For instance, whereas the bishops of the Council affirmed that "the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites" (n. 36/1) and that "steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them" (n. 54) and that "Gregorian chant ... should be given pride of place in liturgical services" (n. 116), five years later Pope Paul VI lamented the loss of Latin (and subsequently Gregorian chant) as practically necessary sacrifices of the liturgical reform:
It is here that the greatest newness is going to be noticed, the newness of language. No longer Latin, but the spoken language will be the principal language of the Mass. The introduction of the vernacular will certainly be a great sacrifice for those who know the beauty, the power and the expressive sacrality of Latin. We are parting with the speech of the Christian centuries; we are becoming like profane intruders in the literary preserve of sacred utterance. We will lose a great part of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual thing, the Gregorian chant.In an effort to reverse the immediate and regrettable obliteration of Latin from the Mass, he presented a gift to the bishops of the Church in 1974 (less than five years since the promulgation of the Pauline Rite): a booklet of a minimum repertoire of Gregorian chant for the faithful to be familiar with, Jubilate Deo. One wonders to whom the bishops "re-gifted" this booklet; it does not appear to have been received well (if at all). His hope that Latin would "reflourish in splendor" did not come to pass within his lifetime.
We have reason indeed for regret, reason almost for bewilderment. What can we put in the place of that language of the angels? We are giving up something of priceless worth. But why? What is more precious than these loftiest of our Church's values?
But, let us bear this well in mind, for our counsel and our comfort: the Latin language will not thereby disappear. It will continue to be the noble language of the Holy See's official acts; it will remain as the means of teaching in ecclesiastical studies and as the key to the patrimony of our religious, historical and human culture. If possible, it will reflourish in splendor.
Anyway, this brings me to the latest gift/surprise from Pope Paul VI: his first encyclical, Ecclesiam Suam, promulgated in the midst of the Council (in August of 1964, three months before the promulgation of Lumen Gentium, the Council's Constitution on the Church). The topic is the Church. I've only just started reading it (not like I don't have a hundred other things on my reading list) and already I can tell it will not be a disappointing read.