Latin Mass

For those who enjoy listening to badly pronounced Latin that is in desperate need of autotune,  I have prepared a treat for your ears.

It’s the Latin Mass.  Or rather, the Latin Common Service of 1888. Also known as “The Morning Service” in TLH, and DS-III in LSB.  For those who prefer their Gottesdienst to be pre Vatican II, this is really pre Vatican II.

Remember that Luther recommended keeping Latin in use in the cities.  Remember also that we aren’t opposed to using such languages in certain settings.

I am reminded of a sad incident from my seminary years.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays we had Compline at something like 9:50 pm in the chapel.  Now, at 9:50, there are no visitors to campus.  The only ones there are the on-campus students.  That is to say, single guys living a monastic lifestyle against their will.  But such a life does has advantages – theological discourse at midnight, and Compline in the chapel at 9:50 twice a week, for example.  From time to time, (about twice a quarter, or so) One of our professors (Dr. J) would favor us with the Litany in Greek.  You know, the language of the NEW TESTAMENT.  Did we understand every word?  No.  But no one who heard it can ever forget the good Doctor’s dulcet tones as he finished each prayer with “deothomen”, indicated that we should respond, “Kyrie Eleison”. You must remember, this is one of our seminaries, where students are expected to know Greek before they enter, at a time when visitors are almost totally unknown.  And we were praying for our church in a churchly language that was good enough for our Lord to use to tell the story of salvation.


One night, before the Board of Regents convened, one of the Regents attended the service, on one of the rare nights when Dr. J chanted in Greek.  The greek was before our eyes – printed out for us to see and read along.  We monks were the only ones there.  (Plus this member of the Board.)

The next day, all heck broke loose.  The Board called in both the Dean of the Chapel and Dr J to “have a little chat”.  Although I was not privy to the conversation, and it has been many years ago, the one phrase I remember, and likely will until my dying day, is this : “We are not about this kind of extremism.”  It still saddens me.  Coincidentally, neither of those two professors are still at the seminary.  I don’t think the two are directly causally related.  Many of the faculty from that era are not at the seminary.  But it is sad.

So, anyway, for those who don’t mind this sort of extremism, like speaking in a language the church has always used, and which Luther commended for ongoing use in the church, you may enjoy a listen.  Go here. Or, go to, and click on the “Evangelism” folder. (Heh-heh)

By the way, if the WY Dist Dean of the Cathedral would like to try using Latin or Greek at the pastor’s conferences, he should give me a call.  (I think the District Cantor knows Latin, as well.)  For those who are offended by such things, rest assured, I will counsel against such extremism…


One Response to “Latin Mass”

  1. The Anglican chant sounds decent in Latin. A local church chants the Common Service in German (or at least they used to). It doesn’t flow quite so nicely in German.

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