Pope Establishes New Pontifical Academy for Latin

Pontiff Cites Need For "Knowledge of the Latin Language and Culture"

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By Junno Arocho

VATICAN CITY, Nov. 12, 2012 (Zenit.org).- On Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI issued a "Motu Propio" Apostolic Letter which established a Pontifical Academy for Latin. The new academy will be used as means to study and promote the Latin language.

The Holy Father stated that Latin has "always been held in the highest esteem by the Catholic Church and by the Roman Pontiffs" and is a language that is capable of transmitting universally the Gospel." The Pope also described the use of the language since the beginnings of the Roman Catholic Church.

"Even in our own time the knowledge of the Latin language and culture is more necessary than ever for the study of the sources from which, among others, numerous ecclesiastical disciplines draw, for example, theology, liturgy, patristics and canon law, as the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council teaches," he said.

However, the Holy Father observed a decline of humanistic studies today's culture, while acknowledging a superficial knowledge of Latin in the current studies of future priests. On the other hand, Pope Benedict continued, "precisely in our world in which science and technology play such a prominent role, we find a renewed interest for the Latin culture and language, not only on those continents that have their roots in the Greco-Roman legacy."

"Such attention appears more important not only insofar as it involves academic and institutional spheres, but as it regards young people and scholars from nations of very different traditions."

Pope Benedict XVI, recognizing the need to support such efforts, instituted the Pontifical Academy for Latin as a branch of the Pontifical Council for Culture. The Academy, the Pope continued, would be led by a president and a secretary that will be appointed by him, as well as an academic council.

The Pope concluded his Apostolic Letter stating that the new academy would be approved "ad experimentum" for a period of 5 years and ordered the publishing of the statutes in the "Osservatore Romano"

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On ZENIT's webpage:

For the full text of the Holy Father's address along with the Statutes of the new Pontifical Academy for Latin, go to: http://www.zenit.org/article-35936?l=english