Saturday, December 17, 2016

Learning Latin with Pope Francis - December 17, 2016 - Felix Dies Natalis Papae! Why the "Royal We" only in Latin?

To visit my archive of Latin Papal Tweets, go to my main page. 

December 17, 2016

First off, your Holiness, you are in my prayers every day.

As an Eastern Orthodox Christian, I pray for my priest, his wife, my bishop, John of Narofominsk, and all the Orthodox Patriarchs by name, but I daily close with prayers for you, Pope Francis of Rome. God grant you many years on the occasion of your 80th birthday! 

And I pray that continued dialogue between our Churches will bear the fruit of shared Communion in our lifetimes.

Since I am an Orthodox Christian, this may be none of my business, but inasmuch as I have obviously devoted a lot of time and energy into making your Latin twitter feed better understood, I am going to speak my mind.

I simply do not believe that you are aware of and sanction the use of the "Royal We" in your Latin twitter account. 

But that means that someone is taking it upon themselves to employ the Royal We in your name in Latin, while no other language account is using it.

I had earlier noted in my study of your tweets that the Royal We appeared in your first tweet but then later tweets used "I" and "me." 

The Royal We is so contrary to the spirit of humility that you have shown throughout your papacy. I mean, you celebrated your birthday by having breakfast with homeless people!

Today isn't the first time I had noticed its reappearance, but today, I guess because it's your birthday and your message in all the other languages is so personal, it just annoyed me enough that I had to speak out. 

If your Holiness is unaware that the Royal We is being employed in your Latin tweets, it would be understandable. 

I imagine you approve a message and it is then sent to the various linguistic teams to translate and send out on your accounts. And you are obviously too busy to daily supervise what is produced in your name. 

For the record, all the other languages in which your tweets are published use the 1st person singular verb forms and pronouns (I/me).

Nota bene, in addition to the English version above, here are your other tweets from today:

French (Je vous remercie/pour moi)

Spanish (agradezco/por mí)

German (Ich danke/für mich)

Italian (ringrazio/per me)

Polish (Dziękuję/za mnie)

Portuguese (Agradeço/por mim)

Arabic ('ashkurukum/min 'ajlii)

It is precisely because I love you and pray daily for your welfare that I am trying to shine a spotlight on this. 

Here's a literal translation of the Latin of today's tweet: We give you (pl.) thanks for your kindnesses. Don't forget to pray for Us.

And here's how the grammar of this Latin tweet works:

Grammar Points
acc. pl. fem. noun
gratia, gratiae
to you
dat. pl. pronoun
vos, vestri
we give
1st pers. pl. pres. act. ind. verb
ago, agere, egi, actus
for (about, concerning)
Prep. + Abl.
abl. pl. poss. adj.
vester, vestra, vestrum; modifies affectibus
moods, feelings, kindnesses
abl. pl. masc. noun
affectus, affectūs
Don’t (Do not want)
pl. imper.
nolo, nolle, nolui; imper. used for negative command
(to) forget
inf. of dep. verb
oblīvīscor, oblīvīscī, oblītus sum
Prep. + Abl.
abl. pl. pronoun
nos, nostri
to pray
pres. act. inf.
oro, orare, oravi, oratus

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