Saturday, August 23, 2008

Lingua Latina in Civitate Vaticana

The German/Austrian/Swiss public television network for cultural programming broadcasts, 3sat, today has a theme day on the Roman Empire. As part of this programming, its daily cultural magazine "Kulturzeit" was broadcast entirely in Latin (the pronunciation was meant to be the restored classical one, i.e. æ = "ay", but you can heavily hear the German in the consonants; also, since many of the speakers don't really know Latin, they make pauses in strange places, and often stress the wrong words.) I will spare you the typically Euro-leftist political parts (but if you really want to, you can watch the entire programme here). But the part that was most interesting to NLM readers was the segment about Latin in the Vatican. They even visited Ss. Trinità dei Pellegrini, the Roman personal parish for the extraordinary form entrusted to the FSSP, and briefly talked to Fr Kramer. I am quite happy about this part. They start by saying that at Ss. Trinità "mos antiquus retinetur", the old way is being retained ("mos maiorum", the way of the forebears, being an extremely positive term in Latin). When they describe the usus antiquior, they say "celebrat unum cum laicis ad orientem versus", he celebrates together with the laypeople turned towards the East; of course, they have to add "ut hi vultum eius non conspiciant", so that they cannot see his face, but still, the concept is there, and even mentioned first. They then say that there are some who disapprove of the Tridentine Mass, because it "almost does not permit the faithful to actively participate" ("fideles ... missa actuose partecipere vix possint"), but end by saying that according to Fr Kramer nothing of the sort is to be seen at Ss. Trinità: "Non modo nonnulli ibi vinculo matrimonii iungi Latina lingua utentes volunt, sed etiam baptismata tridentina mox dabuntur Latine." - "Not only are there some who want to marry there using the Latin language, also Tridentine Baptisms will soon be conferred in Latin."

See the video about Latin in the Vatican "Habemus Latinum" here:; if you want to go directly to the part about Ss. Trinità, go to 5:21.

(By the way, the German subtitles depart quite liberally from the Latin, which is odd, since it was translated from the German.)

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