This blog contains regular postings relating to the Traditional Latin Liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. It includes regular commentary on the saints days and the liturgical cycle, with brief background and extracts from the liturgy both in Latin and English. Much of the material has been extracted from the 'St Andrew's Daily Missal', Dom Gueranger's 'Liturgical Year', or similar sources.

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Friday 31 December 2010

Latina Vulgata: Latin Words - introduction

I was going to call it "Latin Word of the Day" but I quickly realised that I wouldn't be able to keep up that pace, so it's simply going to be called "Latin Words." Starting today is a series - hopefully posted regularly and frequently! - on the vocabulary of the Vulgate Bible. "Latina Vulgata" is "Vulgar Latin" - the language of the Vulgate.

In each posting, a word will be chosen that is used in the Vulgate New Testament, and its meaning and use will be explained. Examples of its use will also be given, mainly from the Vulgate New Testament. I will try to give three or four illustrations from the Bible of the use of the word cited, showing any differences of use where possible.

Although the words will be in alphabetical order, at least initially, there's no claim to be exhaustive. I'm simply picking words from the Dictionary that have caught my eye, a couple from each page, and am adding in the commentary. These commentaries assume some basic knowledge of Latin, and of the grammatical terms needed to explain their use.

The picture here is of St Jerome, labouring over the text of the Latin Vulgate. May his intercession bring blessings on these endeavours to make Church Latin more widely understood and used.

The dictionary I'm using to pick the words, by the way, is JM Harden's "Dictionary of the Vulgate New Testament" which also gives the references to many of the examples that I am using. I have added occasional extra references, and for this the online search facility provided by has proved very useful.

As back-up, I will refer to "A Latin Dictionary" by Lewis and Short, which is one of the standard big books in the study of classical Latin. Actually, for most ordinary purposes, I find my little Collins Gem Dictionary to be entirely satisfactory.

For the text of the Clementine Vulgate (i.e. the one used in the traditional liturgy), I recommend Although it doesn't show the English and Latin side by side, it is easy enough to switch between them. The English text is of the Douay-Rheims bible.

For a bilingual, side-by-side comparison of Vulgate Latin Bible with the Douay-Rheims, look at (though this isn't the Clementine Vulgate, I think, but the Stuttgart version - a critical edition produced by Biblical scholars. It's good; but it's not what most of us are used to from the liturgy, and the lack of punctuation makes it difficult to follow.)

For resources on learning Church Latin, is worth a visit.

Friday 24 December 2010

Latin of the Introits - Christmas - Puer Natus es nobis.

Today's introit is taken from the third mass of Christmas (during the day). The first part is taken from the Book of Isaias chapter 9. The second part is from the opening verse of Psalm 97.

Puer natus est nobis, et Filius datus est nobis; cujus imperium super humerum ejus: et vocabitur nomen ejus magni Consilii Angelus. * Cantate Domino canticum novum, quia mirabilia fecit. 
A Child is born unto us, and a Son is given to us; and  the government is upon his Shoulder: and his name shall be called the Angel of the great Counsel. * Sing to the Lord a new Canticle, for he hath done wonderful things.

Puer - A boy. The subject of the verb natus est.
natus est - He has been born. Nascor/nasci/natus is the verb - to be born. Here we have the perfect tense, indicating something that has happened in the past.
nobis - for us. Dative case, indicating something done for our benefit.

et - and
Filius - A son. Subject of the verb datus est.
datus est - he has been given. The verb is do/dare/dedi/datum - to give. This is the perfect passive, indicating something that happened in the past. It is passive because the subject has had something done to it - being given - rather than having done something.
nobis - for us. As above.

cujus - of whom/whose.
imperium - government/empire.
In English we would put the verb 'is' in this position. In Latin, it is often omitted, like it is here.
super - upon or above. Takes the the accusative here, since there is an indication of movement - the government is moving onto his shoulders.
humerum - shoulder/upper arm. Humerus is the noun. The changed ending indicates the accusative case, to follow super.
ejus - his.

et - and.
vocabitur - it will be called. voco/vocare/vocavi/vocatum - to call. The ending indicates future and passive voice - something that will happen in the future to the subject, his name.
nomen - name. Subject of the verb vocabitur.
ejus - his.
magni - of great. Magnus is great. The ending indicates the genitive case, to agree with Consilii, which it modifies.
Consilii - of Counsel. Consilium is counsel. The ending indicates the genitive case, for possession - of counsel.
Angelus - the Angel. This is nominative case. Strictly speaking, this isn't the object of the verb vocabitur, but its complement. See the grammatical note below.

Cantate - Sing! The imperative plural, indicating a command given to several people. The verb is canto/cantare/cantavi/cantatum - I sing.
Domino - to the Lord. Dative case of Dominus, the Lord.
canticum - a song. Accusative case, as the direct object of the verb cantate.
novum - new. Novus is new. The ending indicates accusative, to agree with the noun canticum which it modifies.

quia - for/since.
mirabilia - wonderful things. Mirabilis is wonderful. Here the ending indicates plurality - wonderful things. This is the direct object of the verb fecit.
fecit - he has done. The verb facio/facere/feci/factum means to do or to make. Here we have the perfect tense, indicating something that has been done.

Grammatical Notes

1. Complement of verbs.
Most verbs have a subject, which appears in the nominative case, and possibly a direct object, which appears in the accusative case.
Some verbs, called copulative verbs, join together two two expressions, both of which are in the nominative case. These verbs typically are expressing some sort of identity between the two expressions, and the most obvious is the verb 'to be' -

e.g. Johannes est prophetus magnus.
John is a great prophet.
Here, both Johannes (John) and prophetus magnus (great prophet) are in the nominative case.

Another verb that is copulative in the same way is vocari - to be called. This was seen in today's introit:
Vocabitur nomen ejus magni consilii angelus.
Two expressions - nomen ejus (his name) and magni consilii angelus (the angel of great counsel) - are joined together by the copulative verb vocabitur (it will be called), and both expressions are in the nominative case.

(Reference: Kennedy's Revised Latin Primer, s.185-189)

2. Prepositions.

Prepositions indicate the relation of a noun, adjective or pronoun to other words in the sentence. For example, in English: in, through, over, below.

super - above
sub - below
in - in or into
ad - towards
ex - out of
de - concerning

Latin prepositions govern either the accusative or ablative cases. This means that the noun following on from one of them is in the case that is governed by the preposition.

For example:

Ad governs the accusative.
Towards Rome is Ad Romam. Romam is in the accusative case, since it follows ad.

Ex governs the ablative.
Out of Rome is Ex Roma. Roma is in the ablative case, since it follows ex.
(Usually this would be E Roma rather than Ex Roma - ex becomes e before a consonant).

In, super, sub, and subter - these four prepositions can govern either the accusative or ablative. They govern the accusative if there is a sense of motion; the ablative if there is a sense of fixed state.

Into Rome is In Romam. Accusative.
In Rome (fixed location) is In Roma. Ablative.

(Reference: Kennedy's Revised Latin Primer, s.171-174)

Saturday 18 December 2010

Latin of the Introits - Advent 4 - Rorate Coeli!

The first half of today's introit is from the book of  Isaias chapter 45, and recurs often in the liturgy at this stage of Advent. The second half is from Psalm 18.

Rorate coeli desuper, et nubes pluant Justum: aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem. * Coeli enarrant gloriam Dei: et opera manuum ejus annuntiat firmamentum.
Drop down Dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Saviour. * The heavens show forth the glory of God: and the firmament declareth the works of His hands.

Rorate - Drop down dew. The verb is roro/rorate/roravi/roratum (remember the four main parts of a verb - they enable us to work out the endings). Here we have the imperative mood, since a command or request is being made. The -ate ending indicates plural imperative - a command is being made to the heavens.
coeli - O Heavens! This is the vocative case, since the heavens are being addressed. Heaven is coelum. In classical Latin it is only found in the singular, but in later and Church Latin the plural coeli is often used for heavens, plural.
desuper - from above.

et - and
nubes - the clouds. Cloud is nubes. The plural, used here, is also nubes. This is the subject of the verb pluant.
pluant - May they rain down. Pluo/pluere/pluit is the verb to rain. The ending indicates a subjunctive verb here, since it indicates a wish. (The most common use of the verb is simply pluit - it is raining.)
Justum - The Just one. Justus is the adjective meaning just, but can also mean a just man, or the just man. The -um ending indicates accusative tense, since this is the direct object of the verb pluant.

aperiatur - May it be opened. Aperio/aperire/aperui/apertum is the verb to open. Here we have a passive subjunctive form - passive since something is happening to the subject terra, and subjunctive since it is expressing a wish.
terra - The earth. Subject of the verb aperiatur.

et - and
germinet - Another subjunctive, expressing a wish. The verb is germino/germinare/germinavi/germinatum - to germinate, to sprint up. The subject of this verb is terra, the earth.
Salvatorem - A saviour. Salvator is saviour; the -em ending indicates an accusative, as the direct object of the verb germinet.

Coeli - The heavens. Subject of the verb enarrant.
enarrant - They tell forth. The verb is enarro/enarrare/enarravi/enarratum - to tell forth. The -ant ending indicates plural, to go with coeli.
gloriam - the glory. Gloria is glory. The -am ending indicates accusative case, as direct object of the verb enarrant.
Dei - of God. Deus is God. Dei is the genitive case, indicating possession.

et - and
opera - The works. Opus is a work. Opera is plural. This is the direct of the verb annuntio.
manuum - of the hands. Manus is hand. Manuum is plural, genitive case, indicating possession.
ejus - his.
annuntiat - It declares. The verb is annuntio/annuntiare/annuntiavi/annuntiatum - I declare.
firmamentum - The firmament. This is the subject of the verb annuntiat. The word order is a bit odd - you wouldn't usually expect the subject of a verb to come at the end of a sentence. When it does, it usually gives an emphasis to the word that is in the unusual position. Otherwise, it can be done for poetic effect, because it sounds good;  that, I think, is why it is done here.

Grammatical Note - Verbs of the First Declension.

Regular Latin verbs - those that follow a rule - follow one of four standard patterns in their endings. These are called the four declensions. The first declension is verbs with an -a- in their standard endings.

For example:
enarro/enarrare/enarravi/enarratum - I tell forth
roro/rorate/roravi/roratum - I drop down dew
germino/germinare/germinavi/germinatum - I spring forth/germinate
annuntio/annuntiare/annuntiavi/annuntiatum - I announce
amo/amare/amavi/amatum - I love.

Notice that all of these have -are/-avi/-atum in their standard endings in the dictionary. These all have the vowel -a- featuring prominently. They are said to have -a- stems.

Using amo as an example of how the endings work.

Present tense

Amo - I love
Amas - You love (singular)
Amat - He/she/it loves
Amamus - We love
Amatis - You love (plural)
Amant - They love

(Generations of schoolchildren have learned to chant this pattern off by heart: Amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant. Why not join a great tradition, and join them by learning it?)

Present tense, subjunctive

Amem - I may love
Ames - You may love (singular)
Amet - He/she/it may love
Amemus - We may love
Ametis - You may love (plural)
Ament - They may love

Future tense

Amabo - I will love
Amabis - You will love (singular)
Amabit - He/she/it will love
Amabimus - We will love
Amabitis - You will love (plural)
Amabunt - They will love

Perfect tense (simple past)

Amavi - I loved
Amavisti- You loved (singular)
Amavit - He/she/it loved
Amavimus - We loved
Amavistis - You loved (plural)
Amaverunt - They loved

I could go on, but that should give you an idea of the sorts of patterns that these verbs follow. If you want a full and proper grasp of Latin, at some point you will need to get hold of a Latin textbook or grammar book and master the ends of the verbs. Since Latin is an inflected language, it is largely in the changing endings that the meaning of the sentence is made clear. It's all very logical, but takes some time for a beginner to get his head round it all.

Saturday 11 December 2010

The Latin of the Introits, Advent 3 - Gaudete!

The first half of today's introit is from St Paul's letter to the Philippians, chapter 4, and the second half is from Psalm 84. Because of the first word, the third Sunday of Advent is called also Gaudete Sunday.

Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione petitiones vestrae innotescant apud Deum. * Benedixisti Domine terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob.

Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: for the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in every prayer let your petitions be made known to God. * O Lord thou hast blessed thy land: thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob.

Gaudete - rejoice! Gaudeo is I rejoice. The  -ete ending here indicates the imperative of the verb, for a command or exhortation addressed to more than one person.
in - in. Followed by a noun or preposition in the ablative case, when it indicates position or state (rather than motion).
Domino - the Lord. Dominus is Lord. The ending indicates ablative case, to follow the preposition in.
semper - ever/always.
iterum - again.
dico - I say. Present tense.
gaudete - rejoice! As above.

Modestia - Modesty. This is the subject of the verb nota sit.
vestra - your (plural). Ending agrees with modestia, which it qualifies.
nota sit - Let it be known. Nosco is I know, or become acquainted with. The form of the verb here is the passive subjunctive. Subjunctive because it is a wish or desire; passive because something is being done to the subject modestia.
omnibus - to all. Omnis is all. The ending is adjusted to go with hominibus, which it qualifies.
hominibus - to men/people. Homo is man/person. Here the ending indicates plural, and dative case. Dative since we have an indirect object of the verb nota sit - those to whom something is being made known.

Dominus - The Lord. Subject of the verb est.
enim - for or in fact.
prope - nearby, or at hand.
est - is.

Nihil - nothing.
solliciti - solicitous, troubled, disturbed, agitated. The ending indicates plural.
sitis - may you (plural) be. This is a subjunctive, expressing a wish or desire.
sed - but
in - In. As above.
omni - all. The ending has been modified to go with oratione, which it qualifies.
oratione - prayer. Prayer is oratio. The ending has been modified to show that this is the ablative case, since it follows in.
petitiones - petitions. Petition would be petitio. Here we have the plural. This is the subject of the verb innotescant.
vestrae - your (plural). End modified to go with petitiones, which it qualifies.
innotescant -  may they become known. Innotesco is the verb. The ending -ant indicates that this is a subjunctive, expressing a wish.
apud - at, near, by or with. This preposition is followed by a noun or pronoun in the accusative case.
Deum - God. The ending indicates accusative case, since it follows apud.

Benedixisti - you/thou have blessed. The verb is benedico. The ending indicates that this is the past tense.
Domine - O Lord. Vocative case is indicated by the -e ending, since the Lord is being addressed directly.
terram - the land. Land is terra. The ending is modified to the accusative tense, since this is the direct object of the verb benedixisti.
tuam - your/thy (singular). The ending has been modified to go with terram, which it qualifies.

avertisti - you have turned away. Averto is the verb. The ending indicates past tense.
captivitatem - the captivity. Captivity is captivitas. The ending shows accusative tense, since this is the direct object of the verb avertisti.
Jacob - of Jacob. No inflected ending to indicate possession, since this is a foreign word which has been adopted into the Latin.

Grammatical Notes

1. If you look up the verb nosco in a Latin dictionary - I recommend Collins Gem dictionary as a good, compact, pocket dictionary, by the way - then you will see that three forms of the verb are given: nosco, novi, notum (3). This information is required in order to work out how the form of the verb should be modified in its various different tenses, moods, and voices.

Nosco - this is the present indicative. It simply means 'I know'., or 'I become acquainted with'. From this, a number of other forms of the verb are derived, including the future tense.

Novi - this is the simple past tense, which is also called the perfect tense (perfect means completed, in this situation). It means, I have known, or I knew. From this, a number of other forms of the verb are derived, especially those relating to actions completed in the past.

Notum - This is a passive participle. One of its uses is to form a number of passive parts of the verb. For example, notus sum is the perfect passive - I have known.

The (3) in brackets indicates that the endings of this verb follow what is called the third conjugation. Endings of Latin verbs - the regular ones, that is, those that follow the rules - follow one of four patterns, called conjugations.

2. One example of an irregular verb is the commonly used one meaning 'to be'. It denotes existence, and is also used as part of other verbs.

Present tense
sum - I am
es - You/thou are
est - He/she/it is
sumus - we are
estis - you are (plural)
sunt - they are

Present subjunctive
sim - I may be
sis - You/thou may be
sit - He may be
simus - We may be
sitis - You may be (plural)
sint - They may be

Christianus sum - I am a Christian.
Angeli sunt - They are angels.
Anathema sint - Let them be anathema (excommunicated).
Dominus sit in corde tuo - may the Lord be in your heart.

Sunday 5 December 2010

The Latin of the Introits, Advent 2 - Populus Sion

The Introit of today's mass is taken from the Prophet Isaias, with a verse from psalm 79.

Populus Sion, ecce Dominus veniet ad salvandas gentes: et auditam faciet Dominus gloriam vocis suae in laetitia cordis vestri. Ps. Qui regis Israel intende: qui deducis velut ovem, Joseph.

People of Sion, behold the Lord will come to save the Gentiles: and the Lord will make the glory of his voice heard to the joy of your hearts. Ps. Give ear, O thou that rulest Israel: thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep.
(Isaias 30:30 and Psalm 79:2 from the Introit of Mass)

Populus - People.
Sion - of Sion. Should be genitive case, indicating possession, but since Sion is a word of non-Latin origin its ending does not change.
ecce - behold! look!

Dominus - the Lord.
veniet - he will come. Venio is I come. Here the verb is in the future tense.
ad - unto. The noun or pronoun following it will take the accusative tense.
salvandas - 'the saving of'. This is a gerundive - a verbal adjective - see grammatical note below! Salvo is I save; the ending -andas indicates a gerundive in the accusative case, agreeing with gentes which it qualifies.
gentes - the peoples. Gens is people. Here Gentes is plural and in the accusative case, following ad.

et - and
auditam - 'heard'. This is a 'perfect passive participle.' It has the sense of 'having been heard.'
faciet  - he will make. Facio is I make. Faciet is future tense.
Dominus - the Lord. Subject of the verb faciet.
gloriam - the glory. Gloria is glory. Gloriam is accusative case, as direct object of the verb faciet.
vocis - of the voice. Vox his voice. Vocis is genitive case, indicating possession.
suae - his. The ending changes to go with vocis, which it qualifies.
in - in. Followed by the ablative case when it indicates state or location.
laetitia - the joy. Ablative case, to follow in.
cordis - of the heart. Cor is heart. Cordis is genitive case, indicating possession.
vestri - your (plural). The ending indicates genitive case, going with cordis, which it qualifies.

Qui - Who. Relative pronoun. This makes the subject of the verb 'you who' rule.
regis - You rule. Rego is I rule. Regis is you rule (singular).
Israel - Israel. Another non-Latin word whose ending doesn't change here. It should be accusative case, as direct object of the verb regis.
intende - Give ear. Imperative form of the verb.

qui - Who. A relative pronoun.
deducis - you lead. Deduco is I lead. Deducis is you lead (singular).
velut -  like.
ovem - a sheep. Ovis is a sheep. Accusative tense, to go with Joseph, as direct object of the verb deducis.
Joseph - Joseph. Another non-Latin word that doesn't change its ending. Direct object of the verb deducis.

Grammatical Note - The Gerundive

'ad salvandas gentes' - In order to save the peoples.

Salvandas is a gerundive. A gerundive is a verbal adjective - so it is used to qualify nouns as if it were an adjective. It has a passive sense, and expresses something that must or ought to be done. Salvandas means literally something like 'which is to be saved'. So the phrase means literally ' to the peoples which is to be saved' - more colloquially, 'in order to save the people.'

This is quite a common construction. Another example is:
Ad pacem petendam - in order to seek peace.
Ad - towards. Followed by accusative.
Pacem - peace. Pax is peace. Pacem is its accusative, to follow ad.
Petendam - this is the gerundive of peto, I seek, and has the sense of fitting or ought to be sought. The ending -am indicates agreement with the noun pacem.

Gerundives can be recognized since the end with -andus, -endus, -iendus - although the precise ending -us might be changed to agree with whatever noun has been qualified. So it might be -endam (as in petendam) or -andas (as in salvandas).

Amandus - fitting or ought to be loved. (Feminine form amanda, as in the name).
Monendus - fitting our ought to be warned or advised.
Regendus - fitting or ought to be ruled.
Audiendus - fitting or ought to be heard.

Sunday 28 November 2010

The Latin of the Introits, Advent 1 - Ad Te Levavi

The Latin of the Introits, Advent 1 - Ad Te Levavi

The Introit for the first Sunday of the liturgical year is taken from the first four verses of Psalm 24.

Ad te levavi animam meam: Deus meus, in te confido, non erubescam; neque irrideant me inimici mei, etenim universi qui te exspectant non confundentur. Ps. Vias tuas, Domine, demonstra mihi: et semitas tuas edoce me.
To thee have I lifted up my soul: in thee, O my God, I put my trust, let me not be ashamed: neither let my enemies laugh at me: for none of them that wait on thee shall be confounded. Ps. Show, O Lord, thy ways to me, and teach me thy paths.
Ad - To or unto (preposition). It's followed by a noun or pronoun in the accusative case.
te - you/thee (singular). Te is accusative case, to follow ad.
levavi - I have lifted. I lift is levo; the -avi ending indicates past tense.
animam - soul. Anima is soul. The -am ending indicates accusative case, since this is the direct object of the verb levavi.
meam - my. Meus is my. The ending -am indicates agreement with animam, the word it qualifies.
Deus - God. Strictly this is the vocative case, since God is being addressed.
meus - my. Ending indicates agreement with Deus, which it qualifies.
in - in. Followed by the ablative case where it indicates state or location, rather than motion.
te - you/thee (singular). Although this is the same form as the te used in the previous sentence, strictly this is the ablative case, to follow in.
confido - I trust. Present tense.
non - not, negating the verb erubescam.
erubescam -  I may be ashamed. I am ashamed is erubesco. Here the -am ending indicates a subjunctive verb - 'I may be' rather than 'I am'. See grammatical note below.
neque - and not.
irrideant - they may laugh at. Irrideo is I laugh at. The ending -eant indicates that the subject is 'they' but also that this is a subjunctive verb, indicating 'may' rather than 'is'. See the grammatical note below!
me - me. Accusative case, as direct object of the verb irrideant.
inimici - enemies. Inimicus is enemy, inimici is plural. Nominative case as subject of the verb irrideant.
mei - my. The ending indicates agreement with inimici, which it qualifies.
etenim - and indeed. A connective word, which doesn't differ very much from et.
universi - All of them.
qui - who. This is a relative pronoun.
te - thee/you (singular). Accusative case, as direct object of the verb exspectant.
exspectant - they expect or wait for.
non - not, negating the verb confundentur.
confundentur - They will be confounded, thrown into confusion. Confundo is I confound. The ending -entur here indicates that the verb indicates the future; also that it is passive - They will be confounded - done to the subject - rather than they will confound. See grammatical note below.
Universi non confundentur is the main sentence here; qui te exspectant is a relative clause - a sub-sentence which describes universi.
Vias - Ways. Via is way or road. The ending indicates plural and also accusative case, as the direct object of the verb demonstra.
tuas - your/thy. The ending is modified to go with vias, which the word qualifies.
Domine - O Lord. Lord is Dominus. The ending indicates the vocative case, since the Lord in being addressed.
demonstra - show or indicate. I show is demonstro. This ending here indicates a command or request - it's called the imperative. See grammatical note below.
mihi - to me. This is the dative case, since we have an indirect object of the verb demonstra. (Something that was being shown would be a direct object; the person it is being shown to is the indirect object, which takes the dative case.)
et - and
semitas - paths. Semita is path. The ending indicates plural, and the accusative case, since it is the direct object of the verb edoce.
tuas - your. Tuus is your. The ending here shows agreement with semitas, which it qualifies.
edoce - Teach. I teach is edoceo. The ending indicates the imperative, since this is a request.
me - me. Accusative case, as direct object of the verb edoce.
Notice that the verb edoce has two objects - semitas and me - and that they are both in the accusative case.
Grammatical Note - The Two voices and Three Moods of Verbs

As well as verbs having a tense - e.g. past, present and future - they also have two voices and three moods!

The two voices are the Active and the Passive.

Active: the subject is doing whatever the verb expresses: I rule, I love.
Passive: the subject is the recipient of the action that the verb expresses: I am ruled, I am loved.

Rego - I rule; Regor - I am ruled
Amo - I love; Amor - I am loved

The three voices are the Indicative, the Subjunctive, and the Imperative

The Indicative expresses that something is happening: I love, I rule
The Subjunctive expresses that something may happen, or wishes that it may: I may rule, I may love.
The Imperative gives a command: love! rule!

Amo - I love; Amem - I may love; Ama - love!
Rego - I rule: Regem - I may rule; Rege - rule!

Ama - rule! is directed towards one person (singular)
Amate - rule! is directed towards more than one person (plural)

The endings of verbs in Latin change to show the tense, the voice, and the mood.

Today's antiphon uses all three moods of verbs: the indicative, the subjunctive, and the imperative.

Bonus - Communion Antiphon

Dominus dabit benignitatem: et terra nostra dabit fructum suum.
The Lord will give his goodness: and our earth shall yield her fruit.

Dominus - The Lord. Subject of the verb dabit.
dabit - he will give. Do is I give. The ending indicates future tense.
benignitatem - Goodness. Benignitas is goodness; the -atem ending indicates accusative case, as the direct object of the verb dabit.

et - and.
terra - land. Subject of the verb.
nostra - Our. The ending -ra is agreement with terra, which it qualifies.
dabit - it will give. Dabit can mean he, she or it will give.
fructum - fruit. Fructus means fruit, or produce. The ending indicates accusative case, as direct object of the verb dabit.
suum - its. Suus is his, hers, or its. The ending shows agreement with fructum.

Friday 26 November 2010

27th November, Mass of Our Lady on a Saturday

Mass of Our Lady on a Saturday

The practice of consecrating the Saturday to our Lady developed, not only in private, but also in liturgical devotion, during the Middle Ages; the reason of this choice, however, is not definite.

There are five Masses in honour of our Lady, according to the season. They are said on free Saturdays, and can also be said as votive masses on other days.

Salve, sancta parens, enixa puerpera regem: qui coelum, terramque regit in saecula saeculorum. * Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea Regi.
Hail holy Mother, thou who didst bring forth the King who ruleth heaven and earth for ever and ever. * My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my words to the King.
(Sedulius, and Psalm 44:2 from the Introit of Mass)

Grant us Thy servants, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, to enjoy perpetual health of mind and body; and by the glorious intercession of blessed Mary ever Virgin, to be delivered from present sorrows and to enjoy everlasting gladness.

Thursday 25 November 2010

Challoner's Meditations for Every Day of the Year

One project I embarked on a while ago was to transcribe for the website the Meditations of Bishop Challoner for Every Day of the Year. Although I completed the moveable period of the year - from Ash Wednesday to the octave day of Corpus Christi, I never got round to the rest of the year, which is done by month.

Now, with some much valued help from the United States, it has proved possible to resume the project. The daily meditations for 28th and 29th December are already online, and it is hoped that it will be possible to complete the entire series over the subsequent year.

Richard Challoner (1691-1781) was an English Catholic bishop, and a leading figure of English Catholicism during the greater part of the eighteenth century. Both by his apostolic labours as Vicar Apostolic of the London district, and by his many writings, he nourished the faith and devotion of Catholics in the country at a time when the worst period of persecution was over, and the faithful were gradually emerging into the light.

He is perhaps most famous for his revision of the Douay Rheims translation of the Bible, but also for 'The Garden of the Soul' and for his 'Meditations for Every Day of the Year'. He also brought out editions of other works such as The Imitation of Christ, a Catechism of Christian Doctrine, and the Memoirs of Missionary Priests.

His body was translated to Westminster Cathedral in 1946, and the cause for his beatification has been introduced.

"I shall add no more by way of Preface, but only beg of thee resolutely to undertake, and consequently to persevere, in this heavenly exercise of mental prayer, in spite of the world, the flesh, and the devil. That thou art seeking after is a treasure of infinite value, if it costs thee some pains in digging for it, it will abundantly recompense all thy labour. This exercise is the true Christian philosophy, consisting in the search and love of true wisdom; even that wisdom which is so much extolled by the spirit of’ God in Holy Writ, and which comes down from God, and carries us up to God. THIS IS THE SCIENCE OF THE SAINTS."
Preface to Challoner's Meditations.

Wikipedia article on Bishop Challoner:
Catholic encyclopaedia on Bishop Challoner:

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Prayers for the Conversion of the Jews

Prayers for the Conversion of the Jews

O God, Who dost manifest Thy mercy and compassion towards all peoples, have mercy upon the Jewish race, once Thy Chosen People. Thou didst select them alone out of all the nations of the world to be the custodians of Thy sacred teachings. From them Thou didst raise up Prophets and Patriarchs to announce the coming of the Redeemer. Thou didst will that Thine only Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, should be a Jew according to the flesh, born of a Jewish maiden in the Land of Promise. Listen to the prayers we offer Thee today for the conversion of the Jewish people. Grant that they may come safely to a knowledge and love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah foretold by their Prophets and that they may walk with us in the way of salvation. Amen.

God of all goodness and Father of mercies, we beseech Thee, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and by the intercession of the Patriarchs and holy Apostles, to cast a look of compassion upon the children of Israel, that they may be brought to the knowledge of our only Saviour, Jesus Christ, and may partake of the precious fruits of the Redemption. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Amen.
Our Lady of Atonement, intercede for us, that there may be fulfilled the prayer of thy Divine Son, “That all may be one."

O holy Apostle Paul of Tarsus, from thy glorious place in heaven, look down upon the race thou didst love so well. True it is that many of them remained deaf to thy ringing words of truth, and that some of them even stirred up persecution against thee and thy fellow believers, but thou wert so devoted to thy people that thou didst will to become a castaway for the sake of their conversion. Now that thou art glorious in heaven, obtain for thy brethren the grace of repentance and conversion, so that they may finally take their rightful place in the great family of the Catholic Church. Amen.

Saturday 20 November 2010

The Latin of the Propers, lesson 2 - Dicit Dominus

The Latin of the Propers, lesson 2 - Dicit Dominus

Dicit Dóminus: Ego cógito cogitatiónes pacis, et non afflictiónis: invocábitis me, et ego exáudiam vos: et redúcam captivitátem vestram de cunctis locis. * Benedixísti, Dómine, terram tuam: avertísti captivitátem Jacob.
The Lord saith: I think thoughts of peace, and not of affliction: you shall call upon Me, and I will hear you; and I will bring back your captivity from all places. * Lord, Thou hast blessd Thy land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob.

This is the introit for the Last Sunday after Pentecost. The first sentence is from the book of Jeremias, and is a prophecy of the Messias. The second sentence is the opening of Psalm 84.

Dicit - He says. Present tense. The -it ending indicates that it is he/she/it that says.
Dóminus - The Lord. There is no word for the in Latin.
Ego - I. Ego isn't usually necessary, since the verb cogito implies it. It is used here for emphasis: It is I that ...
cógito - I think. Main verb, with subject Ego and object cogitationes. The -o ending indicates that I think.
cogitatiónes - thoughts. Cogitatio is a thought, cogitationes is thoughts.
pacis - of peace. Pax is peace. Pacis is the genitive case, indicating possession, of peace.
et - and.
non - not.
afflictiónis - of affliction. Afflictio is affliction. Afflictionis is the genitive case, indicating possession.
invocábitis - You will call upon. Invoco is I call upon. The -abitis ending indicates you will (you plural, that is)
me - me. This is the object of the verb invocabitis. I as a subject is ego; me as an object is me.
exáudiam - I will hear. Exaudio is I hear; the -am ending indicates the future, I will.
vos - you (plural). The object of the verb exaudiam.
redúcam - I will lead back. Reduco is I lead back. The -am ending once again indicates future tense.
captivitátem - captivity. Captivitas is captivity. The -atem ending indicates accusative case, since this is the object of the verb reducam.
vestram - your (plural). Vester is your. The ending is -am to go with captivitatem, the word that vestram describes.
de - out of. A preposition that has a variety of meanings, but is always followed by the ablative case.
cunctis - all. Cunctus is all. The ending here is -is to go with locis, the word it describes.
locis - places. Locus is place. The -is ending indicates plural and ablative case.
Benedixísti - You have blessed. Benedico is I bless. The -isti ending indicates past tense; you (thou) have done something.
Dómine - O Lord. Dominus is Lord. The -e ending is the vocative case, indicating O Lord.
terram - land. Terra is land. The -am ending indicates accusative case, since this is the object of the verb benedixisti.
tuam - your. Tuus is your. The -am ending goes with terram, which is the word described.
avertísti - You have averted/turned away. Averto is turn away. Once again, the -isti ending indicates past tense, you have done something.
captivitátem - the captivity. Captivity is captivitas. The -em ending indicates accusative case, since this is the object of the verb avertisti.
Jacob - of Jacob. Jacob is a proper name, from the Hebrew. Here the ending hasn't changed to indicate of Jacob; sometimes Latin leaves foreign names unchanged, so Jacob could be in any of the cases.

Reminder about Grammar - the cases.

The ending of Latin nouns, and the adjectives that describe them, changes depending on the function of the noun in the sentence. There are six cases - as they are called - to consider.

Nominative - the subject of a verb, that is, whatever is doing what is done.
Vocative - someone or something being addressed.
Accusative - the direct object of a verb, that is, whatever is being acted upon.
Genitive - possessive, belonging to.
Dative - indirect object, indicating to.
Ablative - indicates by, for, or with.

An example will make this clearer. Take the noun Dominus, meaning Lord.

Nominative: Dominus - Lord (subject); e.g. Dominus regnat - the Lord reigns.
Vocative: Domine - O Lord; e.g. Domine, audi me - O Lord, hear me
Accusative: Dominum - Lord (object); Laudo Dominum - I praise the Lord
Genitive: Domini - of the Lord; Voluntas Domini praevalebit - the will of the Lord will prevail
Dative: Domino - to the Lord; Dabo honorem Domino - I will give honour to the Lord
Accusative: Domino - by the Lord; Haec dies a Domino facta est - this day was made by the Lord.

Wednesday 17 November 2010

The Latin of the Propers, lesson 1 - Dilexisti justitiam

Latin lesson 1 - Dilexisti justitiam

Dilexisti justitiam, et odisti iniquitatem: properea unxit te Deus, Deus tuus, oleo laetitiae prae consortibus tuis. * Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea Regi.
Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. * My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King.
(Psalm 44:8,2 from the Introit of Mass)

This  is the Introit from the 1st common mass of Virgins who were not martyrs; for example, St Gertrude the Great. The Introit is the sentence which is read by the priest at the start of mass after he has gone up to the altar; or it is sung by the choir during the preparatory prayers. Often it is taken from the Psalms, or some other part of the Old Testament.
Dilexisti - You have loved/valued. This is the perfect tense of the verb, indicating simple past actions. The you is singular, in other words "Thou." The ending -isti is characteristic of the past tense where it is "thou" that has done the action. No special word for you is included, since the verb makes it clear.
justitiam - Justice. Justice is justitia. The -am ending is characteristic of the accusative case, which is used for direct objects of verbs - the thing something is being done to. Here, justice is what is being loved.
et - and
odisti - You have hated. Once again, perfect tense, indicating simple past actions. The same -isti ending.
iniquitatem - iniquity (evil doing). Once again, accusative case, as the direct object of the verb odisti. Iniquity is iniquitas. The characteristic ending -em this time, once again indicates the accusative, for a direct object.
properea - therefore/on that account. One of several words that can have this meaning.
unxit - He has anointed. Perfect tense, indicating simple past. The ending -it is characteristic of the perfect tense, where it is he/she/it that is doing the action.
te - you/thee (singular). Thou, as the subject doing an action is tu; here, thee, the object of a verb, is te.
Deus - God. Subject of the verb unxit - God is doing the action.
tuus - your/thy. Notice the same ending as Deus, the noun it describes.
oleo - with the oil. Oil is oleum. The ending -o indicates this is the ablative case, so meaning by or with the oil.
laetitiae - of gladness. Laetitia is gladness. The ending -ae is the genitive case, which indicates the possessive, of gladness.
prae - before/in front of/in comparison with
consortibus - fellows/companions. The ending -ibus indicates the ablative case, which is always used for a noun that follows prae.
tuis - your/thy. Tuus is your/thy, but the ending here is -is since it is the ablative case, to go with consortibus.
Eructavit - has uttered. Actually, it has the sense of swelling forth. This is the simple past tense.
cor - heart. This is the subject of the verb eructavit. It's the heart that's doing the uttering.
meum - my. Meus is my. The ending -um is because cor is a neuter noun.
verbum - word. This is the object of the verb eructavit - what is being uttered.
bonum - good. Good is bonus. The ending -um is determined since it describes verbum.
dico - I speak. Present tense.
ego - I. Usually in Latin ego is omitted, since it is included in the verb dico. If it is included, as it is here, it means that it is being emphasized: it is I who speak ...
opera - works/deeds. Opus is a work or deed, opera is its plural.
mea - my. The ending -a is to go with opera.
Regi - to the king. Rex is king. Regi is the dative case, which is used to indicate to the King. There is no word for the in Latin.

Reminder about grammar

A simple sentence typically has a main verb, a subject of the verb, and an object of the verb.

In the sentence, God blesses the King: God is the subject of the verb, blesses is the main verb, and the King is the object of the verb.

In Latin, the subject of a simple sentence is in the nominative case, and the object is in the accusative case.

God. Deus is the nominative; Deum is the accusative.
King. Rex is the nominative; Regem is the accusative.
God blesses the King. Deus benedicit Regem.
The King blesses God. Rex benedicit Deum.

The Latin of the Propers - introduction to the series.

Shortly will be posted the First Lesson in a series "The Latin of the Propers". This will be an occasional series, taking prayers and chants from the proper of the Latin mass, and explaining the Latin.

It is designed for the benefit of those who have a little Latin, know the grammatical terms at least vaguely, and have had some exposure to the vocabulary; but want to improve to the level where they can follow the texts of the mass in their original Latin.

The lessons will simply go through a short text - usually an antiphon, or a collect - and explain the vocabulary, and the grammar, in a straightforward way. There will be regular reminders of the grammar.

It is intended to go through the introits at first, where the grammar is generally simple, and later to progress onto some of the collects.

Nos cum prole pia benedicat Virgo Maria.
(May the Virgin Mary with her loving offspring bless us.)

Monday 1 November 2010

Indulgences for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Indulgences for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

November is the traditional month for praying for the dead, and there are many indulgences that may be gained for the faithful departed at this time of year. To pray for the dead is one of the spiritual works of mercy, and is the duty of all Christians.

"And making a gathering, he [Judas] sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection, (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,) And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins." II Maccabees 12:43-46

Plenary indulgences are not so numerous under the Post-Vatican 2 regulations as under the previous, and the conditions seem to be rather more demanding. That isn't good news for sinners, whether living or dead! Still, here's the latest on indulgences for the dead in the month of November, taken from a newsletter of the Fraternity of St Peter.

Indulgences for the Poor Souls

(Current regulations in force by Pope Benedict XVI)

On All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2) a plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Poor Souls, is granted to those who visit any parish church or public oratory and there recite one Our Father and one Credo.
II On all the days from November 1 though November 8 inclusive, a plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Poor Souls, is granted to those who visit a cemetery and pray even if only mentally for the departed.

 Conditions for both indulgences:
1. Only one plenary indulgence can be granted per day.
2. It is necessary to be in the state of grace, at least by completion of the work.
3. Freedom from attachment to sin, even venial sin, is necessary; otherwise the indulgence is only partial. (By this is meant attachment to a particular sin, not sin in general.)
4. Holy Communion must be received each time the indulgence is sought.
5. Prayers must he recited for the intentions of the Holy Father on each day the indulgence is sought. (No particular prayers are prescribed. One Our Father and one Hail Mary suffice, or other suitable prayers.
6. A sacramental concession must he made within a week of completion of the prescribed work. (One confession made during the week, made with the intention of gaining all the indulgences, suffices.)

Saturday 30 October 2010

Office of a Vigil - the Ferial Preces

The Preces

On certain penitential days, which are called the Greater Ferias, there are certain changes to the Divine Office that give it a more penitential character. This includes Vigils, where the office is that of the vigil (i.e. it hasn't been overtaken by another higher-ranking feast).

These Prayers - called in Latin, Preces - are said at Lauds (the main morning office) after the Benedictus and before the Collect of the day. At the minor hours - Prime, Terce, Sext and None - they are said before the Collect. Where the office is chanted in choir, all kneel for these Preces, which is a sign of penitence.

These Ferial prayers are ancient in institution. By the time of Amalarius in year 830, they were already well established.

At Lauds and vespers they commence with the Kyrie eleison and the Pater noster, and then consist of versicles and responses, which are always an exhortation to praise God, or intercession for various causes - Pope, Bishop, King, Benefactors, etc.

The Preces were revised in a minor way by the reform of Pope Pius X in 1911. The days on which they were recited were reduced in the 1950s.

At Lauds, the Preces go as follows:

V.  Lord, have mercy upon us.
R.  Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord have mercy upon us.
Our Father (the whole to be said aloud by the celebrant).
V.  And lead us not into temptation.
R.  But deliver us from evil.

V.  I said : Lord, be merciful unto me.
R.  Heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee.

V.  Turn thee again, O Lord, at the last.
R.  And be gracious unto thy servants.
V.  Let thy merciful kindness, O Lord, be upon us.
R.  Like as we do put our trust in thee.
V.  Endue thy ministers with righteousness.
R.  And make thy chosen people joyful.
V.  Let us pray for our most blessed Pope [Benedict].
R.  The Lord preserve him and keep him alive, that he may be blessed upon earth; and deliver not thou him into the will of his enemies.

V.  Let us pray for our Bishop [Bernard].
R.  May he stand firm, and feed his flock ; in thy strength, O Lord, and in the majesty of thy Name.

V.  O Lord, save the king.
R.  And mercifully hear us, when we call upon thee.
V.  O Lord, save thy people, and bless thine inheritance.
R.  Govern them, and lift them up for ever.

V.  O think upon thy congregation.
R.  Whom thou hast purchased, and redeemed of old.

V.  Peace be within thy walls.
R.  And plenteousness within thy palaces.
V.  Let us pray for our benefactors.
R.  Vouchsafe, O Lord, for thy Name's sake, to reward with eternal life all them that do us good.  Amen.
V.  Let us pray for the faithful departed.
R.  Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord ; and let perpetual light shine upon them.
V.  May they rest in peace.
R.  Amen.
V.  Let us pray for our absent brethren.
R.  Save thy servants, O my God, that put their trust in thee.
V.  Let us pray for the afflicted and captives.
R.  Deliver them, O God of Israel, out of all their tribulations.
V.  Send them help, O Lord, from thy sanctuary.
R.  And strengthen them out of Sion.
V.  Turn us again, O Lord God of Hosts.
R.  Shew the light of thy countenance, and we shall be whole.
V.  O Christ, arise, and help us.
R.  And deliver us for thy Name's sake.
V.  O Lord, hear my prayer.
R.  And let my cry come unto thee.

Thursday 28 October 2010

Relaunch of Liturgia Latina Website

This Blog does, in fact, have a parent website, which was launched over ten years ago. It is called the Liturgia Latina project.

To quote directly from the site:

The Liturgia Latina project was begun in the year 2000 to honour the opening of the third millennium since Our Lord's Nativity. The first section of the project was producing the electronic text of the traditional Pontificale Romanum.

The primary aim of this project is to make available in electronic form some of the major texts of the traditional Latin liturgy of the Roman Catholic church,  for the use of Catholic traditionalists and liturgical scholars.  It will also make available other information and texts which are thought to be useful for the promotion of the Catholic tradition.
Is dedicated to Our Lord and His Immaculate Mother, and is under the patronage of St. Philip Neri and St. Benedict. It is also dedicated to all those priests and bishops who have ensured that the traditional Latin liturgy continues to be celebrated.

The front page of this site has just been redesigned to use frames, and make it easier to navigate. There is still a lot of work to do to tidy up the other pages.

Here is the content bar of the website - over ten years, quite an extensive collection of pages has been developed, and this development is still slowly continuing.

Liturgia Latina Blog
From the Missale Romanum
Liturgies of the Religious Orders
Benedictine interest

Here is the link to the site. Do visit!

The project actually has several connected sites: - friends and followers of St Philip Neri - Sodality of Traditional Altar Servers - a trust that raises money to support Traditional Catholic priests