Vatican website takes up Latin

Source: FSSPX News


Since May 9, 2008, the official Vatican website ( has been offering the choice of a section in Latin, sancta sedes, side by side with six living languages – German, English, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese – in which the site has been accessible up to now.

In actual fact it is a portal which places official Latin texts at the disposal of Internet users. Next to a large photograph of Benedict XVI writing a letter, there are six sections in Latin. Summi pontifices is consecrated to texts, constitutions and apostolic letters of the popes, from John XXIII (1958-1963) to Benedict XVI. The section Biblia sacra is dedicated to the Bible. A third section, Catechismus catholicae ecclesiae, is consecrated to the Catechism. The fourth section, Codex iuris canonici, gives access to the Code of Canon Law in Latin. The section Concilium vaticanum II allows the reading of all of the Constitutions, Declarations and Decrees of Vatican II. Lastly, Romana curia, gives access to the most important texts in Latin, of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia.

 Latin is the official language of the Catholic Church, and for several years the Holy See has been insisting that its usage be reintroduced, particularly in the formation of priests. Benedict XVI inaugurated his pontificate on April 20, 2005, with a speech in Latin to the Cardinals.

 However, there is no section destined for the press: the communiqués from the Vatican will continue to be published in Italian, and eventually in English and French, to the great relief of the authorized journalists, few of whom are familiar with the language of Cicero and St. Augustine. To such a degree, that on June 26, 2007, the distribution in the Vatican press office of a motu proprio in Latin in which Benedict XVI modified the rules of election of his successor, caused some confusion…before the press service rapidly produced the Italian translation and ad hoc explanations… (Sources: apic/imedia/afp)