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Use of Latin during the sessions of Vatican II

24 July 2015


From Mr Robert Nowell

Sir, — In his fascinating review of what is clearly a fascinating book (Reforming Rome by Donald W. Norwood, Books, 17 July), Dr Arnold says that "the early sessions [of the Second Vatican Council] were conducted wholly in Latin".

As far as I am aware, not just the early sessions but all of them were, with the partial exception of that addressed in 1962 by the Melkite Patriarch Maximos IV Saigh.

He spoke in French, observing that the Fathers had all been speaking their liturgical language, which was Latin:his liturgical language was Arabic, and, if he spoke that, he thought they would have some difficulty in understanding what he was saying; so he would continue in French.

When one of our bishops kindly got me a ticket to attend one of the sessions in 1964, it was all in Latin.


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