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Family synod: Pope decrees discussions to take place in Italian instead of Latin

A Swiss Guard salutes as Pope Francis leaves the synod (CNS)

In a break with tradition, Pope Francis has decreed that the deliberations at the synod on the family are to be carried out in Italian rather than Latin.

Cardinal Péter Erdő of Hungary made the announcement during this morning opening session of the family synod at the Vatican, saying that Italian would be the “working language of the synod” at the behest of the pontiff.

Harry Mount, the author of Amo, Amas, Amat… and All That – the bestselling book about ‘how to become a Latin lover’, described Pope Francis’s descision as “very sad news”.

“The Vatican was one of the world’s last outposts of spoken Latin. Latin is also the ideal language for formal discussions. Because it is a dead language, and its meanings are set in stone, there’s no wriggle room for argument or sly manoeuvre,” he said.

“It is the ideal lingua franca for romance languages, the ultimate ancestor and arbiter of them all.”