Vernacular the dialect or language of a country, especially of the common people as distinguished from any tongue of the learned. The evidence of Scripture is entirely in favor of a service in the vernacular. The "tongues of fire" (q.v.) (Ac 2:5), Paul's injunction in regard to public service (1Co 14:16), and other passages clearly point to the same result. The Jewish Church was careful to make the law and the prophets familiar by vernacular translations (Ne 8:8), and the practice of making translations of the Scriptures into the vernacular of all nations has been 'practiced from the earliest ages of the Christian Church. There seems to be no good reason why a Church should employ a ritual in a dead language; but the Roman Catholic Church in all countries uses the Latin tongue in its liturgies to the exclusion of all others. The Council of Trent (in 1562) ordained as follows: "Although the mass contains much to edify the people, the fathers did not judge it right that it should be celebrated in the vulgar tongue, and the Roman Church has preserved the use; nevertheless, the clergy should at times, and especially on festivals, explain to the people some part of what they have read to them." It is worthy of remark that all the original liturgies were composed in the language of the country in which they were first used; e.g. the Greek, Roman, Syriac, etc. Therefore the allusion, in the above canon, to the practice of the fathers is rather unfortunate for the doctrine of an exclusively Latin ritual. SEE LATIN, USE OF.

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