Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Get Your Conclave Latin Right Here!

By Keith Massey, PhD Connect with me on Google+ and Twitter. Explore my novels at Lingua Sacra Publishing.

Latinists like myself are in heaven. I heard NPR this morning teach the Latin word murmuratio, a murmured conversation (the only communication allowed in the conclave to prevent electioneering). 

So here are the Latin phrases I have seen in media and which we can expect to see in the coming days.


This comes from Latin con + clavis, meaning 'with key'. The Cardinals were once locked inside until they would choose a new Pope, giving rise to a new tradition.

Missa pro Eligendo Pontifice
Mass for the Choosing of the Pontifex

This is what the Cardinals celebrated before heading into the Conclave. Note the Gerundival attraction of the object into the case of the gerundive (be still, my soul!)

Habemus Papam!
We have a Pope!

This is what the people will acclaim when they see white smoke from the chimney.