By: C. Kerr December 28, 2014
Toronto, Ontario - In light of Pope Francis' scathing denunciation of the sins of the curia, seminarian Rob Bertrand doesn't know what to do with the Italian Rosetta Stone software he keeps carefully hidden in his closet in the seminary.
"It's too late to re-gift it."
Bertrand had been disciplining himself to spend an hour every Saturday morning learning the Church's sacred language. Although only in his first year of priestly formation, he imagined that by the time of his ordination he would be fluent enough "to be useful to Holy Mother Church in whatever way she deemed necessary," he said.
"I got the idea for this after seeing priest after priest with one of these bright yellow boxes on their rectory bookshelves, and some of the older cassock-wearing seminarians with them too. Mind you, they never liked to talk about why they decided to learn Italian, though. I guess they were being humble: they didn't want anyone to know about the extra service they were willing to provide for the Church."
Now Bertrand doesn't know what he is going to do Saturday mornings.
"The Holy Father has made it clear that he doesn't want us there, and so there's no reason now to continue on with this. So far I have learned eight different Italian phrases. I suppose they will come in handy at some point."
When asked by SCCB about what this means for the future of priestly ministry in his home diocese, he said, "I might pick up a book on annulments since I think we will be seeing a lot more of them."
But Bertrand still wonders how things will continue to function in Rome now with all those suddenly-empty rooms in the Vatican. "Will they turn them into hostels for pilgrims or more showers for homeless Italians?"
When he asked one of his seminary professors about all of this, the priest, Fr. Gerald Blanc, said, "I think you will find that the Church will not lack new priests from around the world who still inexplicably somehow know Italian."