Latin back on menu at Vatican website

The Vatican website has introduced a section in Latin which will publish the official original editions of pontifical documents.

The BBC reports the Catholic Church, for centuries a bastion of Latin usage, has given the ancient tongue a 21st Century boost with the Latin section of its website.

The Latin pages do not contain all the information available on the Italian, French, German, English, Spanish and Portuguese sections of the Vatican’s website, but they do contain a number of important documents, the UK Daily Telegraph notes. 

Latin has fallen out of favour in recent years as the subject has been dropped from school curricula in many countries and normal Vatican business is conducted in Italian, or increasingly in English.

But Pope Benedict wants the Church to keep its ancient traditions, the BBC says.

After his election to the papacy three years ago, he addressed the Church's cardinals in Latin.

He has encouraged the use of the language in seminaries where new priests are trained.

Last year he lifted restrictions on celebrating the Latin Tridentine Mass,

The Latin Mass had been largely abandoned in the 1960s, as part of reforms to make Catholicism more relevant to its worldwide congregation.

Fr Reginald Foster, an American priest who is the Pope's official Latinist, praises the virtues and the clarity of the Latin language.

"You have to say something and move on," he told the BBC.

"It's not like French and some of these philosophical languages where you can write a whole page and say nothing - in Latin you can't do that!''

Fr Foster has a weekly programme on Vatican Radio called The Latin Lover, in which he explains the historical and contemporary uses of the language.


Vatican gives Latin online boost (BBC News, 10/5/08)

Vatican introduces new web language - Latin (Daily Telegraph, 10/5/08)


Vatican website - Latin



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