The Latin language was for nigh on two millennia the main means by which the “great conversation” of our civilisation was continued, the Gospel preached, the liturgy celebrated, wars declared and peace restored, scientific research conducted and banking transactions legitimised. It was less a generation ago that English doctors and lawyers began to abandon the daily use of Latin in medical prescriptions and legal arguments.
It is a sad fact, however, that the Latin grammar of modern graduates in the Classics is often weaker than that of a grammar school boy fifty years ago. This is part of a wider trend characterised by a lack of rigor in education. As Benedict XVI has observed : “in today’s culture, the danger of an increasingly superficial knowledge of Latin may be noted in the context of the widespread weakening of humanistic studies.” The Chavagnes Latin programme places a great emphasis on the sound grasp of grammar. Students will be expected to parse Latin accurately and to translate to and from the language. Whilst key classical authors will be studied (with an appropriate level of sophistication with regard to the texts as literature), Christian Latin will also be given substantial attention. At the end of the course students should be able to read the Vulgate Bible without difficulty, fully master recurring texts in the liturgy and cope well with its variable texts as well as with Church documents.