A belated response which may pull together some ideas in recent postings.
First, Eric Reiter's posting about garbled Latin in Stanley Kubrick's Paths
of Glory. By coincidence, Chris Armstrong, the (soon-to-be ex) vicar of
Aberdaron, has been bewailing to me the amount of garbled Latin in modern
fiction. Misquotations from the Vulgate, garbled memories of the Tridentine
Mass - oh, deary, deary me. There must be a serious study in this.
Presumably what we have is blurred recollections of an experience which was
essentially aural rather than literate.
This still seems to be a difference between Catholic and Anglican
experience of the liturgy. I do sometimes attend Catholic Mass and it's
always a challenge finding a service book. In an Anglican church you will
have one thrust into your hand as soon as you get through the door, and
people who could recite the service in their sleep still have their noses
in the book all the way through. (I did this myself through sheer force of
habit until I had a small child to hold and entertain and didn't have a
spare hand for the book.) We are obviously defining ourselves as people of
the book - but of the Prayer Book rather than the Bible. However, this has
a very different feel from the 'prayer-book Protestantism' of the C16 and
C17, which must surely have been based on the congregation knowing the
liturgy by heart in order to participate. One wonders what impact this had
on standardising English. Here in Wales we tend to credit the Welsh
translation of the Bible with standardising the language and embedding the
Reformation in Welsh cultural identity, but I wonder whether the Welsh BCP
may not in fact have been more influential for the majority, at least until
the C18 when Welsh translations of the Bible became more readily available.
I don't know when it became normal for parish churches to have a stock of
prayer books for the whole congregation or when this emphasis on the
printed text became common. I can remember being given a prayer book on my
confirmation, presumably harking back to days when it was a status thing to
have one's own. (like the medieval primer?)
Going back to the garbled Latin - the comparable Anglican experience is the
confused recollections people have of the old BCP services, often mixed up
with bits of the Messiah and other familiar but antique texts. And I have
been told stories, which must *surely* be apocryphal, of Anglican clergy
who went over to Rome during the stirs about women priests but who could be
identified by their tendency to revert to the BCP wording when they got
carried away during Mass.