Liturgy Institute London

For a detailed and peaceful study of Liturgy

Proficient Latin for Liturgists (and Canonists)

In Person only: 12 – 23 August 2024, weekdays

IL: L711
KULeuven: B-KUL-A07E3A 4 study points


Moderator: Daniel McCarthy

Students develop an appreciation of the Latin language through reading and understanding texts especially from seven areas of ecclesial literature: biblica, patristica, liturgica, scholastica, magisteria, musica, canonicaThey will develop a more comprehensive understanding of ideas expressed in Latin and greater ease and precision in expressing them in both Latin and English.



We shall cover the main elements, but not all of the Fourth Experience from the book Ossa Latinitatis Sola, and its forthcoming companion Ossa Ostensa Book 3. These include three major elements: the accusative with the infinitive; gerunds and gerundives; conditional sentences along with their various usages. By the end of the course, student will be prepared to:

1. recognize and produce the accusative with the infinitive and discern its use in indirect discourse and as object sentences,

2. distinguish between the gerund or gerundive and the participle of passive necessity; convert gerunds into gerundives and vice versa as possible,

3. recognize and produce conditional sentences: factual, foggy-future and contrary to fact in the present and in the past.

4. recognize and understand the 3% use of the sequence of tenses and verbs in the subjunctive mode due to modal attraction,

5. recognize and produce the expressions that accompany verbs of doubting, fearing and prohibiting,

6. recognize oblique complements of verbs, and produce their passive construction,

7. recognize specific usages of the dative, genitive, ablative.

8. provide an overview of: the fourteen ways to express purpose; the ten different usages of the relative pronoun; positive and negative commands,


Hours: to be determined. Typically 10.00 – 13.00 (including a break)

This course anticipates the students will spend 60 hours in personal reading and private study.

Location: Liturgy Institute London (at Ealing Abbey)
74 Castlebar Road Ealing London, W5 2DD, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)20 8194 2320
For further details or to register contact the Institute:
E-mail Clare Cogswell, the Registrar, at this linked E-mail address.
Location on Google Maps is found here.

Enrol for credit: KU Leuven awards 4 study points upon the successful completion of this graduate course.

Enrol not for credit: and enquiries by contacting Clare Cogswell at this linked E-mail address.
This is an elective course towards the Institutum Liturgicum certificate.


Previous knowledge:

The material covered in the First and Third Experiences of the book Ossa Latinitatis Sola is presumed for this proficient or advanced course in Latin. Thus, the student is expected to have been introduced to the following skills:

  1. an understanding of the principles of the subjunctive in Latin,
  2. producing the forms of the subjunctive and to work with them,
  3. discerning among the numerous uses of the subjunctive
  4. and rendering them accurately into English,
  5. work with the sequence of tenses in Latin and English texts,
  6. producing the forms of the participles and their natural meaning,
  7. and understanding their different uses,
  8. giving first the natural meaning of the ablative absolute
  9. and discerning its relation to the whole sentence.



Students develop an appreciation of the Latin language through reading and understanding texts especially from seven areas of ecclesial literature: biblica, patristica, liturgica, scholastica, magisteria, musica, canonica. Various types of Canonical texts are considered: those relating to liturgy such as Sacrosanctum Concilium, praenotanda, as well as more juridical texts such as decreta and sententiae that involve liturgical law. Each daily session involves three elements:

i. reviewing together the personal study given the previous day.
ii. presenting and discussing an aspect of expression in the Latin language,
iii. encountering Latin authors and understanding their expression.


Course material

We use the teaching method of Reginald Foster OCD, retired papal Latinist of forty years. We shall cover these main elements from the Fourth Experience from his book Ossa Latinitatis Sola: The Mere Bones of Latin. This is also reflected in the new series by Laura Pooley, Ossa Ostensawhose forthcoming Book 3 corresponds to this intermediate course.

♦ Latin texts are distributed in class.

♦ LEWIS, C.T. – C. SHORT, A Latin Dictionary, Oxford UP, Oxford – New York 1879, reprinted 1995.

♦ GILDERSLEEVE, B.L, – G. LODGE, Gildersleeve’s Latin Grammar, Bolchazy-Carducci, Wauconda IL 2003, reprint of 31895 (GL).

♦ FOSTER, R.T. – D.P. MCCARTHY,  Ossa Latinitatis Sola ad mentem Reginaldi rationemqueThe Mere Bones of Latin according to the thought and system of Reginald, (Latinitatis Corpus 1), Catholic University of America Press, Washington DC 2016. Available from the publisher or from or from

Recomended materials

♦ FOSTER, R.T. – D.P. MCCARTHY, “Collectarum latinitas”, in Appreciating the CollectAn Irenic Methodology, ed. J.G. Leachman – D.P. McCarthy (DREI, Liturgiam aestimare 1), St Michael’s Abbey Press, Farnborough 2008, 27-56 (more info here; available from the publisher).

♦ MCCARTHY, D.P., Listen to the Word, The Tablet Publishing, London 2009 (more info here; a few remaining copies are available on site).

♦ ROSE, E., “Medieval Latin”, in Missale gothicum, (Cod. Vat. Reg. Lat. 317) ed. E. Rose, (Corpus christianorum series Latina 159 D), Brepols, Turnhout 2005, 94-187.

♦ STELTON, L.F., Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody MA 1995.


Description of learning activities

The course has three daily activities.

  1. In preparation for each session daily the student reads for understanding the relevant encounters in Ossa Latinitatis Sola.
  2. In class students sight-translate the Latin expressions of many authors from different ages and types of literature with the help of the teacher and the Lewis and Short dictionary. All discuss unfamiliar aspects of the Latin texts as they arise.
  3. The instructor presents daily specific ways in which Latin functions and is expressed. Examples are provided, from which students generate new examples. All discuss these Latin forms and expressions as they come up in the readings.
  4. Students prepare outside of class daily ludi domestici or “domestic games” (self-study) with which students teach themselves the Lain language by learning from the examples of Latin authors on which they base their personal Latin compositions. These are reviewed in class as time allows.

The course anticipates the student will spend 60 hours in personal reading and study.


Evaluation description

Examination type: ongoing (100%): 30% from participation in daily sessions and 70% from the completion of daily ludi domestici (home games, self-study).

When: daily for the duration of this intensive summer course.

Explanation: Attendance and participation in the daily sessions count for 30% of the final mark, and the completion of the daily ludi domestici (home games, self-study) account for 70% of the final mark. As such, there is no final exam.

Criteria for evaluation: The ongoing assessment is based on the student’s demonstration of having read the assigned materials and contribution to class discussion. This includes preparing for each session by reading the relevant encounters in the book Ossa Latinitatis Sola. In class students sight-translate Latin texts and discuss unfamiliar aspects of the Latin expression and learn to play with the texts to create their own statements. Students also prepare the daily ludi domestici (home games, self-study) and these are discussed in class as time permits and then turned in to the instructor

Second opportunity to sit the exam: The ongoing evaluation is limited to the duration of this intensive summer course.

Students wishing more instruction are encouraged to enrol also in Reading Cicero’s Letters, LA811. A discount is offered when both courses are taken together.

Canon Law Students at KU Leuven may take these summer courses or study Latin online throughout the academic term to prepare for two proficiency exams at KU Leuven.

All students of proficient Latin for liturgists are encouraged to enrol with IL London also in Reading Cicero’s Letters, LA811 and receive a discounted rate when both courses are paid together.


Note: open to anyone 18 years of age or older.


Non residential day students are welcome.

Limited accommodation is available through Ealing Abbey house for guests or other religious houses or nearby.



Additional information from KU Leuven course web-site

 Academic year: 2024 − 2025

 Study points: 4

 Language: English

 Difficulty: Master’s level-Advanced

 Duration: 26.0 hours

 Periodicity: Taught annually in Block IV

 POC: International Programmes Theology and Religious Studies

This course is included in

Research Master of Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion (120 ECTS)

Master of Theology and Religious Studies Study Abroad Programme in European Culture and Society (PECS)

A link to the course descriptor at KU Leuven is available here.

© D. McCarthy, updated 22 July 2023.