Rorate Caeli

For the record: a new motu proprio creating a Pontifical Academy of the Latin Language

Emblem of the
Accademia della Crusca
From La Stampa's Andrea Tornielli:

Benedict XVI is to publish a motu proprio to establish the “Pontificia Academia Latinitatis”...  

“Foveatur lingua latina”. Pope Benedict XVI is keen to foster people’s knowledge of the language of Cicero, Augustine and Erasmus of Rotterdam not just in the Catholic Church but also in civil society and in schools. Indeed he is about to publish a motu proprio to establish the new “Pontificia Academia Latinitatis”. So far, the Vatican body in charge of keeping the ancient language alive has been the “Latinitas” foundation, which has been under the aegis of the Vatican Secretariat of State but is now destined to disappear


  1. It's about time an international academy of the Latin Language is established. There is no better entity to host it than the Vatican.

    It would benefit also the natural sciences. Botany is the last science to abandon Latin in its scientific description of plants. A Latin academy will be a living link between modern science and its origins

  2. Well it's about time! I'm surprised to learn that there has been an office for the preservation of Latin this whole time... They certainly haven't done a good job :)

    I wonder when this sort of thing will become mandatory, especially for those who claim to want to follow the teachings of Vatican 2, considering that those teaching include maintaining Latin as the norm...

  3. This is a great and wonderful step on the part of the Church. It's sad though things have gotten this bad that an actual entity needed to be created to protect Latin on a worldwide scale.

  4. Wuerlexic6:47 PM

    God bless Pope Benedict! He's obviously trying to all that he can.

  5. Loyolakiper7:07 PM

    Do you think the Pope Benedict's new motu proprio will finally carry out the directives of Pope John XXIII's Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia which had fallen on deaf ears as soon as it was promulgated? Hmm, just think of it, churchmen who actually speak their Mother's tongue...

  6. Gregorian Mass7:25 PM

    A moto Proprio reminding people that Latin is the language of the Church and the Mass and that the Second Vatican Council insisted on its' retention would benefit the world as well...People in the pews who become familiar with a few Latin prayers and the Ordinary would aid in latin's preservation instead of a vast majority thinking Latin was abolished around 1965 or so as if the Vatican could actually abolish a language at all. What about the Faithful? Not those who don't want to learn it but those who think that it was abolished or that we are not allowed to use it? There are many, many of them who think along these lines....

  7. NIANTIC10:35 PM

    This is very positive news. Let us hope it will be executed properly and bear good fruit. All Catholic clergy should and must know Latin. It IS the language of the Church and the language in which the Church has prayed for centuries. It should be mandatory in all seminaries, no exceptions. Thank you Pope Benedict XVl.

  8. Several years ago, Bishop Edward J. Slattery of Tulsa, Oklahoma, insisted upon the "reintroduction of Gregorian chant into our parishes and
    a sign of the seriousness with which I approach this topic, I am asking that pastors move with some dispatch to introduce their congregations to the simpler
    chants of the Kyria, including the Gloria, Sanctus, Pater Noster and the Agnus Dei."

    Would a poster or posters familiar with the Church in Tulsa please comment as to whether Bishop Slattery's directives in question have been implemented throughout the Tulsa Diocese.

    Thank you.



  9. Loyolakiper said, "Do you think the Pope Benedict's new motu proprio will finally carry out the directives of Pope John XXIII's Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia which had fallen on deaf ears as soon as it was promulgated? "

    No. I don't think there will be any action regarding Veterum Sapientia. While this Motu Proprio for Latin preservation is a means to an end (a good one), if VS had any immanent consideration, IMO, the Holy Father would have acted sooner around the release of that other Motu Proprio. As it is, while it is great to think of "churchmen who actually speak their Mother's tongue..." I highly doubt there is going to be a mad rush to Latin classes. :(

  10. In Germany, there is a strong trend towards Latin. Not in the German Church, which is still stuck in its 70's contempt for Latin, but in society.
    1 in 10 pupils learns Latin in school. If you just count those who go to schools preparing for University, it is one in three.

    Is there a similar trend in other countries, or is this a purely German phenomenon?

  11. Matamoros1:37 AM

    In Italy about 40% study Latin at school (and 8% classical Greek). That's one end of the scale. English-speaking countries are at the other extreme with about 1 to 1.5% learning Latin at school these days.

  12. Jack O'Malley1:49 AM

    Valde deesst Latinitas mea. Ego tamen certior factus sum verba "motu proprio" sibi Latine velle "neglegendum est hoc documentum et ab episcopis et ab eius auctore ipso".

    Ego scilicet erravisse possum

  13. Rumsey3:56 AM

    Let's hope it meets with more success than Summorum Pontificum has thus far.

  14. @Ben Vallejo: What you say is exactly what Pope John XXIII said at the International Convention for the Promotion of Ciceronian Studies, Sept. 7, 1959, which he quoted in Veterum Sapientiæ:

    Pro dolor, sunt sat multi, qui mira progressione artium abnormiter capti, Latinitatis studia et alias id genus disciplinas repellere vel coërcere sibi sumant... Hac ipsa impellente necessitate, contrarium prosequendum iter esse putamus. Cum prorsus in animo id insideat, quod magis natura et dignitate hominis dignum sit, ardentius acquirendum est id, quod animum colat et ornet, ne miseri mortales similiter ac eae, quas fabricantur, machinae, algidi, duri et amoris expertes exsistant.

    [It is a matter of regret that so many people, unaccountably dazzled by the marvelous progress of science, are taking it upon themselves to oust or restrict the study of Latin and other kindred subjects.... Yet, in spite of the urgent need for science, Our own view is that the very contrary policy should be followed. The greatest impression is made on the mind by those things which correspond more closely to man's nature and dignity. And therefore the greatest zeal should be shown in the acquisition of whatever educates and ennobles the mind. Otherwise poor mortal creatures may well become like the machines they build -- cold, hard, and devoid of love.]


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