Saturday, May 28, 2011

On The Church

There is a Catholic Church in Agadir. It is difficult to imagine a place where you will find more people, with less in common, happily gathered together. Also, the diversity of the congregation makes for a very interesting Mass from a linguistic point of view.

Start with the French. Large parts of the Mass are in French. As the old colonial power it is one of the established languages of Morocco. There are plenty of old French retirees spending their golden years in Agadir. Not only that but lots of Black West Africans, also French speaking, have made there way up there from countries to the South but kept the Catholicism of their home country.

Next the English. English is the international language, widely spoken in all international communities. Not only that but Agadir is a quick flight from London so there are a large number of English speaking tourists who spend their mini-breaks there.

Then the Spanish. Spain is Morocco’s closest European neighbor, separated only by a handful of kilometers of water across the straight of Gibraltar. Spain’s influence on the continent and in Morocco is powerful, from their African held World Cup victory, to the old trading city in Morocco that is still Spanish territory.

Not to mention the Portuguese. Though perhaps not as powerful and widespread as the Spanish, the Portuguese did have their say in the history of Morocco.

Now the German. Wealthy German sunbirds can be found all along the Mediterranean rim. And as anyone who has seen the film Casablanca knows, Germany wielded its influence across the country until that dastardly American, Rick, found the courage to stand up to them.

And the lastly the Polish? Polish was part of the service and there were a number of fluent polish speakers ready to sing when their time came. What a dozen elderly poles were doing at a Catholic mass in Morocco is anyone’s guess.

With so many different people and languages gathered under one roof, there is one simple and obvious solution. Latin. After all it wasn’t that long ago that all Catholic Masses were conducted in Latin. Thus, Latin was also heavily featured during the Mass, leaving everyone equally clueless as to what was going on.

Ridentem dicere verum quid vetat.

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