Latin Rite, in the singular, usually refers to the sui juris particular Church of the Roman Catholic Church that developed, with its own rituals, customs and canon law, in the area of western Europe and northern Africa where Latin was for many centuries the language of education and culture. This Church is also referred to as the Latin Church.
In the plural, the term can refer only to the liturgical traditions of this particular Church. Of these, there survive today the widely used Roman rite, the Ambrosian rite of Milan, Italy and neighbouring areas, and the Mozarabic rite, in very limited use at Toledo, Spain.
Sometimes, the term "Roman Catholic" is treated as synonymous with “Latin-rite”, though never by the Roman Catholic Church itself.
Characteristic of the Latin Rite are obligatory clerical celibacy of priests, confirmation after the age of reason, direct appointment of bishops by the Pope, honorary titles of patriarch and primate, and, of course, the Latin-rite liturgies. The Eastern Rite Churches, to varying extents, differ in these respects. For instance, ordination to priesthood (but not to the order of bishop) may be conferred on married men, and Eastern patriarchal and major archiepiscopal Churches elect bishops for their own territory (but not outside it). Canon law for the Latin-rite Church has, since 1917, been codified in the Code of Canon Law. A completely new edition was promulgated by John Paul II in 1983.
Last updated: 09-03-2005 18:37:12