Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Learning Latin is of little value from a religious aspect at present, at least if you live in Los Angeles. There are few Latin Masses around, and at my parish I only hear Latin spoken on Easter Sunday, and then as part of one brief chant.

However, there's reason to be optimistic that Latin will make a comeback. The Church needs a lingua franca (Latin again!) and English is not a good choice for a number of reasons.

Any reason to learn Latin based on it becoming more popular in the Church is based on hope, of course. But there are other useful reasons to learn it -- to read the classics in original form, to generally "improve yourself", and as far as learning a foreign language goes it is much easier to learn to read the dead Latin language than to learn to read,speak,listen to, and write a living language. Latin will always clue you in to the secrets of big English words ("why are inscription and description so similar? scribo/scribas/scribit Oh, I get it"). And of course, Latin is a gateway to French, Spanish, Italian, etc.

Anyway, I have an 8 year old and two 5 year olds. For the 8 year old I got "Minimus", a comic-book style intro to Latin with the adventures of a mouse living in Vindolanda, an outpost in Roman Britain.

For the 5 year olds I need to go a little slower, since they are still learning to read English.

However, one thing we're doing is memorizing the standard prayers in Latin.

The kids learned the Signum Crucis, the Pater Noster, the Doxologia Minor, and the Ave Maria in English some time ago. We are still doing the Our Father and Hail Mary in English as they are somewhat lengthy.

My wife says it's spooky to hear the kids before meals going: "In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, Amen." She says it's like living in a monastery.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

how hard it is to follow the mass in latin, anyway? I mean, you don't exactly have to be a classicist to manage.

4:33 PM  
Blogger xofezura said...

Well, I wouldn't know.

I became Catholic in 2003, and my wife at Easter, 2005.

All we know is the Novus Ordo in English.

Indult Masses are pretty rare in Los Angeles, and the Novus Ordo in Latin even more rare.

We've been meaning to attend an indult at San Fernando Mission, but its only once a month at noon, and there have been conflicts due to RCIA attendance.

My wife's mystagogy classes wind-down in June, so we'll try to go in July.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My friend goes to a latin rite church.

I love latin. Obviously:

gloria patri, et filio et spiritui sancto sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper et in saecula saeculorum amen.

4:50 PM  
Blogger atgnatus said...

Nothing to add other than support. Good for you. Great for the kids.

11:46 PM  
Blogger xofezura said...

This is an unbelievable resource for learning Latin. My kids will flip out!

11:42 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Dear Xofezura,

Does Minimus teach classical Latin pronunciation, or are you free to pronounce it as you wish?



6:12 PM  
Blogger xofezura said...

Minimis has nothing on pronunciation, but there are a lot of online guides.

Minimus is great, but the Cambridge Latin Online resource (see right column link) is just as good, and of course, free.

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