This Is What Was Supposed To Happen: Ordinationes ad Constitutionem Apostolicam 'Vete
#1
This Is What Was Supposed to Happen: Ordinationes ad Constitionem Apostolicam 'Veterum Sapientia' rite Exsquendem

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Enjoy this sneak preview of what we’re pretty sure is the first-ever translation — into any language, not just English — of a momentous Latin document published in 1962 and, strangely, nearly impossible to find anywhere outside the printed or online edition of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the official documentary records of the Holy See.

We’ll call it the Ordinances for short. Its full Latin name is Ordinationes ad Constitutionem Apostolicam “Veterum Sapientia” rite Exsequendam, which is literally, in English, Ordinances for the Correct Implementation of the Apostolic Constitution “Veterum Sapientia” — the great papal defense of Latin from which our new Institute takes its name and mission.

Pope John XXIII, in the conclusion of his seven-page Veterum Sapientia said this: We command the Sacred Council to prepare a curriculum for instruction in the Latin language which is to be followed by everyone with the greatest diligence. (1) He signed VS in a solemn ceremony on the high altar of St. Peter’s on February 22, 1962. Less than two months later, on April 20, his order was fulfilled. On that date, the Sacred Congregation for Seminaries and Universities published twenty-two pages of directions, standards and regulations for making Pope John’s vision a reality in the Catholic schools, seminaries, and universities of the world. These directives are not just specific. They’re positively granular in their level of detail and practicality, right down to teaching method, tests, and even homework assignments.
The Ordinances were to have taken effect worldwide beginning in the fall of 1963.  Had they done so, our Church today would be a very different place.  But Pope John died in June of that year, and the Ordinances, together with Veterum Sapientia itself, virtually disappeared, though no subsequent Vatican documents dealing with Latin have ever contradicted or negated them.  

The document below is still a draft. We’ll be publishing the final version on our website on February 22, 2021, in commemoration of the fifty-ninth anniversary of the signing of Veterum Sapientia. But even in draft form, it’s crystal-clear that Pope John meant business. The glittering vision he articulated in VS was no mere nostalgic ode to the Church’s past, but a bracing summons to build Her future. Here are a few essential quotes from the Ordinances:



… the goal is to make [seminarians] able to use this language to learn their major academic disciplines, to write Church documents and letters, and to correspond with their brother clergy of other nations. Finally, at the highest levels, the objective is to make them able to take part in the sort of ecclesiastical debates on articles of Catholic faith and discipline which occur in councils and meetings… (II.i.§2)



This curriculum is to last at least seven years, for young people beginning their Latin classes in seminaries. They are to have no fewer than six hours per week in the first five years, and no fewer than five hours weekly in the remaining two. (II.ii.§1.1)



… the other academic disciplines will have to be sequenced and abridged (and some perhaps cut entirely or left for later), so that our mandate concerning the time to be given to Latin language study may be obeyed in every respect. (II.ii.§2)



Latin language teaching method ought to cause students to acquire the ability to use it. For this reason, the overflowing philological pot-au-feu which makes up nearly the entire menu in schools of the Humanities, especially graduate schools, will have to be thrown out, since it does not give the nourishment one would reasonably expect from such study. (II.iv.§2)



Any textbook used for teaching Latin syntax shall itself be written in Latin. (II.iv.§7)


Get the idea?  There’s plenty more in the document.  Read on!



For the first time ever translated into English, the Ordinations.


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This is a document which, in my opinion, significantly rehabilitates John XXIII. It presents to me evidence that he was, indeed, an unwitting pawn of the modernisers who, once he became aware, attempted to claw back some of what he allowed to be lost. 
"O Charles the Great, we beseech you to make that day arrive soon when society, re-established at its foundations, will cease asking liberty and order from the revolutions."
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I remember, probably 25 years ago, reading about something that happened that illustrates the problems that arose because VS was ignored. 

A Priest in Africa was seeking financial aid for his Parish. He wrote to an American Chancery, hoping an American Parish would 'adopt' his. Since he didn't speak English, he wrote in Latin.

Upon receipt of the letter, no one in the Chancery could read it. Not only that, but no one knew what language it was written in. Someone realised, however, that it was a romance language, so they took it to the local university. There, they found out it was the official language of the Roman Church and managed to get it translated.
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(03-22-2021, 06:02 PM)jovan66102 Wrote: I remember, probably 25 years ago, reading about something that happened that illustrates the problems that arose because VS was ignored. 

A Priest in Africa was seeking financial aid for his Parish. He wrote to an American Chancery, hoping an American Parish would 'adopt' his. Since he didn't speak English, he wrote in Latin.

Upon receipt of the letter, no one in the Chancery could read it. Not only that, but no one knew what language it was written in. Someone realised, however, that it was a romance language, so they took it to the local university. There, they found out it was the official language of the Roman Church and managed to get it translated.

That is really, really sad.
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Noteworthy that the grammar/translation method is thrown out. I know from my experience of learning Latin myself, then of teaching it, that proficiency can only be gained in the way that John XXIII recommends, which is often called the direct method.

Another thing ought never be forgotten is that VS begins by praising the wisdom of the Greeks and Romans, and reminds us that their cultures and languages served as preparation for the world to receive Christ. People really ought to read the ancient philosophers, poets, and statesmen more than they do. This habit will do more to foster a good life of virtue than an MBA or CFA.

ETA: Obviously it's not a choice of one or the other. But it's a perversion of education to make it all about getting high-paying jobs that'll help you climb the ladder.
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I have written a response, intended to be published on VSI's blog, which I will reproduce here for your consideration. It is about the importance of these new Ordinances. As Filiole me has said, the best way to learn Latin is through the direct method (consider Orberg's Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata as a method par excellence) rather than through the grammar tables which became particularly popular between the 1950s and 1990s. Those methods are the ones which John is attempting to do away with, because he wished to have a living, breathing language with which the entire, universal Church could speak and understand Herself.

Here is my blog post:

Quote:John XXIII commanded that the Latin language be restored across ecclesiastical life in his 1962 Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia. This document, probably the most ignored apostolic constitution of the modern age, outlined the Pontiff’s desire to see Latin become a lingua franca for clerics and prelates in the Church. The late Pope sought to re-create a living, breathing, world wherein Latin is spoken, written, and read as part of daily life.

John XXIII's vision would see the academies teach the higher subjects (theology and philosophy) to their pupils exclusively in Latin. Clerics from across the world, sharing one tongue, would “acquaint themselves with the mind of the Holy See on any matter, and communicate the more easily with Rome and with one another” (John XXIII, 1962). Even important theological debates would be conducted and concluded in articulate, majestic Latin as they had been for centuries before. This ideal, though far removed from our present reality, is not some exercise in anachronistic nostalgia so much as a call-to-action for the Faithful. The challenge is set for us to begin the long process of restoring the great Latin language to its place of primacy within the Church.

In the apostolic constitution, John XXIII cites his predecessor, Pius XI, when he explains that this desire is “important not so much on cultural or literary grounds, as for religious reasons.” (Pius XI, 1922) The Holy Father is exhorting us to have a new religious re-awakening predicated on the “universal, immutable, and non-vernacular” (ibid) nature of the Latin language which is strikingly similar to the Church’s own nature as a universal, immutable Church which has a “dignity far surpassing that of any human society.” (John XXIII, 1962)

The obstacles facing the restorationist cause of Veterum Sapientia are daunting. Fortunately the Congregation for Seminaries and Universities prepared a subsequent document, called the Ordinances for the Correct Implementation of the Apostolic Constitution “Veterum Sapientia.” As VSI's own James Walther wrote in his introductory article, the Ordinances have eluded the restorationist movement for years, having disappeared deep into the annals of the Vatican library. Recently, however, they have been translated, for the first time into English, by our very own Dr. Nancy Llewellyn.

To be blunt, these new-to-us ordinances are a game-changer for the restorationist movement. They provide, in crystalline clarity and ultra-fine detail, a step-by-step roadmap for the re-establishment of Latin within the wider Church. The Ordinances are so important to our movement, in fact, that they should be read and re-read, almost to the point of rote memorization, by all of those who accept the mantle of restoration. Through her work of translating this document (not to mention her two-and-a-half decades of teaching Latin), Dr. Llewellyn has contributed invaluable resources from which the restorationist cause can draw significant inspiration.

There are still some significant challenges ahead of us. In the first section of the Ordinances, the author Joseph Cardinal Pizzardo demands that Latin educators be masters not only of written Latin, as they often are in Classics departments, but also that these educators have oral and aural fluency. Even in the most prestigious universities and colleges across the world today, such men and women, Latin speakers, are rare. Rarer still are men and women who are masters and prepared to give a life of service to the Church and Her Faithful. Happily, the modern age, for all of its manifest faults, presents us with a solution in the form of online learning.

Through organizations like the Veterum Sapientia Institute, hundreds of would-be pupils can engage with experts and faculty to which they, hitherto, had no means of connecting. Geography is no longer a barrier to receiving the highest quality education. We have now, through our computers, access not only to the kind of library that would make any yesteryear bibliophile green with envy, but to the teachers who can help us understand that library within the broader tradition which it serves. What more could we need?

With the benefit of online learning and the pathway to success provided, the only thing left is to get moving. The success of John XXIII’s call-to-action is assured, only if we work hard to achieve it and follow the steps laid down in the Ordinances. Those of us who are not experts in the Latin language must begin our studies in earnest so that we too may one day achieve a fluency in the mother-tongue of all faithful sons and daughters of the Church. Though the road ahead is long, we now know that we have the tools and the roadmap to ensure our success. Get started. Take a class. Be part of the restoration.

In my opinion, the translation of the Ordinances is a game-changing, eye-opening, incredibly inspirational event which should, if any of you are in any way inclined to support the restoration of the Church in a cultural, literary and, most importantly, profoundly religious sense (as I believe most of you are), enliven your passions for study. I do commend the Veterum Sapientia Institute which offers online courses in Latin and Greek, as well as Canon Law, Patristic Theology, and Liturgical Theology, for a modest fee all online. I am about to conclude the Latin 101 class this week, and will be taking Latin 102 which begins in the Spring Quarter (in April). Maybe we will take some courses together.
"O Charles the Great, we beseech you to make that day arrive soon when society, re-established at its foundations, will cease asking liberty and order from the revolutions."
Prayer to Charlemagne the Great (de confirmatione cultus), by Dom Prosper Guéranger
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