Rome, Italy, Oct 17, 2006 / 22:00 pm
Fr. Reginald Foster, one of the most renowned Latinists in the world, was fired last week from the Gregorian University by the Society of Jesus, stating that too many students were taking Fr. Foster’s classes without paying tuition.
Fr. Foster said his superior received the news from the university’s Jesuit administration in an e-mail Saturday evening. The letter reportedly stated that "Fr. Foster would no longer be teaching Latin at the Gregorian.” The administration has cancelled Fr. Foster's Latin program and substituted another class for that time slot.
However, in breaking the news with great regret to his students yesterday, Fr. Foster also announced his intention to found a new Latin institute in the Eternal City.
The Professor/Priest, known as the “Pope’s Latinist,” had taught at the Gregorian University for more than 30 years. His course became renowned, drawing students from around the world.
More than 100 Latin students, both past and present, were gathered in the priest’s classroom when he made the announcement.
A source told CNA that it was true that many of Fr. Foster’s students were not registered with the university; however, it was well known that his program was attracting Latinists from all corners, many of whom did enroll in the mother of Jesuit Universities.
Fr. Foster said his new Latin institute did not yet have a locale but he would keep students informed.
According to the source, Fr. Foster, in good spirits, explained to his students the roundabout way he found out he was being fired: "Well you see, the Jesuits were rather Jesuitical about the whole thing, now weren't they?" After informing them of his plans for an institute, Foster exclaimed, “Latin lives!"
It was not disclosed whether the e-mail firing Fr. Foster was in Latin.