Monday, February 11, 2013

A Typo in the Papal Resignation?

Important Update!

The typo has been corrected on the official Vatican site:

Please also see my new post, in which I prove that the Pope himself did not pronounce the typo that was, for a time, posted on the Vatican Website.

Below is my original post from the morning of the announcement:

I wish His Holiness Benedict XVI health and many years of the prayerful retirement he has announced.

At least of this posting, the Latin text of his official resignation contains a typo!

 The preposition pro takes ablative. In the opening of the declaration we read "pro Ecclesiae vitae" (with vitae in the genitive like Ecclesiae). "For the Life of the Church." This should be "pro Ecclesiae vita." 

Here's an example of the correct formula from a prior Papal document:

I am certain His Holiness knows Latin abundantly better than I and that this is a simple typo and not a grammatical error. He is probably not even personally responsible for the typo. Even so, let's pray it is corrected on the official site.

It is otherwise a grammatically lovely sentence with a Purpose Clause. The actual resignation is conveyed via an Indirect Statement construction: (I declare [that] I am retiring).