In 1989 the Congregation for Catholic Education, under the American Cardinal William Baum, published an Instruction, Inspectis dierum nostrorum, on the place of Patristics, the study of the Fathers of the Church, in seminaries. This document is available in the on-line version of the ‘Acta Apostolicae Sedis’ (81 (1990) 607-636) the official record of all curial documents, but only in Latin; it is available on the Congregation’s page on the Vatican website, but only in Italian.
Is this someoe’s idea of a joke? [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] That a series of documents lamenting the fact that fewer and fewer people can read Latin, are available only in Latin? For this is not a one-off. Pius XI’s decree on Latin in Seminaries Officiorum omnium, the hugely important 1962 Veterum Sapientia of John XXIII, Paul VI’s Sacrificium laudis of 1966: all call for more Latin, and by an amazing coincidence the Vatican translators haven’t bothered to put any of them into English – or any other vernacular language, except, bizarrely, Spanish for Veterum Sapientia, and Italian for Inspectis dierum and Sacrificium laudis. And what’s this? They haven’t got round to an official translation of Summorum Pontificum yet either, except into Hungarian. [The chokle point is the Secretariat of State. Also, click HERE.]
Inspectis dierum is available on the website of the Bishops of the United States of America. This link appears to be broken from the main page but you can get the document here. It is a scan of a printed translation – better than nothing. Veterum Sapientia is available and thanks to the Latin Mass Society so is Sacrificium laudis.
Not having English (or other vernacular) translations freely available is a pretty effective way of ensuring that no-one reads these documents, and asks any awkward questions about the education our seminarians are getting. I’ve heard that the translation of texts is not the task of the Congregation which produces them, but is overseen by the Secretariat of State, so this is an example of un-joined up thinking in the Curia.
Here are some key passages.
11: ‘Furthermore these days many students of theology, evidently graduates of technical schools, do not have that knowledge of classical languages that is necessary for any one to undertake an investigation of the Fathers in a serious way. For this reason, the state of Patristic instruction in institutes of priestly education grievously suffers from those changes in the culture that are observed in a growing scientific and technological mentality that attributes greater importance to the teaching of the natural and human sciences to the neglect of the liberal arts.’
(What of Catholic schools? Don’t they have an obligation to resist this trend against the liberal arts?)
53: ‘The study of Patrology and of Patristics, which in its initial stage consists in outlining [the subject-matter], demands that manuals and other bibliographical resources be employed. When one arrives at difficult and involved questions of Patristic theology, however, none of these aids suffices: one has to go directly to the Fathers’ very texts. For it behoves Patristics to be both taught and learned—especially in Academies and in specialized curricula—with professor and student going directly to the primary sources themselves. Nevertheless, because of the difficulties that often detain students, it will be opportune to place into their hands bilingual editions known to be scientifically reliable.’
(A counsel of despair: having insisted on the necessity of reading the texts in the original, the authors seem to acknowledge that this is practically unattainable. But this is so only because seminaries are not teaching the languages to a decent level.)
64: ‘For the teaching of Patrology and Patristics in Institutes of priestly formation, those are to be preferred who have followed specialised studies in that subject in the Institutes established for the purpose—as in the Roman Patristic Institute called “the Augustinianum” [My school.] or in the Pontifical Superior Institute of Latin (the Faculty of Christian and Classical Literature). This is because it is useful for the teacher to have been instructed in the ability to go directly to the sources themselves.’
(Note the concern here that even Patristics teachers won’t have the languages.)
66: ‘But it is clear that suitable instruments and resources are necessary to deal with Patristic studies properly. Such are libraries well stocked with respect to Patristics (‘corpora’ or collections, monographs, reviews or journals, dictionaries). And it is also clear that classical and modern languages are necessary as well. Since, however, the schools of our day and age are plainly deficient in the liberal arts, to the extent possible we shall have to further strengthen the study of Latin and Greek in our own Institutes of Priestly Formation.’
Popes and the Congregation for Education (and its former incarnations) have bemoaned the low level of clerical Latin, and called for improvements—culminating in Veterum Sapientia of February 1962 —since Leo XIII, himself echoing the alarm of the French bishop fifty-odd years earlier (in the 1830s!) when the French government-run schools dropped the Latin verse composition requirement.
One of the watchwords of progressive theology of the Second Vatican Council era was ‘ressourcement’: ‘going back to the sources’. This was a reaction to the over-use of textbooks in the bad old days. At least, in those days, the text books were usually in Latin, and as a result any seminarian could, with a bit of effort, read the original texts for himself if he wanted to, at least as far as Latin authors were concerned. Have we returned to the sources in seminary education? Alas no: most seminarians can’t even understand the languages. Is reading a summary by a trendy modern theologian in the vernacular a good substitute? The Congregation for Catholic Education says NO!
If you want to know the ideal of pre-Conciliar seminary education, you need to read the document drawn up by the then Congregation for Seminaries which was to implement John XXIII’s 1962 Veterum Sapientia, called Sacrum Latinae linguae depositum. But before you can hear what it says about the importance of learning Latin in order to read the Fathers, you know what you’ll have to do? Learn Latin. That’s the only language in which this document appears to exist. (You can find it in the online Acta: in the 1962 volume, ie vol. 54, it starts on p336.)
Search Fr. Z’s Blog
SHOPPING ONLINE? Please, come here first!
Enter Amazon through my search box and I will get a small percentage of what you spend. (Pssst - Can't see the search box? Turn off your "ad-blocker" for this site!)
PS: I added Amazon Search Boxes for the UK and for Canada at the bottom of the blog page. Copy and paste titles I mention into those boxes and - BAZINGA! - results appear as if by magic. Kindle? HERE
“This blog is like a fusion of the Baroque ‘salon’ with its well-tuned harpsichord around which polite society gathered for entertainment and edification and, on the other hand, a Wild West “saloon” with its out-of-tune piano and swinging doors, where everyone has a gun and something to say. Nevertheless, we try to point our discussions back to what it is to be Catholic in this increasingly difficult age, to love God, and how to get to heaven.” – Fr. Z
Some words of wisdom…
The more vigorously the primacy was displayed, the more the question came up about the extent and and limits of [papal] authority, which of course, as such, had never been considered. After the Second Vatican Council, the impression arose that the pope really could do anything in liturgical matters, especially if he were acting on the mandate of an ecumenical council. Eventually, the idea of the givenness of the liturgy, the fact that one cannot do with it what one will, faded from the public consciousness of the West. In fact, the First Vatican Council had in no way defined the pope as an absolute monarch. On the contrary, it presented him as the guarantor of obedience to the revealed Word. The pope's authority is bound to the Tradition of faith. … The authority of the pope is not unlimited; it is at the service of Sacred Tradition.
Joseph RatzingerUS HERE - UK HERE
in The Spirit of the Liturgy
CLICK and say your Daily Offering!
"We as Catholics have not properly combated (the culture) because we have not been taught our Catholic Faith, especially in the depth needed to address these grave evils of our time. This is a failure of catechesis both of children and young people that has been going on for fifty years. It is being addressed, but it needs much more radical attention... What has also contributed greatly to the situation is an exaltation of the virtue of tolerance which is falsely seen as the virtue which governs all other virtues. In other words, we should tolerate other people in their immoral actions to the extent that we seem also to accept the moral wrong. Tolerance is a virtue, but it is certainly not the principal virtue; the principal virtue is charity... Charity means speaking the truth. I have encountered it (not speaking the truth) many times myself as a priest and bishop. It is something we simply need to address. There is far too much silence — people do not want to talk about it because the topic is not 'politically correct.' But we cannot be silent any longer."
Raymond Card. Burke
Art by D Burkart
I listen to your voicemails: I don’t call back, but I listen.
You have three options:
020 8133 4535
- Gaetano said Does your “daily carry” also include t
- JuliB said So I just bought one of these. I was tempted by t...
- Amerikaner said I own this rosary. Best.rosary.ever.!
- Fr. Reader said Thanks!
- Geoffrey said As an instituted acolyte, I will be leading my ver...
- Peter in Canberra said I am somewhat surprised there hasn’t been a...
- Gregg the Obscure said Being of partially Swiss descent, I would like to...
- Supertradmum said Vexilla, ps thanks for the prayers.
- Supertradmum said VexillaRegis, He is basically starting over with t...
- Supertradmum said Father, thank you for the ten points. All my life...
- G1j said In our Catholic Community of 5 parishes here in WN...
- Argument Clinician said The parish priest at the parish where I assisted t...
- Ocampa said Does the headline say, “Do not be more papis...
- Mark said That reminds me of our priest’s homily at Ch...
- ncstevem said Father, I have my own St. Gianna miracle story as...
- VexillaRegis said Dear Supertradmum, praying for you and your son. I...
- EC said I used to be made to “preside” at thes...
- robtbrown said I don’t think the above use of “gifts”...
- Supertradmum said When I was interviewing priests for a book on the...
- Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda said Perhaps bishops should duly appoint trusted male a...
- Supertradmum said Health and housing for me….thank you. Also,...
- Supertradmum said First reason for the close extinction of priests i...
- Semper Gumby said Interesting book and update, thanks Fr. Z.
- Magdalena said It saddens me that consecrated virgins are not als...
- Will499 said My parish is St Gianna’s Oratory, run by the...
- Hidden One said May we have many more such Jesuits as St. Peter Ca...
- VexillaRegis said dr.Lloyd, are you new on here? Would you please ad...
- amsjj1002 said I was so struck by the idea of Jesus as prisoner t...
- Fr. John Zuhlsdorf said Aegidius says: concealed without a license You ass...
- Aegidius said And I suppose you may carry this piece of your dai...
Help Monks in Wyoming (coffee) and Norcia (beer)!
- Aedificantium enim unusquisque gladio erat accinctus.
- Nehemiah 4:18
"Where priest and people together face the same way, what we have is a cosmic orientation and also in interpretation of the Eucharist in terms of resurrection and trinitarian theology. Hence it is also an interpretation in terms of parousia, a theology of hope, in which every Mass is an approach to the return of Christ."
Joseph Ratzinger - The Feast of Faith"In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. ... If all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians." CDF 2003
One of the most dangerous errors is that civilization is automatically bound to increase and spread. The lesson of history is the opposite; civilization is a rarity, attained with difficulty and easily lost. The normal state of humanity is barbarism, just as the normal surface of the planet is salt water. Land looms large in our imagination and civilization in history books, only because sea and savagery are to us less interesting. — C. S. Lewis
Ham Radio Stuff
Fr. Z - W9FRZ - OFF
QRV on: 00m 00000
Check Echolink WB0YLE-R - OFF
"One of the few things in life you can be absolutely sure about is that, if Management tells you it doesn't like your Tone, you are getting something right."
"Latin is a precise, essential language. It will be abandoned, not because it is unsuitable for the new requirements of progress, but because the new men will not be suitable for it. When the age of demagogues and charlatans begins, a language like Latin will no longer be useful, and any oaf will be able to give a speech in public and talk in such a way that he will not be kicked off the stage. The secret to this will consist in the fact that, by making use of words that are general, elusive, and sound good, he will be able to speak for an hour without saying anything. With Latin, this is impossible."
- - Giovanni Guareschi
Support them with prayer and fasting.
Help the Sisters. They have a building project. Get great soap (gifts, etc.) while helping REAL nuns!
Some OBLIGATORY reading…
Leave Voice Mail for Fr. Z
Let us pray…
Grant unto thy Church, we beseech Thee, O merciful God, that She, being gathered together by the Holy Ghost, may be in no wise troubled by attack from her foes. O God, who by sin art offended and by penance pacified, mercifully regard the prayers of Thy people making supplication unto Thee,and turn away the scourges of Thine anger which we deserve for our sins. Almighty and Everlasting God, in whose Hand are the power and the government of every realm: look down upon and help the Christian people that the heathen nations who trust in the fierceness of their own might may be crushed by the power of thine Arm. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
Check out the Cardinal Newman Society feed!
Yes, Fr. Z is taking ads…
A great hymnal…
Mystic Monk Coffee also has TEA!
Because it matters what children read…
I carry one of these super-strong rosaries in my spare mag pouch! The Swiss Guards have them too!
Because you don’t know when you are going to need to move fast or get along without the supermarket…
My wish lists
Food For Thought
“The legalization of the termination of pregnancy is none other than the authorization given to an adult, with the approval of an established law, to take the lives of children yet unborn and thus incapable of defending themselves. It is difficult to imagine a more unjust situation, and it is very difficult to speak of obsession in a matter such as this, where we are dealing with a fundamental imperative of every good conscience — the defense of the right to life of an innocent and defenseless human being.”
- St. John Paul II
PLEASE RESPOND. Pretty pleeeease?Loading ...
WDTPRS POLLLoading ...
A morsel for thought…
"If your work is strong enough for someone to hate you, it's strong enough for someone to love you. The middle is what you should fear."
- Sean McCabe @seanwes
- Fun with papal reporting!
- ASK FATHER: In Communion Services to do people “self communicate”?
- WDTPRS 3rd Sunday of Easter (2002MR): “bright like kindled candles, honey sweet”
- Swiss Guards: Armor and “the most powerful weapon that exists”
- 28 April – St Gianna’s amazing 2nd miracle. With Fr. Z’s 10 Points
- Of Prisoners and Devotions
- BOOK: The Devil Hates Latin
- St. Peter Canisius, pray for the Jesuits!
- Happy Birthday Universe!
- ASK FATHER: Non-standard form for Confirmation – valid?
- Disaster. Vocations. Identity. Liturgy. Prayer. ACTION ITEM and Fr. Z rants.
- BOOK RECEIVED: Traditional LECTIONARIUM from Fraternity Publications
- ASK FATHER: Should I consider permanent diaconate if I can’t serve the traditional community?
- RECENT POSTS
- Your Good News
- ASK FATHER: Deacons in Novus Ordo Masses
- YOUR URGENT PRAYER REQUESTS
- ASK FATHER: Do I fulfill my Sunday obligation at an Eastern or SSPX church?
- ASK FATHER: Sunday Mass obligation when traveling to remote places
- A note about comments, moderation, etc.
- I reject sexism in every form, and all its pomps, and all its empty works.
- Are you anxious, upset, confused about the Church today? Wherein Fr. Z rants.
- Your Sunday Sermon Notes
- 23 April is “Talk Like Shakespeare Day”! Newly discovered act of a rare play….
- PASCHALCAzT 2017 54 – Low Sunday “in albis”: Peace be to you!
- Fr. Murray, Prof. Royal on “Deaconettes”, ‘Amoris laetitia’, Liturgy, Communion in the hand
- WDTPRS: Octave of Easter “in albis”, Quasimodo Sunday
- AUDIO – Victimae Paschali Laudes – As you may never have heard it before
- Books For Seminarians Project – COMPLETED!
- Are you a Sponsor for a Confirmand? Will you be one? Food for thought.
For your consideration…
"One of the most dangerous errors is that civilization is automatically bound to increase and spread. The lesson of history is the opposite; civilization is a rarity, attained with difficulty and easily lost. The normal state of humanity is barbarism, just as the normal surface of the planet is salt water. Land looms large in our imagination and civilization in history books, only because sea and savagery are to us less interesting."
- C.S. Lewis
More food for thought:
“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”
Francis Card. George
Fr. Z’s stuff is everywhere
Please follow me on Twitter!
Help support Fr. Z’s Gospel of Life work at no cost to you. Do you need a Real Estate Agent? Calling these people is the FIRST thing you should do!
- "It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been committed for fear of not looking sufficiently progressive."
Charles Pierre Péguy Notre Patrie, 1905"If I ought to write the truth, I am of the mind that I ought to flee all meetings of bishops, because I have never seen any happy or satisfactory outcome to any council, nor one that has deterred evils more than it has occasioned their acceptance and growth."
St. Gregory Nazianzus ep. 131 - AD 382“We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women. If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.”
Reading and gift ideas!