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New leadership for Pontifical Academy for Latin

June 01, 2023

Pope Francis has named a new president and secretary of the Pontifical Academy for Latin (website).

The new president is Mario De Nonno, professor of Latin literature in the Department of Humanistic Studies at the University Roma Tre, Italy. The new secretary is Paolo D’Alessandro, professor of classical philology in the same department at the same university.

The two professors succeed Professor Ivano Dionigi (University of Bologna) and Father Giuseppe Caruso, OSA (Augustinianum Patristic Institute), who were appointed president and secretary in 2012. The appointment of new leadership was not unexpected, as the academy’s statutes envision the president and secretary serving up to two five-year terms.

Pope Benedict XVI established the Pontifical Academy for Latin in November 2012, just three months before his resignation. Pope Benedict wrote:

[I]n today’s culture, the danger of an increasingly superficial knowledge of Latin may be noted in the context of the widespread weakening of humanistic studies. This is also a risk in the context of the philosophical and theological studies of future priests. Moreover in our own world, in which science and technology play such an important role, there is a renewed interest in the Latin culture and language and not only on those continents whose culture is rooted in the Greco-Roman heritage. This attention seems all the more meaningful since it not only involves academic and institutional sectors but also concerns young people and scholars from very different nations and traditions.

It therefore appears urgently necessary to support the commitment to a greater knowledge and more competent use of Latin, both in the ecclesial context and in the broader world of culture. In order to give relevance and resonance to this undertaking the use of didactic methods in keeping with the new conditions and the promotion of a network of relations between academic institutions and scholars is particularly appropriate so as to make the most of the rich and multiform patrimony of the Latin civilization.

In his apostolic constitution on the Roman Curia (Praedicate Evanglium, 2022), Pope Francis entrusted the coordination of a number of pontifical academies, including the Pontifical Academy for Latin, to the Dicastery for Culture and Education (n. 162). The academy’s statutes previously placed it under the Pontifical Council for Culture, which ceased to exist in 2022, and whose work was subsumed into the Dicastery for Culture and Education.


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