Washington D.C., Jul 16, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
With media outlets taking notice of the unexpected success of the Pope's tweets in Latin, a scholar conversant in the language finds it remarkable that so many are interacting in the “dead” tongue.
With 123,000 followers, @Pontifex_ln is actually seen by more Twitter users than are the Pope's tweets in Polish, German and Arabic. Not only are the tweets being read in Latin, some users are responding in kind.
“It's quite remarkable that the Latin Twitter account is so lively,” Dr. Timothy Noone, a philosophy professor at Catholic University of America, told CNA June 26.
“Insofar as you consider Twitter as just a new way to communicate, I'm not too surprised. What's more surprising is how many people still feel comfortable writing the Latin language.”
“That's a bit of a surprise, and very pleasing, actually,” added the scholar, who specializes in medieval metaphysics and epistemology, and in particular the thought of Blessed John Duns Scotus.
Twitter is used to send short messages, restricted to 140 characters. Noone said this length requirement means that tweets can be either “pretty mundane” and “everyday communication,” or “extremely profound.”
“You can say something extremely profound, but in a way that's cryptic, like an aphorism.”
Pope Francis' latest Latin tweet – or as Father John Zuhlsdorf has suggested, “pipatum” – reads “Domine, largire nobis gratiam plorandi indifferentem animum nostrum necnon immanitatem quae in mundo et in nobis insaeviunt.”
It is a translation of the same day's English language tweet, “Lord, grant us the grace to weep over our indifference, over the cruelty that is in the world and in ourselves.”
The rather high level of interaction with the “pipati” counters the claim that Latin is “dead,” Noone said. He noted that he and several of his colleagues can speak the language, and that other languages which had fallen into the disuse typical of Latin have actually been revived.
He noted Irish Gaelic, which was spoken by less than three percent of Irishmen in 1922, but by nearly 40 percent today; and Hebrew, which was used only by rabbis and particularly devout Orthodox Jews, but is now the national language of Israel.
“It's not true, what people tend to assume: namely that when a language has gotten below a certain threshold that it is impossible to revive,” Noone said. “The counter examples are pretty clear. If there is a concerted effort with will and resources it can be revived to being read, written and spoken. This can be true of Latin today.”
He said this, noting that “it would be hard to overestimate the importance of the Latin language for understanding Western culture.” Any important work of medicine, literature, poetry, philosophy, or theology written in the West from 400 to about 1450, “will have been written in Latin.”
“The real problem is literature: if you cut yourself off from Latin, you cut yourself off from a huge piece of the collective experience.”
Noone urged that aurality, the 'heard' quality of a language, is important, and should be promoted for Latin. “Reading a language is one thing, but reading writing and speaking a language requires a certain aurality.”
He suggested that the Church could help to “forward that process,” and wondered if the Pontifical Academy for Latin, set up by Benedict XVI in November, will help to aid in this process.
Indeed, the academy's aims include promoting “the use of Latin in various contexts, both as a written and as a spoken language.”
Noone said, “we have to change how people teach Latin,” emphasizing its aurality. Current methods treat it solely as a written language, and so teachers “in effect get only people who are visual learners to learn it well.”
He said the trend of classical education, from institutions such as Thomas Aquinas College to secondary and even primary schools, to include Latin in their curricula, is a boon to the language.
Latin instruction is correlated with higher performance on college entrance exams he noted, in a way that cannot be said of other languages, such as “Spanish or German, or even Greek.”
This is because Latin is inflected, meaning the ending of words changes depending upon their function in a sentence; “as a result, your mind becomes extremely active grammatically and that means in turn that you become much more cognitive of such correlations in other languages,” Noone explained.
“The Latin language helps to form your mind in a certain way … If you take a great writer of the English language, such as Cardinal Newman and you read his style, it's quite periodic. His sentences tend to get pretty long once he gets rolling.”
“And you look at the structure of the English and you realize: yes, this man knows Latin and Greek cold, because he wouldn't be able to do what he does with the word order if he wasn't telling us every second the grammatical relations within the clause. So there can be no doubt that it makes you a better user of your own native tongue.”
As the Pontifical Academy for Latin gets underway encouraging the “knowledge and study of Latin” particularly among priests and future priests, Noone said that introducing Latin into the Mass again, carefully and slowly, can help further familiarity and comfort with the language at the base of Western culture.
“I would say a good goal for people to shoot for in parishes is to have one Mass in Latin in each parish once a week. That way, people who are starting to revive the Latin language can go to that.”
Together with the establishment of the Vatican's Latin academy and the rise in Masses said in Latin, the more than 100,000 people reading Latin tweets will serve to help revive the Latin language.
Benedict XVI began tweeting in December in eight languages, the most popular of which are by far Spanish and English, at 2.8 and 2.7 million followers, respectively. Papal tweets are also sent in Italian, Portuguese, and French.
Latin was added as the ninth language for Papal tweets in January, after the Vatican received letters and tweets requesting the addition.
Philadelphia, Pa., Jul 16, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Archdiocese of Philadelphia on Monday signed an agreement transferring ownership of 14 former parish elementary schools to an independent non-profit school network that will operate them as Catholic schools.
Brian McElwee, chairman of Independence Mission Schools, said July 15 that the initiative was intended “to preserve the unique value of Catholic schools – an academically excellent, cost-effective, values-based education.”
“This model is one that we believe will set the standard for urban Catholic education nationwide and we are proud that Philadelphia is where it begins,” added Al Cavalli, the school network’s president.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput signed the agreement with Independence Mission Schools on July 15 at St. Gabriel School in Philadelphia.
Local business leaders formed the organization last year in response to an archdiocesan commission that recommended dozens of school closures in response to financial shortfalls and declining enrollment.
The model for the mission schools is based on North Philadelphia’s St. Martin de Porres school.
Independence Mission Schools said that business leaders managing that school use best business practices to provide “a high-quality, cost-effective education.” The school network aims to expand this model to help Catholic schools in vulnerable neighborhoods.
Cavalli, who has 35 years experience as an administrator and executive for education and mental health organizations, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the Catholic schools are “sanctuaries” in their neighborhoods.
The schools have a total enrollment of 4,200 students from pre-K through eighth grade, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. About 63 percent of the enrolled students are non-Catholic.
The schools will continue to use the core curriculum of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the archdiocese’s Office of Catholic Education will provide some services. The mission schools can supplement the curriculum if they choose.
McElwee said parents and students will not find many differences, noting that the same teachers and other staff will return.
However, he said there may be “gradual change over time.”
McElwee said the system has seen “significant increases” in enrollment and scholarships, but he urged more people to help support the system.
“The long-term success of Independence Mission Schools, and its role in transforming lives and communities in Philadelphia’s most vulnerable neighborhoods, depends on the support of the local business community, civic leaders and individuals willing to donate their time and money,” he said. “The momentum we have spurred in just the past year must be sustained and we are committed to that end.”
The school system says it is the first organization to take full ownership of a group of Catholic elementary schools.
Last year 17 archdiocesan high schools and four special education schools entered a management partnership with the Faith in the Future Foundation.
San Francisco, Calif., Jul 16, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Proposition 8 backers have filed a legal brief saying that the ballot measure defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman still has legal force in California, alleging that state officials incorrectly acted in response to the recent Supreme Court decision on it.
“The U.S. Supreme Court did not rule on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, and the district court’s injunction does not apply statewide; therefore, county clerks should abide by the state constitution,” said Austin R. Nimocks, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom.
The Washington, D.C.-based legal group said July 12 that California State Registrar Tony Agurto wrongly ordered all county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in violation of state law after the June 28 U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit lifted its stay of a district court’s injunction against Prop. 8, which passed in the 2008 elections.
The group said that the registrar does not have the authority to make such orders to county clerks and California Attorney General Kamala Harris was therefore wrong to threaten legal action against clerks who decline to follow the order.
On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit against Prop. 8, Hollingsworth v. Perry, on the grounds that defenders of Prop. 8 did not have legal standing to challenge the 2010 ruling of U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker, which declared the ballot measure unconstitutional.
Alliance Defending Freedom’s legal petition to the California Supreme Court argues that the Supreme Court decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry vacated the 9th Circuit Court’s decision that declared Prop. 8 to be unconstitutional. This means that the constitutionality of Prop. 8 has not been sufficiently determined.
The petition asks for a legal mandate requiring state officials to comply with state law, which recognizes marriage as a union of a man and a woman.
“Everyone on all sides of the marriage debate should agree that the legal process must be followed. Public officials should enforce the marriage amendment because they are not bound by the district court’s injunction,” Nimocks said.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jul 16, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Bishop Guillermo Leaden, who resides in Buenos Aires and will turn 100 on July 20, reflected on the election of Pope Francis by saying, “Bergoglio is a holy man.”
Bishop Leaden is an auxiliary bishop emeritus of the Buenos Aires archdiocese. He is the eldest bishop in Argentina, and the fifth eldest in the world.
Upon learning that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio – the archbishop of Buenos Aires – had been elected to the papacy on March 13, Bishop Leaden offered “prayers of thanksgiving to God,” he told CNA/EWTN News July 15.
Bishop Leaden was born in Buenos Aires on July 20, 1913, the fourth of eight siblings. His parents were Irish emigrants, and he was baptized Aug. 2. He made his First Communion on Christmas Day of 1920.
Bishop Leaden went to a school run by the Salesians, an order founded by Saint Don Bosco. He said he felt a desire to be a priest when he was in the 6th grade at Pius IX School.
“When I was done I went to the seminary, and when I finished philosophy, I went to Cordoba for theology, and I was ordained a priest,” he explained.
He has been a priest for 71 years, having been ordained for the Salesians on Nov. 23, 1941. In 1975, Paul VI appointed him auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires, and he was consecrated a bishop on Aug. 8.
He served as auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires until 1992, retiring when he was 78. He remains in residence in his archdiocese.
The Blessed Mother has helped him “in many small things,” Bishop Leaden said, and was with him at every moment in his pastoral ministry. He has also been accompanied by St. Don Bosco, his patron.
“I try to imitate him as much as possible,” Bishop Leaden reflected.
The retired bishop has served as a professor, catechist and principal at several Salesian schools.
“I was very happy in my priestly life and I continue to be happy in my priestly life,” he said.
“There is nothing special about my life except my work in the Church itself, in the vicariate and when I was assigned by the bishop and where obedience sent me.”
Bishop Leaden encouraged seminarians to “keep their lives on the path of fidelity to the Church. In my view that is the most important thing.”
Priests should live a private life that is appropriate to their calling, he noted, adding that “the Eucharist is a very important activity” in the life every priest.
On July 19, Bishop Leaden will say a special Mass to mark his 100th birthday, at the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, where he was pastor for seven years in the 1960s.
Rome, Italy, Jul 16, 2013 (CNA) -
A friend of Blessed Chiara Badano, a patroness of World Youth Day 2013 who united her suffering from cancer to Christ's passion, called her an excellent model for young people to follow.
“I think that the Brazilian bishops' conference chose her because she is a model of sainthood that is simple, and not someone spectacular,” Franz Coriasco, an Italian journalist, told CNA July 16.
“She proved that you can pass from the ordinary to extraordinary with a simplicity of faith.”
Bl. Chiara 'Luce' was a member of the Focolare Movement who contracted cancer at age 16. Her life was one of devotion to Christ and abandonment to his will.
She died in 1990 when she was 18, having accepted her illness out of a desire to be united to Christ on the cross, saying, “It’s for you, Jesus. If you want it, I want it, too.”
Coriasco met Bl. Chiara because he was among the best friends of her youngest sister. In 2010 he wrote a biography of her titled “Dai tetti in giù,” or “From the Roof Down.”
“I don't think she was named Blessed because of her tumor, although this made the process faster,” Coriasco said. “She just followed the will of God.”
“She was feminine,” Coriasco said, as well as “determined and energized.”
“She had the capacity of having great dreams and ideals, but was, at the same time, down to earth and realistic,” he stressed.
Bl. Chiara is among the 18 saints and blesseds whom Benedict XVI chose as patrons of World Youth Day 2013, which will be held July 23-28 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Coriasco said that Bl. Chiara's parents, who participated in Madrid's World Youth Day in 2011, will be attending this year's celebration as well.
“Chiara also experienced a World Youth Day, the one held in Santiago de Compostela in Spain in 1989,” he reflected.
Coriasco said the youth making pilgrimage to World Youth Day can learn an important lesson from her.
“She said, 'we only have one life and it is worth living it well.' She did this with great responsibility.”
Bl. Chiara was beatified in 2010 just outside of Rome. During the Mass, Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, remembered her as having “a crystalline heart, like water from the source.”
At World Youth Day, Coriasco is also helping organize an event which will be broadcast on the Italian channel Rai Uno.
“Since Italians are one of the largest groups to attend it, there is an event called 'the Feast of the Italians' that will take place on June 24.”
In past World Youth Days, the event has been an opportunity for Italian pilgrims to meet each other, as well as international pilgrims of Italian origin.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jul 16, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
During World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, more than 250 bishops from around the world will preside at catechetical sessions for pilgrims from July 24-26.
“At the catecheses, we will have to limit the number of entries,” Father Leandro Lenin, director of World Youth Day's pastoral preparation department, announced July 15.
Each session will take place from 9am to 1pm, and will conclude with a Mass said by the bishop catechist. Throughout the morning, young people will be able to go to confession and ask questions of the bishops.
“Each catechesis has been designed for a certain group of pilgrims, and we will avoid, if possible, overloading any catechesis session,” Fr. Lenin said.
The bishops will be stationed at a different catechesis location each day. Fr. Lenin added that the location of each bishop will not be revealed.
“We would like that contact between the young people and the bishop to be a surprise every morning.”
The bishop catechists will focus on three different themes during each of the sessions. Only July 24, the theme will be “Thirst for hope, thirst for God.” On July 25, “Being a disciple of Christ” will be the theme, and on July 26, “Go be a missionary.”
Eight American bishops will be giving catecheses in English. They are Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York; Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver; Bishop Edward Burns of Juneau; Bishop Frank Caggiano, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn; Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia; Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio; Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee; and Cardinal Sean O'Malley, archbishop of Boston.
In addition, Bishop Edgar da Cunha, an auxiliary bishop of the Newark archdiocese, will give catecheses in Portuguese. Bishop da Cunha is a Brazilian native, and became a missionary to the U.S. for the Vocationist Fathers before he was appointed an auxiliary bishop of Newark in 2003.
Another 16 bishops, from Antigua, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, the Philippines, England, Ghana, India, Ireland, Malta, Nigeria, Scotland and South Africa will join the American bishops in giving English-language catecheses.
Washington D.C., Jul 16, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Archbishop Timothy Broglio has welcomed a coalition for religious freedom in the U.S. military as legislation aiming to protect religious belief and action among service members advances in Congress.
“The Archdiocese looks forward to working closely as an ally as all seek to ensure the continued protection of the 1st Amendment Rights of Free Speech and the Free Exercise of Religion of the men and women of the United States Military,” the Archbishop of the Military Services said in a July 11 statement.
“No one who raises a right hand to defend the Constitution should sacrifice one of its fundamental principles.”
The Archdiocese of Military Services oversees the spiritual support of Catholic chaplains and laymen serving in the armed services or stationed abroad on diplomatic missions.
On July 9, the Family Research Council announced the formation of a coalition that will advocate for religious freedom in the military and push for support of an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act protecting religious action and speech.
The amendment was introduced by Congressman John Fleming (R- La.) on July 8.
The legislation states that ‘‘except in cases of military necessity, the Armed Forces shall accommodate the beliefs, actions, and speech” of service members, rather than accommodating merely their religious beliefs.
The legislation would also require the Secretary of Defense to consult with religious organizations that oversee military chaplaincies.
Both the amendment and the National Defense Authorization Act as a whole passed the House Armed Services Committee and the House of Representatives.
A similar amendment, introduced by Senator Mike Lee (R- Utah), has passed the Senate Armed Services Committee.
On July 11, the Obama administration stated it is “strongly opposed” to the religious freedom amendment, saying that “this provision would have a significant adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale, and mission accomplishment,” by limiting commanders’ ability “to address potentially problematic speech and actions within their units.”
The bill follows allegations in raised in April that an internal Army presentation labeled a number of religious groups as “extremist,” including Catholics, Mormons and evangelicals alongside terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda.