The Info List - Ecclesiastical Latin

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Corpus Juris Canonici

Decretist Regulæ Juris Decretals of Gregory IX


Decretum Gratiani Extravagantes Liber Septimus

Ancient Church Orders

Didache The Apostolic Constitutions

Canons of the Apostles

Collections of ancient canons

Collectiones canonum Dionysianae Collectio canonum quadripartita Collectio canonum Quesnelliana Collectio canonum Wigorniensis


Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals Benedictus Deus (Pius IV) Contractum trinius Defect of Birth Jus exclusivae Papal appointment

Oriental law

Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches Eastern Canonical Reforms of Pius XII Nomocanon Archeparchy


Liturgical law

Ecclesia Dei Mysterii Paschalis Sacrosanctum concilium

Musicam sacram

Summorum Pontificum Tra le sollecitudini

Sacramental law

Canon 844 Ex opere operato Omnium in mentem Valid but illicit

Holy Orders

Impediment (canon law)


Clerical celibacy (Catholic Church) Nullity of Sacred Ordination

Apostolicae curae

Dimissorial letters Approbation


Apostolic Penitentiary Complicit absolution Canon penitentiary Internal forum Paenitentiale Theodori Penitential canons Seal of the Confessional


Eucharistic discipline Canon 915

Matrimonial law

Banns of Marriage Declaration of Nullity

Matrimonial Nullity Trial Reforms of Pope

Defender of the Bond Impediments to Marriage

Affinity Bigamy Clandestinity Impediment of crime Disparity of Cult Ligamen

Matrimonial Dispensation

Ratum sed non consummatum Sanatio in radice

Natural marriage

Pauline privilege Petrine privilege

Trials and tribunals


Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura Tribunal of the Roman Rota Apostolic Penitentiary

Tribunal Officers

Judicial Vicar/Officialis Auditor Advocatus Diaboli Defender of the Bond

Tribunal Procedure

Appeal as from an abuse Presumption

Canonical structures Particular churches

Particular churches sui juris

Church Eastern Catholic Churches

Local particular churches

Abbacy nullius

Abbot nullius

Apostolic vicariate

Apostolic vicar

Apostolic administration

Apostolic administrator

Archdiocese Diocese

Aeque principaliter Cathedraticum In persona episcopi Chancery Deanery

Vicar forane

Archeparchy Eparchy Military ordinariate Mission sui juris Personal ordinariate

Anglicanorum Coetibus

Personal Prelature

Juridic persons

Parish Roman Curia

Dicastery Congregation Pontifical council


Canonical coronation

Canonically crowned images

Computation of time Contract law Custom Delegata potestas non potest delegari Derogation Dispensation

Taxa Innocentiana

Indult Impediment Interpretation

Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts

Jurisdiction Peritus Obreption & subreption Obrogation Promulgation Resignation of the Roman Pontiff Sede vacante Vacatio legis Valid but illicit

Philosophy, theology, and fundamental theory



Treatise on Law


Law of persons

Person (canon law) Canonical age Canonical faculties Clerics and public office Clerical celebacy Consecrated life Defect of Birth Emancipation Juridic & physical persons Jus patronatus Laicization (dispensation)

Canonical documents

Notary (canon law)

Protonotary apostolic

Apostolic constitution Canon Concordat Decree Decretal Encyclical Motu proprio Ordinance Papal brief Papal bull Penitential Positive law Rescript

Penal law

Canon 1324 Canon 1398 Censure (canon law) Excommunication

List of excommunicable offences in the Catholic Church List of people excommunicated by the Catholic Church

List of excommunicated cardinals

Interdict Internal forum Laicization (penal) Latae sententiae

Procedural law Election of the Roman Pontiff

Universi Dominici gregis Papal renunciation

Catholicism portal

v t e

Ecclesiastical Latin, also called Liturgical Latin
or Church Latin, is the form of Latin
that is used in the Roman and the other Latin
rites of the Catholic Church, as well as in the Anglican Churches, Lutheran Churches, Methodist Churches,[1] and the Western Rite of the Eastern Orthodox Church,[2] for liturgical purposes. It is distinguished from Classical Latin
by some lexical variations, a simplified syntax and a pronunciation that is based on Italian. The Ecclesiastical Latin
that is used in theological works, liturgical rites and dogmatic proclamations varies in style: syntactically simple in the Vulgate Bible, hieratic in the Roman Canon of the Mass, terse and technical in Aquinas' Summa Theologica
Summa Theologica
and Ciceronian
in Pope
John Paul II's encyclical letter Fides et Ratio. Ecclesiastical Latin
is the official language of the Holy See
Holy See
and the only surviving sociolect of spoken Latin.


1 Usage 2 Comparison with Classical Latin 3 Language materials 4 Current use 5 See also 6 References 7 Sources 8 Further reading 9 External links

9.1 Latin
and the Catholic Church 9.2 Bibles 9.3 Breviaries 9.4 Other documents 9.5 Course

Usage[edit] The Church issued the dogmatic definitions of the first seven General Councils in Greek. Even in Rome, Greek remained at first the language of the liturgy and the language in which the first popes wrote. During the Late Republic and the Early Empire, educated Roman citizens
Roman citizens
were generally fluent in Greek, but state business was conducted in Latin. The Holy See
Holy See
could change its official language from Latin. The chances of that happening are remote since the fact that Latin
is no longer in common use makes the meaning of its words less likely to change radically from century to century. Since Latin
is spoken as a native language by no modern community, the language is considered a universal, internally-consistent means of communication, without regional bias.[3] Especially since Vatican II of 1962–1965, the Church no longer uses Latin
as the exclusive language of the Roman and Ambrosian liturgies of the Latin
rites of the Catholic Church. As early as 1913, the Catholic Encyclopedia
Catholic Encyclopedia
commented that Latin
was starting to be replaced by vernacular languages. However, the Church still produces its official liturgical texts in Latin, which provide a single clear point of reference for translations into all other languages. The same holds for the official texts of canon law and for all other doctrinal and pastoral communications and directives of the Holy See
Holy See
(and the Pope), such as encyclical letters, motu propriae, and declarations ex cathedra. After the use of Latin
as an everyday language died out, even among scholars, the Holy See
Holy See
has for some centuries usually drafted papal other documents in a modern language, but the authoritative text, the one published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, generally appears in Latin, even if the translation is available only later. For example, the writers of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
drafted it in French, the language in which it appeared in 1992. The Latin
text appeared only five years later, in 1997, and the French text was corrected to match the Latin
version. The Latin-language department of the Vatican Secretariat of State (formerly the Secretaria brevium ad principes et epistolarum latinarum) is charged with the preparation in Latin
of papal and curial documents. Occasionally, the official texts are published in a modern language, including such well-known texts as the motu proprio Tra le sollecitudini[4] (1903) by Pope
Pius X (in Italian) and Mit brennender Sorge (1937) by Pope
Pius XI (in German). The rule now in force on the use of Latin
in the Eucharistic liturgy of the Roman Rite
Roman Rite
states Mass is celebrated either in Latin
or in another language, provided that the liturgical texts used have been approved according to the norm of law. Except for celebrations of the Mass that are scheduled by the ecclesiastical authorities to take place in the language of the people, priests are always and everywhere permitted to celebrate Mass in Latin.[5] After the Reformation, in the Lutheran Churches, Latin
was retained as the language of the Mass for weekdays, although for the Sunday Sabbath, the Deutsche Messe
Deutsche Messe
was to be said.[6] In Geneva, among the Reformed Churches, "persons called before the consistory to prove their faith answered by reciting the Paternoster, the Ave Maria, and the Credo in Latin."[6] In the Anglican Church, the Book of Common Prayer was published in Latin, alongside English.[1] John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Churches, "used Latin
text in doctrinal writings",[1] as Martin Luther
Martin Luther
and John Calvin
John Calvin
did in their era.[1] In the training of Protestant clergy in Württemberg, as well as in the Rhineland, universities instructed divinity students in Latin
and their examinations were conducted in this language.[6] The University of Montauban under Reformed auspcices, required that seminarians complete two theses, with one being in Latin
and as such, Reformed ministers were "Latinist by training", comparable to Roman Catholic seminarians.[6] Comparison with Classical Latin[edit] Written Church Latin
does not differ radically from Classical Latin. The study of the language of Cicero
and Virgil
is adequate to understand Church Latin. However, those interested only in ecclesiastical texts may prefer to limit the time they devote to ancient authors, whose vocabulary covers matters of importance in that period but appear less frequently in Church documents. In many countries, those who speak Latin
for liturgical or other ecclesiastical purposes use the pronunciation that has become traditional in Rome by giving the letters the value they have in modern Italian but without distinguishing between open and close "E" and "O". "AE" and "OE" coalesce with "E"; before them and "I", "C" and "G" are pronounced /t͡ʃ/ (English "CH") and /d͡ʒ/ (English "J"), respectively. "TI" before a vowel is generally pronounced /tsi/ (unless preceded by "S", "T" or "X"). Such speakers pronounce consonantal "V" (not written as "U") as /v/ as in English, and double consonants are pronounced as such. The distinction in Classical Latin between long and short vowels is ignored, and instead of the 'macron', a horizontal line to mark the long vowel, an acute accent is used for stress. The first syllable of two-syllable words is stressed; in longer words, an acute accent is placed over the stressed vowel: adorémus 'let us adore'; Dómini 'of the Lord'.[7] Ecclesiastics in some countries follow slightly different traditions. For instance, in Slavic and German-speaking countries, "C" commonly receives the value of /ts/ before "E" and"I", and speakers pronounce "G" in all positions hard, never as /d͡ʒ/ (English "J") . (See also Latin
regional pronunciation and Latin
spelling and pronunciation: Ecclesiastical pronunciation.) Language materials[edit] The complete text of the Bible in Latin, the revised Vulgate, appears at Nova Vulgata - Bibliorum Sacrorum Editio.[8] Another site[9] gives the entire Bible, in the Douay version, verse by verse, accompanied by the Vulgate Latin
of each verse. In 1976, the Latinitas Foundation[10] (Opus Fundatum Latinitas in Latin) was established by Pope
Paul VI to promote the study and use of Latin. Its headquarters are in Vatican City. The foundation publishes an eponymous quarterly in Latin. Other initiatives of the Latinitas Foundation include the publication, in Italian, of the 15,000-word Lexicon Recentis Latinitatis (Dictionary of Recent Latin), which indicates Latin
terms to use in referring to modern ideas, such as a bicycle (birota), a cigarette (fistula nicotiana), a computer (instrumentum computatorium), a cowboy (armentarius), a motel (deversorium autocineticum), shampoo (capitilavium), a strike (operistitium), a terrorist (tromocrates), a trademark (ergasterii nota), an unemployed person (invite otiosus), a waltz (chorea Vindobonensis), and even a miniskirt (tunicula minima) and hot pants (brevissimae bracae femineae). Some 600 such terms extracted from the book appear on a page[11] of the Vatican website. Current use[edit] Latin
remains the official language of the Holy See
Holy See
and the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.[12] Until the 1960s and still later in Roman colleges like the Gregorian, Roman Catholic priests studied theology using Latin
textbooks, and the language of instruction in many seminaries was also Latin, which was seen as the language of the Church Fathers. The use of Latin
in pedagogy and in theological research, however, has since declined. Nevertheless, canon law requires for seminary formation to provide for a thorough training in Latin,[13] though "the use of Latin
in seminaries and pontifical universities has now dwindled to the point of extinction."[14] Latin was still spoken in recent international gatherings of Roman Catholic leaders, such as the Second Vatican Council, and it is still used at conclaves to elect a new Pope. The Tenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in 2004 was the most recent to have a Latin-language group for discussions. Although Latin
is the traditional liturgical language of the Roman (Latin) Church, the liturgical use of the vernacular has predominated since the liturgical reforms that followed the Vatican II: liturgical law for the Latin
Church states that Mass may be celebrated either in Latin
or another language in which the liturgical texts, translated from Latin, have been legitimately approved.[15] The permission granted for continued use of the Tridentine Mass
Tridentine Mass
in its 1962 form authorizes use of the vernacular language in proclaiming the Scripture readings after they are first read in Latin.[16] In historic Protestant Churches, such as the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
and Lutheran Churches, Ecclesiastical Latin
is often employed in sung celebrations of the Mass.[1] See also[edit]

Christianity portal

Canon law (Catholic Church) Reginald Foster Latin
Church Latin
liturgy Latin
Mass Roman Rite


^ a b c d e f Cross, Frank Leslie; Livingstone, Elizabeth A. (2005). The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford University Press. p. 961. ISBN 9780192802903. The Second Vatican Council declared that the use of Latin
was to be maintained the liturgy, though permission was granted for some use of the vernacular; in the outcome, the use of the vernacular has almost entirely triumphed, although the official books continue to be published in Latin. In the C of E the Latin
versions of the Book of Common Prayer have never been widely used, though, for instance, John Wesley
John Wesley
used Latin
text in doctrinal writings. The option of using traditional Latin
texts in sung worship has been retained by choirs in both the Anglican and Lutheran Churches.  ^ a b "On the Western Rite Liturgy
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese". antiochian.org. Retrieved 2017-12-30.  ^ Cf. Pius XI, Apostolic Letter Officiorum omnium, 1 August 1922, and John XXIII, Apostolic Constitution Veterum sapientia, 22 February 1962 ^ Adoremus.org ^ Redemptionis Sacramentum, 112 Archived February 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. ^ a b c d Waquet, Françoise (2002). Latin, Or, The Empire of a Sign: From the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Centuries. Verso. p. 78. ISBN 9781859844021.  ^ Roman Missal ^ Vatican.va ^ Newadvent.org ^ Vatican.va ^ Vatican.va ^ As stated above, official documents are frequently published in other languages. The Holy See's diplomatic languages are French and Latin
(such as letters of credence from Vatican ambassadors to other countries are written in Latin
[Fr. Reginald Foster, on Vatican Radio, 4 June 2005]). Laws and official regulations of Vatican City, which is an entity that is distinct from the Holy See, are issued in Italian. ^ Can. 249, 1983 CIC ^ Cross, Frank Leslie; Livingstone, Elizabeth A. (2005). The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford University Press. p. 961. ISBN 9780192802903.  ^ Can. 928 Archived December 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine., 1983 CIC ^ ["Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-01. Retrieved 2015-03-27.  Motu proprio
Motu proprio
Summorum Pontificum, article 6


The New Missal Latin
by Edmund J. Baumeister, S.M., Ph.D. Published by St. Mary's Publishing Company, P.O. Box 134, St. Mary's, KS 66536-0134, USA A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin
by John F. Collins, (Catholic University of America Press, 1985) ISBN 0-8132-0667-7. A learner's first textbook, comparable in style, layout, and coverage to Wheelock's Latin, but featuring text selections from the liturgy and the Vulgate: unlike Wheelock, it also contains translation and composition exercises. Byrne, Carol (1999). "Simplicissimus". The Latin
Mass Society of England and Wales. Retrieved 20 April 2011.  (A course in ecclesiastical Latin.)

Library resources about Ecclesiastical Latin

Online books Resources in your library Resources in other libraries

Further reading[edit]

Collins, John F. 1985. A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1985. Mohrmann, Christine. 1957. Liturgical Latin, Its Origins and Character: Three Lectures. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press. Scarre, Annie Mary. 1933. An Introduction to Liturgical Latin. Ditchling: Saint Dominic's Press.

External links[edit]

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and the Catholic Church[edit]

John XXIII (1999) [1962]. "Veterum Sapientia: Apostolic Constitution on the Promotion of the Study of Latin". Adoremus: Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy.  (in Latin
here) "What the Church says on the Latin
Language". Michael Martin.  Una Voce - International organization promoting the Latin
Tridentine Mass Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
in Latin Fr. Nikolaus Gihr, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass "The Language Used in the Celebration of the Holy Mass"


The Bible in Latin
- official text of the Roman Catholic Church NewAdvent.org bilingual Bible Ordo Missae of the 1970 Roman Missal, Latin
and English texts, rubrics in English only


Divinum Officium Latin-English pre-Vatican-II Breviary

Other documents[edit]

"Documenta Latina". The Holy See. Retrieved 13 October 2009.  "Thesaurus Precum Latinarum: Treasury of Latin
Prayers". Michael Martin. Retrieved 13 October 2009. 


Simplicissimus, an Ecclesiastical Latin

v t e

Ages of Latin

until 75 BC Old Latin

75 BC – 200 AD Classical Latin

200–900 Late Latin

900–1300 Medieval Latin

1300–1500 Renaissance Latin

1500–present New Latin

1900–present Contemporary Latin

History of Latin Latin
literature Vulgar Latin Ecclesiastical Latin Romance languages Latino sine flexione Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum Hiberno