If they’d write in decent Latin, things would be different!

The noted Latinist (and noted quirky personality) Fr. Reginald Foster, O.C.D., appeared in his regular feature on Vatican Radio (podcast link) Friday. Since Pope Benedict is making a state visit to Germany soon, the interviewer Sr. Veronica asked Fr. Foster to describe a famous battle between the Germans and the Roman Empire.
After describing the results of the battle (“the Germans beat the pants off of them”), he went on with some funny remarks about the expressiveness of Latin:

“You can say everything marvelously: except this kind of jargon, this philosophical jargon that’s going around, like how the politicians here in Italy talk, you know that kind of stuff — ugh, that’s terrible, I mean ‘la realizzazione della programma… da questo piano di lavoro’ – agh, shut up! …

“If the encyclicals were written in Latin, … you couldn’t do this, because Latin doesn’t allow you, y’know, just to blah blah blah, you just can’t blah in Latin, which is what they’re doing, you see, so they write it — and the worst is in, well, French, Italian, you see — and it just kind of dribbles on and on, and I’m supposed to put this dribble, dribble, and dribble into Latin! …

“They say this crummy thing in Italian, and I said, I can say this infinitely better in Latin, and people would agree! … At least your sentences are clear and concise, and solid as a rock, whereas these other people are dribbling, dribbling around, and blah blah blah blah — you don’t know what they’re talking about…. If they would write in decent Latin, things would be different, but they refuse!”

Here’s a clip with the interview.

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