Help with Latin Papal Tweet

Could any lurking Latinist please help me here? I like to compare the Pope’s Latin tweets to the English – I am fascinated by the quality (as it appears to me) of these Latin tweets – but honestly they are sometimes beyond me.

Take this one from today:

@Pontifex_ln: Nostris haud viribus christiani evadimus; donum Dei ipsius est in primis fides quam nobis Ille largitur intra perque Ecclesiam

I get the second half, but the first half is causing me some difficulty. I don’t get the meaning of the verb in this context. The parallel English tweet is:

@Pontifex: We do not become Christians by ourselves. Faith is above all a gift from God which is given to us in and through the Church.

The basic idea is, of course, from Lumen Fidei.

About Schütz

I am a PhD candidate & sessional academic at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. After almost 10 years in ministry as a Lutheran pastor, I was received into the Catholic Church in 2003. I worked for the Archdiocese of Melbourne for 18 years in Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations. I have been editor of Gesher for the Council of Christians & Jews and am guest editor of the historical journal “Footprints”. I have a passion for pilgrimage and pioneered the MacKillop Woods Way.
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4 Responses to Help with Latin Papal Tweet

  1. Stephen K says:

    I think the parallel version is fine. “Evado” literally means “come/go out” or “come/go away” – hence “become” sounds right. But “largitur” is from “largior” which is a deponent verb, i.e. passive in form but active in meaning, so here is my version: “By no means do we become Christians by our own strengths; faith is, in the first place, the gift of God Himself, which He bestows to us in and through the Church.” What do you think of that?

    • Schütz says:

      Thanks Stephen. It was the meaning of the verb that was giving me trouble. I see now that L&S does give “become” as a meaning of evado – as in this line from Cicero: quos judicabat non posse oratores evadere. And like the verb esse it takes the nominative?

      The tweets do pretty neat Latin, don’t you think?

      • Stephen K says:

        Yes, that makes sense, as you point out, as with esse, there is identity between the subject and the attribute (We = Christians) and the case will correspond. And yes, one might well think such a condensed language as Latin very suitable for tweets.

  2. John Nolan says:

    The “official” English version is more ICEL 1973 than ICEL 2011, and Stephen’s translation perfectly conveys the sense of the Latin. It would be interesting to know in what language the tweets were originally written, and from which the translations, including the Latin one, were made.

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