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.)
When you shop…... through Amazon, please, come here first? Enter Amazon through my search box. I'll then get a small percentage of everything you buy. (Pssst - Can't see the search box? Turn off your "ad-blocker" for this site!)
Search Fr. Z’s Blog
- You keep this blog, and me, going. I pray for benefactors.
There is a subscription form at the bottom of this page!
Fr. Z will be chaplain for this (Extraordinary Form) pilgrimage
New Gregorian Chant CD by the Benedictines of Norcia!
- boxerpaws1952 said you can do it Father!! i took my general and passe...
- boxerpaws1952 said the article calls the display of faith ‘harr...
- rben said I definitely make use of the Extra privileges. If...
- LarryW2LJ said Father Z, I would suspect that one of the local 2...
- Max said I’m glad to hear you’re doing the Ham...
- Grumpy Beggar said From the Wisconsin State Journal article quoting F...
- Allan S. said Reconverted Idiot = Strawman Slayer. Most concise...
- The Masked Chicken said Whenever we get the Catholic game group up and run...
- The Masked Chicken said This math is best done on a slide rule :) but if y...
- The Cobbler said Now all we need is a science fiction novel where t...
- jflare said I quite enjoy seeing the crowd reaction and hearin...
- Mariana2 said Thanks, Father!
- T -166: The Eternal Struggle | The Deus Ex Machina Blog said […] through Fr. Z’s blog, (see here) I...
- Reconverted Idiot said Fr Jim, would you insist especially that they deco...
- jflare said “What if I had been a neo Nazi with a swasti...
- jflare said From reading the article, I find I must either cry...
- robtbrown said Father Jim 4321, When I lived in Kansas City 30 ye...
- juergensen said Benedict knew who the wolves were; and now we do t...
- Chris Garton-Zavesky said Father Jim, Would you willingly spend money at an...
- Scott W. said So if I walked into my favorite cigar store on the...
- MWindsor said Hi Father Z, I got my Extra ticket last summer. Tr...
- frjim4321 said So if I walked into my favorite cigar store on the...
- Tantum Ergo said “Catholics were born for combat” (Pope...
- exNOAAman said Sword40…the way to remember the general call...
- Viaticum said Father, your frequent reminders have a been a grea...
- mysticalrose said Well, it certainly feels like the wolves won . . .
- mysticalrose said Thanks for taking one for the team, Father.
- jameeka said Thank you, Father Z. This is a little gem of a WDT...
- Sonshine135 said Father Z, Vaya Lio!
- drohan said I am straying just a bit off topic here but bear w...
My wish lists
The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.
- Proverbs 21:31
Support them with prayer and fasting.
"Let God arise! Let His enemies be scattered! Let those who hate him flee before His Holy Face!"
CLICK and say your Daily Offering!
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.
An outstanding opportunity to get into Latin and New Testament Greek
For Easter: another ethereal music CD from the chart-topping nuns…
Yes, Fr. Z is taking ads…... and there will be nearly 1,000,000 page loads this month.
A bit more food for thought…
“Only one sin is nowadays severely punished: the attentive observance of the traditions of our Fathers. For that reason the good ones are thrown out of their places and brought to the desert.”
- Basil of Caesarea - ep. 243
Help Monks in Wyoming, Fr. Z, and get great coffee too!
And they have tea too!
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
Great gift for newly ordained priests. Folding altar card set for the Traditional Latin Mass.
And check out the stunning FULL SIZE altar cards HERE. I have a set on my altar.
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
- Your Sunday Sermon Notes
- WDTPRS: 4th Sunday of Easter (2002MR) – Our humility and the might of the Shepherd
- Heads up! Reactions to my post about destruction of Christian businesses still rolling in.
- CQ CQ CQ – Ham Radio Saturday
- Benedict XVI 10 years ago: “Pray for me…”
- ACTION ITEM! US CLERGY! Sign letter urging Synod to uphold Catholic teaching on marriage and family!
- WDTPRS 3rd Sunday after Easter (1962MR): Be distinguished by your profession of Christ!
- Wherein Fr. Z is, again, in a SciFi novel
- Feedback and a confessional story
- Notes on Eucharistic Prayer II
- Another morsel for #TalkLikeShakespeare Day
- Thanks to readers, monthly donations, Mass for benefactors
- A curious lacuna in ‘Misericordiae vultus’, the Bull for the Holy Year of Mercy
- A Talk Like Shakespeare Day Gift to the Fair Readership that frequenteth This Blog
- ASK FATHER: Continuously adding tap water to Holy Water
- ASK FATHER: Inviting children to stand around the altar? Fail!
- Reader Check-up: Testing a new mobile theme
- ASK FATHER: Seminarians required to stand for Communion. Wherein Fr. Z rants.
- Have a brainy happy birthday Roma! (Father Z’s Kitchen)
- SWISS GUARD ARMOR UPDATE!
- ASK FATHER: St. Michael Prayer after Novus Ordo Masses
- ASK FATHER: Shoulder cape on cassocks for priests
- ASK FATHER: Using the traditional offertory prayers in the Novus Ordo. Wherein Fr. Z rants.
- More about my post: “When they come to destroy your business because you are pro-traditional family”
- New Chant CD from the outstanding Benedictine Monks of Norcia! (And a note about a pilgrimage.)
- Remembering Card. George with the Canons of St. John Cantius
- ACTION ITEM! Newly widowed mother of EIGHT! Please help.
- Your Sunday Sermon Notes
- NEW “Pontifical Canon” for use by Bishops in the Extraordinary Form
- WDTPRS: 2nd Sunday after Easter (1962MR): devastation and rising
Because you don’t know when you are going to need to move fast or get along without the supermarket…
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
Identity theft is a serious problem that you do NOT want to have. I use Lifelock.
And for your cybersecurity…
Wyoming Catholic College!
A great place in Rome…
See my post about the Domus Australia HERE
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
Check out the Cardinal Newman Society feed!
Be a “Zed-Head”!
Fr. Z’s stuff is everywhere
More food for thought…
"All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void."
- Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 176
Even More Food For Thought
"Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests."
- Thomas Jefferson to Henry Lee, 1824. ME 16:73
Please follow me on Twitter!