The Latinitas foundation

The Latinitas foundation was established in 1976 by Pope Paul VI. The main objectives of the foundation were: to promote the study of the Latin language, classical literature and Medieval Latin; and to promote the increased use of the Latin language through publishing articles in Latin and other suitable means. Therefore, The Latinitas foundation was an orgenization devoted to further the studies of the Latin language and increase its usage.

The Latinitas foundation was succeeded by the Pontifical Academy for Latin which was established in 2012. The academy was launched by Pope Benedict XVI on 10th November 2012. During the launch, the pope said that there is a great need for greater knowledge and more competent use of Latin language both in the ecclesial environment and in the world of culture as a whole.

The new academy founded to succeed the Latinitas foundation will have two major goals. The first goal is to promote the knowledge and study of the Latin language and literature, both classical and patristic, more so in Catholic educational institutions where priests both train and educate seminarians. The second goal of the academy is to promote the written and spoken use of Latin. “There is a great danger of an increasingly superficial knowledge of Latin language, which has also been reflected in the theological and philosophical studies of future priests; in modern culture and in the context of a general weakening of the humanities,” the Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his letter. “It seems urgent to support the efforts for a more responsible use of Latin and a better understanding of it, both within the Church and in the wider world of culture,” Pope Benedict XVI stated. Moreover he claimed that the knowledge of Latin is now more necessary than ever to study sources from which to draw upon inspiration and knowledge in subjects such as theology, liturgy, the Church fathers and canon law, as taught by Vatican Council II.

Generally, there is an increased and renewed interest in Latin and culture in the modern world which is being transformed by technological advancement. Many people are getting interested in learning Latin and use it in their day-to-day lives, especially in the fields of art and culture.

Following the launch of the Latinitas foundation, some developments have been made including provision of online classes and dictionaries. Those interested in learning Latin can now translate words into Latin over the internet. The Pontifical Academy for Latin’s website now has an Italian-Latin dictionary of modern words.

The current president of the Pontifical Academy for Latin is Ivano Dionigi and its secretary is Father Roberto Spataro; they were both appointed by Pope Benedict XVI during the launch of the academy on 10th November 2012. The new Pontifical Academy for Latin, will have a five year trial period, and will be part of the Pontifical Council for Culture.