WDTIRS: Universae Ecclesiae 21: Drilling into the Latin and English (training of priests and seminaries)

A question came in about what the Instruction Universae Ecclesiae really says, in paragraph 21.

Since we look at texts here, lets see UE 21.

21 – Ordinarii enixe rogantur ut clericis instituendis occasionem praebeant accommodatam artem celebrandi in forma extraordinaria acquirendi, quod potissimum pro Seminariis valet, in quibus providebitur ut sacrorum alumni convenienter instituantur, Latinum discendo sermonem  et, adiunctis id postulantibus, ipsam Ritus Romani formam extraordinariam.

21 – Ordinaries are strenuously (enixe) asked that they offer to clerics (clericis) to be trained up (instituendis) opportunity for acquiring adequate ars celebrandi… art of celebrating… in the Extraordinary Form, which point is has force above all (potissimum) for Seminaries, in which provision will be made that the students of holy things are to be suitably (convenienter) trained, by learning the Latin language, and,  as additional circumstances demand it (adiunctis id postulantibus), the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite itself.

21. Ordinaries are asked to offer their clergy the possibility of acquiring adequate preparation for celebrations in the forma extraordinaria. This applies also to Seminaries, where future priests should be given proper formation, including study of Latin  and, where pastoral needs suggest it, the opportunity to learn the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite.

Clerici includes deacons.  Deacons includes permanent deacons and transitional deacons.  Transitional deacons may be still in seminary.  Thus, Ordinaries are strenuously asked to make sure that their clergy, including deacons in seminary, are given the opportunity for training.  That would have to be – logically – either in the seminary itself or, obviously, elsewhere.  But deacons are to be trained, not just priests.

Note that the released translation ignores the Latin adverb enixe.

Also, the gerund form clericis instituendis suggest that this is something which must be done.  They are to be trained up.

Note that the released translation ignores the Latin adverb potissimum, “, chiefly, principally, especially, in preference to all others, above all, most of all”.  This applies “in preference to all others… especially” seminaries.

WDTPRS asks…

Was the old lame-duck ICEL team reassembled?

Did those who prepared the English version not think that adverbs are important?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Luvadoxi says:

    Lord, when will it end???

  2. Steven says:

    Seems that someone wants to play it down…

    I’m hoping that this (the instruction) may give us some leverage at the seminary to get the faculty to offer occasional EF Masses for us.

  3. Andrew says:

    It’s not just the English vs. the Latin. These curious disagreements and the missing adverbs seem to run through all the vernacular renditions of this document.

  4. profcarlos says:

    At least the Portuguese and the French versions follow the same adverb-less model, also using the same “pastoral” keyword. “Pastoral” seems to mean “whatever the guy in charge wants”, nowadays.

    In the Last Flower from Latium (Portuguese):
    21. Aos Ordinários se pede que ofereçam ao clero a possibilidade de obter
    uma preparação adequada às celebrações na forma extraordinária, o que também
    vale para os Seminários, onde se deve prover à formação conveniente dos
    futuros sacerdotes com o estudo do latim8 e oferecer, se as exigências
    pastorais o sugerirem, a oportunidade de aprender a forma extraordinária do

    In the language of the Firstborn Daughter of the Church (French):
    21. On demande aux Ordinaires d’offrir au clergé la possibilité
    d’acquérir une préparation adéquate aux célébrations dans la forme
    extraordinaire. Cela vaut également pour les séminaires, où l’on devra
    pourvoir à la formation convenable des futurs prêtres par l’étude du
    latin8, et, si les exigences pastorales le suggèrent, offrir la
    possibilité d’apprendre la forme extraordinaire du rite.

  5. This seems far too important to accept as is. In sports, we have “instant replay” and the ability of a team to challenge a referee’s or umpire’s call at any point. For the sake of souls, might it be possible to challenge these translations and get them corrected?

  6. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Really? Leave out enixe? Enixe and rogare are often used in tandem to ask that something be done “earnestly”. Do you suppose that every time we pray — “enixe rogamus” — to the Virgin Mother, or St Michael or to Our Lord, that we are simply “strongly suggesting” that our prayers be heard?

  7. Alan Aversa says:

    Maybe Hungarian doesn’t have adverbs. haha

  8. Alan Aversa says:

    Of the ~3-4 languages it is in that I know, the Spanish seems the best for #22.: “Se exhorta…” for “Ordinaries are (strongly) asked…” They should to do some more exhorting!

  9. James Joseph says:

    Wanna have some fun? Do a line by line translation of practically every document coming out of Rome since the 1920’s. I read these things in Italian and Spanish and they invariably never line up with one-another…. methinks this *smacks of mythology*

  10. APX says:

    @James Joseph

    I read these things in Italian and Spanish and they invariably never line up with one-another…. methinks this *smacks of mythology*

    All the more reason to teach Latin to seminaries and phase out using vernacular translations for such documents. Unofficial vernacular to give the laity the gist of the document, and anything official gets enforced from the untranslated Latin text. It could work…maybe…

    I do find it ridiculous sad that seminaries here are being ordained without learning a lick of Latin.

  11. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Geez Father, thanks for pointing out the bad translation. Perhaps the [few] disappointments some of us feel over this new document is due to not knowing what it really says! Perhaps you could do the whole document. How can we trust the translations at all now? Aaaargh!!!

    My command of Latin isn’t good enough to catch all of this. I can compare the words, note dropped ones, catch ‘the drift’ and stuff like that, but that is nowhere near what you can do.

    And yea, APX, great argument for teaching Latin once again.
    What an eye-opener it would be for our clergy to read the older documents of the Church as well! The stuff we read in English today doesn’t have nearly the punch of the documents that remain in Latin.

  12. Dave N. says:

    Even though seminarians apparently have an “already crowded seminary programme…” (as if life becomes particularly leisurely after someone is ordained?! I’m guessing no….) the time to learn Latin and the ars celebrandi of the EF is in seminary. If it takes another year of formation, so be it. It’s an admittedly costly investment but one that will pay 100-fold in dividends.

  13. disco says:

    It does look like they got the band back together for the English there.

    I fear that It probably won’t make much difference how it’s translated anyway — the Bill Morrises of the world would use whichever translation let’s them talk themselves into defying the mens of the holy father. Literal, poetic, dynamic equivalent, or otherwise.

  14. Wow! Talk about watering a thing down! That isn’t bad translation, that is overtly changing the meaning of the document. And I can’t believe that it was all by accident. Leaving out the enixe may be explainable as an oversight, but ADDING the dreaded PASTORAL requires an intentional and specific intent.

    “Pastoral” is the curial equivalent of a “get out of jail free” card – to be used to excuse whatever action (or lack thereof) some reader desires. When reading this (OR ANY) document from the Church, just remember: pastoral = unless you desire otherwise. Just imagine the decalogue with the phrase “unless you desire otherwise” added to each commandment. Absurd, huh?

    My question is, isn’t there someone in Rome who proof-reads any of these things??? Maybe there is an honorable, trustworthy (i.e. without a personal agenda) priest somewhere who could be appointed head of a “Pontifical Commission to Verify Translations”…..

  15. robtbrown says:

    Dave N. says:

    Even though seminarians apparently have an “already crowded seminary programme…” (as if life becomes particularly leisurely after someone is ordained?! I’m guessing no….) the time to learn Latin and the ars celebrandi of the EF is in seminary. If it takes another year of formation, so be it. It’s an admittedly costly investment but one that will pay 100-fold in dividends.

    The time to learn to say the EF is during the study of theology, and it would not involve a great commitment of time during the semester.

    The time to learn Latin, however, is in the time prior to the study of theology. For someone never exposed to Latin, this would be in the two years devoted to the study of philosophy. Unfortunately, in the US this two year program has all but been eliminated (with few exceptions). It must be reinstated.

  16. Andrew says:

    The question of when seminarians should learn Latin has been answered by Bl. John XXIII in the Apostolic Constitution “Veterum Sapientia”.

  17. s i says:

    “Was the old lame-duck ICEL team reassembled?”
    Apparently. You’re just going have to do a line-by-line translation for us all!

  18. RichR says:

    APX brings up an interesting dynamic.

    If priests (& bishops) are dependent upon the sterilized English translations of Vatican documents, is it possible that this could be a form of control by the bureaucracy over church policy? Who would have a vested interest in preventing priests and bishops from learning Latin?

  19. Supertradmum says:

    TqIn most seminaries in th States, one can take Spanish instead of Latin. Many, if not most, srminarians never learn Latin. That now two generations of priests have not had Latin is sometimes used as an excuse for not having the EF. One head of a religious order told me this month that it was too much trouble to learn the EF.

  20. chironomo says:

    And so… is it fair to say that the document (the actual document) requires seminaries to train Priests and Deacons in the Extraordinary Form? Are the Seminaries going to get this mandate from somewhere other than the released document in English? By this I mean, will Seminaries recieve a further communique of some sort informing them of the new requirement? It continues to amaze me that Roman documents are constatntly neutered by (intentionally) soft-ball translations that substitute “might”, “should” and “can” for much stronger language in the originals, which, like this document here, are much stronger in their intent. It would seem that a lot of Episcopal reticence might just be a case of Bishops thinking that they have options when they really don’t. Can they get someone in the translation office who can tell the difference between latin forms that infer requirement or mandate and those which are merely suggestions? It would seem that this would be an important thing to know when translating legislative documents.

    I would love for the IRS to send me a letter saying “If pastorally advisable, you could pay us the taxes you owe us.” Or perhaps “According to our records, you are permitted to pay the taxes you owe if you so wish.” Perhaps the PCED should hire whoever writes the IRS instructions…

  21. Dave N. says:

    Certainly! Just trying to be practical, though. I don’t hold out any hope this will ever happen, thus the need for “remedial” Latin during the M.Div.

    In certain Protestant seminaries, students are required to enter with at least a minimal knowledge of Greek. If they don’t already have it, then students are required to take a make-up course the summer before entry. (I’m not claiming this a particularly high bar necessarily.) If Catholic seminarians don’t have Latin prior to entry, they could/should (imo) spend at least a year on it prior to beginning the M.Div.

    The time to learn Latin, however, is in the time prior to the study of theology.

  22. Speravi says:

    I am slightly nervous about the universality of the mistranslation. I recall recall that when SP was published, the Latin had “continenter” (continuously) while vernacular translations had “stable.” Then when the document finally made it into that Acta, it had “stabiliter” instead of “continenter.” If, however, it is true that this document takes effect without being published in the Acta, then I might be comparing apples to oranges.

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