GOOD NEWS: “Key” available for Scanlon’s “Latin Grammar: Grammar Vocabularies, and Exercises in Preparation for the Reading of the Missal and Breviary”

There is some GOOD NEWS.

It’s down below.  Meantime…

I’ve been ranting for years about the need for clerics to know the language of their Latin Church, Roman Rite.

In most cases that means that priests and seminarians have to work on their own because they were cheated and lied to in seminary (which is required by canon law to provide for competence in Latin).   Learning Latin seems to many like an insurmountable task.  It isn’t.  Priests of yesteryear were not any brighter than today’s and a whole lot were a lot dimmer.  They did it.

On approach to learning Latin for the Mass and Breviary is the system referred to as Scanlon.

Latin Grammar: Grammar Vocabularies, and Exercises in Preparation for the Reading of the Missal and Breviary


on Kindle!

Second Latin: Preparation for the Reading of Philosophy, Theology and Canon Law


Or else…

Latin Grammar (Ecclesiastical Latin) (Volume 1)


Second Latin (Ecclesiastical Latin) (Volume 2)


Here’s the news.

Frequent commentator here, Fr Augustine Thompson, OP, informs me that there is a KEY now to Scanlon, which would be a great help to those who have to learn on their own.

In my years of teaching Latin, I am convinced that the best book for liturgical Latin remains Cora and Charles Scanlon’sLatin Grammar for Reading the Missal and Breviary, first published in 1944 by B. Herder Book Co., and still in print from TAN Books.

The one problem with this book is that there was no available full Answer Key.  I am happy to announce that we have now published one for all the exercises of every lesson. You may order copies of this Key from Dominican Liturgy Publications, which also has available many other resources for the Dominican Rite and the Latin liturgy.

It will take work and patience, BUT it CAN be done!

C’mon, Fathers!

Let’s recover what they stole from us!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    While I’m not acquainted with any of the books featured here, I managed to learn Latin via John F. Collins’ “Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin”. An answer key is also available separately. Overall, I cannot recommend the book enough. If a person puts the time and effort to study the book well together with the exercises, they will eventually be able to read and pray the Latin found in the liturgical books without needing to use a translation. At least in my case, it was a great investment.

  2. First, thanks, F. Z. for the publicity!

    Dear Kurt,
    Congratulations on your success with Collins. The two books have a rather different philosophy and some find Collins better for their needs, some Scanlon. Collins is meant to teach Church Latin generally; Scanlon is more narrowly focused on the Mass. Collins emphasizes broader vocabulary and takes the grammar more slowly; Scanlon goes through the grammar more quickly and keeps the vocabulary linked to the Missal. A general consensus, however, is that Collins dictionary section is very weak—you will need a separate dictionary—while Scanlon’s vocabulary appendix is superb. In my experience those trying to learn Latin on their own for liturgical reasons usually prefer Scanlon. But until now Collins was the only one with an answer key. Something now solved.
    Again, congrats on your success in teaching yourself!

  3. kurtmasur says:

    Dear Fr. Thompson: yes, spot on, I agree that the Collins book takes the grammar more slowly, and I think that this is key to learning a language on a deeper level. Indeed, the vast amount of grammar exercises truly helped in acquiring a working level of Latin, and in particular being able to fluently read Latin texts. With regards to the overall vocabulary offered, I agree that the glossary in the Collins book was not comprehensive, but I never expected that from that book, it being a Latin grammar book meant to teach you the language, nothing more. As you mention in your post, it was necessary to buy a separate dictionary, which was no big deal to find a cheap second hand book on Amazon. If I could rewrite my original post above, I would write that armed with the Latin language acquisition obtained through the Collin’s book, combined with a good ecclesiastical Latin dictionary, I was able to eventually fully read from liturgical texts (missal + office) exclusively in Latin without needing a translation. Plus, it has greatly helped when reading a lot of random Latin inscriptions found in public places like Rome, and elsewhere.

    Otherwise, thanks for the explanations regarding the books mentioned in this post!

  4. Dear Kurt,

    For your needs Collins seems the correct choice. I might add that for texts beyond those liturgical, users of Scanlon and Scanlon will need to work through Second Latin as well. The lessons there mostly consist of excepts from philosophy and theology manuals and the 1917 Code. The treatments of idioms is very good. Finally, although the differences are sometimes exaggerated, those wanting to read Classical texts will need to work through a set of Classical Latin cards because of the large number of Classical words that didn’t pass into Medieval and Ecclesiastical Latin. Scanlon 1 was written to help Latin deficient seminarians get up to speed to read the Missal and Breviary; Scanlon 2 was, obviously, for reading Latin seminary textbooks. I post this simply to make clear to readers what they are getting if they go for the Scanlon.

  5. DebbieInCT says:

    this is great – an answer key to Scanlon! I have had the Scanlon Latin book for over a year but without an answer key I haven’t been motivated to delve into it. I do also have the Collins book and the Collins answer key, yet I haven’t opened that either. :( What I don’t have is TIME. I’m praying the 1962 Liturgy of the Hours and would really like to be able to pray the entire thing in Latin. This post, your comments, and the new season of Advent are all coming together to inspire me to get started **now** ! Thanks so much!!

  6. To learn a language you must speak it. The words have to come out of your mouth. Luckily Latin has one of the easiest sound systems of any language. It takes about 650 hours of speaking practice to speak Latin at a basic level for communication. Not only every priest but every Catholic ought to learn this Language. We should reclaim it from the Caesar worshipping classicists and fake Latin loving secular atheists. It is our language. When we evangelize we speak the language of the other but when we pray or talk to each other we use our language, Latin.

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