“Sine Te, Reginalde, Maxima Calamitas Est!”
Why so late with the Latin on Caritas in Veritate?
Reginaldus non est Romae.
Here’s the scoop from the Tablet –Robert Mickens’s Letters from Rome. Many thanks to Eugene Palumbo who drew it to my attention:
Exactly two months ago Pope Benedict XVI signed what had been hailed as his “much-anticipated” encyclical on human development, Caritas in Veritate. However, the 145-page document was not made public until a week later when it was launched at an exclusively Italian-language press conference at the Vatican. Because of its importance for the worldwide Church, the encyclical was simultaneously issued in several modern European languages. But the Latin version was nowhere in sight – the first time in history that a papal encyclical did not debut in the Church’s “official” language. Now, several weeks late, the Latin text is finally ready for publication, although it’s not clear when it will be printed, given how little gets done during Italy’s August holidays. And it’s also unclear whether the Vatican plans to draw attention to the late arrival. So why the long delay? It’s simple – the absence of the Vatican’s top Latinist, Fr Reginald Foster OCD. The Carmelite priest, who will be 70 in a few months, has been on medical leave since January, and at a clinic in his native Milwaukee since late April. Without him, the rest of the Latin section at the Vatican’s Secretariat of State evidently
got lost in translation. Finally, an official decided enough was enough and sent the Latin draft to Fr Foster, asking him to make corrections quam primum. Speaking to me by phone this week, Reggie, as he is known to his friends, said he immediately spotted several errors and had “questions about some of the words” in the complicated text. But he had a relative fax the corrected pages back to the Vatican. Then he received a note from a friend in Rome, which read: “Sine te, Reginaldae, maxima calamitas est!”