Simplicissimus 3rd Edition 2018
An entirely new approach to learning the Latin of the Traditional Roman Missal
The Latin Mass Society’s teach-yourself-Latin course book, Simplicissimus by Dr Carol Byrne, will be twenty years’ old next year. It is unique in drawing its examples, exercises, and passages for reading and translation from the ancient Missale Romanum.
The advantages of this approach are many. The course wastes no time in unlocking the meaning of phrases we have all heard scores of times, and makes the maximum use of what we already know. Audemus dicere and the rest is translated in our hand-missals, but knowing the grammar, how it says what it says, means that we can fit it into our understanding of Latin in general, and apply this knowledge to other examples as we encounter them.
Dr Byrne was able to make use of a prodigious knowledge of the Missal, including the Lectionary, and this was the key necessary condition for the creation of a course like this. She is able again and again to put her hand on examples of verbal forms and grammatical constructions taken from the Missal, to illustrate her points.
Dr Joseph Shaw has been coordinating the revision of the text, with the help of innumerable Latinists, for this new edition.
"For Catholics to know Latin, to a degree corresponding with their general education, is not an optional extra: the Church earnestly exhorts us to know it. I have written often that it is not necessary to know Latin in order to appreciate the Latin liturgy, and that is true, but each step one takes in learning Latin opens a little more the imagery, the cadences, the dignity, the joy, and the sorrow, of the ancient texts. Latin, Pope Benedict reminded us, is the language of the Church. It is the language we use to speak to each other, above all to Catholics of other generations.
If you’ve not yet taken time to do a short residential course, and / or to work through Simplicissimus, don’t put it off. You will find you know half the material already, and reading the Latin will be a source of spiritual consolation."