Saturday, 31 July 2021


Of course Latin should be taught in state schools. Whatever my lot was taught instead has not made any of us Chancellor of the Exchequer. Our contemporary who is in that position was Head Boy of Winchester. The Prime Minister has a Classics degree, and he even lapses into Latin in casual conversation.

The Leader of the Opposition is a barrister, so he will also have at least some Latin. The Leader of the Liberal Democrats will have done it at Nottingham High School. It seems to be the minimum qualification, as once it was for admission to read anything at Oxbridge.

I am not part of the Latin Mass lobby, but nor am I one of its enemies, who will use absolutely any other language at all in the Liturgy, yet who belch that "no one could understand" Latin. In the 1960s. When it was routinely taught in schools. But not to them, perhaps.

The comparable ignorance on the other side is that of those who claim that "the Latin Mass was the same everywhere". It was not, and, as with "no one could understand it", it would have been of absolutely no theological consequence if it had been. All that they are saying is that it was equally incomprehensible to them everywhere.

Whenever I hear any call for this or that to be taught in schools, then I ask myself how that curriculum time was currently being filled. Whether to the thing proposed or to the thing already being taught, apply the Eton Test. Would this be taught in a school that assumed its pupils to be future Prime Ministers or Nobel Laureates? If not, then fill the hours with something that was. Teach Latin. Someone will.


  1. You say what so many people are thinking.