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The Voice of the Church at Prayer: Reflections on Liturgy and Language Paperback – April 16, 2012
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The place of language in the liturgy is a much discussed topic today, both in scholarship and in pastoral practice. A welcome contribution to this debate, this important book presents the key issues within a wide historical and theological perspective. By doing so, Fr. Lang is able to explain the reasons that motivated the current revision of vernacular translations produced in the immediate aftermath of the Second Vatican Council as well as the factors that drive the broad movement towards an more extended use of Latin in the Catholic liturgy. --- Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, OP, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
We Catholics who have long bemoaned the banality of modern translations of Scripture and of the liturgy have heard, by way of justification, that Jesus spoke and prayed in the same language one would use to buy wine and grain, or chat with a neighbor over the wall; and that Saint Jerome in his Vulgate translation, and those who composed the earliest Christian prayers and hymns, did much the same. We have suspected it was not so, and Michael Lang has now vindicated us. With admirable scholarship and sensitivity to the wide range of registers, including the sacred, that any vernacular language will possess, Lang shows us how the scriptures established for Christians a language of their own. This is a brilliant work, careful in its argumentation and overwhelming in the wealth of evidence brought forth. Would that we had had it forty years ago! --- Anthony Esolen, Professor of English at Providence College
About the Author
Uwe Michael Lang, a native of Germany, is a priest of the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in London. He studied theology and classics in Munich, Oxford, and Vienna and holds a doctorate in theology from the University of Oxford. Fr. Lang is a staff member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. In September 2008, he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as Consultor to the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff. His book Turning Towards the Lord (Ignatius, 2009) has been published in several languages, including German, Italian, French, Hungarian, Spanish, Croatian and Dutch.
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It is a fascinating read and lays to rest many false notions in liturgical circles. For example, the issue taken with early Slavic usage in the liturgy by the Germans was not so much with the non-Latin words, but with the introduction of a new alphabet into the liturgies of the Church. This old line is so often heard from various sources about the matter, it is about time to see it put to rest. The style is delightful and holds the reader's attention with numerous examples drawn not just from the past but from the new English translation of the Ordinary Form which seems, thankfully, to reflect, to a larger extent than the previous translation, the sanity about language that Fr. Lang encapsulates and expounds so well in this book.