Latin is Online at the Vatican

May 9, 2008

Vatican Makes Latin-language Documents Available Online

by John Thavis | Catholic News Service


Without fanfare, the Vatican’s site has made hundreds of papal and other documents available in a new Latin-language section.

The Latin area went live May 9. Visitors clicking on “Sancta Sedes” (Latin for “Holy See”) are taken to a menu of documents arranged by pontificate or Roman Curia office.

Also posted is the complete neo-Vulgate Latin version of the Bible and Latin editions of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Code of Canon Law and the documents of the Second Vatican Council.

The papal pages — “Summi Pontifices” — cover the last five popes and include encyclicals and other major texts, as well as a selection of speeches, sermons and messages.

The last entry on the Latin pages provides information about “Latinitas,” the Vatican foundation that promotes the use of Latin.

The other languages used by the Vatican Web site are all modern: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

In recent years, some Vatican officials have made efforts to revive Latin as the church’s lingua franca, but it’s been an uphill battle. Fewer and fewer seminarians study Latin, and even many Vatican employees now do not know the language.

Latin has been virtually abandoned at major church gatherings like synods of bishops.

But the ancient language continues to be used at international papal liturgies. Last year Pope Benedict XVI expanded the possible use of the Tridentine-rite Mass, which is celebrated in Latin.


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