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.)
"Let God arise! Let His enemies be scattered! Let those who hate him flee before His Holy Face!"
Search Fr. Z’s Blog
Christmas is coming. Plan ahead. 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!)
A search box for Amazon UK is at the bottom of the blog.
- You keep this blog, and me, going. I pray for benefactors.
There is a subscription form at the bottom of this page!
- accidentalthomist said It would be quite interesting to compare this to B...
- accidentalthomist said It would be quite interesting to compare this to B...
- Kerry said In David (aka Spengler) Goldman’s book, How...
- mamajen said Hmmm. Not a fan of pudding myself, BUT my mother-i...
- Joseph-Mary said This is one of the best true pope speeches I have...
- pelerin said Having been out all day I was disappointed to see...
- yatzer said He has exceedingly good points, but I too was put...
- pseudomodo said To Europeans… “They’d better sta...
- Scott W. said I had the flash of a thought recently with the app...
- NonAngelusSedAnglus said Let’s get this straight: Pope Francis stands...
- Faith said Father Z, since when are grandmothers not vibrant...
- anilwang said NBW says: “I am a bit concerned with some pa...
- Elizabeth M said I missed it too. Instead, we are having an “...
- Polycarpio said The very last point made in this excerpt is an imp...
- NBW said I am a bit concerned with some parts of the speech...
- Fr. Andrew said I usually am not sympathetic with His HolinessR...
- Dundonianski said Phlogiston, I suspect the cynics and cautious amon...
- Suburbanbanshee said If you don’t have a humidity problem, though...
- Suburbanbanshee said A wooden altar kept with a beeswax-infused cloth o...
- phlogiston said *plausible*
- phlogiston said I really wish I didn’t find this as pausible...
- Unwilling said amenamen Gn 18:10 Sarra risit — clever indee...
- Joseph-Mary said Nice to have some encouraging word and the appoint...
- Peter Stuart said Thank God for the Courage Apostolate which has hel...
- mcdawson said Main point from the sermon: Christ’s words...
- Kathleen10 said Grumpy Beggar, my prayers are more often directed...
- ASPM Sem said Torch, that’s extremely generalizing and ins...
- Pastor Bonus said I hope this is good news and Card. Sarah seems goo...
- Peter Stuart said Allan S.: From what I’ve heard Card. Sarah&...
- MikeToo said On the feast of Christ the King we should all be a...
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.
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.
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!
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
- I missed “STIR UP SUNDAY”! But it’s not too late.
- Registration error: Wherein Fr. Z screwed up!
- Pope Francis: “Europe is now a “grandmother”, no longer fertile and vibrant”
- ASK FATHER: Waxed linen altar cloths
- Your Sunday Sermon Notes
- New Prefect of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments
- Curial reshuffling to take place?
- Anti-Christian group’s founder arrested
- MIAMI: TLMs bringing in young people
- My View For Awhile: Allons Y Edition
- Paris – Day 7: Shells and bones
- Turning to the East in the Diocese of Lincoln
- Five Cardinals Book™ will defend marriage in several more languages!
- Bill Murray and the Traditional Latin Mass
- What Fr. Z really said when interviewed by Adam Shaw of Fox News
- “Yeu arr teking zee pheud pheuteaux wit yeur zmarty pheun!”
- Prayers and help for Fr. Kirby of Silverstream Priory
- PARIS – Day 6: La chasse and prayers and shells
- WDTPRS – Christ the King (2002MR): elements will be dissolved with fire, the earth will be burned up
- Now is the time! Romanorum coetibus!
- QUESTION FOR READERS: Our Lady of Clergy image – in Paris?
- PARIS – Day 5: Miraculous Edition
- Wherein Benedict XVI is now channeling his inner Augustine
- What’s up with the false English translation of the Synod’s Final Report?
- Courageous Priest ACTION ITEM!
- PARIS – Day 4: Le déjeuner sur le Musée d’Orsay
- Card. Burke – off the leash – in Ireland
- PARIS – Day 3: Winged Edition
- VIDEO: Figuring out this pontificate
- It’s time to build camps! Dangerous illegal immigrants invading!
Because you don’t know when you are going to need to move fast or get along without the supermarket…
Be a “Zed-Head”!
Identity theft is a serious problem that you do NOT want to have. I use Lifelock.
Wyoming Catholic College!
Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity
New Christmas Music CD from the only Catholic Boys Choir School in these USA!
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!
I have been giving out these tougher-than-nails, no-nonsense Rosaries:
Please follow me on Twitter!
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