Living Language of the Church

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Sacred Scripture
Sacra Scriptura

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“Scripsit autem et titulum Pilatus et posuit super crucem; erat autem scriptum: « Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudæorum ». Hunc ergo titulum multi legerunt Iudæorum, quia prope civitatem erat locus, ubi crucifixus est Iesus; et erat scriptum Hebraice, Latine, Græce”. 
Ioannes 19, 19-20

“Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross; it read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’ Many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek”.
 
John 19:19-20

Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican
Concilium Œcumenicum Vaticanum Secundum

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“Linguæ latinæ usus, salvo particulari iure, in Ritibus latinis servetur”.

 

Constitutio de sacra liturgia
Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 36,
§1
(
4 decembris 1963): AAS 56 [1964], p. 109

 

“Provideatur… ut christifideles etiam lingua latina partes Ordinarii Missæ quæ ad ipsos spectant possint simul dicere vel cantare”.
Constitutio de sacra liturgia
Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 54,
§1
(
4 decembris 1963): AAS 56 [1964], p. 115
 

 

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“The use of Latin, with due respect to particular law, is to be preserved in the Latin Rites”.
Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy
Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 36,
§1
4 December 1963

 

“…care must be taken to ensure that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them”.

Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy
Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 54,
§
1
4 December 1964

 

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Roman Pontiffs
Romani Pontifices

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“Latina Lingua permagni ab Ecclesia Catholica Romanisque Pontificibus usque est æstimata, quandoquidem ipsorum propria habita est lingua, qui eandem cognoscendam et diffundendam assidue curaverunt, cum Evangelii nuntium in universum orbem transmittere valeret, quemadmodum in Constitutione Apostolica Veterum sapientia Decessor Noster beatus Ioannes XXIII iure meritoque edixit”.

 

Benedictus XVI
Litteræ Apostolicæ Latina Lingua, 1
10 novembris 2012: AAS 104 [2012], p. 991

“The Latin language has always been held in very high esteem by the Catholic Church and by the Roman Pontiffs. They have assiduously encouraged the knowledge and dissemination of Latin, adopting it as the Church’s language, capable of passing on the Gospel message throughout the world. This is authoritatively stated by the Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia of my Predecessor, Blessed John XXIII”.

 

Benedict XVI
Apostolic Letter Latina Lingua, 1
10 November 2012

“In hac præterea lingua, ut universalis Ecclesiæ natura pateat, typica forma sunt scripti liturgici libri Romani Ritus, præstantiora Magisterii pontificii Documenta necnon sollemniora Romanorum Pontificum officialia Acta”.

 

Benedictus XVI
Litteræ Apostolicæ Latina Lingua, 2
10 novembris 2012: AAS 104 [2012], p. 992


“In addition, precisely in order to highlight the Church’s universal character, the liturgical books of the Roman Rite, the most important documents of the Papal Magisterium and the most solemn official Acts of the Roman Pontiffs are written in this language in their authentic form”.

 

Benedict XVI
Apostolic Letter Latina Lingua, 2
10 November 2012


“Quapropter necessitas instare videtur ut linguæ Latinæ altius cognoscendæ eiusque congruenter utendæ fulciatur cura, sive in ecclesiali sive in patentiore cultus campo”.

 

Benedictus XVI

Litteræ Apostolicæ Latina Lingua, 4
10 novembris 2012: AAS 104 [2012], p. 992


“It therefore appears urgently necessary to support the commitment to a greater knowledge and more competent use of Latin, both in the ecclesial context and in the broader world of culture”.

 

Benedict XVI

Apostolic Letter Latina Lingua, 4
10 November 2012


“Ad iuvenes ergo imprimis convertimur, qui hac ætate, qua litteræ Latinæ et humanitatis studia multis locis, ut notum est, iacent, hoc veluti Latinitatis patrimonium quod Ecclesia magni æstimat, alacres accipiant oportet et actuosi frugiferum reddant. Noverint ii hoc Ciceronis effatum ad se quodam modo referri: « Non… tam præclarum est scire Latine, quam turpe nescire ».

…adhortamur… attollatis facem Latinitatis, quæ est etiam, licet arctioribus quam antea finibus circumscriptum, vinculum quoddam inter homines sermone diversos”.

 

B. Ioannes Paulus II

Allocutio Libenter vos salutamus
27 novembris 1978: AAS 71 [1979], pp. 44-46 

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“We address especially the young people: In an epoch when in some areas, as you know, the Latin language and the human values are less appreciated, you must joyfully accept the patrimony of the language which the Church holds in high esteem and must, with energy, make it fruitful. The well-known words of Cicero, ‘It is not so much excellent to know Latin, as it is a shame not to know it’ in a certain sense are directed to you.
 


…We exhort you all to lift up high the torch of Latin which is even today a bond of unity among peoples of all nations”.

 

Blessed John Paul II

Allocution Libenter vos salutamus
27 November 1978

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“…alia nempe linguæ Latinæ retinentissima esse, alia vulgares sermones in chorali officio expetere, alia hic illic cantum, quem Gregorianum appellant, cum cantilenis hac ætate conditis velle commutare. Quin immo a quibusdam est flagitatum, ut lingua latina ipsa aboleretur.

Oportet profiteamur huiusmodi postulationibus non leviter Nos esse commotos et nonnullo mærore affectos, atque oritur quæstio, undenam exstiterit et curnam propagatus sit talis mentis habitus et antea ignotum fastidium”.

 

V. Paulus VI
Epistula apostolica Sacrificium laudis
15 augusti 1966: Notitiæ 2 [1966], pp. 252-255

“For while some are very faithful to the Latin language, others wish to use the vernacular within the choral office. Others, in various places, wish to exchange that chant which is called ‘Gregorian’, for newly-minted melodies. Indeed, some even insist that Latin should be wholly suppressed.
We must acknowledge that We have been somewhat disturbed and saddened by these requests. One may well wonder what the origin is of this new way of thinking and this sudden dislike for the past; one may well wonder why these things have been fostered”.

 

Venerable Paul VI
Apostolic Letter Sacrificium laudis
15 Augusti 1966


“Non autem agitur hic tantummodo de retinendo in officio chorali eloquio latino, sane digno, quod, nedum parvi fiat, alacriter custodiatur, cum sit in Ecclesia Latina christiani cultus humani fons uberrimus et locupletissimus pietatis thesaurus… Non parvi pendenda sunt instituta maiorum, quæ per diuturna sæcula vos ornabant”.

 

V. Paulus VI
Epistula apostolica Sacrificium laudis
15 augusti 1966: Notitiæ 2 [1966], pp. 252-255


“The Latin language is assuredly worthy of being defended with great care instead of being scorned; for the Latin Church it is the most abundant source of Christian civilization and the richest treasury of piety… we must not hold in low esteem these traditions of your fathers which were your glory for centuries”.

 

Venerable Paul VI
Apostolic Letter Sacrificium laudis
15 August 1966


“…catholica Ecclesia, utpote a Christo Domino condita, inter omnes humanas societates longe dignitate præstet, profecto decet eam lingua uti non vulgari, sed nobilitatis et maiestatis plena”.

 

B. Ioannes XXIII
Constitutio Apostolica Veterum Sapientia, 7
22 februarii 1962: AAS 54 [1962], 131
 

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“…the Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic and non-vernacular”.

 

Blessed John XXIII
Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia, 7
22 February 1962


“…lingua Latina, quam dicere catholicam vere possumus (cfr. Pius XI, Officiorum omnium), utpote quæ sit Apostolicæ Sedis, omnium Ecclesiarum matris et magistræ, perpetuo usu consecrata, putanda est et thesaurus incomparandæ præstantiæ (Pius XII, Magis quam), et quædam quasi ianua, qua aditus omnibus patet ad ipsas christianas veritates antiquitus acceptas et ecclesiasticæ doctrinæ monumenta interpretanda (Leo XIII, Depuis le jour); et vinculum denique peridoneum, quo præsens Ecclesiæ ætas cum superioribus cumque futuris mirifice continetur”.

 

B. Ioannes XXIII
Constitutio Apostolica Veterum Sapientia, 8
22 februarii 1962: AAS 54 [1962], 131-132
 


“In addition, the Latin language ‘can be called truly catholic’ (cf. Pius XI, Officiorum omnium). It has been consecrated through constant use by the Apostolic See, the mother and teacher of all Churches, and must be esteemed ‘a treasure… of incomparable worth’ (Pius XII, Magis quam). It is a general passport to the proper understanding of the Christian writers of antiquity and the documents of the Church’s teaching (Leo XIII, Depuis le jour). It is also a most effective bond, binding the Church of today with that of the past and of the future in wonderful continuity”.

 

Blessed John XXIII
Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia, 8
22 February 1962

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“Latinæ linguæ usus, ut apud magnam Ecclesiæ partem viget, perspicuum est venustumque unitatis signum, ac remedium efficax adversus quaslibet germanæ doctrinæ corruptelas”.

 

V. Pius XII
Litteræ encyclicæ Mediator Dei, 60
20 novembris 1947: AAS 39 [1947], 545

“The use of the Latin language, customary in a considerable portion of the Church, is a manifest and beautiful sign of unity, as well as an effective antidote for any corruption of doctrinal truth”.

 

Venerable Pius XII
Encyclical Letter Mediator Dei, 60
20 November 1947


“Etenim Ecclesia, ut quæ et nationes omnes complexu suo contineat, et usque ad consummationem sæculorum sit permansura… sermonem suapte natura requirit universalem, immutabilem, non vulgarem”.

 

Pius XI
Epistola apostolica Officiorum omnium
1 augusti 1922: AAS 14 [1922], p. 452

 

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“For the Church, precisely because it embraces all nations and is destined to endure until the end of time… of its very nature requires a language which is universal, immutable, and non-vernacular”.

 

Pius XI
Apostolic Letter Officiorum omnium
1 August 1922

 

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Code of Canon Law
Codex Iuris Canonici


“Institutionis sacerdotalis Ratione provideatur ut alumni non tantum accurate linguam patriam edoceantur, sed etiam linguam latinam bene calleant necnon congruam habeant cognitionem alienarum linguarum, quarum scientia ad eorum formationem aut ad ministerium pastorale exercendum necessaria vel utilis videatur”.

 

Codex Iuris Canonici, 249

“Eucharistica celebratio peragatur lingua latina aut alia lingua, dummodo textus liturgici legitime approbati fuerint”.

 

Codex Iuris Canonici, 928


“The program for priestly formation is to make provision that the students are not only carefully taught their native language but also that they are well skilled in the Latin language; they are also to have a suitable familiarity with those foreign languages which seem necessary or useful for their own formation or for the exercise of their pastoral ministry”.

 

Code of Canon Law, 249

“The Eucharist is to be celebrated in the Latin language or in another language provided the liturgical texts have been legitimately approved”.

 

Code of Canon Law, 928
 


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