Papal Telegram for the Passing of Fr Foster


Sent December 26, 2020  Telegram by +Parolin to Fr. Saverio Cannistra OCD, Superior General of the Carmelite order, offering the Pope’s condolences on the death of Fr. Reginald Foster.

Summus Pontifex Franciscus nuntium accepit Patrem Reginaldum Foster OCD de hoc mundo demigrasse ad Patris domum transiturum qui complures annos in secretaria Status exegit quique innumera documenta pontificia Latinae linguae fulgore collustravit quam etiam copiose frequentibus discipulis ac largiter assiduus tradidit ipseque precatur ut meritis cumulatus a Domino ad confertam mensuram recipiat mercedem. 

Petrus SRE Card. Parolin

Secretarius Status


Pope Francis has received word that Fr. Reginald Foster OCD has departed this world on his way to the House of the Father.  [Fr. Foster] served for many years in the Secretariat of State and illuminated innumerable pontifical documents with the brilliance of the Latin language, which he also taught fruitfully to a great many students with generous care.  [His Holiness] prays that [Fr. Foster], heaped with his merits, may receive from the Lord recompense in due measure. 

Pietro Cardinal Parolin

Secretary of State

Comment by Nancy Llewellyn:

Reggie would like this Latin, apart from the regrettable “ad domum” early on. He’d certainly appreciate both the choice of the verb demigrare and its elegantly contracted perfect infinitive form demigrasse (instead of the uncontracted demigravisse). He’d also like the coupling of it with that transiturum – a future participle expressing purpose, which offers a bracing dose of futurity in contrast to the past (demigrasse). In classes at the Greg, Reggie not infrequently would run across some phrase expressing purpose and stop everything to run us through at least seven or eight different ways to say that same thing using different structures.

He’d appreciate the light-filled imagery of Latinae linguae fulgore collustravit and the physicality of that cumulatus combined with such a non-physical thing as meritis.   Oh, and did I mention it’s just one huge sentence?  He’d like that too. 

Kudos to the Vatican scribe who wrote this. NEL

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