In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place to the readings and "the common prayer," but also, as local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people, according to tho norm laid down in Art. 36 of this Constitution.
Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.
And wherever a more extended use of the mother tongue within the Mass appears desirable, the regulation laid down in Art. 40 of this Constitution is to be observed.
It seems that the only parts of this article that get real attention are the first and third sections, which deal with the inclusion of the vernacular in the Mass... potentially (and actually, as experience has shown) throughout the entire Mass. But what about the second section? “Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.”
The saying or singing in Latin of certain parts of the Order of Mass is not the experience of most Catholics nowadays. In fact, the ability for the faithful to do so is virtually non-existent. And yet, our weekly experience of the reformed liturgy includes 1) an expanded Lectionary, 2) the regularity of homilies, 3) the Prayer of the Faithful, 4) the use of the vernacular, 5) the partaking in the sacrifice offered at that Mass (rather than Hosts consecrated at a previous Mass and retrieved from the tabernacle), 6) Communion under both kinds, 7) and a new rite of concelebration.
Those seven reforms I just mentioned are part of the typical parish experience (priest shortage notwithstanding), and they are the products of articles 51-58 of Sacrosanctum Concilium.
So why have the other reforms been so successfully implemented (and then some!) and generally well-received, but that pesky little sentence in article 54 about Latin can’t seem to get its foot in the door? Why do Catholics who otherwise support the reforms they experience from articles 51-58 become indignant whenever mention is made of the mere possibility of making Latin responses at Mass? (Such a reaction can be found in the comment-boxes at the National Catholic Reporter web site, for example: here, here, and here.)
What’s the problem with that sentence about Latin in article 54? People — at least SOME people — were making the responses in Latin before 1963. Why did it become impossible and undesirable? Is it obsolete? Opposed to "full, conscious, and active participation"? A monastic ideal not appropriate for normal parish life? A compromise sentence which was never meant to be taken seriously?