The pathetic almost always consists in the detail of little events. Edward Gibbon
The want of genuine spiritual formation, the lethally incompetent pedagogy, the woefully under-prepared faculty, the heavy-handed reliance on chastisement, the unsettling whimsy of the rector, and the septic defects of the curriculum are sufficient reasons in themselves to condemn Most Holy Trinity Clerical Vocational Program. Nevertheless, the Reader would be remiss to pass over the absence of what Tertullian called Romanitas, the Roman manner, Roman-ness, and now the thorough coloring of Roman ecclesiastical culture, without which practitioners of the Latin rite are shrieking, gesticulating apes.
The virtue of Romanitas rests squarely on mastery of the Latin language. It’s not enough to get the gist or even be able to puzzle it out it with a fair amount of accuracy. The practitioner has to be thoroughly at home in its idiom. As the grossly stupid blunders in Work of Human Hands testify, Anthony Cekada (MHT’s liturgy and scripture “specialist,” LOL) is not at all at home in Latin. In this post, the Reader submits that Latin is also fundamentally alien to the rector, and hence to MHT.
We don’t intend to embark upon a head-spinning linguistic discussion. (If you’re interested, you may wish to read Pistrina Bids the Rector to School.) Indeed, we'll keep it simple. One very small example will be more than enough to make our point. You know, even the Readers have to take a deep breath when some of their colleagues enter the grammatical lists.
As with all mastery, it’s the little things that count. Any vapid late-night comedian can mimic superficially salient features. We know it’s not real, for the essential details are missing. That’s why we laugh. (Otherwise we would marvel.) The obvious failure to model significant, subtle traits and mannerisms betrays the poseur, the impostor, the phony, the mountebank, the faker, the bunyip (for our chorus of Down Under reviewers). Getting right the characteristic and apparently insignificant marks takes years of living a culture authentically, of becoming fluent through assiduous study and practice. As the following note makes clear, the rector, like his shallow pal Anthony Cekada, didn’t sweat the small stuff that virtuous Romanitas demands:
The Reader recently came across a copy of an MHT certificate of ordination. It was all tricked out with polychrome print, an elaborate border, and fancy fonts. The text was virtually the same as the Reader has seen on old certificates issued by Archbishop Lefebvre (a vigorous promoter of Romanitas) and the SSPX. However, the rector’s amateur hand was plainly visible in one word (twice printed!): Brooksvillense (the swampland breeding ground for MHT pests).
He meant the word to mean “at Brooksville.” However, in Latin the suffix -ensis makes an adjective of locality, not a noun! The rector's word formation, then, is completely off base. Moreover, even if you could make Brooksville (the city) a Latin noun with that suffix (and you can’t), the case ending –se is wrong: in the locative, it would have been Brooksvillensi. (You wouldn't write that you spent the summer "at [or in] Bostonian," would you? Again, all this is explained in excruciating detail in Pistrina Bids the Rector to School.*)
The seemingly microscopic error—like the rector's ignorance of the right Latin word for ‘time’ when it refers to the time-slot cell on the class schedule (see the Jan. 30 post, footnote)—declares that neither the rector nor MHT is capable of transmitting the Church’s enduring Roman culture. All MHT can produce are impersonators of the Roman Catholic priesthood.
* Sanborn's buddies, "One-Hand" Dan Dolan and Blundering Tony Cekada also don't understand that the ending -ensis is an adjective, not a noun, for in one certificate issued from the SGG cult center, we find in archidiocesi Cincinnatensis. It looks as if those two pinheads think that Cincinnatensis means 'of Cincinnati.' The correct form is Cicinnatensi, an ablative so that the adjective agrees with the noun it modifies (viz., archidiocesi). Had they just copied the ending shown on their own ordination certificates from Archbishop Lefebvre (dioecesi Sedunensi), they wouldn't have made themselves so ridiculous. (BTW, the SGG certificate also contains a few other howlers as well; maybe we'll post them soon, if you'd like. Ordinati: demand corrected documents from those clowns!)