Monday, July 04, 2005


A Little Latin

In his blog Dappled Things, Fr. Jim Tucker often writes about the Latin language. He is an excellent Latinist himself, as his translation of the hymn Decora lux aeternitatis shows.

On the one hand, Fr. Tucker is irritated by Catholics who have a phobia about Latin:
Whenever anyone complains about the fact that some little Catholic something is done in Latin, which he can't understand, I generally ask him how much time he's given to trying to learn the little phrase he claims he can't understand. That usually nips the complaint in the bud.
On the other hand, he's annoyed by Catholics who sprinkle their conversations and writings with bits of incorrect Latin:
At least once a week, usually more often, I cringe with pain upon reading horribly elementary Latin errors in the learned pages of good Catholics who are quite knowledgeable about other things. I'm particularly amazed by clergy who do this. As Latin is again becoming the badge of a good and thinking Catholic, people are a bit too hasty in throwing the language around.
There's a single solution to both problems, and that is to teach a little Latin, not only to those who are scared of it but also to those who think they know it but don't.

Since the schools (even the Catholic ones) aren't teaching Latin, why don't the parishes do it? I see that St. John Cantius in Chicago offers Latin and Greek classes at all levels on Sunday mornings, six classes in all, including Latin for children. With 12,000 registered parishioners, Fr. Tucker is too busy to teach such classes himself, but perhaps among those 12,000 there is one who is both willing and able.

On the fear of Latin and Greek tags, Phil Flemming writes:
One of the edits I have to do these days, for any piece I wish to publish in general audiences media, is "delete all Latin or Greek phrases". Editors insist. 'Twas not so 20 or 30 years ago. I could still write sine die or pari passu or a fortiori, and expect my audience to have a clue. No longer. A fortiori, any classical allusions. I don't mind that this generation is absorbed by Information Science -- whatever that is -- but Information Science apparently has no sense of history or of values, beyond the pursuit of the $. I have nothing to say to them and in turn I am a dinosaur to them.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?