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April 04, 2005



The proceedings (not the discussions) will be conducted in latin. For instance on the first day of the conclave, the college of cardinals will take an oath to observe the rules laid down in Universi Dominici Gregis (a latin document).After the oath is taken, everyone not connected with the conclave is ordered out with the Latin words "Extra omnes,". Even the ballot card is written in latin -"Eligo in summum pontificem" (I elect supreme pontiff. However I would think that discussions and negotiations outside the sistine chapel would be in english as according to America, the National Catholic Weekly, english is the first or second language for all the cardinals. However, it's worthwhile noting that italian is the working language of the Vatican curia and the diocese of rome. But then again, its just my guess.


It's at times like this that I am glad that I hv read yet another Dan Brown book - Angels & Demons. Though I wld never confess to it on my deathbed ;)


kaiser: thanks Kaiser. it's true that the rites would be conducted in latin, from the "extra omnis" right up to the "annuntio...habemus papam" when the name of the elected pope is announced. but as you mentioned, what's more interesting is the discussions and interactions which might happen during the voting. questions of choice and use of language have always fascinated me, e.g. what language did Pak Lah use when in discussions with SBY?


epi: all these pictures and reports on the VAtican are making me Rome-sick.... sigh (damn the euro for being too strong)


Doesn't it make you wonder that the Muslim scholars and ulamas will definitely use Arabic and the Jews will always use Yiddish since both languages, unlike Latin, is very much alive.
In South America where Catholicism is even stronger than in Europe (these days), marriage ceremonies are even performed in Latin. It was a sense of wonder for me since a Brit friend is now studyign to be a Catholic to marry an Ecuador girl. He always has a thing for Catholic girls.
I think the cardinals speak in Italian, Spanish and English. Last year in a *Intercultural Difference* class, we were told (by an African post grad student) that English became the official language in South Africa and many of the African countries not because of Apartheid but because of the tribes just can't agree.
It is also interesting that throughout the years, religion and language have been used as the most important artillery in politics and power broking.


Epi and Fazu,
me is Romesick too and Sofie's post about Italy doesn't help either!

rara avis

me three me three.
sigh. rome...... italy. you and sof part of come to italy lobby group.

fazu - i like this post. it certainly tells me that i havent been the only one thinking of robed figures whispering in corridors discussing who should be the next pontiff.
lets hope its a good progressive person advocating peace and understanding..

ps: do you like me wonder whether their sleepwear looks like?


Lisa: Do the Jews still speak Yiddish when it comes to cross border religious and intellectual discourse? Strange, isn't it, considering that Yiddish is technically a German dialect? I would have thought they would use Hebrew, the "original" language of the Jews, given the resurgence of Israel.

But isn't the question of language so fascinating? How the choice of language actually reflects your cultural and political allegiance and even your very own sentiments regardless of what you actually SAY in that language? I know of Malaysian officials who, when meeting their Indonesian counterparts in international settings, switch back and forth between Malay and English depending on whether they want to be friendly or hostile to the Indonesians. The magic and curse of language.

And I agree, Sophie's entry is not helping me deal with Rome-sickness...(some people are just too lucky ;) )

Rara: NO, I don't wonder about their sleepwear. What kind of out-of-the-box ideas have you generated from pondering on such issues? ;) I caught the funeral of the pope on TV. It was grand, multilingual and beautiful (did you catch the part when the Patriarch of Constantinople slipped into Arabic?). I want to have a multilingual funeral too. Three languages, at least ;)

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