For the promotion and dissemination of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in the Archdiocese of Malta and the Diocese of Gozo, as endorsed by the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI (2007) and in the Instruction Universae Ecclesiae (2011). This goes hand in hand with what the Second Vatican Council stated in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium of 1963: Linguae latinae usus, salvo particulari iure, in ritibus latinis servetur.
1. The Latin language has
always been held in very high esteem by the Catholic Church and by the
Roman Pontiffs. They have assiduously encouraged the knowledge and
dissemination of Latin, adopting it as the Church’s language, capable of
passing on the Gospel message throughout the world. This is
authoritatively stated by the Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia of my Predecessor, Blessed John XXIII.
Indeed the Church has spoken
and prayed in the languages of all peoples since Pentecost.
Nevertheless, the Christian communities of the early centuries made
frequent use of Greek and Latin, languages of universal communication in
the world in which they lived and through which the newness of Christ’s
word encountered the heritage of the Roman-Hellenistic culture.
After the fall of the Roman
Empire of the West, the Church of Rome not only continued to use Latin
but, in a certain way, made herself its custodian and champion in both
the theological and liturgical sectors as well as in formation and in
the transmission of knowledge.
2. In our time too, knowledge
of the Latin language and culture is proving to be more necessary than
ever for the study of the sources, which, among others, numerous
ecclesiastical disciplines draw from, such as, for example, theology,
liturgy, patristics and canon law, as the Second Vatican Ecumenical
Council teaches (cf. Decree Optatam Totius, n. 13).
In addition, precisely in order
to highlight the Church’s universal character, the liturgical books of
the Roman Rite, the most important documents of the Papal Magisterium
and the most solemn official Acts of the Roman Pontiffs are written in
this language in their authentic form.
3. Yet in today’s culture, the
danger of an increasingly superficial knowledge of Latin may be noted in
the context of the widespread weakening of humanistic studies. This is
also a risk in the context of the philosophical and theological studies
of future priests. Moreover in our own world, in which science and
technology play such an important role, there is a renewed interest in
the Latin culture and language and not only on those continents whose
culture is rooted in the Greco-Roman heritage. This attention seems all
the more meaningful since it not only involves academic and
institutional sectors but also concerns young people and scholars from
very different nations and traditions.
4. It therefore appears urgently necessary to support the
commitment to a greater knowledge and more competent use of Latin, both
in the ecclesial context and in the broader world of culture. In order
to give relevance and resonance to this undertaking the use of didactic
methods in keeping with the new conditions and the promotion of a
network of relations between academic institutions and scholars is
particularly appropriate so as to make the most of the rich and
multiform patrimony of the Latin civilization.
To contribute to attaining these goals following in the footsteps of my venerable Predecessors, today, with this Motu Proprio, I establish the Pontifical Academy for Latin, under the Pontifical Council for Culture. It is governed by a President assisted by a Secretary, who are appointed by me, and by an Academic Council.
The Latinitas Foundation, erected by Paul VI with the Chirograph Romani Sermonis of 30 June 1976 is hereby replaced.
I order that this Apostolic Letter in the form of a Motu Proprio, with which I approve the attached Statutes ad experimentum, for five years, be published in L’Osservatore Romano.
Given at St Peter’s in Rome on 10 November 2012, the Memorial of St Leo the Great, the eighth year of my Pontificate.
The Pontifical Academy for Latin, with headquarters in Vatican City
State, is established for the promotion and appreciation of the Latin
language and culture. The Academy is linked to the Pontifical Council
for Culture on which it depends.
§1. The aims of the Academy are:
a) to encourage the knowledge
and study of Latin — language and literature, classical and patristic,
Medieval and humanistic — in particular at the Catholic institutions for
formation at which both seminarians and priests are trained and taught;
b) to promote the use of Latin in various contexts, both as a written and as a spoken language.
§ 2. To achieve the said aims the Academy intends:
a) to publish and to organize meetings, study congresses and exhibitions;
b) to set up and support courses, seminars and other training
projects in coordination with the Pontifical Institute for Advanced
c) to teach the young generations a knowledge of Latin, also through the modern means of communication;
d) to organize exhibitions, shows and competitions;
e) to plan other activities and initiatives necessary for attaining the goals of the institution.
The Pontifical Academy for Latin consists of the President, the
Secretary, the Academic Council and Members, who are also known as
§ 1. The President of the Academy is appointed by the Supreme
Pontiff for a five-year term. The office of the President may be
extended for a second five-year term.
§ 2. It is the task of the President:
a) to represent the Academy legally before any judicial or administrative authority, of either the Church or the State;
b) to convoke and to chair the Academic Council and the Assembly of Members;
c) to take part as a Member in the meetings of the Coordinating
Council of the Pontifical Academies and to maintain relations with the
Pontifical Council for Culture.
d) supervise the Academy’s work;
e) take care of the ordinary administration with the assistance of
the Secretary, and in matters of extraordinary administration with the
advice of the Academic Council and of the Pontifical Council for
§ 1. The Secretary is appointed by the Supreme Pontiff for a five-year term and may be extended for a second five-year term.
§ 2. The President delegates the Secretary to replace him in the case of absence or impediment.
§ 1. The Academic Council
consists of the President, the Secretary and five Councillors. The
Councillors are elected by the Assembly of Academics for a five-year
term that may be extended.
§ 2. The Academic Council,
which is chaired by the President of the Academy, deliberates on the
more important matters that concern the Academy. It approves the agenda
in view of the Assembly of Members that is to be held at least once a
year. The Council is convoked by the President at least once a year and,
in addition, whenever it is requested by at least three Councillors.
The President, with the consent of the Council, may appoint an Archivist, with the duties of librarian, and a Treasurer.
§ 1. The Academy consists of no
more than 50 Ordinary Members known as Academicians, who are scholars
and connoisseurs of Latin, language and literature. They are appointed
by the Secretary of State. When they reach the age of 80, the Ordinary
Members become “emeritus”.
§ 2. Ordinary Academicians take
part in the Assembly of the Academy convoked by the President.
Academicians emeritus may take part in the Assembly but are not entitled
§ 3. The President of the
Academy, having heard the opinion of the Council, may appoint as well as
Ordinary Academicians other Members, known as Correspondents.
The patrimony of the superseded Fondazione Latinitas and its activities, including the redaction and publication of the Review Latinitas, are transferred to the Pontifical Academy for Latin.
Although not expressly
prescribed, reference is made to the norms of the Code of Canon Law in
force and to the laws of Vatican City State.