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Answered 2012-09-27 12:23:26

Latin - but not classical Latin. Church Latin (also called Low Latin or Medieval Latin) was used throughout Europe during the medieval period, which meant that meetings (synods) of bishops, abbots and other Church officials from many different countries could be held in that universal language.

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The official language of the Catholic church is Latin.ANSWER:Latin is the official language of the Church b/c it was NECESSARY for the Catholic Church -- over the past 2000 years -- to be ABLE to communicate, in the SAME LANGUAGE, with all bishops & priests worldwide. For most of Christian history, it wasn't really possible to translate church documents into a variety of different languages and those who performed the translations must know Latin -- be capable of fluently speaking and writing in Latin in order to transcribe/translate documents into the venacular of their nation.Latin is also the ROOT (foundation) of all the "Romance Languages" -- english, spanish, french, italian, etc.Latin was also the primary language of the Romans -- roman empire that encompassed most of the western and a chunk of the eastern world -- during early church history. This is most likely why Latin was originally chosen as the official "universal"language of the Catholic Church -- the only Christian church for over 1000 years.Mass in Latin was also genuinely important b/c Catholics could attend Mass -- anywhere the world -- and KNOW what was said. That is something that today is LOST and that's a bad thing, not a good thing, at least on one level.Personally, i believe that it would be a lot SMARTER if the SECULAR world also had ONE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE that everyone knew and could converse it. WHY learn spanish, english, french, german, farci, etc. in order to converse with people from other nations? Why not JUST have ONE universal language. Everyone would have their own national language. Then if you travel (or must live/work in a foreign country for a few years) you can converse with the French in the universal language instead of having to learn french, spanish, etc whenever you travel or live in a foreign country for a time.That was the primary -- and wise -- reason for Latin as the universal (official) language of the Catholic Church. And, Latin was a good choice as the universal/official language b/c it IS the foundation of many other languages, english, french, etc.For the Roman Catholic Church it has always been Latin, other Christian denominations don't tend to have a traditional/official language.AnswerThe official language of the Catholic Church before the council of Vatican II was Latin and it still is today. The Church's documents and laws are still kept in Latin and it continues to be spoken as a "lingua franca" within the Vatican itself on a day to day basis. The major change in language that came from the council was the institution of the vernacular in the Mass. Until that time, Mass was celebrated in Latin regardless of where it was being celebrated. Since that time the local language of the people is used to foster a deeper understanding of and participation in the sacrament.

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In the first couple centuries of the Church, the language mostly used was Greek. As the Church was persecuted and underground during most of the first three centuries, there really wasn't an official language as such. After Constantine legalized the Church at the beginning of the fourth century, it had several official languages depending on the Rite. There are four parents Rites in the Church: Antiochene, Alexandrine, Roman (Latin), and Gallican. Each Rite has its own language.You are probably thinking of Latin, which is the largest Rite in the Church, and since the reign of Pope Paul VI has allowed the Mass and other sacraments to be celebrated in the vernacular - for instance, in the English speaking world, we currently hear Mass in English. What you have to keep in mind is that the Latin Rite's official language is still Latin, and the Mass, as well as the sacraments, and all official documents are still in Latin. Here in the United States we have an English translation of the Mass and sacraments, as well as an English translation of the Catechism, and other things - but the official language of the Latin Rite remains Latin - and all of these things are still in Latin. We only celebrate Mass in English under an Indult.

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