“Let us then go down and there confuse their language, so that one will not understand what another says." Thus the LORD scattered them from there all over the earth, and they stopped building the city.” --Genesis 11: 7-9
From Father Tim Finigan at the The Hermeneutic of Continuity we get this wonderful video from Lourdes of a Traditional Mass complete with adorable school children from France. As Fr. Finigan mentions, this is a true multi-cultural Mass. Men, women and children from all over the world speaking many languages and having many cultures, can come to together and worship as one in the Body of Christ.
Unfortunately, this is so unlike what many of us see in our local parishes. At my own parish, where sometimes up to three languages are used during the liturgy (outside of the Greek of the Kyrie), I often feel like one of the inhabitants of Babel. During this years Stations of the Cross on Good Friday I was often lost trying to keep up with the Spanish and Creole used in the prayers and hymns. In my opinion this attempt to show how “multi-cultural” and “inclusive” we are does not bring unity but causes a rupture, not only with our Catholic and Christian heritage, but with one another as well. As I wait for the 11:00 AM Spanish Mass to end before our Noon English Mass starts, I look at those leaving the church and think to myself, “It’s almost as if we are in different churches.” How wonderful if we all, Spanish, English, Creole, Vietnamese, or Korean speakers, could sill worship together. How moving would it be to truly feel as one During the Stations, as well as beautiful, by praying and singing in Latin? Instead of three or four different Sunday Masses for each language spoken among the parishioners, we could have one (although I think we would need more Mass times as the pews, in my opinion, would fill up with the returning faithful of all cultures)and be truly unified.
God scattered those building the Tower of Babel because they were uplifting themselves instead of Him. They, much like Adam and Eve, strove to “be like gods. “ But God in his infinite wisdom and mercy brought us together again not to glorify ourselves but to build His city; to erect His Civitate Dei through the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Even though we all continued to speak a multitude of languages, one not understanding the other, He bestowed on His Church the Latin language so that those disunited after Babel may be unified again to worship Him.
Sadly, the last forty years have seen us scattered and confused again. Unlike the story in Genesis, this time it is man scattering us, confusing our understanding and dividing those who should be one in Christ. And what have we gained? Can we not see that the glorious tower constructed over the last 2000 years has begun to crumble and fall apart much like the Tower of Babel?
It is time to return Latin the pride of place it deserves in the Mass and restore the unity that it brought to the Church.