Pope resurrects Latin with academy to boost study

Associated Press Modified: November 10, 2012 at 11:45 am •  Published: November 10, 2012

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is trying to resurrect Latin.

Pope Benedict XVI issued a decree Saturday creating a new pontifical academy for Latin studies to try to boost interest in the official language of the Roman Catholic Church that is nevertheless out of widespread use elsewhere.

Benedict acknowledged Latin's fall from grace in his decree, saying future priests nowadays often learn only a "superficial" knowledge of Latin in their seminaries. The new academy will promote Latin through conferences, publications and instruction in Catholic schools, universities and seminaries, he wrote.

As expected, the decree and its founding statutes were written in Latin.

Benedict's move is further evidence of his attempt to restore the church to its traditional roots as it battles to prevent the faithful from straying in today's increasingly secular world. Benedict has been promoting this "new evangelization" to try to reassert Christianity's place in society in parts of the world where it's fallen by the wayside, a victim of competition from Pentecostal churches and its own priest sex abuse scandals.

The initiative is also an olive branch to traditionalist Catholics, who have long lamented the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council which replaced the Latin liturgy with Mass in the vernacular.

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