I am a seminarian from the southern region of the US. Here at seminary, there are many guys, I myself included, who are more traditionally minded who enjoy Latin and orthodoxy. Others however, see that the hispanic populations are rapidly growing and they say that Latin has no place in the Church, but rather, spanish should be learned and used in many parishes in every diocese. Personally, I do not see a problem with Spanish. I am favorable to Latin, but I am very open to Spanish. I do not see a reason for conflict.
My first question is, “Why do you think many people prefer one language over another instead of realizing that both can be learned? Is one better than the other?” My second question is, “What are your thoughts? What do you think should be practiced in seminaries to prepare us for the priesthood?”
I circle back to this topic from time to time. The Code of Canon Law can. 249 requires… it doesn’t suggest… it requires that all seminarians be taught both Latin so that they are very proficient and also any other language useful for their ministry. In your case that would be Spanish. So, as far as the law is concerned for the program of formation, this is not an either/or question, this is a both/issue.
The problem is, by the time men come to seminary, and men are often older today than once upon a time, it is a little late to bring them from zero to 60 in four years. So, what do we do? Add a couple more years of formation? Have a couple propaedeutic years for Latin and Greek, other basics of a classical liberal education which they ought to have had and which a Catholic seminary formation presupposes? What do we cut from the curriculum to make room?
The fact is that men have to have a foundation in Latin long before they get to major seminary. This simply has to happen.
That doesn’t mean we should give up at the major seminary level. Start with Latin and keep it going all the way through. It just has to be done. If the men need Spanish, and that need will be greater in, say, Texas than in Maine, then have them learn Spanish. Spanish and Latin aren’t quantum mechanics, they are just languages.
And, yes, some of you have been saying “But Father! But Father! Remind people that if you learn Latin first, Spanish comes more easily!”
Okay. If you learn Latin first, Spanish comes more easily.
A focus on Latin is better for seminarians than Spanish, because a) they are being trained to be priests of the Latin Church, b) it is the language of their Rite, c) they need Latin for their academics, d) it helps them learn English (which more more can’t be assumed), e) the law requires it and, at their ordination, someone has to attest that ordinands were properly trained and f) armed with Latin they can learn Spanish more easily. I am sure you can think of other reasons to obey the Church’s law about this matter.
Why do people prefer one language over another? I assume you mean “how could Latin Church seminarians prefer some inferior language to Latin”?
How about … maybe they just don’t know any better? Maybe they have misplaced priorities? Nah… because they are silly, that’s why. They are silly, and dim, and probably killed their pets when young.
I don’t know. My psychic powers are weak today.
What do I think you should do during seminary?
Since major seminary is big-boy-underwear time,
- smile a lot,
- say very little,
- don’t whine,
- read WDTPRS,
- pray lots,
- confess often,
- and study until blood pours out of your eyes.