Sunday, July 02, 2006

Latin in Seminaries

I wonder how many seminaries in the U.S.A. (and in the world) actually follow this canon:

Code of Canon Law
Book II: The People of God
Part I: The Christian Faithful
Title III: Sacred Ministers or Clerics
Chapter I: The Formation of Clerics

Can. 249 The program of priestly formation is to provide that students not only are carefully taught their native language but also understand Latin well and have a suitable understanding of those foreign languages which seem necessary or useful for their formation or for the exercise of pastoral ministry. [emphasis added]

I have met very few priests who had Latin as a part of their priestly formation.
Also note how it says "understand Latin well." This is something that Fr. Reginald Foster, the pope's Latinist, laments greatly. The amount of people who actually know Latin is shrinking at a frightening rate. If Latin is not given more emphasis in pactice, it will just become even more difficult to recover.

Fr. Reginald has a (usually) weekly radio show on Vatican Radio. It is not only interesting for the Latin, but he has quite a number of stories of antiquity and also a gives a slight peek into the inner workings of the Vatican on occasion.

I can't seem to find the site on Vatican radio anymore for some reason, although I will post it in case it is just down temporarily:
Normally it is found at: Vatican Radio's 105Live, The Latin Lover.
However you can find mp3 archives at Fr. Gary Coulter's site.


Henry said...

As Captain Renault would have said, I'm shocked, shocked to find out that a canon law like this is being ignored!

Keith Kenney said...

I find that more and more of the younger seminarians are choosing to take Latin as an elective when it is not mandated. The younger generation of seminarians love latin, chant, and our liturgical traditions. Take heart for when a generation is lackluster for the faith, God raises up fervent sons.

Jovan-Marya Weismiller, T.O.Carm. said...

I don't know if it's still true, but 20+ years ago over half the US seminaries did not even offer Latin. Thus the ordination of their graduates, whilst valid, were illicit!

Roman Sacristan said...

I don't know if I would go so far as to say that the ordinations were "illicit."
I would just say that their training was lacking in certain areas.
I would be using the term illicit regarding certain men who had sexual orientation and psychological issues that were often ignored or encouraged in seminaries and were allowed to be ordained anyway.

Keith Kenney said...

Currently my Diocese sends a large portion of their seminarians to the Josephinum Pontifical College. Their curriculum does include Latin, offering even Koine Greek. Latin 141, 142, and 241 are MANDATORY. Their curriculum for the College, Pre-Theology, and Theology students can be found at their website Latin is required in all three curricula.

Anonymous said...

I'm no canonist, but I'd have to agree with the host that violation of this canon regarding priestly formation in seminaries would not make the sacrament of ordination illicit. Neglecting this canon out of ignorance or deliberate omission would seem to be a delict, yes, but I would think that it would be one that pertains more to the formation of a candidate than to the actual sacrament itself.

Ronny said...

For the record, "anonymous" at 4:50 was me.