Thanks to NCFishwrap for something! (Just for today, okay?)

This may shock you, but I don’t like the National Catholic Reporter… aka Fishwrap.  Better… I don’t like what they do, what they write, what they print.  I like my friend the nearly ubiquitous John Allen, but… for the rest of them….  I might like them too were I to meet them.  But I think they are doing great harm to the Church.  I would like to see their publication entirely reformed or entirely fallen.  They should submit themselves to their spiritual father in Kansas City, MO, where they are located, Bp. Finn, and follow his guidance about their future.  There, I said it.

That said, today I enjoyed enormously a blurb posted by Gerelyn Hollingsworth, who has a little daily blip with some note about a saint of the day, etc.

Here is a portion from her daily portion.  Prepare to be amazed, O ye lovers of all things truly Catholic!

On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Clare.

For some beautiful Latin, click here. It’s the Bull of Canonization of St. Clare of Assisi by Pope Alexander IV, “Given at Anagni, the sixth day before the Calends of October, in the first year of our pontificate.” (1255.)

“CLARA CLARIS PRAECLARA meritis, magnae in caelo claritate gloriae, ac in terra splendore miraculorum sublimium clare claret.”


Holy cow! That’s lovely Latin.  Latin doing its best imitation of a Hot Fudge Sunday.

I would love to see the rest of the Bull.

No… wait!  It’s right here!

A little more of that Bull… I can’t help it.

Clara claris praeclara meritis, magnae in caelo claritate gloriae, ac in terra splendore miraculorum sublimium clare claret. Clarae huius arcta et alta Religio hic coruscat, huius sursum aeterni praemii radiat magnitudo, huius virtus signis magnificis, mortalibus illucescit. Huic Clarae intitulatum hic fuit summae Privilegium paupertatis; huic in excelso rependitur inaestimabilis copia thesaurorum; huic a catholicis plena devotio et honoris cumulus exhibetur. Hanc Claram sua fulgida hic insignierunt opera, hanc Claram in alto divinae lucis clarificat plenitudo, hanc christianis populis prodigiorum eius stupenda declarant.

I must let you hear this…  listen to the clausulae, the beautiful parallels of structure and the word play.

No one in the Holy See is allowed to write like that anymore.

Sincere thanks to Gerelyn for that excerpt!

And now I switch back to my default position on the Fishwrap until circumstances indicate otherwise.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Sword40 says:

    Fr. Z, that was beautiful! I’m going back and listen again.

  2. cnaphan says:

    What a treat! Why does the phrase “Sciurus caecus nucem inveniat.” pop into my mind?

    I can just imagine what modern canonizations would be like if they used this type of language:

    “Newman, who crucified the old man through the pneumos, clothing himself with the new man, being renewed in knowledge…”

    Gack, I can’t do it. The modern palate has so little taste for punnery.

  3. Annie says:

    We asked for an Apostolic Blessing for our anniversary. We asked for it to be in Latin. “Italian?” they said. “Latin, please,” we said. “Don’t do Latin” they said. Sigh.

  4. contrarian says:

    Beautiful Latin. Beautiful audio-narrating too!

  5. HyacinthClare says:

    Annie, get Father Z to record a Latin blessing with an sweet Italian accent like this one, and they won’t know the difference!

  6. HyacinthClare says:

    Speaking of the Fishwrap, Father, did Zagano strike yet? I will NOT go to that website to look.

  7. Nothing yet from Ms. Zagano. Though I am hoping to hear from people who were contacted by her in order to hear accounts of their conversations.

  8. For those who haven’t followed Father Z’s link to the source for the Bull, the English translation given there:

    CLARE OUTSTANDINGLY CLEAR WITH CLEAR merits, in Heaven with the clarity of great glory, and on Earth with the splendor of sublime miracles, is clearly clear. Here this Clare’s strict and high Religion twinkles [coruscat], above the greatness of this one’s eternal reward radiates, this one’s virtue by magnificent signs, begins to shine [illucescit] upon mortals. To this Clare there was entitled here the Privilege of most high poverty; to this one there is repaid in the highest an inestimable abundance of treasures; to this one by Catholics a full devotion and a heap [cumulus] of honor is exhibited. This Clare did her shining [fulgida] works here mark out, this Clare the plenitude of Divine Light on high does clarify, this one to the Christian peoples do the stupendous (works) of her prodigies declare.

    They don’t write English like this anymore either.

  9. tealady24 says:

    It just sounds Catholic doesn’t it? Beautiful and ancient and holy.

  10. benedetta says:

    That’s lovely. I have always been, and always will be amazed at the commitment of St. Francis and St. Clare in service to the Church, and the Franciscan charism to the poorest wherever encountered. More and more though I appreciate that their great works and the incredible, unstoppable movement of laity that came about through their witness was a result of profound holiness, obedience, humility. When I first read of these saints searching for inspiration on how to better serve the poorest and the marginalized, I would read without comprehending, or breeze over great sections of their stories (by revered and by contemporary biographers) recounting them struggling with some aspect of humility or obedience, or in teaching and modeling humility or obedience for those in their order or for laity in the third order, or in their regard for the Church. Now I appreciate that these were important to the saints, subjectively, to themselves in their own experiences, and that these informed everything they did. Their great leadership and talents, what they inspired of others, none would have happened had they not, from the very beginning of conversion, placed themselves in humble obedience to the Church and given complete assent to the Lord’s commands, radically.

  11. APX says:

    It just sounds Catholic doesn’t it? Beautiful and ancient and holy.

    Why yes, yes it does! I don’t really know what it said, but yes, truly beautiful, ancient, and holy. (I bet Latin can make even the worst things sound beautiful, though.)

  12. Goodness me! Reads like a prime pick from one of Reggie Foster’s “sheets.” Beautiful! [Ain’t it, though? Go to that page and read the rest!]

  13. sea the stars says:

    This is posted just inside the entrance to the former home of Santa Chiara in the Piazza di San Rufino in Assisi:

    “Nobile di famiglia, ma più nobile per grazia; vergine nel corpo e purissima nello spirito; giovane di età, matura di animo; costante nel proposito e ardentissima col desiderio nell’amore di Dio; piena di sapienza e umiltà; CHIARA di nome; più CHIARA per la vita; chiarissima per virtù.”
    -Tommaso da Celano “Vita Prima”, 18

  14. albinus1 says:

    We asked for an Apostolic Blessing for our anniversary. We asked for it to be in Latin. “Italian?” they said. “Latin, please,” we said. “Don’t do Latin” they said. Sigh.

    I ran into the same problem, and I felt the same frustration that you did. So I spoke to Fr. Reggie Foster (this was the summer I was doing his course), and he met a couple of us the following morning in front of St. Anne’s, just inside the Porta Angelica — in the rain! — took us into the Elymosynaria, though the door marked “Ingresso Vietato”, and called in a favor from someone. He wrote out a basic text in Latin, took our list of names and put them into Latin (and into the dative case), and we paid in cash — at less than the going rate at the regular order window. They came in the mail several months later. I scanned in an image of mine, so I could use it with my Latin class. If Fr. Z. would let me upload an image, I’d be happy to share it with you. I feel very lucky to have it. [Send it to me by email?]


    One the noteworthy things about the bull re: St. Clare is that “clarus” is one of those Latin words that really doesn’t have a single exact English equivalent. It can mean “bright”, “clear”, or “famous” — or any or all of those at once. I think that in this bull the word is deliberately being used in several senses at once, completely aside from the fact that it’s also Clare’s name. It really is a stunningly beautiful composition. Thanks for bringing it to my attention! I think I’ll try to use it in class.

  15. Mom2301 says:

    Really quite beautiful. Makes me even more glad to have named our second daughter Claire.

  16. cnaphan says:

    Albinus: I’d also add that praeclarus usually doesn’t have anything to do with light or clarity. It usually means “excellent”, “splendid” or “outstanding”.

    As in the Psalm: “Calix inebrians quam praeclarus est” which is usually translated something like “Thy inebriating chalice, how goodly it is” (or as the KJV dynamically puts it, “My cup runneth over”) Otherwise, the Vulgate might be suggesting we use “clear” materials for our chalices, which we all know is generally frowned upon.

    Or a phrase from Cicero: ” O praeclarum custodem ovium lupum!”

  17. irishgirl says:

    When St. Clare’s mother, Blessed Ortolana, was pregnant with her daughter, I think she had a dream (or a vision) where an angel said something about the child she was carrying would be ‘a light to the world’. That’s how St. Clare got her name.

  18. irishgirl says:

    Just listened to your reading, Father Z-did you know that you sounded a lot like Venerable Pope Pius XII? He rolled his ‘r’s’ just as you did!
    I’m serious….I’ve seen videos of Pius XII speaking in English to American and British soldiers in audiences in Rome, and that’s how he spoke even in Italian!
    And you did such a great job, BTW-I love the ‘play on words’ in Latin!

  19. irishgirl: LOL! Thanks for that. But any Italian who knows me well would say that I tend to speak “papale papale”.

  20. robtbrown says:

    cnaphan says:

    Albinus: I’d also add that praeclarus usually doesn’t have anything to do with light or clarity. It usually means “excellent”, “splendid” or “outstanding”.

    Splendid directly refers to light–cf splendor. The other two words analogously refer to light, i.e., that which stands out (or excels) is illuminated more brightly than other objects.

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