our mother tongue

By Diogenes (articles ) | Apr 20, 2005

Nobody else has commented, so I will:

When he was introduced to the people of Rome, as the new Bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI spoke, appropriately enough, in the language of contemporary Rome: Italian. (There were plenty of non-Romans in St. Peter's Square, I know; that's another story.)

Today, speaking to the College of Cardinals-- the representatives of the universal Church-- the Pope spoke in the language of the universal Church: Latin.

When was the last time you heard a Pope preach in Latin? If you're anywhere short of middle age, the answer is: never.

Res ipsa loquitur.

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  • Posted by: - Apr. 22, 2005 5:01 AM ET USA

    Just to point out something Diogenes doesn't seem to know - which is rare enough to be noted : The first homily of a new pope, concluding the conclave in the sixtin chappel, is always in latin. John XXIII, Paul VI, JP I and JP II preached in latin on that occasion...

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Apr. 21, 2005 6:38 PM ET USA

    As a convert who flunked Latin in public high school, I'd rather they didn't preach in Latin. But if they would celebrate the Mass in Latin, I would be able to follow every word. And with gratitude. I heard a little of Benedict's first Mass on the radio. They had picked just the words, Dominus vobiscum, and the response, Et cum spirito tuo, and I realized what was going on and cheered aloud. Right there in the kitchen.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 21, 2005 9:30 AM ET USA

    Yes! A return to the lingua antiqua. It is unfortunate that the study of Latin was dropped in many seminaries over recent decades. Forty years ago if you studied at the Pontifical Universities in Rome such as the Gregorian, Angelicum, Biblicum, Lateran etc. all of your lectures would have been in Latin. Exams, both oral and written, were taken in Latin. O tempora! O mores!

  • Posted by: - Apr. 21, 2005 6:38 AM ET USA

    I heard a story once about Fr. Reginald Foster, the Latin scholar of Rome. He told a joke in Latin to a large group of Cardinals gathered for lunch. Only two of the Cardinals laughed. One of them was Pope Benedict XVI. I'm a priest and my Latin is rusty. I need to really work on my Latin if I ever want a private audience with Pope Benedict. Yesterday, when I heard he gave a homily in Latin, I decided I need to study more Latin. Deo Gratias!

  • Posted by: Remigius - Apr. 20, 2005 10:12 PM ET USA

    Gratia Dei Pontifex Romanus Benedictus instaurationem omnium rerum ecclesiasticarum incipit cum allocutione in lingua latina, haud dubio scripta a seipso in noctem electionis suae. Verum apostolum romanum habemus in sedem Petri. Roma Ecclesiaque felices sunt. Remigius

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Apr. 20, 2005 7:24 PM ET USA

    Indeed, Diogenes, I was awaiting such astute comments from you, as you are a trained observer... Cum gaudio magnum, we do indeed have a great Pope in His Holiness, Benedict XVI. Deo gratias. Operi Dei nihil praeponatur. (Let nothing be preferred to the Work of God; from the Rule of Saint Benedict.) Long live the Pope. (By the way, could someone from the CWNews.com tell me, when bloggin, how to put the Latin in italics?)

  • Posted by: Meg Q - Apr. 20, 2005 7:22 PM ET USA

    Poor Tom Reese has been going on and on since yesterday about how Benedict is "obviously" the cardinals' choice for an "interim" pope, and that he's soooo old, and his health is sooooo bad, etc., etc. Tom, have you ever heard of "wish fulfillment"? The College of Cardinals knew darn well what they were voting for, and it was *for* Papa Ratzi, not for some old, sick, short-lived go-nowhere pope. Don't you wish.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 20, 2005 6:25 PM ET USA

    Audire papa diciendo in lingua latina certe felix est. Pauci hodie sacerdotes Latinam intellegere possunt. Quam tristis.

  • Posted by: parochus - Apr. 20, 2005 5:56 PM ET USA

    A funeral Mass in Latin with the Roman Canon. A Mass "Pro eligendo" in Latin with the Roman Canon and all of the readings in Latin. A First Mass in Latin with a Latin homily. Some of us are taking note, and some Papal M.C.'s need to be looking for work here: http://www.mgr.org/ravereligion.html

  • Posted by: - Apr. 20, 2005 5:51 PM ET USA

    This will be a fascinating Papacy. Sto lat! I was cleaning some boxes today and came across a photo of my mother at 88 years old. It struck me just how bright, active and on top of everything she was. She attributed it all to prayer and hard work. And, indeed, she could have easily passed for 70 rather than 88. So, let's not assume that Pope Benedict XVI will be with us for just a brief time. God holds many, many surprises.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 20, 2005 4:48 PM ET USA

    Vae victus.

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Apr. 20, 2005 4:42 PM ET USA

    Having passed through Jesuit formation during the late 80's and 90's we never studied Latin I had to fight with formation directors to be permitted to study greek that was not in the curriculum. The little Latin I know is self taught.