocrisy," notice that secularists had that stupid dream of a "global language" called Esperanto (notice the spin trying to make it sound like anyone cares Wow, that was a real success, wasn't it?

If the Catholic Church had not caved in, we'd have one billion people (with dual language Missals) being able to pray together and speak to each other of their faith.

So just as a fun and educational thing, I thought I'd provide a few sentences in this and future blogs that are "easy to agree with" basics of faith.

Credo in unum Deum.