Pope establishes Latin academy

Pope Benedict XVI has established a new academy dedicated to the study of the Latin language and culture.

The Pontifical Academy for Latin will partner with educational institutes and promote the subject in schools in a bid to bring the language to a new generation.

Rector of the Alma Mater Studiorum at the University of Bologna, Ivano Dionigi, has been appointed as the academy's president.

The Pope said that knowledge of Latin "remains as necessary as ever" for the study of theology and liturgy.

He expressed the hope that the academy would help to raise standards in the study of Latin.

"In contemporary culture, within the context of a generalised deterioration in humanistic studies, we see the danger of an increasingly superficial knowledge of Latin, which may also be detected in the philosophical and theological studies of future priests," he said.

"On the other hand, in our world in which science and technology are so prominent, we also find renewed interest in the Latin language and culture, and not only in those continents with Greco-Roman cultural roots.

"This interest seems particularly significant inasmuch as it is present not only in academic and institutional environments, but also involves young people and scholars from very different nations and traditions.

"There is therefore an apparent pressing need to encourage commitment to a greater knowledge and more competent use of Latin, in the ecclesial environment as well as in the world of culture at large.