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Is Latin making a comeback? Vatican launches Latin journal

2013-11-09

BENEDICT XVI
"With full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on April 19, 2005.”

This statement revolutionized the Vatican and the modern-day Papacy. But since Benedict XVI spoke in Latin, even some cardinals had a hard time understanding his announcement.

CARD. GIANFRANCO RAVASI
President, Pontifical Council for Culture
"I was next to a cardinal, I won't say who, but he asked me: 'What did he say at the end?' And I answered: 'Listen, he said that he's stepping down.' He responded: 'No! You misunderstood.'”

But even before his announcement, the Vatican has long recognized the need to conserve its official language. It established the Pontifical Academy for Latin in November 2012. 

Its aim is to promote greater Latin literacy, especially within Catholic formation centers like universities and seminaries. Now, the academy's latest venture is a semi annual scholarly journal.

PROF. IVANO DIONIGI
President, Pontifical Academy for Latin
"This is above all a magazine for scientific research, so it's targeted towards scholars, libraries, different institutions and academies.”

The journal's first edition features 18 articles, ranging from poetry to analysis of liturgical texts written in Latin. 

It'll be available by subscription, as well as at libraries, cultural and educational centers. But, despite being an academic publication, the goal is to engage a wider audience.

PROF. IVANO DIONIGI
President, Pontifical Academy for Latin
"Clearly, the more rigorous the publication, it become less popular. But we're looking for ways to have articles accessible to all, because we want to speak to everyone.”

The journal will also have two very special subscribers.

CARD. GIANFRANCO RAVASI
President, Pontifical Council for Culture
"The academy president will also send it to the two Popes, especially Benedict XVI.”

The Academy for Latin has a reason to be optimistic. The Vatican was surprised by the popularity of the Pope's Twitter account in Latin. It has over 180,000 followers: the sixth most popular of the nine accounts. It's proof that interest in this classical language is alive and growing. 


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