THE NECESSITY OF LATIN FOR THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH From the writings of Roman Catholic Saints, Popes, and Theologians
You know, a time will come when a man will no longer be able to say, "I speak Latin and am a Christian" and go his way in peace. There will come frontiers, frontiers of all kinds -- between men -- and there will be no end to them. --Cardinal St. Cajetan
Liturgical Reform, having as one of its basic principles the abolition of all mystical acts and formulations, insists upon the usage of modern languages for the divine service.... The hatred of the Latin language is inborn in the hearts of all who hate Rome. They see in it a bond that unites throughout the world, a weapon of orthodoxy against all the subtleties of the sectarian spirit, and a most powerful arm of the Papacy.... Surely it is one of the most masterful strokes of the reformers to declare war on the holy language of Latin, for if they succeed in destroying its use, their aims are all but accomplished. The liturgy, from the moment it loses its sacred character and is offered to the people in a profaned manner, becomes like a dishonored virgin.... How long do you think the faithful will go to hear these self-styled liturgists cry "The Lord be with you" and how long will they continue to respond "and with your spirit"? --Dom Prosper Gueranger, "The Antiliturgical Heresy" It [the Traditional Latin Mass] is virtually unchanged since the third century. --John Henry Cardinal Newman, "Callistus" For the Church, precisely because it embraces all nations and is destined to endure until the end of time ... OF ITS VERY NATURE requires a language that is universal, immutable, and non-vernacular. --Pope Pius XI, Officiorum Omnium, 1922 The day the Church abandons her universal tongue [Latin] is the day before she returns to the catacombs. --Pope Pius XII The use of the Latin language prevailing in a great part of the Church affords at once an imposing sign of unity and an effective safeguard against the corruptions of true doctrine. --Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei, 1947, Sec. 60 Latin is the immutable language of the Western Church. --Pope John XXIII The Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic, and non-vernacular. --Pope John XXIII, Veterum Sapientia, February 22, 1962 (just eight months before the opening of Vatican II), chap. 13 We also, impelled by the weightiest of reasons ... are fully determined to restore this language to its position of honor and to do all We can to promote its study and use. The employment of Latin has recently been contested in some quarters, and many are asking what the mind of the Apostolic See is in this matter. We have therefore decided to issue the timely directives contained in this document, so as to ensure that the ancient and uninterrupted use of Latin be maintained and, where necessary, restored. --Pope John XXIII, Veterum Sapientia, February 22, 1962 (just eight months before the opening of Vatican II), chap. 13 The use of the Latin language ... is to be preserved in the Latin rites. --Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy), para. 36.1 In accordance with the age-old tradition of the Latin rite, the Latin language is to be retained by clerics in the Divine Office. --Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy), para. 101.1 If the Church is to remain truly the Catholic Church, it is essential to keep a universal tongue. --Cardinal Heenan (1967) The Latin language is assuredly worthy of being defended with great care instead of being scorned; for the Latin Church it is the most abundant source of Christian civilization and the richest treasury of piety.... We must not hold in low esteem these traditions of your fathers, which were your glory for centuries. --Pope Paul VI, Sacrificium Laudis, August 15, 1966, Epistle to Superiors General of Clerical Religious Institutes Bound to Choir, on the Celebration of the Divine Office in Latin We cannot permit something that could be the cause of your own downfall, that could be the source of serious loss to you, and that surely would afflict the Church of God with sickness and sadness.... The same Church gives you the mandate to safeguard the traditional dignity, beauty, and gravity of the choral office in both its language [Latin] and its chant.... Obey the commands that a great love for your own ancient observances itself suggests.... --Pope Paul VI, Sacrificium Laudis, August 15, 1966, Epistle to Superiors General of Clerical Religious Institutes Bound to Choir, on the Celebration of the Divine Office in Latin We address especially the young people: In an epoch when in some areas, as you know, the Latin language and the human values are less appreciated, you must joyfully accept the patrimony of the language which the Church holds in high esteem and must, with energy, make it fruitful. The well-known words of Cicero, "It is not so much excellent to know Latin, as it is a shame not to know it" [Non tam praeclarum est scire Latine, quam turpe nescire (Brutus, xxxvii.140)] in a certain sense are directed to you. We exhort you all to lift up high the torch of Latin which is even today a bond of unity among peoples of all nations. --Pope John Paul II, 1978 Nevertheless, there are also those people who, having been educated on the basis of the old liturgy in Latin, experience the lack of this "one language," which in all the world was an expression of the unity of the Church and through its dignified character elicited a profound sense of the Eucharistic Mystery. It is therefore necessary to show not only understanding but also full respect towards these sentiments and desires. As far as possible these sentiments and desires are to be accommodated, as is moreover provided for in the new dispositions. The Roman Church has special obligations towards Latin, the splendid language of ancient Rome, and she must manifest them whenever the occasion presents itself. --Pope John Paul II, Dominicae Cenae, February 24, 1980, sec. 10 ======================================================================== LATIN: THE ROMAN CATHOLIC LANGUAGE The greatest legacy of the Roman Empire to us was its language. So easy was it to learn that the illiterate barbarians not only learned it, but after they had conquered Rome, they preferred it to their local vernacular. So easy was it to write that countless stones and books attest to centuries of knowledge in its elegant letters. So easy was it to expand that varying disciplines such as law and science were equally easy to express in it. It was not happenstance, but the hand of Providence -- God sticking His finger directly into history, so to speak -- that gave the infant Roman Catholic Church not a babel of vernacular languages, but the third and last of the three sacred languages. With it, the Church emerged fullblown after the persecutions of the first three centuries and spread the Faith to all nations. Through the Latin language, the Church inherited the universal character of the Roman empire. It was because of this one language that Christianity spread over that empire like wildfire -- from Armenia in the East all the way to Scotland in the North. Latin has been the Catholic language, a unifying factor and a doctrinal safeguard for the faith and morals of the Church. In a significant way, it gives to the Church its marks of "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic." The Roman historian Valerius Maximus (Memorabilium II.2.2), who lived during the time of Christ, described Latin as the essential vehicle of communication in the Apostolic Age: "From the age of the founding fathers, indeed, the majesty of the Roman people was to be recognized. Therefore, among all other marks of gravity, this particular rule always prevailed: No response was ever given to any Greek except in the Latin language." The Christian writer Origen (?185-?254) saw the concurrence of the Pax Romana, the Pax Augusta, with the rise of Christianity and that the two would have to flow into a common tide. It was not a question of any historical coincidence, but a manifestation of the ruling hand of Providence. "Of a truth, God willed to prepare the nations for His teaching, and provided that they should submit to one Roman Emperor. Nor should there be a plurality of kings and nations alienated from one another, to make it more difficult for the Apostles to follow what was commanded to them by the words of Christ, 'Go ye forth and teach all nations.' And so, it was constituted for Jesus to be born under Augustus who, in one great kingdom, had congregated the multitudes scattered over the world" (Contra Celsum, II.412.30.) Dante in his De Monarchia (I:16, II: 11-12) held that Christ either awaited or arranged that the Incarnation waited until the time of Augustus, when there was a complete and single-world government that pacified the world, when mankind enjoyed the blessing of universal peace and tranquility, called by St. Paul the "fullness of time." It has been said that the Roman Catholic Church is the last great gift of the Roman Empire. Thus, the Latin language is Providence's vehicle for communicating the one true Faith to the world. Latin is the essence of everything Roman. Intrinsic within its grammar and syntax is an unmatched capacity for analysis, resolution, appraisal, definition, ascertainment, determination, trial and evidence, criticism and judgment. Latin is the essence of everything Roman: simple, straightforward, and direct, an irreducible tongue by which fragmentation was not possible. No language in history has lent itself so perfectly to the radiation of a belief and to the construction of a creed. Recent scholarship points to the fact that at Rome and its environs Latin was the language of the Roman Catholic liturgy not from the third century as previously believed, but as early as St. Paul's journey to the area of Pompeii (Acts 28:14) around the year 60, some thirty years after Christ's death on the cross. Christ Himself may have spoken Latin. The words of the Roman centurion that we recall at every Mass, Domine, non sum dignus, are likely to have been quoted in the language in which they were spoken, and Christ's reply may well have been in the same tongue, just like His interview with Pontius Pilate. It is this sacred language in which has come down to us the Divine Office said by the clergy around the hours of the day; the only authoritative version of the Scriptures, St. Jerome's Vulgate; canon law and theology, doctrine and dogma; and the prayers and devotions of the Church for twenty centuries. But most of all, it is in the immemorial Mass, which we celebrate here today. As the late Archbishop Dwyer of Portland, Oregon, put it, our traditional Latin liturgy possesses "much restraint and austerity, an impressive beauty, a generous melody." With it we express a sense of the holy and divine that our souls so ardently desire. For our souls, as God created them, do not seek a God of slang and slogans. Our souls seek an almighty God, a God Who in all His sacredness and awesomeness must be approached in our public worship with a deep sense of majesty, and prayed to in a language steeped in dignity, mysticism, and holiness. Fathers at the Council of Trent had underlined the special reverence aroused by the use of the sacred language instead of the vulgar tongues, which elicited "the contempt of men who find it easy to ignore things that are familiar to them and common." In modern times, we are witnessing a tendency toward a loss of our Catholic Tradition. This tendency has been particularly active in the last thirty years. This tendency is in fact temporary. We traditional Catholics, worshipping as the Roman Catholic Church always has, with the Traditional Latin Mass, are evidence of that. And we are joined by tens of thousands across this country and over a million throughout the world in doing so. Latin Gregorian chant cannot be kept in stock at record stores. The study of Latin in our schools is again blossoming. When the present generation passes, we can be confident that the Traditional Latin Mass will continue and grow, just as it has for the last two millennia. All of us can rededicate ourselves to preserving our great western heritage and Roman Catholic tradition. We can study more deeply this great gift that the Church has given to us, the Traditional Latin Mass, "the most beautiful thing this side of heaven" [Frederick Faber]. We can increase our familiarity with the sacred language of this Mass and of our Faith. A good place to start would be the Pater Noster, the Ave Maria, and the Gloria Patri, which every Catholic should know. Use them when you say the Rosary. Use them when you say the Angelus. In this, we follow the current pope, who has joined his predecessors in addressing this charge to faithful Catholics : "You must joyfully accept the patrimony of the language which the Church holds in high esteem and must, with energy, make it fruitful. [In] the well-known words of Cicero, 'It is not so much excellent to know Latin, as it is a shame not to know it'" [Non tam praeclarum est scire Latine, quam turpe nescire (Brutus, xxxvii.140)]. + Providence gave the Church a great gift, the Latin language, which was the perfect vessel for the expression of the perfect theology and the perfect practical instrument for maintaining "catholic" the Faith through the centuries. Like a priceless gem, since the beginning of the Church (as now confirmed by archaeology), Latin has been the divinely established vehicle for the expression of Catholic theology and doctrine. All the great minds of the Church formulated their discussions and explanations in this language, which is unparalleled for clarity and precision (don't those vernacular documents from the Vatican now sound muddled as never before Vatican II?). St. Augustine, St. Anselm, St. Albert, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventure, St. Alphonsus, all the Popes and Councils, all the Fathers and Doctors honed Catholic doctrine carefully in this expressive language. With 2000 years of Roman Catholic Tradition and dogma, plus the confirmation, implicit or explicit, of every pope, the vernacular is really untenable. Latin is the gatekeeper of the Roman Catholic Faith. Dom Prosper Gueranger, the great liturgist of the 19th century, demonstrated that it was "the sympathy of heretics for the vernacular in the divine service" that had brought the Council of Trent to "pronounce a dogmatic definition in this matter which at first seemed only to affect discipline." Instead, the Council Fathers had not taken a disciplinary measure, but had given a "dogmatic definition" establishing Latin as a sacred language and ipso facto, excluding vernaculars from the liturgy of the Mass. Fears expressed if the Church were ever to abandon her Latin language have come true in the post-Vatican II period: Pre-Vatican II: The Holy See feared that the substitution of national languages for Latin would be opening the door to schism and the nationalization of worship. Post-Vatican II: the liturgy has become nationalized. Pre-Vatican II: The Holy See feared that the introduction of the vulgar tongues would work toward the separation from Rome of the nationalized churches. Post- Vatican II: The "American Church," the "French Church," the "German Church," etc., are in effect in schism from the Roman Catholic Church, hanging only by the thread of a facade. Pre-Vatican II: The Holy See viewed Latin as going with Catholicism and the vernacular with Protestantism. Post-Vatican II: The institutional Catholic Church has become Protestantized in liturgy and doctrine to a degree that not even Martin Luther imagined. It is not happenstance that when the Novus Ordo apparatus abandoned the Church's catholic language, the Church began disintegrating. You see, language is not just some accident, like the particular glint of a gemstone. Rather, it is at the essence of the gemstone. If you try to split it, you risk fracturing the entire stone. Anyone who has seriously studied language is well aware that thought (semantics) and its expression (language) are inseparable. That is exactly what happened when the Novus Ordo apparatus began to abandon its Latinitas, its Romanitas. Nor was this happenstance either, or for any of the mindless mantras one hears -- for better "participation" of the "people," for "aggiornamento," for "modernismo," or whatever. Rather, it was deliberately planned so that a new theology could be constructed. It was the first and most serious coffin-nail driven into the Church by Vatican II and its aftermath. It seems common in some traditional circles these days to underestimate the importance of the Roman Catholic's Church's proper language. Of course, all traditional Catholics understand that the Latin language must be retained in the Divine Office, the Holy Mass, and the Sacraments. But one can never underestimate the importance of Latin in retaining the unadulterated doctrine of the Church. THE INTRODUCTION OF THE VULGAR LANGUAGES INTO THE CHURCH WAS THE SINGLE ACTION THAT ALLOWED THE NEW ORDER RELIGION TO BE CREATED. The New Order Innovators knew full well that they could not foist their New Religion upon the Church if they used the traditional Latin. Is it any wonder, then, that the first action they took after Vatican II was to introduce the vulgar tongues into the Church? Traditional Catholics should never underestimate the importance of Latin in the divine plan for the Roman Catholic Church. They should learn it, at least to some degree, and fight for it. Who could be considered a Jew without being able to read passages from the Torah? Jews are proud to study their sacred language at Saturday schools. Why are Catholics, even traditional Catholics, fail to do the same with their sacred language? Many Church writers, including the Franciscan Tertiary Dante Alighieri, tied the Latin language inextricably with the fate of the Church. In more recent times, Pope Pius XII presciently warned in 1958: The day the Catholic Church gives up its Latin language is the day it returns to the catacombs. Well, folks, wasn't the pope right? Isn't traditional Catholicism back in the catacombs? But remember that the Church rose victorious from the catacombs, as will true Catholicism. ======================================================================== INTERVENTION OF JAMES CARDINAL MC INTYRE, ARCHBISHOP OF LOS ANGELES ON BEHALF OF THE TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS TO THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, OCTOBER 23, 1962 Em.mus P.D. Iacobus Card. McIntyre Archiepiscopus Angelorum in California Em.me Praeses, Em.mi, Exc.mi et Rev.mi in Christo, Hae animadversiones de lingua Liturgiae referuntur ad pag. 167 et par. 24. Crescente imperio romano, universalis usus linguae latinae in occidente in sacra Ecclesiae Liturgia recte tribuitur sapientiae humanae et plus quam humanae. In hac re Providentia divina clare viam monstravit. In saeculo IV Concilia ecclesiastica formulaverunt doctrinas et Ecclesiae dogmata in praecisa terminologia latina. Facta saeculi IV ostendunt gravissimam rationem retinendi usum linguae latinae in sacra Liturgia et sacra theologia. Consideratio factorum historiae multum valet in tempore praesenti. Conatus debilitandi soliditatem traditionis linguae latinae in his rebus catastrophen secumferunt. Fundamentaliter, lingua latina adoptata est quia Patres nostri bene intellexerunt naturam vere apostolicam Sanctae Matris Ecclesiae, atque eius universalitatem se extendentem ad omnes gentes. Recte censuerunt talem universalitatem maxime serviri per commune medium communicandi. Certe lingua latina utilem ad hoc medium commune mirabiliter se demonstravit. Praeterea, doctrina Ecclesiae, per facta saeculi IV, praecisae sunt. Doctrinae tam definitae requirunt formulationem in lingua exacta, clara et immutabili, ubique comprehensa, vel saltem satis comprehensa a pluribus atque ab omnibus intellecta quia eis interpretatum est. Lingua latina tale medium communicandi se ostendit. Effectibus mirabilibus iam operam dedit. Restrictiones nationalitatum superavit. In re politica neutri parti se adiunxit. Magna cum constantia in nostra epoca efficentia eius perseverat. Adoptata lingua latina, lingua vere universalis evenit in occidentali, praesertim inter viros eruditos et litteratos. Habens structuram non vulgarem sed mathematicam, lingua latina primatum continuum adepta est, ac per omnia saecula perseverat. In rebus intellectualibus, in rebus litterariis et scientificis iam valde praestat. Concilia priorum saeculorum dogmata Ecclesiae in lingua latina formulaverunt usque ad accommodandum et latine reddendum disputata vocabula graeca. Vehiculum dogmatis latina lingua semper fuit quia medium aptum accurate, definite et determinate cogitandi ac principia statuendi. Non solum disciplinis ecclesiasticis sed etiam lege civili et philosophia fideliter deservit. Si hoc instrumentum, tam aptum moderandi et firmandi, a sacra Liturgia eripitur, stabilitas dogmatum periclitatur. Sectae protestanticae linguae vulgari se converterunt et in factiones innumeras se dissolverunt. Per multa saecula lingua latina sub tutela Ecclesiae stabilitatem magnificam exhibet. Fundamentum immutabilitatis est, et viris doctis pretiosum moderatorem colloquendi et scribendi praebet. Eo quod in forma originali lingua latina numquam evoluta est in linguam vulgarem, stabilitas eius et immutabilitas auctae sunt. Sane in omni tempore est lingua classica maxime eruditorum. Memores tam historiae priorum saeculorum, tam necessitatum hodiernarum, rogo: ubi est iustificatio opinionis quae ad nutum, iterum dico ad nutum, vult mutare linguam venerabilem sacrae Liturgiae? Impugnatio in linguam latinam sacrae Liturgiae indirecte, sed vere, est impugnatio in stabilitatem sacrorum dogmatum, quia sacra Liturgia necessario importat dogmata. Saeculis recentibus, etiam in America Septentrionali tam materialistica, incrementum Sanctae Matris Ecclesiae vere mirabile fuit, retenta sacra Liturgia in lingua latina. Conatus protestantismi deficiunt, et protestantismus lingua vulgari utitur. Iterum rogamus: quare mutatio, praesertim quando mutatio in hac re difficultates multas et pericula magna secumfert? Omnes in hoc Sacro Concilio possumus in mentem revocare mutationes fundamentales in significatione verborum vulgarium usus hodierni. Deinde sequitur quod si sacra Liturgia in lingua vulgari sit, immutabilitas doctrinae periclitetur. Annis recentibus tandem nationes ignotae se patefaciunt ac linguae novae et multae, nationum et tribuum, in notitiam omnium venerunt per associationem Nationum Unitarum. Si linguae vulgares introducuntur, praevidemus interpretationes innumeras sacrorum dogmatum. Ut aeterna veritas doctrinae exprimatur, sacra dogmata significationem et formam pristinam immutabiliter retineantur! Introductio linguae vulgaris debet separari ab actione sacrae Missae. Sancta Missa debet remanere ut est. Graves mutationes in liturgia introducunt graves mutationes in dogmata. Dixi. [Acta Synodalia Concilii Oecumenici Vaticani II] =============================================================================== INTERVENTION OF ANTONIO CARDINAL BACCI ON BEHALF OF THE TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS TO THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, OCTOBER 24, 1962 Em.mus P. D. ANTONIUS Card. BACCI Venerandi Patres Conciliares, De lingua latina in sacra Liturgia. Ne putetis me, utpote latinae linguae cultorem, nimium et exaggeratum esse fautorem linguae latinae in omnibus ritibus sacrae Liturgiae. Minime quidem; animo enim sum aperto ad intellegendas necessitates nostrorum temporum. Quam brevissime possum, sententiam meam, hac de re, vobis propono. 1. In Missae celebrationem, meo consilio, linguae nationales inducendae non sunt, tum quia id afferre potest grave periculum et damnum, tum quia id ipsum, quod omnes obtinere cupimus, hoc est maior populi participatio eucharistico sacrificio, et maior intellegentia audientium earum rerum quae a sacerdote leguntur, alio aptiore modo, alio dico aptiore modo, obtineri potest. Iam praeclarus vir Antonius Rosmini in suo libello « Le cinque piaghe della Chiesa » (De quinque plagis Ecclesiae) asseveravit linguam latinam diaphragma esse inter celebrantem et populum; sed libellus ab Ecclesia iam reprobatus est. Ac non modo Concilium Tridentinum (Sess. XXII, cap. 8, can. 9), sed etiam Romani Pontifices sanxerunt ut in Ecclesia occidentali Missa celebraretur lingua latina, salvis semper ceteris linguis liturgicis Ecclesiae orientalis... Memorare sufficiat Litteras Encyclicas Pii XII, de sacra Liturgia; et recentissimam etiam Constitutionem Apostolicam /Veterum Sapientia/ regnantis Pontificis. 2. Quod autem substituendo linguam latinam, vel partim, vel omnino in linguas nationales id ipsum assequi non possumus, quod nonnulli contendunt, facile probatur; non assequitur id quod optatur. Etenim per simplicem et nudam lectionem, lingua nationali factam, parum vel nihil intelligit populus, praesertim si agatur de rebus difficilibus, ut v. g. de Epistula ad Hebraeos, de lectionibus Veteris Testamenti, de libro Apocalypsis, etc.; quinimmo interdum, adolescentibus potissimum, dubia et turbamenta animi praeberi possunt, verbi gratia in lectione narrationis libidinosorum senum qui cum casta Susanna misceri volunt, et in locutione « Laeva eius sub capite meo et dextera illius amplexabitur me » (Cant. cantic. 2, 6; 8, 3). Quae quidem recta commentatione indigent, non tantum nuda versione. 3. Quomodo ergo hoc diaphragma, quod reapse existit, tollere possumus et hoc laudabile propositum assequi? Per homiliam vulgari lingua habitam, per catechesim ad populum, qua omnia opportune explanentur et ad intellegentiam populi accomodentur. Quod ceteroquin Summi Pontifices iam sanxerunt ac saepe saepius commendarunt. Nuda vero Sacrae Scripturae versio in linguas vulgares parum valet ad intellegentiam populi et ad eius pietatem fovendam. Hac eadem de de causa versiones Sacrarum Scripturarum sine opportunis annotationibus, salem pro populo, ab Ecclesia non probantur. Praeterea hodie in usu venit Missale in nationales linguas conversum. Itemque, multo quidem laudabilius, in pluribus locis fit, ut dum sacerdos lingua latina Missam celebrat, annuntiator quidam probatus (anglica lingua, « speaker » dicitur) verba sacri ritus recitat vulgari lingua, cum opportunis animadversionibus ad captum populi accommodatis. Minime igitur necessarium est linguas nationales in Missae celebrationem inducere, quod ceteroquin, ut proxime declarabo, gravissimum potius detrimentum afferre potest. 4. Etenim id quod attingere quaeritur, hoc est maior intellegentia ex parte populi, magis participatio, non modo hac ratione assequi non possumus, sed etiam facile inducuntur pericula, discrimina, contentiones in non paucis regionibus mixtae linguae. Qua enim lingua, quae latina non sit, celebrabitur Missa, v. g. in Alto Adige seu Subtirolo? Quanam in quibusdam urbibus Helvetiae ubi tres linguae in usu sunt? Quanam in Canadia (vulgo Canada) ubi lingua anglica et gallica in usu sunt? Quanam in partibus Belgicae nationis, ubi pariter duae linguae habentur? Etc. ... Profecto hac ratione timendum est ne nationalismus et contentiones eius afferantur ad altare et inferantur in eucharisticum sacrificium, quod quidem valde detrimentosum esse nemo est qui non videat; cum contra lingua latina, ut Summi Pontifices asserunt, vinculum esse debet unitatis; et si recte opportuneque, ut supra dixi, explanetur per homilias et catechesim--quod omnino oportet et [quod] Summi Pontifices statuerunt--sacri ritus a populo intellegi possunt. Vos igitur appello, venerandi Patres, ut rem tanti momenti intento consideretis animo, ne damnum Ecclesiae unitati inferatur. 5. Res diverso modo habetur, cum agitur de Sacramentis et de Sacramentalibus. Etenim dum in publica Missae celebratione res agitur inter populum et celebrantem, contra in quorumdam Sacramentorum administratione res agitur vel inter sacerdotem et unum tantum fidelem (ut in Confessione sacramentali), vel inter sacerdotem et paucos fideles plerumque eiusdem linguae, ut in Baptismate, in Confirmatione, in Unctione infirmorum, in Matrimonio et in sacramentalibus. Iamvero in administrationem et in ritus quorumdam Sacramentorum, ut dixi, induci possunt etiam linguae nationales, probante tamen Apostolica Sede. Quod ceterum iam Pius XII iam scripsit, generali modo, in Encyclicis Litteris de sacra Liturgia (A.A.S., vol. 39, p. 545). 6. Mihi tamen opportunum esse videtur ut haec causa gravissima non relinquatur singulis Conferentiis episcopalibus peculiarum regionum (cap. 1, n. 24), sed statuatur modo unitario -- modo unitario -- pro universa Ecclesia ab Apostolica Sede. Etenim si res relinquitur inceptis et petionibus Conferentiarum episcopalium, habebitur magna diversitas in variis regionibus, cum detrimento unitatis ac fortasse cum babelica confusione; idque idcirco etiam detrimentosum erit, cum hodie non modo catholici viri, sed sacerdotes facile se conferant ex una ad alteram regionem, ex una ad alteram nationem. Haec habui, venerandi Patres, quae meditationi et prudentia vestrae proponerem. Huc accedunt formulae quae meo quidem iudicio in hoc schemate substituendae sunt.... [Oratio hic explet.] [Acta Synodalia Concilii Oecumenici Vaticani II] =============================================================================== SANCTISSIMI DOMINI NOSTRI IOANNIS DIVINA PROVIDENTIA PAPAE XXIII CONSTITUTIO APOSTOLICA DE LATINITATIS STUDIO PROVEHENDO IOANNES EPISCOPUS SERVUS SERVORUM DEI AD PERPETUAM REI MEMORIAM VETERUM SAPIENTIA, in Graecorum Romanorumque inclusa litteris, itemque clarissima antiquorum populorum monumenta doctrinae, quasi quaedam praenuntia aurora sunt habenda evangelicae veritatis, quam Filius Dei, gratiae disciplinaeque arbiter et magister, illuminator ac deductor generis humani,(1) his nuntiavit in terris. Ecclesiae enim Patres et Doctores, in praestantissimis vetustorum illorum temporum memoriis quandam agnoverunt animorum praeparationem ad supernas suscipiendas divitias, quas Christus Iesus in dispensatione plenitudinis temporum(2) cum mortalibus communicavit; ex quo illud factum esse patet, ut in ordine rerum christianarum instaurato nibil sane perierit, quod verum, et iustum, et nobile, denique pulchrum ante acta saecula peperissent. Quam ob rem Ecclesia sancta eius modi sapientiae documenta, et in primis Graecam Latinamque linguas, sapientiae ipsius auream quasi vestem, summo quidem honore coluit: atque etiam venerandos sermones alios, qui in orientis plagis floruerunt, quippe cum ad humani generis profectum, et ad mores conformandos haud parum valerent, in usum recepit; iidemque sive in religiosis caerimoniis sive in Sacrarum Scripturarum inter pretatione adhibiti, usque ad praesens tempus in quibusdam regionibus, perinde ac vivacis antiquitatis. numquam intermissae voces, viguerunt. Quarum in varietate linguarum ea profecto eminet, quae primum in Latii finibus exorta, deinde postea mirum quantum ad christianum nomen in occidentis regiones disseminandum profecit. Siquidern non sine divino consilio illud evenit, ut qui sermo amplissimam gentium consortionem sub Romani Imperii auctoritate saecula plurima sociavisset, is et proprius Apostolicae Sedis evaderet(3) et, posteritati servatus, cristianos Europae populos alios cum aliis arto unitatis vinculo coniungeret. Suae enim sponte naturae lingua Latina ad provehendum apud populos quoslibet omnem humanitatis cultum est peraccommodata: cum invidiam non commoveat, singulis gentibus se aequabilem praestet, nullius partibus faveat, omnibus postremo sit grata et amica. Neque hoc neglegatur oportet, in sermone Latino nobilem inesse conformationem et proprietatem; siquidem loquendi genus pressum, locuples, numerosum, maiestatis plenum et dignitatis(4) habet, quod unice et perspicuitati conducit et gravitati. His de causis Apostolica Sedes nullo non tempore linguam Latinam studiose asservandam curavit eamque dignam existimavit, qua tamquam magnifica caelestis doctrinae sanctissimarumque legum veste(5) uteretur ipsa in sui exercitatione magisterii, eademque uterentur sacrorum administri. Hi namque ecclesiastici viri, ubicumque sunt gentium, Romanorum sermone adhibito, quae sunt Sanctae Sedis promptius comperire possunt, atque cum ipsa et inter se expeditius habere commercium. Eam igitur, adeo cum vita EccIesiae conexam, scientia et usu babere perceptam, non tam humanitatis et litterarum, quam religionis interest,(6) quemadmodum Decessor Noster imm. mem. Pius XI monuit, qui, rem ratione et via persecutus, tres demonstravit huius linguae dotes, cum Ecelesiae natura mire congruentes: Etenim EccIesia, ut quae et nationes omnes complexu suo contineat, et usque ad consummationem saeculorum sit permansura ..., sermonem suapte natura requirit universalem, immutabilem, non vulgarem.(7) Nam cum ad EccIesiam Romanam necesse sit omnem convenire ecclesiam,(8) cumque Summi Pontifices potestatem habeant vere episcopalem, ordinariam et immediatam tum in omnes et singulas EccIesias, tum in omnes et singulos pastores et fideles(9) cuiusvis ritus, cuiusvis gentis, cuiusvis linguae, consentaneum omnino videtur ut mutui commercii instrumentum universale sit et aequabile, maxime inter Apostolicam Sedem et EccIesias, quae eodem ritu Latino utuntur. Itaque tum Romani Pontifices, si quid catholicas gentes docere volunt, tum Romanae Curiae Consilia, si qua negotia expediunt, si qua decreta conficiunt, ad universitatem fidelium spectantia, semper linguam Latinam haud secus usurpant, ac si materna vox ab innumeris gentibus accepta ea sit. Neque solum universalis, sed etiam immutabilis lingua ab Ecclesia adhibita sit oportet. Si enim catholicae Ecclesiae veritates traderentur vel nonnullis vel multis ex mutabilibus linguis recentioribus, quarum nulla ceteris auctoritate praestaret, sane ex eo consequeretur, ut hinc earum vis neque satis significanter neque satis dilucide, qua varietate eae sunt, omnibus pateret; ut illinc nulla communis stabilisque norma haberetur, ad quam ceterarum. sensus esset expendendus. Re quidem ipsa, lingua Latina, iamdiu adversus varietates tuta, quas cotidiana populi consuetudo in vocabulorum notionem inducere solet, fixa quidem. Censenda est et immobilis; cum novae quorundam verborum Latinorum significationes, quas christianarum. doctrinarum progressio, explanatio, defensio postulaverunt, iamdudum firmae eae sint rataeque. Cum denique catholica Ecclesia, utpote a Christo Domino condita, inter omnes humanas societates longe dignitate praestet, profecto decet eam lingua uti non vulgari, sed nobilitatis et maiestatis plena. Praetereaque lingua Latina, quam dicere catholicam vere possumus,(10) utpote quae sit Apostolicae Sedis, omnium Ecclesiarum matris et magistrae, perpetuo usu consecrata, putanda est et thesaurus ... incomparandae praestantiae,(11) et quaedam quasi ianua, qua aditus omnibus patet ad ipsas christianas veritates antiquitus acceptas et ecclesiasticae doctrinae monumen ta interpretanda;(12) et vinculum denique peridoneum, quo praesens Ecciesiae aetas cum superioribus cumque futuris mirifice continetur. Neque vero cuique in dubio esse potest, quin sive Romanorum sermoni sive honestis litteris ea vis insit, quae ad tenera adulescentium ingenia erudienda et conformanda perquam apposita ducatur, quippe qua tum praecipuae mentis animique facultates exerceantur, maturescant, perficiantur; tum mentis sollertia acuatur iudicandique potestas; tum puerilis intellegentia aptius constituatur ad omnia recte complectenda et aestimanda; tum postremo summa ratione sive cogitare sive loqui discatur. Quibus ex reputatis rebus sane intellegitur cur saepe et multum Romani Pontifices non solum linguae Latinae momentum praestantiamque in tanta laude posuerint, sed etiam. studium et usum sacris utriusque cleri administris praeceperint, periculis denuntiatis ex eius neglegentia manantibus. Iisdem igitur adducti causis gravissimis, quibus Decessores Nostri et Synodi Provinciales,(13) Nos quoque firma voluntate enitimur, ut huius linguae, in suam dignitatem restitutae, studium cultusque etiam atque etiam provehatur. Cum enim nostris temporibus sermonis Romani usus multis locis in controversiam coeptus sit vocari, atque adeo plurimi quid Apostolica Sedes hac de re sentiat exquirant, in animum propterea induximus, opportunis normis gravi hoc documento editis, cavere ut vetus et numquam intermissa linguae Latinae retineatur consuetudo, et, sicubi prope exoIeverit, plane redintegretur. Ceterum qui sit Nobismetipsis hac de re sensus, satis aperte, ut Nobis videtur, declaravimus, cum haec verba ad claros Latinitatis studiosos fecimus: 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 bominis 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.(14) Quibus perspectis atque cogitate perpensis rebus, certa Nostri muneris conscientia et auctoritate haec, quae sequuntur, statuimus atque praecipimus. l. Sacrorum Antistites et Ordinum, Religiosorum Summi Magistri parem dent operam, ut vel in suis Seminariis vel in suis Scholis, in quibus adulescentes ad sacerdotium instituantur hac in re Apostolicac Sedis voluntati studiose obsequantur omnes, et hisce Nostris praescriptionibus diligentissime pareant. 2. Paterna iidem sollicitudine caveant, ne qui e sua dicione, novarum rerum studiosi, contra linguam Latinam sive in altioribus sacris disciplinis tradendis sive in sacris habendis ritibus usurpandam scribant, neve praeiudicata opinione Apostolicae Sedis voluntatem hac in re extenuent vel perperam interpretentur. 3. Quemadmodum sive Codicis luris Canonici (can. 1364) sive Decessorum Nostrorum praeceptis statuitur, sacrorum alumni, antequam studia proprie ecclesiastica inchoent, a peritissimis magistris apta via ac ratione congruoque temporis spatio lingua Latina accuratissime imbuantur, hanc etiam ob causam, ne deinde, cum ad maiores disciplinas accesserint ... fiat ut prae sermonis inscitia plenam doctrinarum intellegentiam assequi non possint, nedum se exercere scholasticis illis disputationibus, quibus egregie iuvenum acuuntur ingenia ad defensionem veritatis.(15) Quod ad eos quoque pertinere volumus, qui natu maiores ad sacra capessenda munia divinitus vocati, humanitatis studiis vel nullam vel nimis tenuem, tradiderunt operam. Nemini enim faciendus est aditus ad Philosophicas vel theologicas disciplinas tractandas, nisi plane perfecteque hac lingua eruditus sit, eius que sit usu praeditus. 4. Sicubi autem, ob assimulatam studiorum rationem in publicis civitatis scholis obtinentem, de linguae Latinae cultu aliquatenus detractum sit, cum germanae firmaeque doctrinae detrimento, ibi tralaticium huius linguae tradendae ordinem redintegrari omnino censemus; cum persuasum cuique esse debeat, hac etiam in re, sacrorum alumnorum institutionis rationem religiose esse tuendam, non tantum ad disciplinarum numerum et genera, sed etiam ad earum docendarum temporis spatia quod attinet. Quodsi, vel temporum vel locorum postulante cursu, ex necessitate aliae sint ad communes adiciendae disciplinae, tunc ea de causa aut studiorum porrigatur curriculum, aut disciplinae eaedem in breve cogantur, aut denique earum studium ad aliud reiciatur tempus. 5. Maiores sacraeque disciplinae, quemadmodum est saepius praescriptum, tradendae sunt lingua Latina; quae ut plurium saeculorum usu cognitum habemus, aptissima existimatur ad difficillimas subtilissimasque rerum formas et notiones valde commode et perspicue explicandas;(16) cum superquam quod propriis ea certisque vocabulis iampridem aucta sit, ad integritatem catholicae fidei tuendam accommodatis, etiam ad inanem loquacitatem recidendam sit non mediocriter habilis. Quocirca qui sive in maximis Athenaeis, sive in Seminariis has profitentur disciplinas, et Latine loqui tenentur, et libros, scholarum usui destinatos, lingua Latina scriptos adhibere. Qui si ad hisce Sanctae Sedis praescriptionibus parendum, prae linguae Latinae ignoratione, expediti ipsi non sint, in eorum locum doctores ad hoc idonei gradatim sufficiantur. Difficultates vero, si quae vel ab alumnis vel a professoribus afferantur, hinc Antistiturn et Moderatorum constantia hinc bono doctorum animo eae vincantur necesse est. 6. Quoniam lingua Latina est lingua Ecclesiae viva, ad cotidie succrescentes sermonis necessitates comparanda, atque adeo novis iisque aptis et congruis ditanda vocabulis, ratione quidem aequabili, universali et cum veteris linguae Latinae ingenio consentanea - quam scilicet rationem et Sancti Patres et optimi scriptores, quos scholasticos vocant, secuti sunt - mandamus proptera S. Consilio Seminariis Studiorumque Universitatibus praeposito, ut ACADEMICUM LATINITATIS INSTITUTUM condendum curet. Huic Instituto, quo corpus Doctorum confletur oportet, linguis Latina et Graeca peritorum, ex variisque orbis partibus arcessitorum, illud praecipue erit propositum, ut - haud secus atque singularum civitatum Academiae, suae cuiusque nationis linguae provehendae constitutae - simul prospiciat congruenti linguae Latinae progressioni, lexico Latino, si opus sit, additis verbis cum eius indole et colore proprio convenientibus; simul scholas habeat de universa cuiusvis aetatis Latinitate, cum primis de christiana. In quibus scholis ad pleniorem linguae Latinae scientiam, ad eius usum, ad genus scribendi proprium et elegans ii informabuntur, qui vel ad linguam Latinam in Seminariis et Collegiis ecclesiasticis docendam, vel ad decreta et iudicia scribenda, vel ad epistolarum commercium exercendum in Consiliis Sanctae Sedis, in Curiis dioecesium, in Officiis Religiosorum Ordinum destinantur. 7. Cum autem lingua Latina sit cum Graeca quam maxime coniuncta et suae conformatione naturae et scriptorum pondere antiquitus traditorum, ad eam idcirco, ut saepe numero Decessores Nostri praeceperunt, necesse est qui futuri sunt sacrorum administri iam ab inferioris et medii ordinis scholis instituantur; ut nempe, cum altioribus disciplinis operam dabunt, ac praesertim si aut de Sacris Scripturis aut de sacra theologia academicos gradus appetent, sit ipsis facultas, non modo fontes Graecos philosophiae scholasticae, quam appellant, sed ipsos Sacrarum Scripturarum, Liturgiae, Ss. Patrum, Graecorum primiformes codices adeundi probeque intellegendi.(17) 8. Eidem praeterea Sacro Consilio mandamus, ut linguae Latinae docendae rationem, ab omnibus diligentissime servandam, paret, quam qui sequantur eiusdem sermonis iustam cognitionem et usum capiant. Huiusmodi rationem, si res postulaverit, poterunt quidem Ordinariorum coetus aliter digerere, sed eius numquam immutare vel minuere naturam. Verumtamen iidem Ordinarii consilia sua, nisi fuerint a Sacra Congregatione cognita et probata, ne sibi sumant efficere. Extremum quae hac Nostra Constitutione statuimus, decrevimus, ediximus, mandavimus, rata ea omnia et firma consistere et permanere auctoritate Nostra Apostolica volumus et iubemus, contrariis quibuslibet non obstantibus, etiam peculiari mentione dignis. Datum, Romae, apud Sanctum Petrum, die xxii mensis Februarii, Cathedrae S. Petri Ap. sacro, anno MDCCCCLXII, Pontificatus Nostri quarto. IOANNES PP. XXIII ADNOTATIONES (1) TERTULL., Apol. 21; MIGNE, PL 1, 394. (2) Eph. 1, 10. (3) Epist. S. Congr. Stud. Vebementer sane, ad Ep. universos, 1 iul. 1908: Encb. Cler., N. 820. Cf. etiam Epist. Ap. Pii XI, Unigenitus Dei Filius, 19 mar. 1924: A. A. S. 16 (1924), 141. (4) Pius XI, Epist. Ap. Officiorum omnium, 1 aug. 1922: A. A. S. 14 (1922), 452- 453. (5) Pius XI, Motu Proprio Litterarum Latinarum, 20 oct. 1924: A. A. S. 16 (1924), 417. (6) Pius XI, Epist. Ap. Officiorum omnium, 1 aug. 1922: A. A. S. 14 (1922), 452. (7) Ibidem. (8) S. IREN, Adv. Haer. 3, 3, 2; MIGNE, PG 7, 848. (9) Cfr. C. I. C, can. 218, § 2. (10) Cfr. Pius XI, Epist. Ap. Officiorum omnium, 1 aug. 1922: A. A. S. 14 (1922), 453. (11) Pius XII, Alloc. Magis quam, 23 nov. 1951: A. A. S. 43 (1951), 737. (12) LEO XIII, Epist. Encycl. Depuis le jour, 8 sept. 1899: Acta Leonis XIII 19 (1899), 166. (13) Cfr. Collectio Lacensis, praesertim: vol. III, 1018 s. (Conc. Prov. Westmonasteriense, a. 1859); vol. IV, 29 (Conc. Prov. Parisiense, a. 1849); vol. IV, 149, 153 (Conc. Prov. Rhemense, a. 1849); vol. IV, 359, 361 (Conc. Prov. Avenionense, a. 1849); vol. IV, 394, 396 (Conc. Prov. Burdigalense, a. 1850); vol. V, 61 (Conc. Stagoniense, a. 1858); vol. V, 664 (Conc. Prov. Colocense, a. 1863); vol. VI, 619 (Synod. Vicariatus Suchnensis, a. 1803). (14) Ad Conventum internat. « Ciceronianis Studiis provehendis », 7 sept. 1959; in Discorsi Messaggi Colloqui del Santo Padre GIOVANNI XXIII, I, pp. 234-235; cf. etiam Alloc. ad cives dioecesis Placentinae Romam peregrinantes habita, 15 apr. 1959: L'Osservatore Romano, 16 apr. 1959; Epist. Pater misericordiarum, 22 aug. 1961: A. A. S. 53 (1961), 677; Alloc. in sollemni auspicatione Collegii Insularum Philippinarum de Urbe habita, 7 oct. 1961. L'Osservatore Romano, 9-10 oct. 1961; Epist. lucunda laudatio, 8 dec. 1961: A. A. S. 53 (1961), 812. (15) Pius XI, Epist. Ap. Officiorum omnium, 1 aug. 1922: A. A, S. 14 (1922), 453. (16) Epist. S. C. Studiorum, Vehementer sane, 1.11.1908: Ench. Cler, n. 821. (17) LEO XIII, Litt. Encycl. Providentissimus Deus, 18 nov. 1893: Acta Leonis XIII, 13 (1893), 342; Epist. Plane quidem intelligis, 20 maii 1885, Acta, 5, 63-64; Pius XII, Alloc. Magis quam, 23 sept. 1951: A. A. S. 43 (1951), 737. =============================================================================== VETERUM SAPIENTIA APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION ON PROMOTING THE STUDY OF LATIN Of His Holiness John XXIII Pope by Divine Providence John, Bishop Servant of the Servants of God For a Perpetual Remembrance [Part I] [THE VALUE AND IMPORTANCE OF LATIN] [1. The Church's Heritage]  THE WISDOM OF THE ANCIENT WORLD, enshrined in Greek and Roman literature, and the truly memorable teaching of ancient peoples, served, surely, to herald the dawn of that gospel which God's Son, ^Ìthe judge and teacher of grace and truth, the light and guide of the human race', 1 proclaimed on earth. Such, at any rate, was the view of the Church's Fathers and Doctors. In these outstanding literary monuments of antiquity they recognized man's spiritual preparation for the supernatural riches which Jesus Christ communicated to mankind 'to give history its fulfilment'. 2 Thus the inauguration of Christianity did not mean the obliteration of man's past achievements. Nothing was lost that was in any way true, right, noble, and beautiful.  The Church has ever held the literary evidences of this wisdom in the highest esteem. She values especially the Greek and Latin languages, in which wisdom itself is cloaked, as it were, in a vesture of gold. She has likewise welcomed the use of other venerable languages, which flourished in the East, for these too have had no little influence on the progress of humanity and civilization. By their use in sacred liturgies and versions of Holy Scripture they have remained in force in certain regions even to the present day, bearing constant witness to the living voice of antiquity.  But amid this variety of languages a primary place must surely be given to that language which had its origins in Latium and later proved so admirable a means for the spreading of Christianity throughout the West. And since in God's special providence this language united so many nations together under the authority of the Roman Empire - and that for so many centuries - it also became the rightful language of the Apostolic See. 3 It was thus preserved for posterity and was instrumental in joining the Christian peoples of Europe together in the close bonds of unity. [2. The cultural value of Latin] . Of its very nature Latin is most suitable for promoting every form of culture among peoples. It gives rise to no jealousies. It does not favour any one nation, but presents itself with equal impartiality to all, and is equally acceptable to all. Nor must we overlook the characteristic nobility of Latin's formal structure. Its 'concise, varied, and harmonious style, full of majesty and dignity', 4 makes for singular clarity and impressiveness of expression. [3. Its religious value]  For these reasons the Apostolic See has always been at pains to preserve Latin, deeming it worthy of being used in the exercise of her teaching authority 'as the splendid vesture of her heavenly doctrine and sacred laws'.6 She further requires her sacred ministers to use it, for by so doing they are the better able, wherever they may be, to acquaint themselves with the mind of the Holy See on any matter, and communicate the more easily with Rome and with one another.  Thus the 'knowledge and use of this language', so intimately bound up with the Church's life, 'is important not so much on cultural or literary grounds as for religious reasons'.6 These are the words of Our Predecessor, Pius XI, who conducted a scientific enquiry into this whole subject and indicated three qualities of the Latin language which harmonize to a remarkable degree with the Church's nature. 'For the Church, precisely because it embraces all nations and is destined to endure until the end of time ... of its very nature requires a language which is universal, immutable, and non-vernacular.' 7 [4. The Church's living language] [(a) Universal]  Since 'every Church must assemble round the Roman Church'. 8 and since the Supreme Pontiffs have 'true episcopal power, ordinary and immediate, over each and every Church and over each and every Pastor, as well as over the faithful' 9 of every rite and every language, it seems particularly desirable that the instrument of mutual communication be uniform and universal, especially between the Apostolic See and the Churches which use the same Latin rite. When, therefore, the Roman Pontiffs wish to instruct the Catholic world, or the Congregations of the Roman Curia handle affairs or draw up decrees which concern the whole body of the faithful, they invariably make use of Latin, for this is the 'mother tongue' acceptable to countless nations. [(b) Immutable]  Furthermore, the Church's language must be not only universal but also immutable. Modern languages are liable to change, and no single one of them is superior to the others in authority. Thus if the truths of the Catholic Church were entrusted to an unspecified number of them, the meaning of these truths, varied as they are, would not be manifested to everyone with sufficient clarity and precision. There would, moreover, be no language that could serve as a common and constant norm by which to gauge the exact meaning of other renderings. But Latin is indeed such a language. It is set and unchanging. It has long since ceased to be affected by those alterations in the meaning of words which are the normal result of daily, popular use. Certain Latin words, it is true, acquired new meanings as Christian teaching developed and needed to be explained and defended, but these new meanings have long since become accepted and firmly established. [(c) Non-vernacular]  Finally, the Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble and majestic, and non-vernacular. [5. Other advantages of Latin: its educational value]  In addition, the Latin language 'can be called truly Catholic'. 10 It has been consecrated through constant use by the Apostolic See, the mother and teacher of all Churches, and must be esteemed 'e treasure . . . of incomparable worth'. 11 It is a general passport to the proper understanding of the Christian writers of antiquity and the documents of the Church's teaching. 12 It is also a most effective bond, binding the Church of today with that of the past and of the future in wonderful continuity.  There can be no doubt as to the formative and educational 1 value of the language of the Romans and of great literature generally. It is a most effective training for the pliant minds of youth. It exercises, matures and perfects the principal faculties of mind and spirit. It sharpens the wits and gives keenness of judgment. It helps the young mind to grasp things accurately, and develop a true sense of values. It is also a means for teaching highly intelligent thought and speech. [6. The Church's policy with regard to Latin]  It will be quite clear from these considerations why the Roman Pontiffs have so often extolled the excellence and importance of Latin, and why they have prescribed its study and use by the secular and regular clergy, forecasting the dangers that would result from its neglect.  And We also, impelled by the weightiest of reasons - the same as those which prompted Our Predecessors and provincial synods 13 - are fully determined to restore this language to its position of honour and to do all We can to promote its study and use. The employment of Latin has recently been contested in some quarters, and many are asking what the mind of the Apostolic See is in this matter. We have therefore decided to issue the timely directives contained in this document, so as to ensure that the ancient and uninterrupted use of Latin be maintained and, where necessary, restored.  It seems to Us We made Our own views on this subject sufficiently plain in Our address to some eminent Latin scholars. 'It is a matter of regret', We said, 'that so many people, unaccountably dazzled by the marvellous 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 greater zeal should be shown in the acquisition of whatever educates and enobles the mind. Otherwise poor mortal creatures may well become like the machines they build - cold, hard, and devoid of love'. 14 [PART II] [PROVISIONS FOR THE PROMOTION OF THE STUDY OF LATIN]  With the foregoing considerations in mind, to which We have given careful thought, We now, in the full consciousness of Our office and in virtue of Our authority, decree and command the following: 1. Bishops and superiors-general of religious orders shall be at pains to ensure that in their seminaries, and in their schools where adolescents are trained for the priesthood, all shall studiously observe the Apostolic See's decision in this matter and obey these Our prescriptions most carefully. 2. In the exercise of their paternal care they shall be on their guard lest anyone under their jurisdiction, being eager for innovation (novarum rerum studios), writes against the use of Latin in the teaching of the higher sacred studies or in the liturgy, or through prejudice makes light of the Holy See's will in this regard or interprets it fa1sely. 3. As is laid down in Canon Law (can. 1364) or commanded by Our Predecessors, before Church students begin their ecclesiastica1 studies proper they shall be given a sufficiently lengthy course of instruction in Latin by highly competent masters following a method designed to teach them the language with the utmost accuracy. 'And that too for this reason: lest later on, when they begin their major studies ... they are unable by reason of their ignorance of the language to gain a full understanding of the doctrines or take part in those scholastic disputations which constitute so excellent an intellectual training for young men in the defence of the faith.' 15 We wish the same rule to apply to those whom God calls to the priesthood later on in life and whose classical studies have either been neglected or conducted too superficially. No one is to be admitted to the study of philosophy or theology except he be thoroughly and perfectly grounded in this language and capable of using it. 4. Wherever the study of Latin has suffered partial eclipse through the assimilation of the academic programme to that which obtains in State schools, with the result that the instruction given is no longer so thorough and well grounded as formerly, there the traditional method of teaching this language shall be completely restored. Such is Our will, for there should be no doubt in anyone's mind about the necessity of keeping a strict watch over the course of studies followed by Church students; and that not only as regards the number and kind of subjects they study, but also as regards the length of time devoted to the teaching of these subjects. Should circumstances of time and place demand the addition of other subjects to the curriculum besides the usual ones, then either the course of studies must be lengthened, or these additional subjects must be condensed or their study relegated to another time. 5. In accordance with numerous previous instructions, the major sacred sciences shall be taught in Latin, which, as we know from many centuries of use, 'must be considered most suitable for explaining with the utmost facility and clarity the most difficult and profound ideas and concepts'. 16 For apart from the fact that it has long since been enriched with a vocabulary of appropriate and unequivocal terms best calculated to safeguard the integrity of the Catholic faith, it also serves in no slight measure to prune away useless verbiage. Hence the professors of these sciences in universities or seminaries are required to speak Latin and to make use of textbooks written in Latin. Those whose ignorance of Latin makes it difficult for them to obey these instructions shall gradually be replaced by professors who are suited to this task. Any difficulties that may be advanced by students or professors must be overcome either by the patient insistence of the bishops or religious superiors, or by the good will of the professors. 6. Since Latin is the Church's living language, it must be adequate to daily increasing linguistic requirements. It must be furnished with new words that are apt and suitable for expressing modern things, words that will be uniform and universal in their application and constructed in conformity with the genius of the ancient Latin tongue. Such was the method followed by the sacred Fathers and the best scholastic writers. To this end, therefore, We commission the Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and Universities to set up a Latin Academy staffed by an international body of competent Latin and Greek professors. The principal aim of this Academy - like the national academies founded to promote their respective languages - will be to superintend the proper development of Latin, augmenting the Latin lexicon where necessary with words which conform to the particular character and colour of the language. It will also conduct schools for the study of Latin of every era, particularly the Christian one. The aim of these schools will be to impart a fuller understanding of Latin and the ability to use it and to write it with proper elegance. They will exist for those who are destined to teach Latin in seminaries and ecclesiastical colleges, or to write decrees and judgments or conduct correspondence in the ministries of the Holy See, diocesan curias, and the offices of religious orders. 7. Latin is closely allied to Greek both in formal structure and the importance of its extant writings. Hence - as Our Predecessors have frequently ordained - future ministers of the altar must be instructed in Greek in the lower and middle schools. Thus, when they come to study the higher sciences - and especially if they are aiming for a degree in Sacred Scripture or.theology - they will be enabled to follow the Greek sources of scholastic philosophy and understand them correctly; and not only these, but also the original texts of Sacred Scripture, the liturgy, and the sacred Greek Fathers. 17 8. We further commission the Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and Universities to prepare a syllabus for the teaching of Latin which all shall faithfully observe. The syllabus will be designed to give those who follow it an adequate understanding of the language and its use. Bishops in conference may indeed rearrange this syllabus if circumstances warrant, but they must never curtail it or alter its nature. Ordinaries may not take it upon themselves to put their own proposals into effect until these have been examined and approved by the Sacred Congregation.  Finally, in virtue of Our Apostolic Authority, We will and command that all the decisions, decrees, proclamations and recommendations of this Our Constitution remain firmly established and ratified, notwithstanding anything to the contrary however worthy of special note. Given at Rome, at St Peter's, on the feast of St.Peter's Throne, on the 22nd day of February, in the year 1962, the fourth of Our Pontificate. JOHN PP. XXIII [NOTES] 1. Tertullian, ApoL 21; MIgne, P.L. I, p.394. 2. Eph. 1:10. 3. Epist. S. Cong. Stud. Vehementer sane, ad Ep. universos, 1 July 1908; Ench. Cler., N. 820. Cf. also Epist. Ap. Pii XI, Unigenitus Dei Filius, 19 Mar. 1924; A.A.S. xvi (1924), p.l41. 4. Pius XI, Epist. Ap. Officiorum omnium, 1 Aug. 1922; A.A.S. XIV (1922), pp. 452-453. 5. Pius XI, Motu Proprio Litterarum latinarum 20 Oct. 1924; A.A.S. XVI (1924), p.417. 6. Pius XI, Epist. Ap. Officiorum omnium, 1 Aug. 1922; A.A.S. XIV (1922), p.452. 7. Ibid. 8. St Iren., Adv. Haer. 3, 3, 2; Migne, P.G. VII, p.848. 9. Cf. C.I.C., can. 218, sec. 2. 10. Cf. Pius XI, Epist. Ap. Officiorum omnium, 1 Aug. 1922; A.A.S. XIV (1922), p. 453. 11. Pius XII Alloc. Magis quam, 23 Nov. 1951, A.A.S. XLIII (1951), p. 737. 12. Leo XIII, Epist. Encycl. Depuis le jour, 8 Sept. 1899, Acta Leonis XIII, XIX (1899), p. 166. 13. Cf. Collectio Lacensis, especially: vol. III, p. 1018. (Conc. Prov. Westmonasteriense, a. 1859); vol. IV, p. 29 (Cone. Prov. Parisiense, a. 1849) vol. IV, pp. l49, 153 (Col. Prov. Rhemense, a. 1849); vol. IV, pp. 359, 36; (Cone. Prov. Avenionense, a. 1849); vol. IV, pp. 394, 396 (Cone. Prov. Burdigalense, a. 1850); vol. V, p.61 (Cone. Strigoniense, a. 1858); vol. V, p. 664 (Cone. Prov. Colocense, a. 1863); vol. VI, p.619 (Synod. Vicariatus Suchnensis, a. 1803). 14. International Convention for the Promotion of Ciceronian Studies, 7 Sept. 1959, in Discorsi Messaggi Collogui of the Holy Father John XXIII, I, pp. 234; cf. also Address to Roman pilgrims of the Diocese of Piacenza, 15 April 1959: L'Osservatore Rom., 16 April 1959; Epist. Pater misericordiarum, 22 Aug. 1961, A.A.S. LIII (1961), p. 677; Address given on the occasion of the solemn inauguration of the College of the Philippine Islands at Rome, 7 Oct. 1961: L'Osservatore Rom. 9-10 Oct. 1961; Epist. Iucunda laudatio, 8 Dec. 1961: A.A.S. LIII (1961, p.812. 15. Pius XI, Epist. Ap. Officiorum omnium, 1 Aug. 1922, A.A.S. XIV (1922), p. 453. 16. Epist. S. C. Studiorum, Vehementer sane, 1 July 1908; Ench. Cler., n. 821. 17. Leo XIII, Litt. Encycl. Providentissimus Deus, 18 Nov. 1893, Acta Leonis XIII, XIII (1893), p. 342, Epist. Plane quidem intelligis, 20 May 1885, Acta Leonis XIII, V, pp. 63-64, Pius XII, Alloc. Magis quam, 23 Sept. 1951, A.A.S. XLIII (1951), p. 737. ======================================================================= AN EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF THE SOLEMN PAPAL SIGNING OF "VETERUM SAPIENTIA" BY POPE JOHN XXIII Egomet ipse praesens adfui sat proxime stans proper altare S. Petri in Basilica Vaticana cum ipse Ioannes Pp. XXIII hoc documentum Veterum Sapienia publici iuris fecit. Et res ita accidit: Tota Basilica Vaticana ingenti multitudine fidelium repleta, Summus Pontifex ingressus est et sermonem habuit praeclarum quo momentum et valorem huius documenti (Veterum Sapientia) sat fuse et abundanter audientibus explicavit et inter cetera hoc quoque dixit: "Ne postea dici possit hunc Summum Pontificem iam aetate provectum non bene intellexisse quali documento nomen suum subscribendo apposuisset, sed tantummodo subscripsisse, quia alii hoc documentum illi ad subscribendum dedereunt, Ego vobis dico me scire quid nunc subscribam et me quod in documento scriptum est re vera velle et propeterea hoc documentum coram omnibus vobis in hoc altari Sancti Petri sollemniter subscribam." Et coram omnibus nobis, me -- ut dixi -- sat proxime adstante, documentum subscripsit. Hoc est historice certum, quia ante tot testes public factum est. [I myself was present, standing very closely to the altar of St. Peter in the Vatican Basilica when Pope John XXIII enacted this document, "Veterum Sapientia," as a public law. And the event occurred as follows: [The whole Vatican Basilica was full of a large crowd of the Faithful. The Supreme Pontiff entered and gave an outstanding sermon by which he explained at length and in detail to the audience the importance and weightiness of this document ("Veterum Sapientia"), and among other things said the following too: ["Lest afterwards it may be said that this Supreme Pontiff, now advanced in age, has not well understood what kind of document he has enacted by signing his name, but has signed it only because others gave this document to him for his signature, I say to you that I know what I was signing and I willed in truth what was written in the document, and consequently I solemnly signed this document before you all on this altar of St. Peter." [And before all of us, while I -- as I said -- stood very closely by, he signed the document. [This is historicaly certain, because it was done publicly before so many witnesses.] --Fr. Suitbertus a S. Ioanne a Cruce (Germanicus), Letter of September 15, 1998, to the Familia Sancti Hieronymi ======================================================================= COMMENTARY ON "VETERUM SAPIENTIA" FROM "IOTA UNUM" BY ROMANO AMERIO (PAGES 54-60) By Veterum Sapientia John XXIII wanted to bring about a return of the Church to its own principles.... The Pope attributed a very special importance to the document, and the solemnities with which he surrounded its promulgation in St. Peter's, on the Confession, or Tomb, of St. Peter, in the presence of the cardinals and of the whole Roman clergy, are unique in the history of the present century. The outstanding importance of Veterum Sapientia ... comes from its perfect conformity with the historic reality which is the Church. The encyclical is above all an affirmation of continuity. The Roman Church is Latin from the middle of the third century .... a continuity internal to the Church whereby all its ages are bound together.... [W]e cannot ignore the teaching of the Greek and Latin Fathers ... according to which there is a continuity between the world of thought in which the wisdom of the ancients lived, veterum sapientia, and the world of thought elaborated after the revelation of the Incarnate Word.... Thus the classical world is not extraneous to Christianity.... Christianity is ... in harmony with ... the ancient culture.... St. Augustine ... asserts this continuity in an abrupt and all-embracing fashion, straddling centuries and forms of worship: Nam res ipsa, quae nunc christiana religio nuncupatur, erat apud antiquos nec defuit ab initio generis humani [The thing which is now called the Christian religion existed among the ancients, and has never been lacking since the beginning of the human race].... The practical and disciplinary section of Veterum Sapientia is as crystal clear as its doctrine.... It lays down that in seminaries the fundamental subjects such as dogmatic and moral theology should be taught in Latin from Latin textbooks, and that if there were any teachers who were unable or unwilling to use Latin, they should be replaced within a reasonable period.... [T]he Pope decreed the establishment of a Higher Latin Institute, designed to train Latinists for the Catholic world at large, and to bring out a dictionary of modern Latin.... Veterum Sapientia ... was completely wiped from memory and is not cited in any conciliar document. Some biographies of John XXIII do not mention it at all.... THERE IS NOT, IN THE WHOLE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH, ANOTHER INSTANCE OF A DOCUMENT'S BEING SO SOLEMNLY EMPHASIZED, AND THEN BEING SO UNCEREMONIOUSLY CAST OUT SO SOON AFTERWARDS....