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Church Latin revival on the horizon

A new document on the use of Latin in the Church, and the teaching of Latin in seminaries, is expected sometime this year.

Catholic World News reports that Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, the prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, has confirmed that he hopes the document being prepared by that Congregation will be published in 2004.

"The Church cannot fail to conserve her tradition and patrimony written in Latin," he told a Rome meeting on Wednesday.

Cardinal Grocholewski pointed out that Latin remains the official language of the Roman Church, and the official documents of the magisterium are written in that language. He said that the Church consequently needs priests who are familiar with the language, in order to ensure that they fully understand Catholic teachings.

Cardinal Grocholewski expressed regret that previous Vatican statements encouraging the teaching of Latin in Catholic seminaries - such as Pope Paul VI's Veterum Sapentia (1962) - are not being applied. He added that Pope John Paul II had also encouraged Latin study in his 1979 apostolic constitution Sapientia Christiana, and the 1983 Code of Canon Law states calls for a "good understanding" of Latin among Catholic priests.

The Congregation for Catholic Education, which is preparing the new document on the use of Latin, is asking a group of Latin scholars to review the proposed text. After that editorial review, the document will be sent to the presidents of the world's episcopal conferences before being made public before the end of 2004.

Coming: New Vatican call for use of Latin (Catholic World News 26/2/04)

Congregation for Catholic Education (for Seminaries and Educational Institutions)
Pope John XXIII Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia On the Promotion of the Study of Latin (22/2/62)
Apostolic Constitution of the Supreme Pontiff Pope John Paul II on Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties (1979)
Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski (
Ecclesiastical Latin (Catholic Encyclopedia)

27 Feb 2004