If studying ecclesiastical tradition is to be worthwhile, a sound knowledge of Latin and Greek is absolutely indispensable. The lack of it bars access to the sources of ecclesiastical tradition. It is only with the help of these languages that it will also be possible to rediscover in our day the experience of life and faith that the Church has accumulated in 2000 years of existence under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
— Saint John Paul II
Message for the 50th Anniversary of the
Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences
16 April 2004
The Department of Greek and Latin has formed an integral part of Catholic University's intellectual and spiritual mission from the University's earliest days, in significant part because the languages the department studies and teaches are central to the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. The Church discusses classical, late antique, and medieval texts in Latin and Greek in a variety of different contexts, and offers highly positive views on the study of the ancient languages as employed by both classical and postclassical authors.
- Veterum Sapientia, Apostolic Constitution on Latin as the Official Language of the Church (Pope Saint John XXIII, February 22, 1962)--in Latin
- Text of the Motu Proprio of Pope Bendict XVI, "Latina Lingua," on the founding of the Pontifical Academy for Latin to further the study of the language--in Latin
- Additional information on the Pontifical Academy for Latin
- Text of the Motu Proprio of Pope Benedict XVI, "Summorum Pontificum," regarding the use of the Roman liturgy prior to 1970--in Latin
- Letter of Pope Benedict XVI to the bishops regarding the use of the Roman liturgy prior to 1970
- Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences calls for continued study of ancient languages (2004)
- Message of Pope Saint John Paul II for the 50th Anniversary of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences (see sec. 5)
- On "Seeing the Classics," a Jubilee exhibition of Vatican manuscripts of classical literature (M. Buonocore)
- Pope Paul VI on Latin and other ancient languages as a part of priestly formation (Optatam totius, V.13)
- "Letter on the Proper Study of Latin," Acta Apostolicae Sedis, L (1958), 292-295, trans. M. R. P. McGuire (1960), with commentary