With Latin in the Service of the Popes
Publication Date: May 11, 2020
Antonio Bacci was rector of the archdiocesan seminary of Florence when his exceptional knowledge of Latin caused him to be summoned to Rome in 1922 to join the office of the Secretary of State as an assistant, first to Aurelio Galli and then to Nicola Sebastiani, the chief Latinists of the Holy See. Bacci succeeded Sebastiani as Secretary of Briefs to Princes upon the latter's death in 1931. In the first half of the memoirs here translated, Bacci discusses his relationship with Popes Pius XI, Pius XII, John XXIII, and Paul VI during the period 1931‒1964. After these reminiscences, the Cardinal explains, in the second half of the book, the reasons why the Catholic Church must maintain the Latin language as its official language, addressing all the while the objections that were being raised at that time, when the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council was in full swing. He poses and answers the question whether it is at all possible that even the Church should now repudiate or abandon Latin, which, together with Greek, is the natural womb of our civilization and of our literatures and is still the sole linguistic bond among cultured people amidst such a variety of tongues.