I have never written on my blog about the "liturgy wars." I saw a post on another blog and thought I might make a comment or two. The blogger I read said the contest was between those who favor 'beautiful, elevated' language over simpler, easier to understand more direct vernacular language.
Let's take Latin vs. Today's English (American). The assumption seems to be that the former is more 'elevated', more 'beautiful' than English. But the purpose of language is to communicate. But, you say, isn't poetry more beautiful than prose. Absolutely not. Poetry is a form of compressing language so that the thought will be stated MORE clearly and more efficiently than a much longer prose statement of the thought.
In evaluating one language against another we should remember that one language is not more "elevated and beautiful' than another. The criterion is which most effectively and efficiently expresses what is being conveyed. "Italia petula est sacramentum" is no more beautiful than "I will go to the store." Which communicates best is the criterion of excellence. In my example, can there be any doubt as to which is the better language?
English has become almost the universal language because it is direct, and efficient. Latin is dead because it was emcumbered with exceptions and rules making it very difficult to convey meaning. And the same with French. Why, for example, should adjectives have gender? "Big" is "Big" regardless of what it modifies. English adjectives do not have gender when they mean exactly the same thing.
Earlier forms of English did have a multiplicity of unnecessary variations, but over the years these have dropped as useless and unnecessary making communication easier. We say
At one time, each of these verbs was a different word. Now only 3rd person singular remains irregular. But you say: We can't say "he do." It isn't right! But why? Only because we have been taught not to say it. I'm sure if we could bring back an Englishman from hundreds of years ago he would be offended by "You do." He would want a different word for second person.
So the Liturgy War is provoked by those who do not understand the purpose and development of language.
Oh, but the Latin advocates say, we , as Catholics, should all be praying in the same language. Thus when we go to another country we can follow the service. So let's all use Latin. Apparently they desire that we all must be equally ignorant of what is being said or read. That will be the unity of ignorance!
Not to sound provincial, but a majority of students of the history of language say the direct, simplicity of English easily trumps the elaborate, difficult variations of most other languages.
"Goedinium farwellium" or Good bye. Jack
I should point out that the other blogger said there was a distinction between" good" books and "Great" books. And, of course there is. A great book is one that communicates more clearly to more people over the expanse of time. The same goes for the other arts. Bach is great, not because he is "elevated" but because his music communicates to us, those before us, and those to come. Farwellium againium. Jack