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.

Related website:

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.)