Vatican decides Pope's Masses in PH will be in English
MANILA, Philippines – Breaking a language barrier, the Vatican junked the previous plan to use Latin in Pope Francis' Masses in the Philippines, and decided that the Pope will say these Masses in English.
The president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, confirmed this to Rappler on Saturday, January 3.
Villegas said the Pope will use English in his Masses at the Daniel Z Romualdez Airport in Tacloban City on January 17, and at the Rizal Park in Manila on January 18. (READ: Vatican releases Pope's Philippine itinerary)
“The Pope wants to reach as many and be understood by many more,” Villegas told Rappler. “English is not the Pope's mother tongue, but he is trying very hard to speak our language.”
The Pope, however, will say his Mass in the Manila Cathedral in Latin “because priests are supposed to understand Latin,” the CBCP president said.
His Mass in the Manila Cathedral on January 16 is reserved primarily for 2,000 bishops, priests, and consecrated persons.
The original plan was for the Pope to say his public Masses in Latin and have the public respond in English.
The Pope is set to deliver all his speeches in English.
Francis and his 'poor English'
Latin is the Catholic Church's official liturgical language as adopted under Pope Damasus in the 4th century.
The Catholic Church strictly held all Masses in Latin before the Second Vatican Council or Vatican II, a gathering of bishops from 1962 to 1965 that reformed the Catholic Church and clarified its role in the modern world.
Sacrosanctum Concilium, a document produced under Vatican II, allowed the use of vernacular languages in Masses, instead of strictly Latin, as long as the translation is based on Latin and is approved by Catholic authorities.
English, on the other hand, is one of the official and most understood languages in the Philippines, a former colony of the United States.
Francis, the son of Italian immigrants in a Spanish-speaking country, can speak Latin, Italian, and Spanish. He can also speak the so-called universal language, but admitted in South Korea that he has “poor English.”
This didn't stop him from delivering his first public message in English, as pontiff, in October 2013.
Guess what? He devoted this unprecedented message to Asia's most predominantly Catholic country that is also the world's third most fluent in English: the Philippines. – Rappler.com
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