Latin Whiz, 16, Finds New Liturgy Language Lacking

[Added 11-2011]
Robert McClory, Published: November 2, 2011


Erik Baker is a 16-year-old high school student who has been studying Latin since 6th grade. Now as a senior at Evanston Township High School near Chicago, he has completed all the Latin classes available at his school, including the Advanced Placement courses. He is pursuing his ongoing interest through Latin classes at nearby Northwestern University.

Erik has been raised as a Catholic and attends Mass with his family at the Sheil Catholic Center at Northwestern. Recently, when materials were distributed explaining the new liturgical changes based on the original Latin text, he studied them with special interest.

“When I looked at the new version, I had a sort of knee-jerk reaction,” Erik said. “What I saw didn’t sit well with me. Yeah, the changes are more literal and faithful to the Latin, but is that desirable? Much of the phrasing and the changes seemed kind of ridiculous.”

So he did an analysis and wrote a brief essay, not for class, but just to get his reaction down on paper and out of his system. He said he hadn’t read any reviews of the translation before he produced his version. A friend of the family suggested NCR readers might be interested in Erik’s critique.


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