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|Native to||Never spoken as a native language; other uses vary widely by period and location|
|Extinct||Still used for many purposes, mostly as liturgical language of dioceses of the Roman rite of the Catholic Church.|
|Official language in||Holy See|
The spread of Christianity in Europe to 600 AD — the dark pockets represent initial enclaves
The term Ecclesiastical Latin (sometimes called Church Latin) means the Latin language that is used in documents of the Roman Catholic Church and in its Latin liturgies. It is not a distinct language or dialect, but only the Latin language used for ecclesiastical purposes, because the same language can be used also for commercial or other purposes.
The Church issued the dogmatic definitions of the first seven General Councils in Greek, and even in Rome Greek remained at first the language of the liturgy and the language in which the first Popes wrote. The Holy See is not obliged to use Latin as its official language and, in theory, could change its practice.
But Latin has the advantage that the meaning of its words have less likelihood of changing radically from century to century. This helps to ensure theological precision and orthodoxy. Accordingly, recent Popes have reaffirmed the importance of Latin for the Church and in particular for those undertaking ecclesiastical studies.
- Ecclesiastical Latin (article in Catholic Encyclopedia (1913))
- Veterum Sapientia by Pope John XXIII, 1962
- What the Church says on the Latin Language
- The Necessity of Latin (a collection of quotes from Popes, councils, and saints)
- The Bible in Latin - official text of the Roman Catholic Church
- Latin Bible (Vulgate text) in parallel with the English Douay-Rheims and King James Bibles
- Catechism of the Catholic Church in Latin
- Ordo Missae of the 1970 Roman Missal, Latin and English texts, rubrics in English only
- Latin-English pre-Vatican-II Breviary
- The New Missal Latin by Edmund J. Baumeister, S.M., Ph.D. Published by St. Mary's Publishing Company, P.O. Box 134, St. Mary's, KS 66536-0134, USA
- A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin by John F. Collins, (Catholic University of America Press, 1985) ISBN 0-8132-0667-7. A learner's first textbook, comparable in style, layout, and coverage to Wheelock's Latin, but with text selections from the liturgy and the Vulgate. It also contains translation and composition exercises.