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A cause of today’s ecclesial schizophrenia: priests don’t know Latin

This is for priests and bishops in the Latin Church who don’t know Latin.

Fathers, most of you who are not quite senior now did not get Latin in your education years.

You were cheated.

If you entered formation after the 1983 Code was promulgated, and you were denied Latin, those who were in charge of your formation did you a terrible injustice.  The 1983 Code absolutely requires Latin during seminary formation.  The Latin Church’s law – can. 249 – requires that seminarians be “very well trained” in Latin.  The English translation of that canon is weak, by the way.  Perhaps the one who made the translation was trying to hide the truth.

What does it mean for the identity of the Latin Church and of her members if the priests of the Latin Church do not know any Latin, the language of worship, law and theology – Cult, Code and Creed – back into the depths of her origins?   This could point to the ecclesial schizophrenia we see on all sides now: disorganized behavior and speech, being out of touch with reality, erratic and disorganized.

Fathers, correct the problem.   START LEARNING LATIN.

“But… but… but… it’s tooooo haaaaard.  I don’t have tiiiiiiiime!”

This is the Feast of Ignatius Loyola.   Ignatius, after his conversion in 1521, had to get the proper foundational education so that he could move forward in his new mission.  At 33 years old he started attending a basic public grammar school in Barcelona so that he could later go to university.  Ignatius sat with school children to learn Latin.   He then studied Latin and theology for the next ten years.

Imagine.  What might have happened had Ignatius whined about Latin being “toooo haaaard”, or not have “enough tiiiiime”!  What might that have meant for the Counter-Reformation?

You could, Fathers, start your transformation today on this Feast of St. Ignatius… Patron of Late Latin Students? … by signing up NOW for, for example, DUOLINGO’s Latin course.

Duolingo is online or on your phone.  I know people who have used it effectively.  You can get out of a course what you put into it.

This method, which I have seen a little, has the advantage of being contained so that, on a daily basis, you can make progress without dedicating massive amounts of time.   Is it perfect? Hardly.  Are there better methods?  Yes.  Would it be worth pursuing those better methods?  Sure.  HOWEVER, this is something that you can do RIGHT NOW.  Click clickity click and you are AT IT.

I know someone who has made amazing progress with French using Duolingo.  He has been at it now every day for almost a year.

You can get out of a course what you put into it. 

A little bit every day.  Brick by brick.  Minutatim.  By degress.

An article about learning Latin with Duolingo at Catholic World Report.

Men.  Look at this image.  It is from a series of illustrations of a life of St. Ignatius.

Barcinone ut se ad animorum salutem instruat prima Grammaticae elementa annos tres, et triginta natus addiscit; furente ac rumpente se Daemone, qui importunis rerum caelestium gaudiis avocare alio eius animum frustra conatur.

Fathers!   Don’t be like the kids in the foreground, fooling around when they ought to be paying attention.  Don’t allow the Devil to distract you with things that you think are important but really aren’t.

Fathers!  Be like Ignatius, who was humble enough to go to elementary school with children to get his Latin.

Take the simple step I’ve suggested.   Brick by brick.

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