decline of Latin
after the early Church of Rome had adopted Latin as its official language
(replacing Greek), Latin as the popular language was now being succeeded
just as it had replaced its predecessor. However, this time the Church
of Rome had only a position of inflexibility. Roman Catholic proponents
offer basically two reasons why the Roman church rejected all non-Latin
Scripture and instead adhered to a language that fewer and fewer people
1.) Latin is the foundation
language of all other western languages. Some believed that this made
Latin the perfect language for speaking about the perfect God.
2.) The Church of
Rome believed that the Bible was too important to promulgate into a language
understandable to the general public. This, as the reasoning goes, was
because if Scripture was capable of being read by anyone, then persons
outside the Church of Rome's hierarchy might believe they too could understand
it. By Rome's perspective, the idea that anyone else could understand
the Bible was simply not possible or, at the very least, not guaranteed;
thus it was prohibited.
Church of Rome's adherence to preventing Scripture from being translated
into a language people could understand had a disastrous effect. It progressively
disabled largely illiterate generations to read or hear the gospel for themselves.
Eventually, with little exception, the only access to Scripture the common
man had was through the priests of the Church of Rome.
by chance or design, this suppression of an understandable Bible would later
handily serve the Church of Rome's doctrine of infallibility; one of two
disputed doctrines that would one day help muster public support for the
Crusades and Inquisitions.
declaration of Latin as the Church of Rome's official language was and still
is its position as evidenced in the Vatican Council II Conciliar and
Post Conciliar documents:
The use of the Latin
language, with due respect to particular law, is to be preserved in the
Latin rites. 2
the Second Vatican Council does go on to make limited exceptions for the
use of a nation's popular language, this conciliatory attitude by the Church
of Rome was not always that of agents acting, or claiming to act, on its
NEXT: The Church of Rome's
doctrine of infallibility
Catholicism vs. Protestantism