E HAVE INCLUDED an English translation in our Vexilla Regis score below. Latin eventually became a “dead” language, but anyone associated with the Church had to learn it—as did anyone who obtained any sort of basic education.
Those who hate our Latin heritage say, “It is impossible to learn a foreign language. Period.” However, immigrants to the United States—whether from India, the Philippines, Mexico, China, or Vietnam—would explain that learning a foreign language is not “impossible.”
The Vexilla Regis as it looked in the 14th century:
The Vexilla Regis as it looks today:
Fr. Dominic Popplewell pointed out that, by the 14th century, the writing was not that easy to read. They were more interested in beauty. It will remembered that most of these prayers would have been memorized.
UPDATE (May 2021):
Here’s a page from the Brébeuf hymnal which contains the “Vexilla Regis” hymn: