Feb 11, 2011

"Latinitas" quarterly? What's that?

The Vatican Website has a page in English Latinitas Foundation dedicated to an organization whose origin and purpose is described as follows:



The Latinitas Foundation was established in 1976 by Pope Paul VI with the Pontifical Chirograph ‘Romani sermonis’ and it has the following objectives:

1) to promote the study of the Latin language, classical literature and Medieval Latin;

2) to promote the increased use of the Latin language by publishing texts in Latin and other suitable means.


However, if you look up the founding document (Romani sermonis) you will note that the order of objectives has been reversed in English, with a) originally being the “usage of Latin” and b) being the study of the same. Here is the relevant part of the document:


Art. III - Operi Fundato propositum est omnia incepta publica et privata fovere atque tutari eo contendentia, ut promoveatur:

a) usus linguae Latinae inter homines diversi sermonis, in conficiendis, ad altioris doctrinae rationem, scriptis, maxime ad Ecclesiae cultum ingenii pertinentibus, in catholicis studiorum Universitatibus, in Seminariis dioecesanis;

b) studium linguae et litterarum Latinarum classicarum, quae dicuntur, et medii aevi.


What’s the big deal one might ask? Well! Lots of folks are willing to study Latin, or should I say, to learn many things about Latin in English. But there are few willing to write and publish anything in Latin.

What? Publish something in Latin? Are you serious? Who’s going to read that? Precisely! Let’s reverse the order: put “study” first! Anyway: who has a subscription to their quartely “Latinitas”? What would you do with that since it’s written entirely in Latin? And anyway, which Pope was it who founded this Latinitas?

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