The Importance of Latin in Catholic Schools
Latin should be very prominent in the education of every student in a Catholic school in America. One of the most important aspects of the Catholic school system is to ensure that every student gets a well-rounded education. Coincidentally, the word Catholic literally means universal, which furthers the point that attending a Catholic high school provides every student with an education that encompasses every universal aspect. Therefore, to ensure students getting the best education possible, Latin must be included in each Catholic school’s curriculum. Some of the benefits of a Latin class include strengthening of English vocabulary and grammar, allowing students to learn new languages more easily, allowing students to gain more respect for the different cultures around the world, and because Latin is the official language of the Catholic Church.
During the 20th century, most American schools, both catholic and public, offered Latin classes for the sole purpose of enhancing each student’s ability to perform in their respective English classes. For example, taking Latin courses through high school greatly increases the ability of a student to learn words in English. Since nearly half of the words in the English language are derived from Latin (or some offset version of a Latin derivative), it is fair to say that taking Latin helps teach new vocabulary to students by deriving the English words from their Latin roots. By breaking down words, one can see how the word Magistrate in English comes almost directly from the word Magister in Latin, meaning “teacher.” In addition to broadening one’s vocabulary, Latin allows students to learn how to properly formulate sentences by properly structuring them. The structure of sentences in Latin is quite unique, seeing how what is currently referred to as “normal” structure now, would be completely wrong in the earlier times of Latin. Also through Latin, students learn that each word has a purposeful meaning to each sentence depending on its ending. For that reason, most of the factors in modern day English structures that have remained since the time that Latin was spoken, are uses of words for what they are. Nouns are persons, places, or things, just as they were back in 3 A.D.
Another great thing about Latin is that other languages (specifically the romance languages of French, Spanish, and Italian) have a resounding amount of words that come from the Latin language. This, of course, makes learning these new languages much easier with a strong Latin foundation. In addition to having a good vocabulary sense in these alternate languages, Latin helps develop correct grammar in these languages as well. Much like in the Latin language, there is a proper way to structure a sentence in the vast majority of these foreign languages and it is necessary to learn how to create proper sentences in these languages as well. One major difference between the English language and just about every other language spoken or written is the use of conjugations and declensions. Although not very prominent in the English language, declensions and conjugations are very important grammatical structures in other languages. And, of course, no language prepares students for declensions and conjugations better than Latin.
Another great reason for Latin to be taught in Catholic schools is because it teaches students to respect other cultures. When discussing the language of Latin, the most commonly studied eras are that of the Greeks and the Romans spanning from around 753 B.C. (the founding of Rome), all the way until 117 A.D. (the beginning of the decline of the Roman Empire). However, there were (and still are) many other cultures that have been greatly impacted from the Latin language. For example, in the world of taxonomy, the majority of animals are given their scientific names in either Latin or Greek, although it