Monday 14 March 2011

Pope Benedict on Latin

As if on cue after my last post, our Holy Father yesterday spoke of Latin from his balcony in St Peter's Square. I'm not suggesting that I count him among my readers! Although, it is known that a number of influential English language blogs are read in the Vatican City. (We live in hope!)

The Zenit news agency reports that Pope Benedict XVI is encouraging the study of Latin, noting that the ancient language has much to offer in the study of ancient and modern history.

The Pope said this, in Latin, after praying the midday Angelus together with those gathered in St. Peter's Square.

His words were directed to the students and teachers of the Christelijk Lyceum of Veenendaal, Netherlands. The Pontiff stated that he was pleased that the students had come "to Rome to be strengthened in your endeavor to learn the Latin language."

"In fact," he added, "this language has much to contribute, both in the deeper study of antiquity and in the study of more recent history."
On the use of Latin in the Sacred Liturgy G. K. Chesterton put it this way: "The Catholic prayed in the majestic language that had 'fought and conquered the centuries.' He prayed as Saint Ambrose prayed. His priests offered the Sacrifice as Saint Augustine had offered it."
Christopher Hollis in his book 'The Mind of Chesterton'

Chesterton, Hollis tells us "accepted the Latin liturgy of the Church as part of the Catholic tradition and doubtless hardly thought, any more than the rest of us, for many years afterwards, that there was any alternative to it. Vernacularists in those days were thought of as cranks like vegetarians."

Of course these days vegetarians are no longer considered cranks.


Reggie F said...

Benedict locuta est, causa finita est?

Crisis Persists said...

Great article.

The previous post is not by Fr. Reggie Foster, who would never make such an egregious mistake.