Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why Priests Have to Learn Latin

Edit: it sounds like candidates to the priesthood will not only have to be familiar with Latin, but will also be forced to use it in the classroom setting.
Gero P. Weishaupt am 25. Februar 2012 um 20:07


Vatican (kathnews)  Last Thursday, on the 23rd of February,  the Papal Institute for Latin Classics (Pontificium Institutum altioris Latinnitatis) at the Papal University of the Salesians in Rome held a congress on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Apostolic Constitution "Veterum Sapientia" Pope John XXIII. from 22 February 1962.  (Kathnews reported the event)

Founded by Pope Paul VI


The Pontificium altioris Latinitatis was brought to life by Pope Paul VI with the Motu Proprio Studie Latinitatis of the 22nd February 1964, therefore, toward the end of the Second Vatican Council.  There the Pope stressed as already had his predecessor two years before as well, the close connection between the study of the Latin language and the education for the priesthood as also the necessity of knowing the Latin language.

Secretary of the Congregation for Clergy was one of the Speakers


Probably with regard to Ash Wednesday, which fell on the 50th Anniversary, the Congress began a day later.  Next to the Prefect of the Congregation for Education, who is the Polish-born Curial Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, one of the most visible promoters of the Latin language, who presided over the Congress, and the other speaker, the Secretary of the Congregation of Clergy, Archbishop Celso Morga Iruzubieta,  held an informative lecture. He presented the theme "Why the Priest Must Study Latin" (Perche i preti debono studiare latino).

Decline of Latin

Pope John XIII had already directed his attention to the decline of Latin at a Congress for Latinists in 1959.  In his lecture, recalled the Secretary of the Congregation for Clergy:  "When one retrospectively considers the present situation,  everything from then on, that the words of Bl. John XXIII, which he directed to a Congress of  Latin experts on 7 September 1959,  not only trailed off unheard, but that the use and even the instruction of the Latin language even in ecclesiastical contexts  were already in the grip of a powerful decline."

Encouraging Development in Our Day

Although despite the difficulties today among priests, there is a conviction to be found, "that the return of Latin has a purpose, to come closer to a civilization and to estimate its values, interests and their values as well as their doctrines and to test their theoretical foundations in view of a critical understanding of the past", continued the Curial Bishop further. That is surely, "an encouraging sign in the Church of today, which is ready to understand the study of the past not as a superfluous  and backwards looking view.,  which  unnecessarily longs in some way to recapture the past, rather  as a direct and immediate recapitulation of the message of an extraordinarily rich doctrinal, cultural and pedagogical heritage, one to a wide ranging, fruitful and deeply rooted intellectual heritage, as that could allow a severing from these roots."

Latin - means to recover their own cultural identity

Then the second man in the Congregation for  Clergy: "Under present circumstances, it seems unlikely that one brings to the priest - at least in the initial phase of his training -  an  estimate of the value of Latin as the  language, which has a refinement of  structure and  vocabulary and is able to promote an accurate, rich and harmonious style, full of grandeur and dignity, the seriousness and clarity, and insofar as is appropriate, moreover, to foster any form of culture, "humanitatis cultus" among the nations. And in this recovering its own cultural identity is the significance of the presence of the Latin language in the school curriculum of the candidates for the priesthood. And it is in this recapturing of an actual cultural identity that lies the importance of the ability to use the Latin language in the scholastic curriculum of the candidates for the priesthood.  Thus, the Latin language is exempt from unduly simplistic and inaccurate and superficial questions about its practical usefulness, and it is again  replaced in its role as a comprehensive formative field of instruction.

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