Fr. John Hunwicke, priest, gentleman and Latinist, has a spiffing post at his blog Mutual Enrichment (which title is a reference to Summorum Pontificum).
He writes about Latin. Here is a taste of the first part with my oft-imitated emphases and comments:
Since Papa Bergoglio does not believe in making a fetish of Law, I suppose I am Out of Fashion in referring to the questionable training of our Catholic clergy. I refer to the scandal that for more than a generation those being formed for the priesthood were – in flagrant disregard of CIC 249 – not made fluent in Latin (are things any better now?). [can. 249, requires – it doesn’t suggest or recommend or propose – that seminarians be very well trained in Latin: “lingua latina bene calleant“. Not just calleant, says can. 249, but bene calleant. Calleo is “to be practised, to be wise by experience, to be skillful, versed in” or “to know by experience or practice, to know, have the knowledge of, understand”. We get the word “callused” from this verb. We develop calluses when we do something repeatedly. So, bene calleant is “let them be very well versed”. Review also Sacrosanctum Concilium 36 and Optatam totius 13, just to point to documents of Vatican II.]
As long ago as 1933, C S (‘Patrimony’) Lewis advanced the suggestion that the attacks – even then – upon the position of Latin and Greek as the basis of education, might be part of a plot devised in Hell to subvert the Faith. In The Pilgrim’s Regress he reminds the reader that “till recently” members of our society “had been made to learn” these languages “and that meant that at least they started no further from the light than the old Pagans themselves and had therefore the chance to come at last” to saving Faith. “But now they are cutting themselves off even from that roundabout route … and suppressing every kind of knowledge except mechanical knowledge”. He believed that this shift had much to do with the need of the educated classes to cope with the increasing disinclination of the lower orders to work in domestic service, and added “No doubt the great landowners in the background [scilicet devils] have their own reasons for encouraging this movement”.
You will not be surprised to be reminded that one such ‘landowner’, His Abysmal Sublimity Under Secretary Screwtape, strongly advocated the policy of preventing each generation from learning from its predecessors: “Since we [devils] cannot deceive the whole human race all the time, it is most important thus to cut every generation off from all others; for where learning makes a free commerce between the ages there is always the danger that the characteristic errors of one may be corrected by the characteristic truths of another.” [NB] That is why the demise of sacred languages among the clergy and the clerisy is such a triumph for our Enemy. As we have seen recently, [indeed] the problem becomes worse when Cardinals, Bishops, and/or their liturgical advisers, cannot parse accurately a simple piece of Latin.
Read the rest there and do NOT miss his last line!
On this theme, I’ll ask a few questions.
What does it mean for our identity as Catholics in the LATIN Church if we never hear our Latin language in our sacred liturgical worship?
The loss of Latin in our sacred worship has been devastating for our identity as Catholics and, therefore, our influence in the world.
In some places seminaries confer masters degrees or other sort of pontifical degrees. Imagine a department at a major university conferring a higher degree without the candidate demonstrating proficiency in the languages necessary for his field and research. Imagine someone is given a degree in, say, French literature but she doesn’t know any French. Can you imagine that? Try to get a degree in French literature by reading is solely in translation without the ability to read the original.
And another thing. Circling back to can. 249, which requires Latin, at every ordination someone must stand up and attest that the ordinand was properly trained, etc. But if the ordinand wasn’t given any Latin, as per can 249., can that public statement be true?