Father Foster’s Back!

Reginald Foster gives a lesson on the ablative...
Image via Wikipedia

Another one that was making the rounds this week. From Fox6:

Father Reginald Foster is trying to resuscitate something most people consider dead; the old language of Latin.

Years ago, Foster spurned the family business for a higher calling. He joined the priesthood. Foster soon learned he excelled at one of the tools of the trade. He spoke Latin like a Roman emperor. That talent was noticed and needed at the Vatican where Latin remains the official language.

For the next 40 years, every official document that came from the Vatican was either written by Foster’s hand or approved with his eyes. That includes the funeral mass of Pope John Paul II, the mass heralding the ascention of Pope Benedict, even the document certifying Jerome Listecki as Milwaukee’s Archbishop.

Foster is an affectionate but strict teacher. He says Latin demands discipline and dedication. He makes all of his students sign a tough contract.

“I tell the students, you can take off your shoes or clothes or bring beer or wine in class, I don’t care if you make one stupid mistake, you’re out!” said Foster.

Foster wants Latin to survive. Yet, he laments the long, slow death of the language. That begs the question: If Latin is dead, which is to say it’s not really spoken anywhere anymore, then why is it still important?

Foster says, “Relevant! Because it’s about three quarters of our western civilization, for one. All of our thoughts, ideas, prayers and all this other stuff has come through Latin!”

Anyone interested in taking Fr. Foster’s class should mail a short note of interest to Reginald Foster at 3553 S. 41st St. in Milwaukee. He’ll send you a contract and you can take the class for free in Milwaukee.

… the original post has a nice television news segment on Foster as well. Definitely worth a look; I’m sure Father Foster would cringe at the voiceover’s use of ‘begging the question’   … also nice to see a Latinist using a document camera (sorry … I can’t embed it).

Vatican relies on Milwaukee man for his expertise in Latin | Fox

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