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Gosling, Samuel

GOSLING, SAMUEL

Liturgist; b. Stone, Staffordshire, England, April 18, 1883; d. Oct. 8, 1950. He was ordained in 1908. While serving as an army chaplain in World War I, he became convinced that the retention of Latin as the sole liturgical language of the Roman rite was a serious handicap to pastoral work. In those days, such a view was so novel as to seem revolutionary and even shocking. For some years Gosling spread it only by word of mouth among trusted friends, but in 1942 he ventured to write an article on the subject and offered it to the English Catholic Herald. The editor risked publishing it, and the result was such a spate of letters in the correspondence columns that Gosling felt the time was ripe for action.

In 1943, he founded the English Liturgy Society for priests and laity who "desired to promote the use of the mother tongue in public worship so far as is consonant with the doctrines and traditions of the Church." In 1944, he launched a small periodical, The English Liturgist, which he edited until his death. He wrote many articles for other periodicals, courageously advocating, against bitter opposition, the need for English in the liturgy. After his death his views continued to spread, and were finally vindicated by Vatican Council II in its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Dec. 4, 1963. The foundation of the American Vernacular Society in 1946 is attributed largely to the influence of this far-sighted and apostolic priest.

[c. w. howell]

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