“praesertim verum pulcherrimo canto Gregoriano”

It will be 1000 years since the founding of St. Peter’s Benedictine Abbey at Solesmes in France on 12 October.

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has sent a message in Latin for the celebration to His Eminence Jean-Louis Card. Tauran who will be the Supreme Pontiff’s delegate for the occasion.

Here is the text from VIS with my emphases and comments. (I do not recommend Google Translator.)

Venerabili Fratri Nostro

IOANNI LUDOVICO S.R.E. CARDINALI TAURAN

Pontificii Consilii pro Dialogo inter Religiones Praesidi

Millesimo recurrente anno a dedicatione Abbatiae Sancti Petri Solesmensis, dignum omnino videtur singulare hoc faustum eventum magno cum iubilo memorari. Miram consideramus divinae Providentiae tutelam in hunc locum, quondam a domino Godefrido conditum, quod plures historiae eversiones ac turbationes persistere potuit, tot per generationes Deo servire eiusque laudem cotidie extollere diligenti oratione et labore, praesertim verum pulcherrimo canto Gregoriano [The Holy Father praises the community for their generations of service to God, through thick and thin, in praise of God in prayer and labor, “especially in most beautiful Gregorian chant“] qui maxime ibi a monachis colitur. Ideo gaudentes notitiam percepimus hoc in monasterio annum iubilarem fieri. Ad maiorem profecto honorem tribuendum huic fausto iubilaeo Reverendissimus Pater Philippus Dupont, O.S.B., Abbas Solesmensis, a Nobis petivit ut eminentem Praesulem mitteremus qui Personam Nostram gereret.

Permoti quidem pia eius postulatione, decernimus mittere Patrem Purpuratum [You know… we just don’t talk like this often enough.] ad proximum dictae Abbatiae festum diem sollemniore ritu celebrandum. Ad te autem fidentes recurrimus, Venerabilis Frater Noster, qui Gallicae Nationis praestantissimus es filius Nobisque carissimus, quique iam tot per annos Romae ministerium tuum fideliter praestas in Sedis Apostolicae et universalis Ecclesiae utilitatem, primum quidem in Secretaria Status, nunc autem veluti Pontificii Consilii pro Dialogo inter Religiones Praeses. Quapropter hisce Litteris Missum Extraordinarium Nostrum te nominamus ad sollemnem celebrationem millesimi expleti anni a dedicatione Abbatiae Sancti Petri, quae Solesmae persolvetur die XII proximi mensis Octobris.

Hoc die igitur liturgicis celebrationibus Nostro nomine praesidebis Nostramque benignam omnibus significabis salutationem. In precibus clementi Deo grato animo commendabis omnes defunctos monachos Benedictinos cunctosque Abbatiae benefactores. Congregatos inde invitabis ad catholicae fidei, spei et caritatis aequam testificationem, potissimum ad fidelitatem servandam erga Dei mandata necnon antiquam christianam et religiosam traditionem.

Comitetur missionem tuam valida intercessio Beatissimae Virginis Mariae, Matris Ecclesiae, atque insignis Abbatis et Patriarchae sancti Benedicti. Benedictionem denique Apostolicam, caelestis gratiae auspicem atque propensae Nostrae voluntatis testem, tibi in primis impertimus, Venerabilis Frater Noster, eamque illius communitatis sollicito Abbati omnibus cum sodalibus, ceteris adstantibus Episcopis, sacerdotibus, religiosis viris et mulieribus, christifidelibus laicis, civilibus auctoritatibus omnibusque iubilaris laetitiae participibus nomine Nostro largiaris volumus.

Ex Arce Gandulfi, die XIII mensis Septembris, anno MMX, Pontificatus Nostri sexto.

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

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19 Responses to “praesertim verum pulcherrimo canto Gregoriano”

  1. Tom in NY says:

    Nec “eminentissimum” sed “purpuratum?” Sed SP in sententia supra “emininentem” locutus est.

    Salutationes omnibus.

  2. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    I ignored your warning and popped it into Google Translate anyways. I feel like it actually became less clear. And I don’t even know latin.

  3. Tom in NY says:

    Erratum:”emininentem”; corrigendum, “eminentem”. Causa patientiae gratias vobis ago.

  4. Andrew says:

    Haec “commissionis epistula”, saltem decima iam hoc anno a Papa Benedicto scripta, exemplar est etiam latinitatis ecclesiasticae aetatis nostrae. Atque neminem sane fugit sermonis hic romani genus pressus et elegans (quamvis calamus scribae “canto” scripsit pro “cantu”).

  5. Andrew says:

    Id est scribendi genus pressum … uti patet. Mea culpa.

  6. Ioannes Andreades says:

    The Latin seems uneven to me with a few odd or even incorrect choices, such as tutelam in hunc locum rather than tutelam huius (illius?) loci. The whole following quod-clause seems clunky. What is the subject of potuit? The place? Are servire and extollere complementary infinitives of potuit or are they infinitives of which tutelam is the subject. Both are lousy options. It’s strange Latin to say historiae eversiones rather than historicas eversiones. Plures? Did the author intend plurimas or perhaps permultas? Otherwise, more than what?

  7. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Ex Arce Gandulfi…

    Further confirmation that the pope is the white wizard.

  8. asperges says:

    In my teens, my father and I would spend two weeks in Solesmes every year and used to have conversations with Dom Gajard, the choirmaster, who even then (70s) was ancient but very good humoured and interesting. When Solesmes changed to the new Mass, we “discovered” Fontgombault (who didn’t change) and went there more often.

    The heritage of the French Benedictines is a priceless treasure in the Church.

  9. asperges says:

    A final thought: I wish the Holy Father would send a permanent group of Benedictines to lead and repair the general awful state of plainsong at Papal Masses. That is centuries overdue!

  10. Andrew says:

    Ioannes Andreades:

    Let’s hope you comment above is not analyzed by some English professor for proper usage.

  11. Andrew says:

    Ioannes Andreades:
    “Plures? Did the author intend plurimas or perhaps permultas? Otherwise, more than what?”

    As any good Latin dictionary will explain “Plures” in Latin can mean also “many” not only “more”. For example Ceasar’s Bellum Gallicum Bk 3, 10: “prius quam plures civitates conspirarent”. Or Cicero in his Pro Lege Manilia has “… ne plures secum in eandem trahant calamitatem.”

  12. So he’s using “arx” for castle? Huh.

    It’s just for funny, of course; but yes, Gandolfo/Gandulphus/Gandulfus are exact cognates of the same Germanic name as the Norse Gandalf. Gand = wand, stick; olf/ulf/aelf/alf = elf. So yes, the Pope lives in Castle Gandalf.

  13. Minas Mithrandir, in the Sindarin tongue. :)

  14. robtbrown says:

    Suburbanbanshee0,

    Of course, you’re right–it’s a Germanic name, in this case, coming from the Lombards, who overran N Italy in the 6th century.

    BTW, the father of St Thomas Aquinas was named Landulf.

  15. robtbrown says:

    Ioannes Andreades says:

    The Latin seems uneven to me with a few odd or even incorrect choices, such as tutelam in hunc locum rather than tutelam huius (illius?) loci.

    IMHO, the presence of the phrase “divinae Providentiae” makes “in hunc locum” a good choice.

    The whole following quod-clause seems clunky. What is the subject of potuit? The place?

    IMHO, the subject is quod, a relative pronoun relating to locum.

    Are servire and extollere complementary infinitives of potuit or are they infinitives of which tutelam is the subject. Both are lousy options. It’s strange Latin to say historiae eversiones rather than historicas eversiones. Plures? Did the author intend plurimas or perhaps permultas? Otherwise, more than what?

    I translate it thus:

    We consider the wondrous protection of Divine Providence in this place (once built by Lord Geoffrey), which was able to withstand many destructions and troubles of history, to serve God through so many generations, and to extolle his praise daily with diligent prayer and work
    (cf. ora et labora)

  16. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Andrew,
    What good Latin dictionaries leave out is that plures can mean “many, very many” but always with the implication of “more…than expected, than proper, than one,” and in both of your passages, plures can felicitiously be translated as “additional”, a meaning that makes no sense in the letter at hand, unless the act of Godefridus is somehow classed as an eversio.

    Robtbrown,
    Locum cannot be the antecendent of quod because locus is masculine (HUNC locum). Quod here must be conjuctival: “because, as, in that.” Although persistere can be predicated of a locus, Deo servire and laudem extollere can only be predicated of locus if we inure ourselve to an intolerable display of Juvenalian metonymy (Juvenal 15.37). That’s why I called that option “lousy”.

  17. robtbrown says:

    Ioannes Andreades,

    You’re right locus here is masculine because of hunc .

    With quod as a conjuction, the Latin actually is theologically richer: We consider the protection of Divine Providence in this place because it has withstood troubles, etc., to serve . . . to extoll . . .

    Because of Divine Providence in hunc locum , the option is not lousy but rather theological. This is not just any place but rather one which Divine Providence has set apart (the literal meaning of holy–in Latin, Greek and Hebrew): 1000 years after the founding of the first monastery, with stops and starts, the monastic life is still in Solesmes.

  18. Andrew says:

    Ioannes Andreades:

    Good dictionary example:
    http://www.uni-mannheim.de/mateo/camenaref/gesner/gesner1/v3/jpg/s0358.html

    See Par. 3 about middle of the page: “plures pro multi apud auctores passim legitur” (plures is used for ‘many’).

  19. Marius2k4 says:

    “Permoti quidem pia eius postulatione, decernimus mittere Patrem Purpuratum…”
    = “Moved indeed by his loving request, we decree to send the [Cardinal? Enobled?] Father…”

    Can anyone elucidate the phrase “Pater Purpuratus”? I’m afraid I don’t quite have it’s meaning, as it seems to be a colloquial phrase referencing something particular that I’m not quite sure about.