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Monday, November 19, 2007

Ten Bits of Latin Every Catholic Should Know

I was kicking around earlier the idea of there being certain key phrases that all Catholics should know (as in recognize and know the meaning of) in Latin. I've been wondering what the most important phrases for all Catholics to know in our universal language would be -- not that it's my business to decide these things, but hey, we all have a few spare braincells on the weekend.

Now, I've been known to throw up some "everyone should know" lists that others found deeply unrealistic. So let me preface this by saying I do not have all of these memorized in Latin (or exactly memorized in English) nor am I suggesting that everyone should. What I'm thinking of here is the sort of liturgical half-memorization which allows you to repeat a phrase along with everyone else or anticipate what the priest is going to say next. With the longer mass parts especially, I think the goal would to be know what you're saying or hearing, and be able to follow the basic meaning phrase by phrase.

A few key words to keep in mind:

Deus (Dei, Deum, Deo -- Latin endings change according the purpose of the word in the sentence) means God
Dominus (-i, -um, -o) means Lord

1) The sign of the cross: In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.

2) Dominus vobiscum. R: Et cum spitiru tuo. (and varients thereon such as Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum - may the peace of the Lord be with you always)

This exchange of "The Lord be with you", R: "And with your spirit" is used throughout the mass, and is a great catchphrase for Catholics to know.

3) The Gloria -- this may look dauntingly long, but with the knowledge that -mus indicates a verb in the first person plural and that "te" means "you", you can figure nearly the entire thing out with cognates. It's a good part of the mass to know because it's one of the standard parts of any sung mass. (Also, not the translational problem with our current liturgical version in regards to the second line.)

Gloria in excelsis Deo -- Glory to God in the highest
et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis. -- and on earth peace to men of good will
Laudamus te, -- we praise you
benedicimus te, adoramus te, -- we bless you, we adore you
glorificamus te, -- we glorify you
gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam, -- thanks we give to you because of your great glory
Domine Deus, Rex caelestis, -- Lord God, King of the heavens,
Deus Pater omnipotens, -- God the Father omnipotent
Domine Fili Unigenite, Iesu Christe, -- and to the Lord, only-beggotten Son, Jesus Christ,
Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris, -- Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis; -- you who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us;
qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram. -- you who take away the sings of the world, recieve our petition.
Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis. -- You who sit at the right-hand of the Father, have mercy on us.
Quoniam tu solus Sanctus, tu solus Dominus, -- Because you alone are holy, you alone, Lord,
tu solus Altissimus, -- you alone are the Most High,
Iesu Christe, cum Sancto Spiritu: in gloria Dei Patris. -- Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit: in the glory of God the Father.

4) The Sanctus is another standard mass part, and it has the distinction of being one of those sections which preserves pre-Latin liturgical language in the Roman Rite (Sabaoth and Hosanna from Hebrew via Greek).

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth. -- Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts
Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua. -- heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in excelsis. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. -- Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in excelsis. -- Hosanna in the highest.

5) The Agnus Dei/Lamb of God: The third standard Latin sung mass part (the Kyrie I'm not counting since it's in Greek), this one is short and easy.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi: miserere nobis. -- Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us,
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi: miserere nobis. -- Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi: dona nobis pacem. -- Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world: grant us peace.

6) The Our Father -- an essential part of the mass, the divine office and personal devotion, the prayer that Our Lord taught us is a good one to know in Latin.

Pater noster, qui es in caelis: -- Our Father, you who are in heaven:
sanctificetur nomen tuum; -- may your name be holy;
adveniat regnum tuum; -- may your kingdom come;
fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo, et in terra. -- may your will be done, just as in heaven, so on earth.
Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie; -- Our daily bread give to us today;
et dimitte nobis debita nostra, -- and forgive us our debts (sins)
sicutet nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris; -- just as we forgive our debtors (those who have wronged us);
et ne nos inducas in tentationem; -- and do not lead us into temptation;
sed libera nos a malo. -- but free us from evil.

7) The Confiteor

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti et vobis, fratres, -- I confess to God omnipotent and to you, brothers,
quia peccavi nimis -- that I have sinned excessively
cogitatione, verbo, opere et omissione: -- in thought, in word, in deed and in omission:

mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. -- through my fault, through my fault, through my greatest fault

Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, -- Therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-virgin
omnes Angelos et Sanctos, -- all the angels and saints
et vos, fratres, orare pro me -- and you, brothers, to pray for me
ad Dominum Deum nostrum. -- to our Lord God.

8) The elevation of the host and chalice

ACCIPITE ET MANDUCATE EX HOC OMNES: -- Receive and eat (lit: chew) from this, all [of you]:
HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM, -- This is truly my body,
QUOD PRO VOBIS TRADETUR. -- which for you is offered up.

ACCIPITE ET BIBITE EX EO OMNES: -- Receive and drink from this, all [of you]:
HIC EST ENIM CALIX SANGUINIS MEI -- This is truly the cup of my blood
NOVI ET AETERNI TESTAMENTI, -- of the new and eternal testament,
QUI PRO VOBIS ET PRO MULTIS EFFUNDETUR -- which for you and for many is poured forth
IN REMISSIONEM PECCATORUM. -- for the remission of sins.

HOC FACITE IN MEAM COMMEMORATIONEM. -- Do this in my remembrance.

In addition to mass parts, it seems like there are some passages of the Vulgate so famous that one should recognize the phrases. These are the first that occurred to me:

9) Genesis 1:1

In principio creavit Deus caelum et terram. -- In the beginning God created heaven and earth.

10) John 1:1-5

1 In principio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum. -- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word.
2 Hoc erat in principio apud Deum. -- This was in the beginning with God.
3 Omnia per ipsum facta sunt, et sine ipso factum est nihil, quod factum est; -- All things through this same one were made, and without this one nothing would have been made that was made;
4 in ipso vita erat, et vita erat lux hominum, -- in this one was life, and this life was the light of men
5 et lux in tenebris lucet, et tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt. -- and the light shone in the darkness, and the darkness did not understand him.

Conspicuous ommissions: The Creed and the Hail Mary. I left these out because it seems to me that there's a great value to reciting the creed in the vernacular (these are definitions we should all have memorized) and the Hail Mary because I think of its main place being the rosary, which seems to me a devotion more suited to the vernacular than Latin.


Anonymous said...

Shoot, you left out all the things I actually know in Latin:

Ecce ancilla Domini; fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.

Magnificat anima mea Dominum

Adeste fidelis, laeti triumphantes, venite, venite in Bethlehem, natum videte, regem angelorum, venite adoremus, etc.

Caveat emptor, de gustibus non est disputandem, mens rea, festina lente, manus manum lavat, requiescat in pacem, Arma virumque cano ... no wait

Darwin said...

manus manum lavat

Ah, Artes Latinae, eh? :-)

Anonymous said...

Hilarem datorem diligit Deus!

I only got 3/4 of the way through Level 1, though, as Offspring #2 arrived. Offspring #1 is now halfway through Level 2 and laughs at my Latin.

Actually she laughs at our pastor's Latin, too. Not to his face (yet), though.