Friday, May 15, 2009

Worship Reform

This is the second installment on a series on reforms from the Reformation that we enjoy today.

Prior to the Reformation, worship was in Latin, no matter the native language of the people. Most did not understand what was being said and were unable to participate in any meaningful way in the mass. Any singing that was done was also done in Latin and by a choir. There was little, if any, lay participation in the service. The people were passive observers. Those of us who were raised Roman Catholic and are old enough to remember the Catholic Church prior to Vatican II may well remember that time.

With this reform came understanding of the service and of the gospel because of hearing it in the vernacular. German chorales and hymnody were also written for use in the service (with parts sung by the people) so that by still another means the Word would be declared and more easily learned by parishioners. Worshipers moved from being passive observers to active participants.

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LawAndGospel said...

Though raised Presbyterian, I attended Catholic school for Kindergarten and first grade as a child. In spite of Vatican II the Mass I was required to attend was in Latin. Ironically, 40 years ago today, I was placing the wreath of flowers on the BVM in a handmade lace dress while the Catholic children's parents groused that the monsignor selected me.

Ivy said...

Wow! I'm glad to hear I'm not alone. Ray said that in RI they changed to English right after Vatican II, but in Upstate NY, I remembered the mass in Latin and that was after 1963. I thought that I had remembered it wrong.

Interesting that you were chosen for placing the flowers. Hmm. I guess that makes you very ecumenical then.

I'm just grateful that we can worship and sing in a language we can understand.