The Use of Latin in Church Documents Is Not an Exercise in Preciosity
No more “propositiones”. No more “relationes”. No more anything. Latin will not be around, not even to ensure the precision of formulas and the exactness of final deliberations (and, presumably, the final report), unlike in any other of the previous assemblies of the Synod of Bishops.
In a break with tradition, Pope Francis has decreed that the deliberations at the synod on the family are to be carried out in Italian rather than Latin.
Cardinal Péter Erdő of Hungary made the announcement during this morning opening session of the family synod at the Vatican, saying that Italian would be the “working language of the synod” at the behest of the pontiff. [Source]
In the more recent assemblies of the Synod of Bishops, discussions were in several languages (mostly in Italian). Nevertheless, until the last Synod (2012) there was an effort to have Latin as the working language when specific deliberations (votes) on sentences were taken, and to present the final propositions at some point in Latin, due to the risk of their being misunderstood, since, as a living language, Italian is unstable, equivocal, in constant evolution, and subject to misunderstandings (to be honest about the de facto universal language, our dear English language also presents the exact same problems).
The Church’s language must be not only universal but also immutable. Modern languages are liable to change, and no single one of them is superior to the others in authority. Thus if the truths of the Catholic Church were entrusted to an unspecified number of them, the meaning of these truths, varied as they are, would not be manifested to everyone with sufficient clarity and precision. There would, moreover, be no language which could serve as a common and constant norm by which to gauge the exact meaning of other renderings.
But Latin is indeed such a language. It is set and unchanging. it has long since ceased to be affected by those alterations in the meaning of words which are the normal result of daily, popular use. Certain Latin words, it is true, acquired new meanings as Christian teaching developed and needed to be explained and defended, but these new meanings have long since become accepted and firmly established.