Ecclesiastical Latin

This book covers the subject of Ecclesiatical Latin, in the form in current use by the Catholic Church. As such, it is not a primer on Classical Latin. These two idioms of the Latin languages are mutually understandable but usage and subject matter often differ considereably between them.

Ecclesiastical Latin is also a living language that regularly adopts and develops new vocabulary, grammar rules, idioms and even letters to adapt itself to the requirements of communication. As a language, Latin is an orally spoken system of communication and is not in and of itself holy in the eyes of the Catholic Church. However, since the Church has a long history of expressing herself on very important matters in this language, as well as continuing a regimen of prayer life in the Liturgy of the Hours in this language, it is fitting that the Church retain and even promote Latin, as well as the other seven liturgical languages, even in this age of moving toward the vernacular.

Several writing conventions will be used in this book that do not agree with the current writing conventions used for Classical Latin. Ecclesiastical Latin does not use Macrons, but does however use the letter "j" where appropriate. V and U are always differentiated. Many words may be spelled slightly differently from time to time depending on how the word is pronounced. There is not the same idea of "correct" and "incorrect" spelling that exist in Classical Latin or in modern English. Rather, there is "acceptable" and "unacceptable" spelling.

In the book, we will focus on the study of the grammatical points needed and the vocabulary used in basic Latin prayers, passages from the Vulgate Bible, phrases from the Roman Liturgy, and excerpts from the writings of Church Doctors. We will also focus on understanding rather than translation.

From this foundation, we will also attempt to develop chapters that will instruct the student in how to memorize the various prayers and learn how to speak Latin for everyday life.


Lesson One

Lesson Two

Lesson Three

Lesson Four

Lesson Five

Grammatical Apendix