Friday, February 26, 2021

Secure Web Browsers

In 2017 Plinthos posted on the benefits of using search engines other than Google.

Here is an article on alternative web browsers. Tor looks great.

Top 8 Most Secure Web Browsers in 2021

Jan Youngren
Jan Youngren | Security researcher
Last updated: February 22, 2021
Most Secure Browsers

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Which one is the most secure web browser in 2021? The quick answer is: “None of the ones most of us use.” And yet, during these trying times, when working from home has become a norm, and companies have difficulties maintaining the pre-pandemic security level, we all need to stay safe online more than ever.

To find the most trustworthy browser, we evaluated a bunch of them based on the following criteria:

  • Security features – are you protected from hackers and vulnerabilities?
  • Privacy options – how much of your data is collected? Are there any tools to protect your privacy?
  • Number of available secure extensions and add-ons
  • Multi-platform support

Neither of the safe web browsers is without its cons. Some offer great security and privacy but support few extensions. In the meantime, others check all the boxes but work on desktop only. Therefore, we encourage you to check out the full list and see which secure browser is the best fit for you.

But first, let’s see how the best private browsers rank from the #1 most secure to the one you shouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.

Safest web browsers

BrowserSecurity & Privacy
1. Tor browser🥇⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
2. Mozilla Firefox🥈⭐⭐⭐⭐
3. Brave🥉⭐⭐⭐⭐
4. Ungoogled Chromium⭐⭐⭐⭐
5. Apple Safari⭐⭐⭐
6. Google Chrome⭐⭐
7. Opera⭐⭐
8. Microsoft Edge

Most secure private and mainstream web browsers in 2021

Below is the combined list of the most secure mainstream and private browsers in 2021. Naturally, we find only the private ones at the top of our list, but that doesn’t mean that a mainstream browser cannot provide you with decent security and privacy.

Securing your browsing is not enough
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1. Tor Browser – the king of private browsers

Tor Browser logo

+ Pros:

  • Excellent security and privacy
  • Access to the Deep Web
  • Preconfigured with security extensions

– Cons:

  • Slow
  • Your ISP sees if you’re using Tor
  • Blocks JavaScript

Often hailed as the undisputed king of private browsers, Tor is an open-source Firefox-based web browser that comes with a plethora of security features that protect against browser fingerprinting. As the name implies, it runs on the Tor network. On top of that, it’s regularly updated to deal with all of the new security issues.

  • Security rating: very high. By default, Tor blocks all scripts and runs in the private browsing mode. When you close your browser window, nothing is saved. This includes cookies, history, and passwords. Thus, Tor provides a less streamlined but more secure browsing experience. Flash and Quicktime are also blocked by default to prevent anyone from hacking into your device using their security vulnerabilities.
  • Privacy rating: very high. Tor is built with privacy protection at its very core. By using a vast network of “relays” to bounce traffic around the world, Tor makes it virtually impossible to track and identify what you’re doing online. And the HTTPS Everywhere integration ensures that your data is encrypted whenever you connect to a website. These features and more make Tor the absolute champion of secure browsers in terms of out-of-box privacy.
  • No of secure extensions: average
  • Supported platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android

On the negative side, the Tor browser blocks scripts that may result in websites loading erratically. What’s more, Tor significantly slows down your connection because of the multiple layers it uses to hide your traffic. We also don’t recommend it for novice users as tweaking the Tor browser’s settings can easily leave you vulnerable.

Tor is so secure and privacy-friendly, leading many to believe it’s all you need for protection. This may be true in many cases, but you should consider supplementing Tor with a secure VPN service for maximum security.

2. Mozilla Firefox – the safest mainstream web browser

Mozilla Firefox Browser logo

+ Pros:

  • Very high security and privacy
  • Plenty of browser extensions
  • User-friendly

– Cons:

  • Update cycle could be shorter
  • Requires customization
  • Dependable on third-party extensions

Although Tor may be the most battle-ready private browser out of the box, Firefox has such massive plugin support that you can configure it to compete for the top spot. Like Tor, Firefox is also open-source. Unlike Tor, it’s been fully audited and doesn’t suffer from speed losses.

  • Security rating: high. If you download a few privacy plugins, Mozilla Firefox can be your answer to online dangers. The main reason why Firefox is a great alternative to Tor is that you can use it for secure browsing and easily switch to full-featured browsing. Besides, there’s a privacy-oriented Firefox Focus browser for Android and iOS.
  • Privacy rating: high. Like Tor and unlike Google’s Chrome browser, Firefox doesn’t track your browser history. It’s also updated regularly to deal with new security threats. Unless you’re looking for hardcore security, Mozilla Firefox is your best choice.
  • No of secure extensions: high
  • Supported platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS

Mozilla Firefox is mostly based on customization and is perfect for those who want a completely personalized browsing experience. Remember that it can take a fair bit of time to find all of the right plugins that you require, so make sure you’re willing to invest the time needed to make Firefox the perfect browser.

You can learn more about its security and privacy features by reading our full Mozilla Firefox review.

3. Brave – lightweight and secure browser

Brave browser logo

+ Pros:

  • Fast
  • Very high security and privacy
  • Great for novice users

– Cons:

  • Shows ads
  • Few secure extensions
  • Tor mode is a lackluster

While Brave is a relatively new Chromium-based private browser, it already supports all major platforms – something that Tor and Ungoogled Chromium are yet to achieve. Mainly developed by Brandon Eich, a former Mozilla contributor and JavaScript creator, Brave is lightweight, secure, and made specifically with privacy in mind.

  • Security rating: high. Out of the box, Brave blocks browser fingerprinting, scripts, and cookies by default. It also has a solid ad-blocker and provides the HTTPS Everywhere integration, as well as relatively frequent security updates.
  • Privacy rating: high. With a completely de-Googled codebase and customizable private windows, Brave further boosts its credentials with its complete lack of privacy scandals and/or concerns. That said, it’s still a work-in-progress. Until Brave adds more entries to its collection of secure add-ons, it’s difficult to recommend it as the most secure browser available.
  • No of secure extensions: low
  • Supported platforms: Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, iOS

Overall, Brave is an excellent choice for those who don’t mind using an experimental piece of software and don’t struggle with minimalist functionality. Its only downside is its comparatively low number of supported browser extensions. Some users may also not like the introduction of ads as a means to support the initiative.

4. Ungoogled Chromium – no Google privacy concerns

Ungoogled Chromium browser logo

+ Pros:

  • Very high security and privacy
  • Plenty of extensions
  • Frequent updates

– Cons:

  • No mobile version
  • Requires customization
  • Manual updates

Google Chrome is an open-source project, and Chromium is its less intrusive version that still offers most of Google’s products. But there’s also an ungoogled version that removes all links to the company and sits high on our secure browsers list while still allowing to install Chrome Store extensions. It also benefits from the regular Chromium security updates and has a nice feature of forcing all pop-ups into new tabs.

  • Security rating: high. While Chromium already scores high in the security department, the ungoogled version takes an extra step, removing background requests to all web services. It also removes pre-made binaries from the source code. Ungoogled Chromium uses HTTPS when possible, disables automatic URL formatting in Omnibox, and disallows pinging an IPv6 address.
  • Privacy rating: high. To keep your privacy protected, ungoogled Chromium cuts all ties to Google and its products by removing all code specific to Google web services. This means you can say goodbye to Google Host Detector, Google URL Tracker, Google Cloud Messaging, and so on. Finally, it disables WebRTC, which was impossible in Chromium without a third-party add-on or VPN.
  • No of secure extensions: high
  • Supported platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux

Users should be aware that most settings require manual activation, making it not that friendly to those less familiar with cybersecurity. Being portable and requiring no installation, Ungoogled Chromium only partly solves your secure browser’s mobility problem as there’s still no support for mobile devices.

5. Apple Safari – the most secure default browser

Apple Safari browser logo

+ Pros:

  • Very high security
  • Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP)
  • Runs separate sandboxes

– Cons:

  • Supports Apple products only
  • Few extensions
  • Privacy concerns

Since Google’s Chrome exploded onto the web back in 2008, pretty much every default browser has suffered in its wake. Safari is no exception – its Windows version has been discontinued since 2012, making it available only to Apple users. That said, we still consider it a fairly secure browser in general and probably the most secure default browser despite its sluggish update delivery.

  • Security rating: high. Safari runs websites in a sandbox, preventing unauthorized data access and malicious code from one of your tabs from taking over your entire browser. This is done by separately quarantining each open tab. Other cool features include a built-in password manager, protection from phishing and fake websites, as well as a private browsing mode.
  • Privacy rating: medium. Although Apple is known to have been accused of data collection in the past, the company’s decision to have users opt into data gathering techniques has made Apple’s products a lot more attractive from a privacy standpoint. Still, its creators are part of the NSA’s PRISM program, were hoarding Safari browsing history, and even collected it when users were in private mode.
  • No of secure extensions: low
  • Supported platforms: macOS, iOS

To learn more,  check out our in-depth Apple Safari review.

6. Google Chrome – secure but short on privacy

Google Chrome browser logo

+ Pros:

  • Very high security
  • Fast update cycle
  • Plenty of extensions

– Cons:

  • Hardware-hungry
  • Hard to customize
  • Privacy issues

Over a decade since its introduction, Google Chrome is now the most popular web browser on the planet. While it scores exceptionally high in terms of security because of frequent updates and an abundance of useful features, many (including us) would hesitate to call Google Chrome a “secure browser.” Here’s why.

  • Security rating: high. With features like automatic download scanning, automatic updates, automatic phishing and malware website warnings, Incognito mode, and sandbox tabs, Chrome is certainly no slouch when it comes to security. Not to mention the fact that Chrome has been the back-to-back winner of two Pwn2Own hacking events. Despite trying their hardest to find vulnerabilities within the browser, hackers just couldn’t crack its defenses.
  • Privacy rating: low. All the privacy options in the world couldn’t make us recommend Chrome as a privacy-friendly browser. The primary reasons for that are Chrome’s interaction with your Google account and the Sync feature, which automatically collects your data and sends it back to Google, including things like your browsing history, website permissions, and search history. What’s more, the mobile version of Chrome provides Google with your location data as well.
  • No of secure extensions: high
  • Supported platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome OS

If you want to learn more about Chrome’s privacy concerns and its security features, check out our full Google Chrome review.

7. Opera – the lack of plugins is its Achille’s heel

Opera browser logo

+ Pros:

  • Very high security
  • Great ad-blocker
  • Anonymous sync

– Cons:

  • Built-in “VPN” logs data
  • Opera Turbo now mobile-only
  • Privacy issues

For a long while, Opera was a fairly underrated browser. Launched back in 1995, Opera has been considered one of the faster and more secure of the non-default browsers for decades. Sadly, if including a dubious VPN that tracks bandwidth and usage wasn’t enough, it was acquired by the China-based Golden Brick Capital company, continuing to raise concerns about its privacy practices.

  • Security rating: high. Opera has built-in features, such as the ability to route your traffic through their servers and a very robust ad-blocker. It’s also very good at compressing your traffic, so it might be great if you have a slow connection.
  • Privacy rating: low. As we mention above, a pre-installed VPN that logs your online activity and a bunch of opt-out tracking options pretty much speak for themselves. If you want to keep your browsing private, don’t use Opera.
  • No of secure extensions: average
  • Supported platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS

The main problem with Opera is that it needs plugins to be completely secure. This may not seem like a huge problem for Firefox or Chrome users, but due to its low popularity, finding the right plugins for Opera is much harder.

If you’re still undecided, read our full Opera review to learn more about how Opera compares to other secure browsers on the market.

8. Microsoft Edge – avoid it at all costs

Microsoft Edge browser logo

+ Pros:

  • Fast
  • Three privacy levels
  • Plenty of extensions

– Cons:

  • Lacks features
  • Security concerns
  • Privacy issues

Leaving Internet Explorer and its numerous vulnerabilities behind, Microsoft built Edge on the Chromium platform and upped the ante in terms of technical security. That said, its sparsely timed updates and lack of tracking protection features still put it behind most browsers.

  • Security rating: medium. Running your tabs in a sandbox, Chrome-style, limiting extension support, and adding the SmartScreen Filter from Internet Explorer is all well and good. However, Edge’s long list of vulnerabilities knocks it down a couple of notches when it comes to security.
  • Privacy rating: low. For some weird reason, Microsoft Edge has not included any tracking protection features in its InPrivate browsing mode, which means you’re being tracked and monitored even when you think you’re “incognito.” On the bright side, there 3 pre-made privacy levels to choose from, each balancing protection and usability.
  • No of secure extensions: high
  • Supported platforms: Windows 10, macOS, Linux (beta), Android, iOS, Xbox One

Secure your browser with a VPN

No matter which browser you choose, securing your connection with a VPN is still a must.

A VPN routes your traffic through a remote server, encrypting your connection and hiding your IP address in the process. This means that anyone trying to spy on you will only see that you’re connected to a VPN, not knowing which websites you’ve been visiting or where you’re connecting from.

We recommend choosing from our best VPN services for securing your browser and other online activities. All of them will provide you with military-grade encryption, no-logs, and good connectivity.

What’s a secure browser, anyway?

Secure web browsers are ones that don’t track your activity and do their best to avoid vulnerabilities that might allow hackers to exploit loopholes in their coding. Contrary to popular belief, today’s mainstream browsers are no longer the easiest of targets for attackers to compromise.

Built-in security features like download protection, malicious website detection, and automatic “do not track” requests made mainstream browsers like Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome a lot “safer” from a security standpoint.

On the other hand, mainstream browsers that enable you to browse in so-called “private” windows can still track your activity and send your data to third parties. That’s why your best bet is to choose any of these secure browsers:

However, if you don’t want to stay too far from the mainstream browsers, try Mozilla Firefox. It’s the safest and most private choice, leaving others like Google Chrome or Apple Safari far behind. And with a little bit of tweaking, Firefox can be the best private browser overall.

Understanding private browsers

As we understand them today, private browsers are focused on giving users more control over their online privacy.

With that in mind, private browsers like Ungoogled Chromium and Brave usually come with additional protective features or simply without Google integration and can better address the privacy needs of more demanding users.

These are browsers built specifically for privacy aficionados and are usually designed to block all manner of trackers and potentially hazardous scripts. Tor browser comes as the most extreme example of this approach because it sacrifices performance and user-friendliness for the sake of providing maximum protection.

With that said, there are mainstream browsers like Mozilla Firefox that offer very high privacy and security while still thinking about the average user. As a result, this private browser list aims to balance between the hardcore and the readily-available options.

Using more than one secure browser

For online safety, we recommend using more than one browser. Most of us want to browse the web while being connected to multiple accounts. This is convenient, but it also makes it easy to track your activities and link them to the same identity.

The solution here is to set the rules for using each browser. For example, you may want to use Mozilla Firefox for your daily tasks that require logging into the email and other accounts. The second browser, e.g., Brave browser, can be reserved for browsing in private mode while being logged out. Finally, the Tor browser can be reserved for tasks that require maximum privacy and security.

Feel free to create your own set of rules and use different browsers, just make sure not to break them. And when it comes to logging in, never save your passwords in the browser. If you have too many of them to remember – it’s high time you started using a password manager.

Safest browser for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS in 2021

Unfortunately, not all safe browsers are available on every operating system or device. What’s more, resource-heavy options like Google Chrome may not be suitable for mobile users that don’t have the latest smartphone.

Below you will find the safest browser for each platform in 2021. Since Tor browser is aimed at advanced users, we do not include it in this list.

Safest browser for Windows – Mozilla Firefox

It’s hard to recommend anything else but Mozilla Firefox for Windows users. It offers great out-of-the-box protection and, at the same time, allows in-depth customization for privacy aficionados. It also has plenty of browser extensions, such as HTTPS Everywhere and DuckDuckGo, to further increase your online safety.

Safest browser for Mac – Mozilla Firefox

Once again, we recommend Mozilla Firefox. While Mac users might feel inclined to use Safari, which is not a bad option by any means, Firefox offers much more privacy and add-ons. However, if you don’t care that much about data collection even when you’re in private mode, Safari can still be a great choice.

Safest browser for Linux – Tor browser

We’re recommending the Tor browser for Linux users simply because most of them won’t feel daunted by the number of available options. If you’re not new to online security and privacy tools, then there’s no reason to look for another browser. And if you’re not doing anything that requires extra protection, Mozilla’s Firefox or Ungoogled Chromium might just do the trick.

Safest browser for Android – Opera

Some of you may be surprised to see Opera as the best secure Android browser. However, the reasoning behind is simple – Opera actually has three different versions that cater to specific tastes of the heterogeneous Android community.

In addition to the main browser app, you can choose Opera Mini for fast and data-saving browsing or Opera Touch designed to be used with one finger. All of them have an ad-blocker and are generally privacy-focused.

Safest browser for iOS – Brave

While Safaris no slouch, Brave is the safest browser for iOS. It’s faster than Chrome or Firefox and successfully blocks pop-ups, trackers & ads. Some users may not like Brave’s native advertising, though. In that case, try Mozilla Firefox instead.

As you’ve probably figured out already, a lot depends not on the browser itself but on the available extensions. That’s why popular safe web browsers have the edge over the likes of Safari or Opera.

Below is a list of Top 10 popular safe web browser add-ons in no particular order that should help enhance your security and privacy, given that your browser supports them.

  1. uBlock Origin – probably the best ad blocker for browsers that also comes with tracking protection and serves as a better alternative to Chrome’s Safe Browsing.
  2. DuckDuckGo – an alternative to Google Search, grades each website according to its trustfulness.
  3. Ghostery – a popular ad and tracker blocker.
  4. – a shortened URL may hide a malicious link. This add-on gives you a chance to decide whether you really want to open it.
  5. Disconnect Facebook – stop the social media giant from tracking you around the web even when you’re not using it.
  6. Click&Clean – a truly one-click solution for deleting your browsing history. It works even for the incognito mode!
  7. HTTPS Everywhere – this add-on forces websites to use a secure HTTPS encrypted connection whenever it’s possible.
  8. Decentraleyes – fights to track via content delivery networks (CDN).
  9. Cookie Autodelete – deletes unused cookies automatically.
  10. Privacy Badger – effectively blocks spying ads and trackers.

While these add-ons are tried and tested, always be cautious when installing any third-party applications, especially if they are free. Trusting a high Google or App Store ranking is ill-advised – you should always search for an external review from an authoritative source.

Bottom line

After looking at the most secure web browsers in 2021, we can say that the Tor browser still holds the #1 spot. Available on all major platforms save for iOS, it provides the best possible security and privacy, even without much tinkering. However, it’s slow speed means that users need another option for daily use.

Our tests have shown that Mozilla Firefox is the best safe web browser for the average user. It’s simple to install use and can be easily customized. What’s more, Firefox comes with a number of add-ons that will further increase your online protection.

We’ve also shown that a lot depends on your device too. That’s why mobile users on strict data plans should choose no other than Opera browser or its Mini version.

So when you need the best private web browser, check if it fits your individual needs first. And most importantly, remember that you can’t have full protection without a reliable Virtual Private Network.

What are your thoughts on secure web browsers? Do you agree with our lineup for 2021? Let us know in the comments below!

In the meantime, you can also check our other articles:


What is the most secure Web browser in 2021?

The most secure web browser is the Tor browser. It offers unprecedented security and privacy and, at the same time, is arguably the best option for surfing the deep web.

Which browser is the most secure for online banking?

The most secure browser for banking is Mozilla Firefox. It beats the Tor browser because the latter is too restrictive for such a task. In the meantime, Firefox will make sure your connection stays private and protected from third-parties.

What is the best browser in 2021?

The best browser in 2021 is Mozilla Firefox. It has excellent security and privacy, supports all main platforms, and has plenty of add-ons to further bolster your online protection.

What are the fastest web browsers in 2021?

Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari, and Google Chrome are the fastest web browsers in 2021. However, Opera is the fastest web browser for mobile users.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Plandemic Part 2

Here is the second segment of the great exposure of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conflict of interest in the production and ownership of the Chinese Flu and the huge internet information conspiracy to cover it up.

Plandemic Part 2: Indoctrination (

Part 1 is here.

Friday, February 19, 2021

The Philosophical Foundations of Catholic Moral Theology, Vol. I

 by Theodor Steinbüchel, 1938

In Memory of Johann Adam Möhler who died in Munich on 12 April 1838


The present work on the philosophical foundation of Catholic moral theology consists of less and more than an ethics. It is not a complete treatise of moral philosophy. It foregoes the matter of customs proper to Catholic moral theology, which takes its inspiration from divine revelation and finds the motive, purpose and force of its right behavior in the imitation of Christ. This work intends to elaborate the premises which are given in the being of man for the building of his moral life. But that takes it beyond the range of ethics. It applies itself to the ethical questions but first to the ontological and anthropological premises upon which human morality can and must arise in order to place itself in the consortium of man with the God of revelation Who comes to meet him. It is especially dedicated to the existence-understanding of man today. The problems of ethics and anthropology are to be proposed, and the solutions to them sought, according to the needs of the time.

Munich, on the 100th anniversary of the death of Johann Adam Möhler.

Theodor Steinbüchel

Saturday, February 6, 2021



[Cf. Veterum Sapientia {English/Latin}]

The sacred Deposit of the Latin Language is a thing which even from the first centuries of the Church’s existence, the Throne of Peter has always guarded as something holy. It considers Latin an overt and beautiful sign of unity, a mighty instrument for safeguarding and spreading Christian Truth in its fullness, and for the performing of sacred rites. Our most Holy Father and Lord Pope John XXIII has lifted it up from neglect and contempt and firmly asserted its official, confirmed status within the Church. In a solemn ceremony on February 22, he signed with his own hand the Apostolic Constitution “Veterum Sapientia” [1] in the Basilica of St. Peter, laying the foundations and establishing the principles by which this language, which is proper to the Church and forever bound into Her life, shall be restored to its ancient place of glory and honor.

No one, least of all this Sacred Congregation, can be unaware what great and arduous effort this most noble and necessary task will require, on account of the unfortunate state of learning and of use of the Latin language today, and because of conditions existing in various places, times, and nations. The Sacred Congregation has already discussed this matter in a letter to the Bishops given on October 27, 1957. [2]

Christian life and Christian faith teach us not to be overcome by our difficulties, but rather to overcome them instead. Faith calls us to strive after that which is difficult but noble and needful. If a thing requiring constant effort is put before us as something we must accomplish, as will be the enactment of this decree, it will stimulate our efforts, so that we may bear the fruits which the Church rightfully expects. She expects it from the earnest zeal of each member of the faithful, and most especially from those who are bound by their priestly office to such endeavors. This is especially true in these very difficult times in the life of the Church, when in the Second Vatican Council She labors with all Her being to build and to strengthen the unity of the Christian people. “Now, especially, it is good to remember the importance and the excellence of this language,” said the Pope in remarks he gave when he signed his Apostolic Constitution,“ [3] since we have arrived at times when there is an obvious need for unity and cooperation among peoples. But nevertheless, foolish initiatives threatening that union are anything but rare.” The Latin language, as the Latin Church uses it, even today can very effectively foster reconciliation among peoples and resolve disagreements, especially among Her sacred ministers when they come from different peoples. It can be very helpful to rising peoples who are trustfully taking their place in the society of nations, since Latin is not beholden to the particular interests of any one nationality, nor does it play favorites with any. Rather, it is available to all as a wellspring of clear and dependable doctrine. It is easy for educated people to understand. It is an instrument of mutual comprehension, and a most valuable tie that binds.

Church history clearly teaches that every difficulty has a remedy on hand, provided that everyone recognizes that it is needed and people, especially the Church’s sacred ministers, have the obedience and goodwill to make use of it. The history of the Latin language proves this abundantly. For Latin has many times been laid low, crushed by the iniquity of the times, and then has flowered again, ever renewed, because the Church has solicitously defended it and vigorously sustained it as Her universal, venerable, and sacred inheritance.

Latin was able to re-establish itself time and time again, even from a greater state of neglect than it is in our own time. After the barbarous age of the Merovingians, it rose to new heights in France under Pepin and Charlemagne at the dawn of the ninth century. It rose even higher in the twelfth century and became an extraordinary tool for philosophy and theology. It was reborn yet again in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and was lifted to the utmost heights, where it seemed that the age of Cicero and Augustus had been restored to us.

Latin can be reborn even now, if we give appropriate time and attention to learning it, and if it is not overwhelmed and smothered by the host of other academic disciplines which have multiplied in the public schools. It can be restored with teaching methods like those of former ages which give the ability to speak and write in Latin. It can be restored if well-prepared teachers -- people distinguished for their knowledge of Latin, expert in its use, and gifted as educators -- can be chosen for this work and called to it even from faraway lands, as everyone knows has often happened before. It can be reborn if using Latin is normal in private and in specialized schools, even in higher ecclesiastical institutions, and if the custom of using this language is conscientiously preserved, as we here direct. It can be reborn if we invest all due care, commitment, and zeal in the effort; if we apply the care we routinely invest in things of the greatest importance. Finally and most critically, it can be restored if the highest good of the Church is the objective, and if the firm and certain will of the popes is respected and carried out with ready obedience and due loyalty.

The Sacred Congregation for Seminaries and Universities has been entrusted with this task. In ready obedience to the mandate of the Apostolic Constitution “Veterum Sapientia,” we have with great care prepared a curriculum for teaching and learning this language which is ordered toward achieving its renewal fully and effectively.

The Sacred Congregation hereby conveys these Ordinances to seminaries, universities, and to institutions of ecclesiastical studies, and orders that they be scrupulously implemented.

SECTION I General Directives

ARTICLE I – On adapting existing curricula in use among the nations to the norms of these Ordinances [4]

§1. The varying curricula for Latin in use in Catholic schools worldwide are sometimes unequal to the task of providing full knowledge and mastery of the language. They will, therefore, have to be adapted to the standards established by these Ordinances, so that they can fully accomplish the goal and offer no excuse for not achieving it. Public school curricula will have to be set aside in this area if they cannot fully meet the educational requirements of future priests and provide the due formation in Latin prescribed for all sacred ministers by the Apostolic Constitution and by these Ordinances.

§2. These Ordinances must be faithfully observed, and pre-existing school curricula worldwide must be duly adapted to them. To this end, the bishops in any given country shall delegate this task to local experts, who, adapting to the circumstances of the place, will nonetheless ensure that the curriculum given here remains the same throughout that country. All of this shall be subject to inspection by the Sacred Congregation and under its authority.

§3. Enacting this Apostolic Constitution and its Ordinances faithfully may give rise to some problems, particularly in the early stages. Accordingly, this Sacred Congregation will appoint a council of experts with whose help it will resolve such difficulties in light of the Constitution and the Ordinances. It will clear up doubts, answer questions, give advice, and oversee the implementation of this project in all other respects.

ARTICLE II – On teachers of Latin [5]

§1. Regarding teachers of Latin in lower and middle schools or in those schools commonly called Classical or Humanities high schools, it is first and foremost an absolute requirement that the teachers be suited to the task. They must be learned in the language, and naturally gifted as educators, since on them unquestionably depends the greater part of the good results of this instruction. This applies equally to major seminaries and postsecondary Ecclesiastical institutions, with a particular eye to teachers of Patristics, Theology, and Diplomatics.

§2. The bishops and their representatives shall take care to identify promptly those clerics who seem especially suited to this kind of work, and shall take up their thorough formation and preparation, just as they do for instructors in the other academic disciplines.

§3. At all times, in the selection of teachers, no mere smattering but rather specialized knowledge of the language and expertise in its use must be required. For this reason, before they begin to teach, they must already have earned the Laurea in Classical Letters in a university and acquired appropriate command of the Latin language and its literature. They must likewise be well trained in the practical use of Latin in speaking. If teachers’ home countries do not offer the necessary academic facilities, or if such facilities are substandard, they are to be sent to the best universities abroad.

§4. Given that most secular universities prioritize philological learning as their goal, and de-emphasize the practical use of Latin, bishops shall take care to send young faculty members to one of the institutions this Sacred Congregation has approved, or will in future establish. In particular, teachers should be sent to the ACADEMIC INSTITUTE FOR LATIN which will be founded in Rome [6] in accordance with the Apostolic Constitution “Veterum Sapientia,” so that they can develop not only a living facility with this language in speaking and writing, but also a fuller knowledge of Christian and Medieval Latinity. This applies also to those faculty who hold terminal degrees with distinction from public universities, and to those that have yet to write their postdoctoral qualification exercise in textual criticism. [7]

§5. Latin instructors are not to be dismissed from their posts without grave cause; rather, they should enjoy security in their positions, so that by teaching they may perfect their skills and become ever more excellent with the passage of time.

§6. Instructors are not to be burdened with excessive teaching loads; for this reason, they should not be few in number, nor should they be distracted with other duties of any character whatsoever.

§7. Instructors who are found to be ineffective for whatever reason, and especially those who are hostile to this language, are to be removed immediately, lest corrosive indulgence or reprehensible neglect compromise their young students’ first instruction, perhaps irreparably.

§8. Whenever only a very few expert teachers of Latin can be found in particular places, the bishops should ask for personnel from other dioceses and from the religious orders, until the number of instructors can be increased to meet the need. This mutual help among various dioceses, even among various nations, and between the secular and regular clergy, will be very good for restoring Latin and for strengthening the bond of charity.

ARTICLE III – Concerning examinations

§1. Tests demonstrate students’ knowledge of the language and their teachers’ performance and expertise. They must be administered with the greatest diligence and consciousness of their importance. There must be no laxity of any kind that would admit to secondary schools, to academic degree programs, or to teaching positions, any persons who are ill-prepared or insufficiently tested. In such a matter, easygoing compromise of any kind only harms the candidates themselves, who must encounter even greater difficulties in the future. They will always limp and never run. It also harms the Church Herself, since such people have only a limited understanding of Her language and a limited love for it, or indeed they actively reject it.

§2. Examinations are to be given after every academic year, and repeated if they are not passed, before any advancement can be granted to the next class higher. In these examinations (with the exception of composition exams in the final years of study) it is always good to include translation from Latin into the students’ mother tongue, and out of the mother tongue into Latin. Translations will be literal in the first years, then progressively more elegant according to the character of each of the two languages and the type of writing.

§3. An exam is likewise to be given on completion of studies at the secondary level. It must give proof not only that the student has acquired due knowledge of the Latin language, but also that he has attained sufficient facility in its use. This is necessary so that graduates may truly go prepared into their more advanced subjects, and are able to understand and discuss them in Latin.

§4. As for those who seek admission either to major seminary or to other ecclesiastical institutions of higher learning, but who have not studied the Classics in minor seminary or secular school or in any parochial school where students are educated for secular careers rather than priesthood, they should be examined with particular stringency, both in their knowledge of Latin and in their ability to use it. This is so that they may be admitted in a state of no lesser preparation than others who did complete Latin studies in minor seminary. If they do not have the necessary command of Latin language, they must do remedial work in Classics for an appropriate period of time and complete it properly.

§5. Administrators are to require a special examination for students who are admitted to interdiocesan and regional major seminaries to study the higher subjects when such students come from the outside. This examination is to be in the form of a conversation in Latin or an adequate essay exercise. Those who are found to be insufficiently prepared are not to be admitted before they have completed remedial work for an appropriate period of time.

§6. Special care and consideration must be given to teaching men who have been called to priesthood later in life and who have little or no prior knowledge of Latin. It is extraordinary what benefits these studies confer on the character and intellect of more mature individuals. The benefits are so great that such men’s priestly education would be ragged and threadbare without them. The men themselves, lacking them, might cause their superiors worry by carrying on their studies in a light and summary manner. Furthermore, as the Constitution plainly states, “No one is to be granted access to philosophical or theological studies unless he is fully and thoroughly schooled in this language and skilled in its use.” [8]

These students, therefore:

1. are to complete the entire curriculum here prescribed in schools created especially for them. This they may do at a faster pace, but nevertheless not in any perfunctory or summary manner. They are to omit no part of the curriculum on account of their age.

2. are to study Latin for a period of at least two years before they begin their introduction to Scholastic philosophy.

3. are to take and pass an examination before they can be sent to a major seminary. The point of this exam will be to test whether or not they have attained sufficiency in knowledge of Latin and in practical use.

ARTICLE IV – Concerning pronunciation

We cast no aspersions on the “classical pronunciation,” which has in recent years been restored in many secondary schools of high reputation. It is certainly a good thing to learn. Nevertheless, as St. Pius X [9] and Pius XI [10] have already urged, for the sake of uniformity the pronunciation which is called “Roman” is to be retained in use. Roman pronunciation is “intimately connected with the cultivation of Gregorian chant, because the manner of handling stress accents and pronouncing Latin which is contemporary to chant has been extremely valuable for singing it correctly.” Roman pronunciation is likewise wholly appropriate “for the ever-increasing consolidation of liturgical unity.” [11] Moreover, it has been in uninterrupted use, both in the Church and in the schools of many nations, since roughly the fourth century, with the result that it has become more or less international or common to all. Roman pronunciation is, additionally, the pronunciation in which Church documents were read aloud at the time they were written, and in which they ought to be read even now.

SECTION II On a common curriculum for the study of Latin in high schools

ARTICLE I – Concerning the goal of these studies and the means of achieving it [12]

§1. No one is unaware of the special power of studying Latin language and literature for forming young intellects. Through them, the most important gifts of the mind and character are exercised, brought to their unfolding, and perfected. A student’s capacity for discriminating thought is sharpened, as are his powers of judgment. His mind is rendered better able to apprehend and evaluate all things. Thinking and speaking acquire a clearer order; propriety and elegance appear in the student’s choice and use of words. His mind is effectively cultivated and ordered not only toward acquiring useful skills, but also toward attaining higher culture and true humanity. The student can gain a wider and more solid knowledge not only of the Romance languages but also of other languages of culture. These good qualities of the mind in formation -- which are the only things the public educational system expects Latin studies to deliver -- are yet not the same as those that are expected in the education of clerics. Here, the primary goal is to form that particular kind of mind which is needed for the right exercise of future ecclesiastical duties.

§2. Latin language studies in high schools for clerics have this principal goal: that aspirants to Holy Orders should be able to go to the sources of Sacred Tradition and understand the documents of the popes and the councils, and likewise the liturgy. Later on, the goal is to make them able to use this language to learn their major academic disciplines, to write Church documents and letters, and to correspond with their brother clergy of other nations. Finally, at the highest levels, the objective is to make them able to take part in the sort of ecclesiastical debates on articles of Catholic faith and discipline which occur in councils and meetings to which the Catholic clergy of the world are occasionally called. §3. In order that aspirants to Holy Orders may attain appropriate mastery and facility in the use of this language, the curriculum ought to be shaped with attention to the amount of time necessary, the quantity and nature of the authors to be treated, and the method to be used in teaching and in learning.

Article II – On the period of time to be allotted to this study [13]

§1. Because the time allotted to this study varies so widely in different times and places, whether in terms of total years or class hours per week, ecclesiastical schools must provide whatever time is necessary for the accomplishment of the goal, as these Ordinances have defined it. In particular, the following is ordered:

1. This curriculum is to last at least seven years, for young people beginning their Latin classes in seminaries. They are to have no fewer than six hours per week in the first five years, and no fewer than five hours weekly in the remaining two.

2. Wherever the fine custom prevails of devoting eight or more years of study to Latin, it is absolutely to be retained. At the same time, the authors to be studied shall be chosen either in accordance with the established curriculum of the place, or according to the schema we have laid out below (cf. Art. III, § 3). Let no one think this time will be fruitlessly invested. If young people do not dig deep roots into these disciplines now, they will never draw nourishment from the harder subjects which follow, nor will they receive in full the fruits of an ecclesiastical education.

§2. For this reason, the other academic disciplines will have to be sequenced and abridged (and some perhaps cut entirely or left for later), so that our mandate concerning the time to be given to Latin language study may be obeyed in every respect.

§3. Students entering seminary or another Church school with one or more years of prior study in the public schools are to be placed at the class level corresponding to their actual level of knowledge, not simply according to the number of years of study.

§4. In countries where, for historical reasons, seminaries are also treated as colleges – places where both seminarians and other students are educated with the same curriculum – the greatest care must be taken that students who aspire to the priesthood meet all curricular requirements in full. It must be guaranteed that everything mandated in these Ordinances concerning time investment in Latin and the number of authors to be read, has been carried to completion and the objective has been reached toward which this ecclesiastical education was ordered.

Article III – Authors to be studied [14]

§1. In selecting and treating authors, there must be a calculated progression from the easier to the more difficult writers. Only those authors should be chosen whose Latin is very widely approved, and whose works -- at least in the selections given to students -- include nothing which would offend the ears or the minds of young people. Authors should be those whose elegant diction and subject matter contribute to genuine formation of the mind and taste. A variety should be presented, so that students gain an appropriately broad overview of the major literary works of the Romans and of Latin literature as a whole. In quantity they should be enough that students acquire true mastery of the Latin language. Finally, older texts are to be gradually juxtaposed with more recent works and with documents of the church, so that students can learn a pure Latinity which is optimally suited to discussing new things and events.

§2. Guided by these principles, we provide below a selection of authors and list them more or less in the order which is common in the schools. Both the choice of authors and their sequence in the curriculum may be slightly adapted for good cause (e.g. longstanding custom, integration with public-school curricula, etc.), provided that the quantity established here, which is a minimum standard, is in no way affected.

§3. The following authors should be read in the quantity prescribed in each given year:

Year I: first, whole sentences of elegant type, selected from the listed authors; some proverbs and maxims which must be memorized; in the second part of the year, certain selections may be taken from the Old and New Testament (viz. the Creation, the story of the seven Maccabee brothers, the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the Parable of the Lost Sheep, etc.). At least 100 lines of poetry, of which some must be memorized. A shorter fable of Phaedrus or a very short letter of Cicero could also be included.

Year II: at least ten fables of Phaedrus; one of the Lives of Cornelius Nepos; approximately twenty letters of Cicero; also some of the shorter Latin dialogues (from Erasmus, Vives, Jacobus Pontanus, etc).

Year III: at least one whole book of Caesar, more letters of Cicero, three hundred verses of Ovid, a certain number of hymns from the Roman Breviary, some chapters from the Catechism of Trent [15].

Year IV: three of Vergil’s Eclogues, five Elegies of Tibullus and Propertius, at least one book of Livy, some letters of Cicero, and some chapters from the Catechism of Trent.

Year V: an oration of Cicero, thirty chapters of Sallust, one book of the Aeneid, and another of the Georgics; some chapters from the Catechism of Trent.

Year VI: one of the philosophical works of Cicero (e.g. De Amicitia, De Senectute, or a selection from the Tusculan Disputations); ten poems of Horace, five of Catullus, one book of the Annals or a monograph of Tacitus, certain chapters from the Catechism of Trent.

Year VII: the Ars Poetica of Horace; a comedy of Plautus or Terence; selections (at least 300 lines) from Lucretius; a book of Cicero’s De Officiis or one rhetorical book of Cicero or Quintilian.

{Year VIII-IX: in addition to any works from the foregoing official plan which have not yet been studied (an undertaking to which a longer period of time is advantageous), and any works which the curriculum proper to the place may require, selected letters of Pliny and Seneca should also be read. Likewise, excerpts from Christian Latin authors and from the holy Fathers (Minucius, Lactantius, Ambrose, Augustine, etc.), as well as selections from the documents of the Roman Pontiffs and from the best modern Latin writers should be studied. }

§4. The Catechism of Trent, which popes and provincial councils have commended time and time again, was used in schools up until the end of the last century as a treasury of Golden Latin and as the pre-eminent textbook for learning Christian doctrine and discipline. Students are to have this book always in their hands from their third year of Latin study onward. Through it, they will gradually learn to blend Golden Latinity with the clear language which is characteristic of the documents and disciplines of the Church.

§5. Even if the teacher routinely provides background about the life and work of a particular author before the class comes to grips with the text itself, he still must teach the whole context of Latin literature beginning in the fifth year. He must teach the major authors’ lives, works, topics, and significance – historical, philosophical, or literary – and likewise discuss each one’s particular style, his imitation of and borrowing from more ancient sources, etc. All of these things, moreover, are to be presented in Latin, and the students, as they listen, are to have a textbook. If such a book is not available in Latin, the instructor should dictate something or distribute written notes. Teachers are to avoid overly-erudite digressions; rather, they are to limit themselves to presenting those facts which are truly relevant to each author’s life, art, style, and importance, and conducive to the formation of the student’s mind and taste.

ARTICLE IV – Concerning method in teaching and learning the Latin language [16]

§1. Studying Latin requires prior knowledge of the parts of speech, or what is commonly called grammatical analysis or logic. Therefore, students are to be taught the rudiments – those things which are absolutely necessary – over an appropriate period of time before they begin to study the language itself.

§2. Latin language teaching method ought to cause students to acquire the ability to use it. For this reason, the overflowing philological pot-au-feu which makes up nearly the entire menu in schools of the Humanities, especially graduate schools, will have to be thrown out, since it does not give the nourishment one would reasonably expect from such study. The old system of teaching must be recovered. Its major elements we will recapitulate below (§§8-10).

§3. For seminarians, full knowledge of Latin and mastery in its use is the goal to be aimed at and attained. Therefore, there must be instruction in grammar, not given in a perfunctory and light sort of way, but fully and correctly. It must be gradual at first, in proportion to students’ ability to take it in, and it must always be combined with comparison and reading of texts.

§4. The theoretical part of this instruction can be divided more or less in this manner: in the first year, the pronunciation and the entire morphology of Latin is presented, even if in a summary way; in the second year, there will be a general review of morphology, duly filled out with work on irregular forms, as well as work on syntax focusing on noun-adjective agreement. In the third year, study of the syntax of verb tenses and moods will be completed. In the fourth year, syntax will again be treated and its study completed with attention to more complex constructions. In the fifth year, prosody and poetic meters are to be taught in comprehensive overview, albeit in a summary way, while review of syntax is also not to be neglected. In the sixth and seventh years, the elements of style will be conveyed in brief. Grammar, syntax, and metrics (viz. Virgilian hexameter and the meters of Horace and those of the Ambrosian hymns) are to be analyzed and discussed in the works of the great authors themselves, as students read, comment, and translate them.

§5. Students are to memorize the basic elements of grammar, leaving fine details for later. The teacher is to explain these things intelligibly and clearly, avoiding digressions about minutiae, but frequently repeating the essentials. The teacher should concern himself with offering examples for his students’ instruction, namely, those that lend themselves to teaching the use of the language, both in speaking and in writing. He should not busy himself with indiscriminately collecting information, both useful and useless, from many sources. Let him rather choose with the most careful attention materials which are truly important and useful, so that his lectures may shine with the clear light of wisdom.

§6. Selecting grammar textbooks must be done with great care, to ensure that they are consistent, clear, and comprehensive. They should not be packed with excessive amounts of scholarly minutiae, nor should they be overly simplified or lightweight, since learning to use the language, in writing and in speaking, urgently requires a thorough knowledge of its structure and nature. It will be very beneficial to use a single textbook over the entire curriculum, so that students can get to know it well, and, later, keep it always with them like a faithful companion whose advice they seek whenever a question comes up.

§7. In accordance with the teaching method handed down to us from antiquity, the custom of speaking Latin in lectures, tests, and classes shall be established. The near-universal abandonment of this custom has resulted in no little damage in our own time, and yet, once again, it is rising ever higher in esteem, and is rightfully being re-established, since it is remarkably consonant with the most recent research in pedagogical science. Any textbook used for teaching Latin syntax shall itself be written in Latin; alternatively, the teacher himself may convey the essentials summarily in Latin, and ensure that students memorize and recite them.

§8. Practice is to be given high priority; it can be carried on in a variety of ways in Latin classes, but it is always to be done step-by-step, in a manner appropriate to the level of knowledge of each class of students.

1) Students are to be drilled, first of all, in declining regular forms [of verbs and nouns], and subsequently in the most high-frequency irregular forms. All these they are to memorize; they are to keep on practicing, with the greatest possible diligence, all kinds of nouns and verbs which are given to them to decline.

2) Another essential area of exercise is memory. Students must memorize not only the basic elements of grammar relating to individual words, but also recite them so that they may retain them clearly and solidly, as if these facts were the formulae of some practical art. They should also handle select maxims and sayings in this way, as well as very carefully chosen excerpts from the poets and orators.

3) Students are likewise to be put through their paces with quizzes on the elements of grammar, on the content of the authors, and on the meanings of words. In the earliest lessons, this will be done in the vernacular language, and then in Latin – first, on the meanings of those vocabulary words that have been specifically assigned and discussed, using more or less the same words, and later the students’ own.

4) There must be very abundant practice in speaking – but speaking well and elegantly. This should happen in an environment where the students, if they make a mistake, may be immediately corrected by their teacher. The instructor will also supply well-chosen vocabulary words for everyday objects.

5) Writing practice, which is the principle means of gaining full knowledge and use of the language, ought sometimes to be given unannounced in class, and at other times as homework. At the higher levels of schooling, these exercises should be given at least twice weekly, alternating between prose and poetry. The theme for the exercise may be either something already discussed in class or something just announced. Verse composition is a laborious process which bears proportionate fruit, albeit not for the adornment of poetry itself, but certainly for the growth of knowledge of the language and of Latin metrics. The teacher, then, should first give his students some verses with their individual words taken out of order, so that the students must put them back together. Later on, students will compose their own verses by their own lights, using a meter that they know well.

6) Translation from the mother tongue into Latin and from Latin into the mother tongue should never be marginalized. If it is done with due regard for idiom and in harmony with the manner of speaking proper to each language, it will do much to foster acquiring fuller knowledge of each of two languages and revealing each one’s true nature. This exercise promotes genuine broadening of students’ minds.

7) Analyzing authors is a task to be carried out by the instructor while the students listen, in the manner of a professor’s lecture.

§9. Lecturing, in which a teacher’s erudition, expertise, industry and effectiveness are most clearly on display, is the principle means by which the desired goal of his instruction can be achieved. In introductory classes, lecturing should be simple and done in the mother tongue only; later, Latin elements should be sown into the mother-tongue narrative. From the fourth year onward, lecturing is to be done in Latin only, and in a full, elegant Latin at that. In this manner the teacher should first highlight the subject matter of the book, oration or excerpt which a particular class is to analyze or summarize. He should follow that with an explanation. In the grammar schools, this will make plain the word order and structure of the author’s diction, and throw light on the more arcane vocabulary. In the higher-level schools, the teacher will do this same thing in Latin, but in a more elegant and content-rich manner. Then should come grammar; in the lower schools, this entails analyzing individual words: each one’s gender, declension, conjugation, mood, tense, etc. In the upper schools, the focus will be on rhetoric, entailing observation of the things that make up the eloquence, the artistic quality, the grammar, syntax, and structure of the particular work under discussion, whether the author is an orator or poet. Thereafter, the focus should be on erudition. In the lower schools, this will take the form of a fuller exposition of elements (e.g. similes, descriptive passages) which are created by the author’s word choices, or by stories he includes, etc. In the upper schools, things will proceed in the same way, but in a fuller manner and with more content from history, mythology, poetry, etc. Finally, there should come the consideration of Latinity. In the lower schools, this will teach young students how word order is manipulated, with some elements being put before others, and why some words are preferred to others, etc. In the upper schools, this consideration will include examining an author’s favorite metaphors, the effects and meaning of words and how that meaning is colored by variations in word order and organization. It will also include uncovering the properties of either language [i.e. Latin and the mother tongue] by expressing the same thing in them; and at last, it will include all other things pertaining to eloquence, poetic art, and the type of writing in question.

§10. Pupils ought to begin translating authors in their daily homework exercises. A teacher does well to set his students in-class translation exercises at first, and go over their work at whiles in his office, so that he can keep abreast of each student’s progress. Later on, the teacher will also himself translate in class, explaining the words, the type of discourse, the more difficult constructions, the historical and geographical context in various ways. He will do this either in Latin or in the students’ native language, but always choosing his words carefully and using appropriate idiom, so that the true complexion of either language may be clearly discernible. It is helpful also to read from the poets and orators by turns in class, so that students do not get bored for lack of variety.

SECTION III On the study and use of the Latin language in Major Seminaries

Article I – On Latin study

§1. Major seminary students ought not to put down the study of Latin altogether, but rather, continue to progress and perfect their knowledge. They should pay special attention to works which illustrate the Latinity of the source texts of Sacred Tradition, of Church diplomatics, and of the academic disciplines on which they are concentrating.

§2. Seminarians are not only to cultivate this language by private reading of Classical and Christian authors, but they are to practice assiduously in various ways so that Latin may become, so to speak, their own vernacular, like their mother or native tongue. This used to be commonplace, and happens even now in the study of modern languages, which are learned through conversation rather than through the presentation of rules. For this, we recommend Latin conversation on certain days at recreation and with professors in private tutorials. Latin composition should also not be neglected. Its fruits can be recited or exhibited in conferences open to the public, especially on the most solemn feast days.

§3. To make sure that students concentrating on the major disciplines of study [e.g. Theology, Philosophy] continue to pursue the study of Latin, and so that they may get a gradual introduction to the technical Latin of the source texts, we order the following:

1. A special course on this particular kind of Latin is to be given to all students, in Latin, by an expert professor. This course will meet at least one hour per week throughout the entire Theology curriculum.

2. In this course, the principal documents and source texts of the various academic disciplines – those of the Fathers and the Theologians, the Popes and the Councils, and the texts of the Liturgy – are to be read and discussed. All texts will be chosen by consensus of all the instructors.

3. No one may be exempted from the obligation of taking this course. On completion, all students will take an examination; those who do not pass are to repeat it. As a result, when students have grasped the particular nature of each kind of Latinity, they will not only possess a solid foundation for the exegesis of doctrine, but they will gain a direct and expanded familiarity with the source texts and be able to interpret them truthfully. Unless students are made capable of this, there can be no dependable and genuine ecclesiastical education. And with it comes a most valuable complement to the study of the Scholastics.

Article II – On the use of Latin [17]

§1. In teaching the major academic disciplines of the Church, the use of the Latin language is to be immediately and fully instituted everywhere, notwithstanding any difficulties that may present themselves. No bishop or institutional superior may permit otherwise by making exceptions after his own judgment.

§2. The academic disciplines to be taught in Latin are: Theoretical Philosophy; General, Dogmatic and Moral Theology; General and Specialized Introduction to Sacred Scripture, and Canon Law. Those disciplines pertaining strictly to pastoral practice, to Catechetics, and to Homiletics may be exempted, as may History of Philosophy, Church History, and the other disciplines.

§3. Notwithstanding any local custom to the contrary, we order:

(1) that books for school use and textbooks for the disciplines which are to be taught in Latin, as well as professors’ own student handouts reinforcing key points of content, are always to be written in Latin;

(2) every student is to have in his possession not only a textbook written in Latin for each of his subjects which is taught in Latin, but also all of Holy Scripture in the Vulgate edition, the Code of Canon Law, and various Latin handbooks of Church documents;

(3) a list of the books used in classes is to be submitted to the Sacred Congregation for Studies, in accordance with this published decree. [18]

§4. Students, additionally, are to develop the mental habit of mulling over, weighing, rereading and retaining, in Latin, those things which they have read or heard in Latin. They are to accustom themselves to understanding well and committing to memory the vocabulary and the idioms proper to each of their academic subjects, so that subsequently they may ever more freely and elegantly speak in their classes and in their examinations.

§5. Examinations, whether written or oral, are to be conducted in Latin for those disciplines which are taught in Latin. The same is to be observed in public presentations and in review sessions.

§6. The professors by whom the major ecclesiastical academic disciplines are to be taught in Latin must

1. Prepare everything carefully in Latin; the Latin must be clear and correct, as the dignity of these disciplines requires. They are not to rely on extempore speaking as a form of discourse.

2. Be selected for this task with an eye not merely to their expertise in their own discipline, even if it be unique; it must also be ascertained that they possess the requisite knowledge of Latin and ability to use it. [19]

3. Be informed of this requirement in a timely way so that they may prepare themselves to meet it; appropriate support shall be provided to them so that they may prepare. 4. Be removed from their positions if they neglect and hold in contempt the requirement given here for using Latin in their teaching, lest by their instruction and example they harm their students. [20]

§7. Superiors of major seminaries are to implement carefully those things ordered below for the appropriate composition of the library, especially with regard to Latin and Greek. (Cap. IV, Art. II, §14).

SECTION IV On the study and use of Latin in Ecclesiastical Universities and Institutes

Article I – On the study of the Latin language

§1. The work of higher education [in Latin] is chiefly “to give [students] familiarity with the source texts and prepare them for research and scholarship and for the exercise of the Magisterium.” [21] It is therefore obvious that students at this level must be equipped with specialized knowledge of Latin and given practice in its use, since it is the indispensable key to the knowledge of sacred things.

§2. No one, consequently, may enroll in a university or other institution to pursue an academic degree unless he has first properly completed the secondary Classical Studies curriculum. [22] This must be clearly demonstrated with valid documentation; the University or Institution still retains the right to impose an examination whenever the documents presented are deemed to be inadequate. False leniency or entertainment of human excuses here cannot be anything but gravely injurious, both to scholarship itself and to the proper education of students. [23]

§3. Universities and academic institutes of the Church must prioritize knowledge of source texts, in accordance with Art. 2 of the Apostolic Constitution Deus Scientiarum Dominus [“God, the Lord of the Sciences”]. To ensure that students’ first encounters with source texts may be wide-ranging and fruitful, to ensure that they understand these texts clearly and dependably, and in order that they may benefit from exacting philological exegesis of these sources, since that is the indispensable foundation of all further exegesis, we order the following:

1. In every Department of Philosophy and in departments and institutes of higher sacred studies, a special course is to be created which will give students thorough grounding in the language particular to the texts under study, whether Greek or Latin.

2. This course shall meet a minimum of one hour per week, for at least one semester in a two-year course of study.

3. This course is to be considered an auxiliary course, after the sense of the Apostolic Constitution Deus Scientiarum Dominus (Art. 33, §1,3; Art. 34). For this reason, no one is exempt from taking this course; on completion, all students are to take an examination; those who do not pass are to repeat the course.

§4. Other specialized exercises in the doctrinal interpretation of selected texts may be added to the course, 24 as long as (according to the above order §3, #2) the number of exercises is increased in such a way that students may carry out separate philological and doctrinal analyses, either under the direction of the same professor (if he has sufficient expertise in both areas) or by different professors.

§5. In this course, after the teacher has expounded on essential grammar and vocabulary of the Latinity of the documents under study, he should explain selected passages in detail from a philological and semantic point of view. These should be passages whose language and content may be helpful in illuminating the major disciplines. For example, in Philosophy, students could be given certain passages from the greatest ancient philosophers and also, most especially, from St. Thomas. In Theology, passages should be chosen by consensus among the teachers, to complement the theological treatises which will be read; these will be from the Fathers of the Church: especially, from the theologians and Doctors of the Church, from the Councils, from Papal documents, from the dogmatic books of Holy Scripture, from Liturgy, etc. In Canon and Roman Law, students are to be made familiar with the lexicon and the type of writing proper to these disciplines, by calling their attention to special meanings of key terms, and by giving them selected excerpts from ancient and more recent authors.

Article II – On the use of Latin

§1. The use of the Latin language in universities and academic institutions is to be restored in its entirety, and every obstacle thereto is to be overcome. To no man is given power to lift this obligation according to his own judgement.

§2. The subjects to be taught in Latin are: Theoretical Philosophy, all of Theology, Sacred Scripture, Canon and Roman Law. 25

§3. The remaining subjects may be taught in the vernacular, unless laudable custom or necessity indicates otherwise, since, obviously, students from different nations may speak different languages.

§4. Public presentations and review sessions are to be conducted in Latin.

§5. With regard to examinations, the following are ordered:

1. Whether oral or written, examinations for subjects taught in Latin are to be given in Latin.

2. With particular emphasis the following are to be conducted in Latin: qualifying examinations for any academic degree in the above-mentioned subjects; lectures; the thesis defense.

3. In examinations which are conducted in Latin, a judgment of the quality of the Latin is to be made, and not lightly, but rather with due severity, so that it may in truth reflect not only the examinands’ level of knowledge of the subject, but also the fluency and accuracy with which they use this language. Those who are found to be insufficiently instructed or learned in this area are not to be promoted.

§6. The written exercise required for the Licentiate in the above-listed (§2) subjects must be written in Latin, in accordance with the statute in Article 37 of the “Ordinationes” attached to the Apostolic Constitution Deus Scientiarum Dominus.

§7. We enjoin with great urgency that the doctoral dissertation in the disciplines referenced in the same statute (see §2) be written in Latin. If the existing statutes of the Universities or Institutes now prescribe, or shall in future prescribe the use of Latin for the writing of dissertations, this practice is to be faithfully maintained.

§8. When a dissertation is written in one or another of the vernacular languages permitted by the statutes of the respective University or Institute, an appropriate summary written in Latin is to be submitted in advance.

§9. Concerning faculty members, the same standards apply which have already been given for faculty members in Major Seminaries (see Section III, Article II, §6). This is with regard to their timely selection and their preparation in the use of the Latin language, and also with regard to their removal if they are incompetent or reluctant in this area.

§10. The academic authorities of the Church’s universities and institutes, when they submit to the Holy See the names of faculty who will teach one or another subject in Latin, must warrant that they possess the knowledge and practical facility in Latin which is necessary, in addition to the other qualifications prescribed by the Apostolic Constitution Deus Scientiarum Dominus (Title II, Article 21).

§11. Following on what has been said in the Apostolic Constitution concerning the importance of Latin for the Catholic Church, whose own language Latin is, and is quite rightly is called so, it is highly desirable that people who write scholarly articles for a clerical readership in periodicals devoted to the Sacred Disciplines should do so in Latin, which is to say in the language proper to those disciplines. It will thus be possible to avoid the danger inherent in the individual writer’s judgement, which is that of introducing unsanctioned variations in words’ meanings, and, through them, introducing inconsistencies and ambiguities and even perversions into Church teaching. The use of Latin will also bring it about that more priests of every nation and language may be able to read and understand them. If this cannot be done, at least an appropriate summary in Latin ought to be added to each article.

§12. Likewise we urgently enjoin the use of the Latin language to produce critical editions of the documents of the earliest centuries of Christianity and of the Middle Ages, and for translations of the writers of the Eastern Churches. This is not only consonant with the nature of such documents, but also extremely beneficial for advancing the universality of doctrine and promoting the acquisition of knowledge.

§13. We must say the same for the use of Latin in congresses of ecclesiastics, who are summoned together out of diverse peoples and languages to consider questions of Sacred Discipline, doctrine, or the exercise of the pastoral office. A language common to all confers an enormous advantage for promoting mutual understanding and for easier and readier communication. These are things which the confluence of a great multitude of languages obstructs. It even brings it about that the sacred ministers of the Universal Church, being caught, and, day by day, ever more straitly trammeled within the borders of their own nations, end up virtually ignorant, or even stop trying to learn, what their brother priests do to exercise the selfsame ministry in other parts of the world.

§14. Those who govern seminaries, academic institutes, and ecclesiastical schools should likewise take care that their libraries are thoughtfully equipped and enriched with everything pertaining to the Latin and Greek languages, lest professors in particular lack the tools necessary for perfecting their own knowledge and writing scholarly works. If an appropriate array of books is absent, there will be no impetus to research and to write, no eager investigation and progress, but only mental inertia and self-satisfied ignorance.

SECTION V On the study of Greek [26]

§1. Even if the Apostolic Constitution is concerned primarily with the re-establishment of the study and use of the Latin language, it in no way neglects to give clear and precise direction concerning the study of Greek. For Greek ought to be learned with the greatest care. It is most helpful in forming young people’s minds; it is linked to Latin by a special bond which makes it a prerequisite to a full and true knowledge of Latin, and it has been enshrined in virtually every secular Classical curriculum. Likewise Greek is absolutely necessary for all who essay the primary academic disciplines in seminary, and especially for those who enter ecclesiastical universities or institutes desiring academic degrees, [27] and for any man of the Church who must use ancient source texts, both sacred and profane, to exercise the office of teaching Philosophy or the Sacred Sciences.

§2. For this reason, therefore, we order:

1. In those nations whose public schools are ordered principally toward scientific education and Greek is not taught, Greek should be taught in the Seminaries and in other ecclesiastical schools, so that their graduates will not be inadequately prepared for admission to study the higher-level disciplines.

2. The necessary time, reckoned both in years and in hours per week, is to be invested in the learning of this language for attaining the mastery prescribed, according to prevailing conditions of place and local circumstances.

3. With regard to the reading of authors both sacred and profane, and to the learning of Greek grammar, the same minimum standard is to be maintained, proportionally, which is ordered for Latin in Section II of these Ordinances (Article III, §§ 1-3; Article IV, §§ 2-6).

4. Every professor of Greek is to be truly expert in the subject and should hold the doctorate in Greek literature.

5. The manner of teaching and analyzing Greek Authors ought to be ordered toward acquiring the necessary practical knowledge of the language, in accordance with the precepts of these Ordinances (Section II, Article IV). For this reason, special care must be taken to make plain the origins of words and clearly show word families and words that are derived from them in the modern languages and the arts. When the student thus has a grasp of roots and their significance, it may be possible for him to understand a great many words, and he may acquire an accurate and useful tool to use in higher studies.

§3. A Commission of experts must be constituted to adapt the curriculum in each national setting to reflect the pontifical Constitution and these Ordinances. [28] The Commission is to define the curriculum in this area [i.e. Greek] as well, which will then be subject to approval by this Sacred Congregation for Studies.

§4. With regard to Hellenistic/Biblical Greek, it is ordered:

1) in seminaries, a special course consisting of one class hour per week over the course of an academic year is to be given within the Theology cycle; the course must conclude with an exam;

2) in departments of Theology the statute counting Biblical Greek as an ancillary discipline, given in the Ordinances for the Apostolic Constitution Deus Scientiarum Dominus, is to be conscientiously observed in all its parts.

SECTION VI Concerning Visitators

§1. A Board of Visitators is to be established. [29] Their duty will be, at certain times, to inspect and determine whether or not all and sundry Ordinances are being obeyed with due and timely diligence for the conscientious implementation of this Apostolic Constitution, and with the results which are rightly to be expected.

§2. According to a Visitation protocol constituted for that purpose, Visitators will especially inquire about the following: the number of instructors, their preparation and due diligence; curricula, and to what extent the experts chosen to prepare said curricula have done so in accordance with these Ordinances. They shall inquire into all things pertaining to the necessary time apportioned for these studies, to analysis of Authors, teaching method, student exercises, and student morale.

§3. Visitators have authority to attend class sessions, interview students, and review homework assignments. They may give students a theme for a written composition or for a speech. They may, in sum, investigate all things by which they may come to an understanding of the true and full effectiveness of the program under review.

§4. Visitators are not to neglect major seminaries and ecclesiastical academic institutions. Here, they are to assess whether or not their students come to them from the lower schools properly prepared in the knowledge and use of Latin. They are to inquire whether or not the use of Latin is observed in the teaching of subjects where it has been mandated, and whether or not the textbooks and handbooks of Church documents are written in Latin and in the possession of every student. They are to find out whether or not a course in Christian Latin has been established, and with how fruitful a result it proceeds; likewise whether or not examinations are conducted in Latin, and if the students are taught to use and cultivate Latin in some other manner.

§5. Once the Visitation has been completed, Visitators are to report to this Sacred Congregation the true state of Latin [in a given school] and are to suggest remedial action as appropriate. They are also to point out whatever things they find which are laudable and worthy of emulation.

§6. Visitators are to refer to Appendix One, attached to these Ordinances, for further information on each area of inquiry for the proper execution of their mandate.

SECTION VII On reporting to the Sacred Congregation for Seminaries and Universities

§1. A report on the means and progress in restoring Latin is to be sent:

1) Every year for the first five years (unless, given conditions prevailing in particular places, the Sacred Congregation shall have required reporting over a longer period of time), so that it may be made plain if these Ordinances have been fully implemented, or if some foot-dragging still remains, and so that the last impediments can be definitively removed.

2) Thereafter, reporting will be quinquennial; the report will be submitted together with the general report on the state of seminaries.

3) Ecclesiastical universities and academic institutes, after the first five-year period, shall continue to report every three years.

§2. This report is to be prepared by the Academic Dean, but signed by the Ordinary of the place; in universities and academic institutes it is to be prepared and signed by the Rector or President.

§3. The report to be sent will have the following characteristics:

1) For minor seminaries and other schools where future priests pursue the essential mid-level Classical Studies curriculum, the report will concern itself primarily with the amount of time allotted to this study, the number of teachers and their level of expertise, the method and teaching and learning, evaluation, and, finally, with all things are mandated for them in these Ordinances.

2) For major seminaries, universities, and institutes of ecclesiastical studies, the report will concern itself with the special course on the Latinity of essential source texts (how it is carried out and with what instructors), with the use of Latin in teaching academic subjects (showing which are taught in Latin and which in vernacular tongues), with the preparation and expertise in Latin of the students and the instructors, with various initiatives for increasing and extending students’ interest in Latin, with the textbooks used in schools, and with all other things according to these Ordinances.

SECTION VIII Time-specific Regulations

§1. The instructions given in these Ordinances pursuant to the mandate of the Pope shall come into full effect from the first day of the 1963-64 academic year – or 1964, according to the reckoning of each hemisphere. [30]

§2. In regions where knowledge and use of Latin have grown cold to such an extent that students in the major academic subjects cannot understand Latin-speaking professors, or be brought quickly to that level of competence, and are unable to get into the habit of speaking Latin for themselves, care must absolutely be exercised so that instruction in these disciplines suffers no detriment, and to ensure the following:

1 Textbooks written in Latin are to be used in the interim for these subjects. Professors are to make every effort, by increments, first to deliver some of their lectures in Latin, and then to discuss part of a book, in a way that enables students to acquire gradually an adequate comprehension of the language.

2. Administrators are to take special and conscientious care to promote the study of this language in the upper schools in a variety of ways. They are to designate certain times in the day, every day, when, under a teacher’s supervision, students engage in intensive exercises so that they may as quickly as possible understand lessons [given in Latin] with benefit.

3. A special propaedeutic year is to be instituted – a highly appropriate and efficacious idea – during which alumni of humanities-based schools who are still insufficiently prepared may be appropriately formed, made familiar with and able to use this language, before proceeding to the higher disciplines.

§3. Ordinaries everywhere, before granting to major seminary faculty the task of teaching any of the subjects which are to be taught in Latin (cf. Section III, Article II, §2), are to submit their names to the Sacred Congregation for Seminaries and Universities – until such time as another screening system may be set up – and they are to attest whether or not the candidates possess expertise in the use of the language, in addition to the other requisite attributes.

Our most holy Lord John, by Divine Providence the Twenty-Third Pope of that name, has approved, confirmed and commanded publication of these Ordinances, all things contrary notwithstanding. Given at Rome, from the seat of this Sacred Congregation, this twentieth day of April, in Eastertide, in the year nineteen-hundred and sixty-two.


APPENDIX I Outline of the Report to be sent to the Sacred Congregation for Seminaries and Universities [31]


1. How many years are allotted for the study of Latin language? How many hours each week and in each year? Are they enough to handle the entire course of grammar and Authors in an appropriate manner? Which authors are treated each year? Are they the same as those named in these Ordinances, or are they others? Are they presented in the same sequence? Do all students, individually, have their own textbooks?

2. Has it been necessary to adapt a pre-existing Latin curriculum so that the requirements of these Ordinances could be met? How was it adapted?

3. In the case of a College Seminary, what provision is made for beginners aspiring to priesthood to supply what is lacking in the public-school curriculum?

4. Is the existing curriculum recognized by the local civil authorities?

5. If it is not so recognized, do the students of the seminary or school take state exams, so that they can earn state diplomas? Do all students take these exams, or only the most proficient?

6. How many faculty members are assigned to teaching Latin? How many teaching hours are given to each and at which levels? Do instructors have other duties at home or elsewhere which could distract them from their assigned duties?

7. Are all faculty members in possession of the doctorate in classical letters? If not, what graduate schools have they attended? Or in what other ways have they received their professional training?

8. What is done to prepare promising individuals?

9. Do [faculty] have the habit of using Latin in speaking and in writing – especially those who teach in the upper schools?

10. What are the results of their teaching? Are they endowed with the necessary pedagogical talents? Are they frequently shuffled around, or do they have stability in their positions (this especially for those who teach in upper schools)?

11. Are examinations given at the end of each year, even if they are not state exams?

12. If state examinations are given, are private examinations also administered in the seminary, so that all students can be evaluated, to determine whether or not each has made due progress in each year, and whether or not each possesses the preparation proper to a student, as described in these Ordinances?

13. How are examinations administered? Do they feature translation from each of two languages? Do they include composition, at the higher levels?

14. Is there an assessment of the true state of students’ knowledge and ability to use the Latin language for those who are moving up into the higher disciplines?

15. Are older students present -- men who have entered seminary in more mature years? How are they distributed among the classes? Does their presence slow down the others? Do they have classes of their own? By what means are they taught the skills they need before they are admitted to Major Seminary? How is the whole of the Latin curriculum provided for these [late] vocations? How many years are allotted? Is the same level of knowledge and practical mastery required of them before they progress to higher studies? How do they study Greek?

16. What teaching methodology is in use? Is it, as the Ordinances prescribe, ordered not only toward erudition but also, especially, toward genuine knowledge of the Latin language and practical ability in its use? Do the teachers try, especially in the upper schools, to fulfil the plan laid out in the Ordinances?

17. What use of spoken Latin is made in classes? What practice is given in writing Latin? Are there frequent review sessions and quizzes?

18. What textbooks of Latin grammar are in use? What division of the grammar is made for each of the several years? Are the theoretical and reading portions assigned in the Ordinances for each year actually completed? Is an adequate grounding provided in Latin literature?

19. What particular issues exist in this seminary? What problems exist among the teachers and the students, or in the teaching method, the time, the slate of authors, the number of school subjects, etc?


1. Is our firm directive to use Latin in class respected in the major academic disciplines? Was this approach already in place? Or has it been very recently introduced? Are instructors and students aware of the Church’s firm purpose concerning the use of Latin for teaching in these areas?

2. Are the professors able to teach in Latin? If all of them, or a few, are unable, what measures have been taken to address the matter? Are individuals present who oppose it?

3. Do all students individually have textbooks written in Latin and handbooks likewise written in Latin? Do they have in their possession the entire Vulgate edition of Sacred Scripture? Are they well enough prepared that they can understand someone teaching in Latin? Or do they have an aversion to Latin?

4. What is being done in the major seminary for the pursuit and fulfillment of the Latin curriculum? Are special conferences or classes or exercises provided toward this goal?

5. With regard to the special course in Christian Latinity, have all things been put into practice which were prescribed in Section III of the Ordinances concerning time, instructors, and the manner of conducting the course?

6. Are tests given in Latin? And are they conducted with due stringency?

7. Do students come out of minor seminary adequately prepared in knowledge and ability to use this language? Are older students admitted without due conversance with these humanistic studies?


1. How many years are allotted to the study of Greek? How many hours? Is the complete grammar taught? Which authors are read each year? In what amounts? Is an adequate grounding in Greek literature provided? Are the students moving up to the higher academic disciplines adequately prepared in this subject?

2. Is a special class in Biblical Greek provided within the Theology curriculum?

3. Do the professors hold the requisite doctorate in Classical Letters?

The report is to address each individual point, and in no perfunctory way, but with due conscientiousness, so that remedial actions, if they should be necessary, may be taken in a timely and effective way.

APPENDIX II Principal works of the Church Fathers from which suitable passages may be taken for the course in Christian Latinity [32] The objective of this special course is not merely to illuminate short passages and maxims of the Church Fathers, by which theological topics are presented, but also to bring students to understanding and familiarity with Christian Latin. In addition to short selected passages from the readers, whose full significance the professor of Theology will unpack, it is opportune that the professor of Christian Latin should clearly and distinctly read out longer passages as well, after summarizing their meaning briefly. This professor will make plain the appropriate sense of any word or expression, elucidating the more obscure forms and constructions, and briefly give the characteristics of each author’s writing style. In this way, students will be encouraged to love the Fathers, to go to them and read them frequently. They will come to understand them and savor them for themselves. They will not only complete their studies, but from them drink deep the love of the truth and reasons to defend the Catholic Faith against novelties and corruptions of every kind. They will learn with what zeal, what understanding, what knowledge and wisdom the way must be opened for the advancement of religion in Christ’s Church, “so that there may truly be progress in faith, not permutation.” This is to say, “so that the teaching of Religion may be made firmer through the years, expanded in time, and refined with age, and yet remain incorrupt and untouched, so that in every measure of its parts, as if in all its members and in the senses belonging to it, it may be full and it may be perfect, for it admits of no distortion and no abridgement of its characteristics, and it suffers no variation in its meaning.” [33] Certain works of the great writers and Fathers of the Church are listed here, from which suitable excerpts may be taken for analysis and reading; the teacher of Christian Latin, however, is not forbidden to choose other texts as may seem advantageous.

I. Fundamental Theology

ATHENAGORAS, Supplicatio pro Christianis


EPISTLE TO DIOGNETUS (especially chps. 5-6)

TERTULLIAN, Apologeticus; De praescriptione haereticorum; De Idololatria

ST. CYPRIAN, De catholicae Ecclesiae unitate (especially chp. IV); Epistles (especially Ad Cornelium papam)

LACTANTIUS, Divinae Institutiones

ST. AUGUSTINE, De Doctrina Christiana (Books II-III; De exegesi biblica); De vera religione; De utilitate credendi; De consensu Evangelistarum; De symbolo ad catechumenos.

ST. LEO THE GREAT, Epistolae

VINCENT OF LÉRINS, Commonitorium II. Dogmatic Theology 1. On the One and Triune God

MINUCIUS FELIX, Octavius, chp. 14-38, Adversus Praxean.

NOVATIAN, De Trinitate.

ST. HILARY OF POITIERS, De Trinitate (especially books II-III).

ST. BASIL, Tractatus de Spiritu Sancto.

ST. AMBROSE, De fide, Ad Gratianum, De Spiritu Sancto.

ST. AUGUSTINE, De Trinitate (especially Book V).


ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, De Incomprehensibilitate Dei.

ST. GREGORY OF NYSSA, De Trinitate, ad Eustathium (discussion of the divinity of the Holy Spirit).

2. On God Who creates and elevates

ST. GREGORY OF NYSSA, Liber de hominis opificio.

ST. AMBROSE, Hexameron; De Paradiso.

ST. JEROME, Dialogus adversus Pelagianos.

ST. AUGUSTINE, De Genesi contra Manichaeos; De Genesi ad litteram; De gratia Christi et de peccato originali.

3. On the Incarnate Word

ST. IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH, Epistles, ad Ephesios; ad Smyrnaeos.

TERTULLIAN, De carne Christi.

ST. AMBROSE, De Incarnationis Dominicae Sacramento.

ST. ATHANASIUS, De Incarnatione Verbi.

ST. GREGORY OF NYSSA, Oratio magna catechetica (chp. 10-32).

ST. AUGUSTINE, Contra sermonem Arianorum; In Ioannis Evangelium tractatus.

CASSIAN, De Incarnatione Christi contra Nestorium.

ST. GREGORY THE GREAT, Homeliae in Evangelia.

ST. JEROME, Adversus Helvidium de perpetua virginitate B. Mariae.

ST. JEROME, Epistolae.

ST. LEO THE GREAT, Sermones.

4. On Grace and the Virtues

ST. JEROME, Epistolae.

ST. AUGUSTINE, De libero arbitrio; De fide rerum quae non videntur; De natura et gratia; De gratia Christi et de peccato originali. De gratia et libero arbitrio; De dono perseverantiae; Enchiridion ad Laurentium sive de fide, spe et caritate.

ST. PROSPER OF AQUITAINE, De gratia Dei et libero arbitrio liber contra Collatorem.

ST. FULGENTIUS, De fide ad Petrum liber. 5. On the Sacraments

TERTULLIAN, De Baptismo; De Paenitentia.

ST. CYPRIAN, De lapsis.


ST. AMBROSE, De paenitentia; De Sacramentis; De Mysteriis.

ST. AUGUSTINE, De Baptismo.

ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, Catecheses ad illuminandos; De Sacerdotio.

6. On the End Times

TERTULLIAN, De carnis resurrection; De anima.

ST. CYPRIAN, De mortalitate. LACTANTIUS, Divinae Institutiones (liber VII).

ST. AMBROSE, De bono mortis; De Iacob et vita beata.

ST. AUGUSTINE, De cura pro mortuis gerenda; De praedestinatione sanctorum; De dono perseverantiae, De Civitate Dei (book XXII, de caelesti beatitudine). III. Moral and Pastoral Theology

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA, Paedagogus. ST. AMBROSE, De officiis, De Virginibus.

 ST. AUGUSTINE, Contra mendacium; De continentia; De bono coniugali; De moribus; Enchiridion (chp. 64-70, de peccatis). De catechizandis rudibus; Sermones; Confessiones. ST. GREGORY THE GREAT, Moralia in Iob; Liber Regulae pastoralis.




1 John XXIII, Const. Apost. Veterum Sapientia, 22 Feb. 1962: AAS LIV (1962), pp. 129-135.

2 Sacra Congregatio de Seminariis et Studiorum Universitatibus, Epistula ad excellentissimos locorum ordinarios De Latina lingua rite excolenda, “Latinam excolere linguam”, 27 October 1957 AAS 25 (1958): 292-296.

3 Cf. AAS LIV (1962), pp. 173-175. [John XXIII’s address in toto begins on p. 167; see note 1 above for AAS hyperlink].

4 Const. Apost. n. 8 (p. 135 in the AAS edition). [see note 1 for hyperlink].

5 Const. Apost. nn. 3. 6 (p. 133, 134). -- Cf. S. C. de Sem. Epist. 27 Oct. 1957, n. I (p. 294 in the [1958] AAS edition). [see note 2 for hyperlink].

6 Const. Apost. n. 6 (p. 134). [The foregoing is footnote 7 in the Latin original. The institution alluded to was indeed founded two years after the publication of these Ordinances, in 1964, by Paul VI. Known as the Institutum Pontificium Altioris Latinitatis, or Pontifical Institute for Higher Latin, it is a part of the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome and in recent years merged with the University’s Department of Christian and Classical Letters].

7 Cf. Sec. III, Art. 1, §3; Sec IV, Art. I, §3. [This is footnote 6 in the Latin original].

8 Const. Apost. n. 3 (p. 133). [see footnote 1 for hyperlink].

9 St. Pius X, Epist. Votre Lettre, to Louis-Ernest Dubois, Archbishop of Bourges [later of Paris ], 10 July 1912: AAS IV (1912) p. 577.

10 Pius XI, Epist, to Louis-Ernest Cardinal Dubois, Archbishop of Paris, 28 November 1928. [This document has apparently not been included in the AAS for 1928].

11 St. Pius X, I.c. (Epist. Votre Lettre). [see note 9 for hyperlink].

12 Const. Apost.§ “Neque vero” (p. 132). [see footnote 1 for hyperlink].

13 Const. Apost. n. 3-4 (pp. 133-134). [see footnote 1 for hyperlink] -- Cf. S. C. de Sem., Epist 27 Oct. 1957, n. III (p. 295) [see footnote 2 for hyperlink].

14 Cf. S. C. Sem., Epist. 27 Oct. 1957, n. II (p. 295). [see footnote 2 for hyperlink].

15 The Latin original of these Ordinationes refers consistently to this work as the Catechismus ad Parochos; its full title is Catechismus ex Decreto SS. Concilii Tridentini ad Parochos, first published in 1566. It was the authoritative statement of Catholic teaching until the publication of its successor, Catechismus Catholicae Ecclesiae, in 1992. [Note: this footnote is original to this English translation. Henceforward, until footnote 30, footnote numbers in this document will be greater than the footnote numbers of the original Latin text by one.].

16 Const. Apost. n. 3 (p. 133). [see footnote 1 for hyperlink] -- Cf. S. C. de Sem., Epist. 27 Oct 1957, n. II (p. 294). [see footnote 2 for hyperlink]. 

17 Const. Apost. n 5 (p. 134). [see footnote 1 for hyperlink].

18 Cf. Section VII, below. § 3.2.

19 Const. Apost., n. 5 (p. 134). [see footnote 1 for hyperlink].

20 Const. Apost. nn. 2 and 5 (pp. 133 and 134). [see footnote 1 above for hyperlink].

21 Const. Apost. Deus Scientiarum Dominus, Tit. I, Art. 2: AAS XXIII (1931) p. 247. [see footnote 2 for hyperlink].

22 Const. Apost., n. 3 (p. 133) [see footnote 1 for hyperlink].

23 Cf. Const. Apost. Deus scientiarum Dominus, Tit. II, Art. 25, “Ordinationes”, Art. 14: AAS XXIII (1931) pp. 252 and 267. [see footnote 2 for hyperlink].

24 Cf. Const. Apost. Deus scient. Dom., Tit. III, Art. 30 §1, and its “Ordinationes”, Arts. 22-23 (pp. 254 and 269 in the AAS edition). [see footnote 2 for hyperlink].

25 Cf. Ordinationes for Cost. Apost. Deus scient. Dom., Art. 21 (p. 268). [see footnote 2 for hyperlink].

26 Const. Apost. n. 7 (p. 135). [see footnote 1 for hyperlink].

27 Cf. Const Ap. Deus scient. Dom., Tit. II, Art. 25; “Ordinationes,” Art. 14 (pp. 252 and 267) [see footnote 2 for hyperlink].

28 Cf. Section I, Art. I §2, above.

29 Const. Apost., nn. 1-2 (p. 133). [see footnote 1 for hyperlink].

30 In the Southern Hemisphere, the academic year aligns with the calendar year, beginning in February/March and concluding in November/December. There is, consequently, no division of the year as in the Northern Hemisphere, where the academic year begins in the autumn of a given calendar year and concludes late in the following spring of the next one, thus always straddling the division of two years. These Ordinationes, hence, were to become effective in Europe and North America in the autumn of 1963 and, in South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand in the early spring of 1964. Note: like footnote 15, this note also is original to the present English translation; therefore, the numbers of footnotes from the Latin original document will henceforward be off by two.

31 Cf. Ordin., Section VII, §3.

32 Cf. Ordin., Section III, Art. 1, §3.

33 Vincent of Lerins, Commonitorium, c. 23.


DRAFT English translation by Nancy E. Llewellyn PhD of Latin original ORDINATIONES AD CONSTITUTIONEMAPOSTOLICAM “VETERUM SAPIENTIA” RITE EXSEQUENDAM (1962) AAS LIV (1962) pp. 339-368, by the Sacred Congregation for Seminaries and Universities. This document is a DRAFT and is copyright. The translator hereby grants permission to download, print, share, distribute, and excerpt it, but the written text may in no way be altered or edited.

©2021 Nancy E. Llewellyn questions:


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