Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Pope: Latin is cool (in not so many words)

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 28, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI encouraged the teaching of Latin, especially to young people, with the help of new methodologies.

The Pope made this proposal today when greeting the participants in a meeting organized by the Latinitas Foundation, a Vatican institution that promotes the official language of the Latin-rite Catholic Church.

The Holy Father, who addressed the participants in classical Latin, congratulated the winners of the Certamen Vaticanum, an international competition of Latin prose and poetry.

Benedict XVI said that this foundation must see to it that Latin continues to be part of the daily life of the Church, so that understanding of many of its treasures will not be lost.

The Latinitas Foundation, founded by Pope Paul VI in 1976, has the dual aim of promoting, on the one hand, the study of Latin and classical and Christian literature, and on the other, the use and spread of Latin through the publication of books in that language.

The foundation publishes a quarterly magazine, Latinitas, and every year celebrates the Certamen Vaticanum. The foundation has also published a dictionary, the Lexicon Recentis Latinitatis, containing more than 15,000 neologisms translated into Latin.

Read the complete article Benedict XVI Encourages Teaching of Latin from Zenit News Agency.

I still think Latin should be a required subject in Catholic schools and universities. But you've all read my thoughts on that the last time around. Learning a language is up there with taking up an instrument as a form of mental discipline that leads to brighter students who get ahead academically.

Latin I think could definitely serve as a tool in places like Europe as well. Imagine, if you will, Turks in Germany, Algerians in France and other minority groups across the continent along with the native Germans, French, Poles, et cetera all being able to communicate by speaking a common language, Latin. If the EU wanted to do something positive, it ought to be pressing for a common language and Latin certainly has the historical roots to work.

Then of course, its association with the Catholic Church would damn it right from the start, but one can always dream...

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