Diplóma Latinitátis Ecclesiásticæ

Diploma in Ecclesiastical Latin


  1. The Facoltà di Lettere Cristiane e Classiche – Pontificium Institutum Altioris Latinitatis (hereafter FLCC/PIAL) of the Salesian Pontifical University and Charlotte-based Veterum Sapientia Institute are two institutions sharing the same vision: to promote the knowledge of Ecclesiastical Latin especially among the clergy. Both entities recognize the “Magna Charta” in the Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia (1962) of Pope St. John XXIII, which inspires their action.
  2. FLCC/PIAL and VSI are therefore willing to collaborate in various academic initiatives to achieve their common objective.
  3. In this way, FLCC/PIAL establishes this Diploma program in Ecclesiastical Latin (hereafter DLE) through a cordial and efficient collaboration with VSI.
  4. The Congregation for Catholic Education granted its approbation for this diploma program in a letter on January 25, 2022.

Who's it for?

The DLE is for anyone who wants to fulfill in himself/herself John XXIII’s vision for Latin in the Church. While ecclesiastics were uppermost in Pope John’s mind, his vision embraces the laity as well. Examples in the former category are priests, deacons, seminarians, and religious, both male and female. Examples in the latter are teachers in seminaries and in Catholic schools, Catholics of all professions wanting direct access to the vast intellectual and cultural patrimony of their Church, and homeschooling parents who want such access for their children, as well as catechists, canon lawyers and music directors.

Program Goals

The DLE is specially designed, following the curriculum contained in the Ordinationes for the Correct Implementation of Veterum Sapientia:

  1. to obtain a sound and thorough knowledge of Latin language and literature;
  2. to be competent in reading and interpreting the original texts in theological studies and writings in Latin while appreciating the richness of Sacred Tradition; and
  3. to equip the students’ competence in the active use (writing and verbal) of Latin.


Prior knowledge in Latin is not required. However, those who have previously studied in relevant areas may be exempted from certain courses of the current academic curriculum subjected to the decision of the Director of VSI.

Before proceeding to the second milestone, students will be required to fulfill some basic prerequisites in Philosophy and Theology, or show that they have previously fulfilled them by submitting an academic transcript attesting successful completion of at least one course in each discipline. For those who have not previously fulfilled them, VSI will offer a basic prerequisite course philosophy and theology taught Latine tantum from an appropriate manual. Students may also take a special exam to demonstrate that they are ready to begin the second milestone courses.

Curriculum & Teaching

  1. The DLE program comprises 32 USAC/64 ECTS,1 and the length of the program is expected to six to nine semesters; attendance at the program could be in nonconsecutive semesters. For more information on the program timeline, please click this link.
  2. The DLE program is divided into two parts: the first part (elementary level) is called “First Milestone” (FM), while the second part (specialist level) is called “Second Milestone” (SM).
  3. The first level (FM) allows students to acquire a thorough knowledge of Latin grammar according to the classical writers and to read significant writings of the classical and humanistic era.
  4. The second level (SM) equips the students with full command in various forms of Ecclesiastical Latin: philosophical-theological, biblical, patristical, canonical, juridical, and curial.
  5. “Natural method” and active use of Latin will be the preferred mode of didactics.
  6. Lessons are held, depending on the annual teaching planning, in both modalities of on-campus and online.
  7. Examinations are held in accordance with the indications of each lecturer, which will be announced in the program prospectus.
  8. In order to be awarded the diploma, the students are required to submit an extended essay (30-50 pages) in Latin on a topic related to the DLE curriculum besides passing all examinations. The submitted work is to be evaluated by a commission composed of two members nominated by the President-Dean of FLCC/PIAL and chaired either by himself or by a delegate mandated by the President-Dean of FLCC/PIAL himself to serve the role.

The detailed curriculum can be found at this link.


1 1 US Academic Credit (here abbreviated as USAC), based on the Carnegie Unit, is defined as 1 academic hour (50 minutes) of lecture once a week for 15 weeks. 1 USAC equals 2 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) credits.


  • To enroll in the DLE, students must first submit an admissions application to VSI.
  • For the duration of their enrollment in the program students will be dual enrolled with both VSI and FLCC/PIAL to obtain the DLE. Upon admission to the program, VSI will coordinate the FLCC/PIAL on behalf of the student.


  • FLCC/PIAL charges a 500 EUR fee to register for the DLE program and another 500 EUR for their share of the didactics of the program.
  • For a list of fees, tuition rates, scholarships, and payment plans, please see the Tuition & Financial Aid page.

When: June 26 – July 2, 2023
Arriving: Monday, June 26, after 3pm
Departing: Sunday, July 2nd, checkout by noon.
*St Bernard’s can accommodate those who need to stay some extra time on campus. This would need to be arranged beforehand, so if you have any questions or concerns about arriving late or leaving early, please contact us and we can help you make the necessary arrangements.

Applications for Fall 2023 open this summer

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