Article XXIV: Of speaking in the congregation in such a tongue as the people understandeth

5 Responses

  1. Jocelyn Rose says:

    hey there – thank you for these posts… very enlightening! –
    This reminds me of a lay sermon I once heard about peaching to Canada’s Northern communities. They couldn’t comprehend the concept of “Good Shepard” as they weren’t Farmers! it wasn’t until one of the elders took a trip to the farm that she finally understood the meaning behind the metaphor.

    Also we need to be cognizant of the fact that not only will people not know what certain words mean, they could be resentful to some, and that is a whole other issue the church needs to deal with.

  2. Bob Chapman says:

    “Do we need to understand every word to take part effectively in the liturgy?”

    Define “understand.”

    (I just erased what I typed from this point on because it echoed what was written in this blog post. Why repeat?)

  3. Found you on twitter. Great post. To be fair, Latin *was* “understanded of the people”- some people, at least. As far as I know, the Latin editions of the Prayer Book were used in British universities, where not all students spoke English very well (international students), but they were all fluent in Latin.

  4. Scott Gunn says:

    Jacob, yes, that’s exactly what my post says. If you follow the link to the 1560 LPP, you’ll see the Royal Letters Patent — but you have to be able to read Latin, since that bit’s not translated. Anyway, the use of the Latin books was, as you say, restricted to places where the congregation all knew Latin.

    Thanks for the comment, please stop by again some time.


  5. Scott Gunn says:

    Jocelyn, you raise a good point which I only touched on. The cultural context of liturgy is so complex these days that it’s easy to end up with wildly divergent understanding and utility for texts. That’s why we’ll need to keep experimenting and developing new liturgical texts for new situations. Perhaps we’ll need to return to the practice of the early church, in which the presider improvised the Eucharistic prayer according to certain rules and customs.

    Bob, I guess we’re on the same page then.