Monday, October 16, 2006
Pope's chief latinist fired from Rome's Gregoriana...
He's famous in the Vatican. His name is Fr. Reginald Foster, O.C.D., a Carmelite priest from near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was a student in Rome in the early 1960s, was ordained there, and has lived there since. Since 1975 he has been teaching Latin full-time at Rome's Jesuit University, the Gregoriana. He also is the world's most famous living latinist, having worked in that capacity for four popes for nearly forty years.
Every October Fr. Reginald has a first meeting for his new and former Latin students in his popular upper classroom at the Gregoriana. Typically, over one-hundred Latin students from all over the world are gathered.
This year, the class meeting was a little different. Today, Fr. Foster announced with great regret that his renowned Latin program would no longer be held there, after over thirty years, as per the Jesuit administration.
"Last Saturday evening," he explained, "We received a scrambled e-mail at my residence in Rome (the Teresianum), not addressed to me, but to my superior." The letter explained that, "Fr. Foster would be no longer teaching Latin at the Gregoriana."
The administration had cancelled Fr. Foster's Latin program and substituted another class for that time-slot. Their reason was cryptic: "Too many students are taking Fr. Foster's Latin without paying tuition." True, many of the students were not registered with the Univeristy, but everyone knew how renowned this Latin program was while drawing latinists from all over the world.
Fr. Foster, in good spirits, explained to us today: "Well you see, the Jesuits were rather Jesuitical about the whole thing, now weren't they?" Then, he went on to explain: "I'm taking this opportunity to announce the founding of a new Latin institute in Rome! We don't yet have a place to meet yet, but I'll keep you all informed! Latin lives!"