What Language Does Pope Francis Speak?
By: Eric Nelson
Pope Francis’ name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio. He was given the name of Pope Francis on March 13, 2013, after the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the first pope from America. He has got a papal title after St. Francis of Assisi of Italy. Pope Francis is characterized by humility. He supports the world’s poor and marginalized people and is involved in environmental and political diplomacy. The Pope is considered a very learned man in linguistics and cultural nuances. As per the Vatican, Pop's main language is Spanish, but he has also learned other languages over a couple of years. He is proficient in multiple languages like Piedmontese, which is spoken in the northern region of Italy. Other languages include French, German, Ukrainian, and Portuguese. He can speak these languages without the help of a translator. He may be out of practice in many languages, he wants his messages to be translated and interpreted well so that people can understand the message of the speech well.
Languages Spoken by Pope Francis
Pope Francis speaks and understands multiple languages. He is more comfortable in Italian and Spanish. The Pop before him was more proficient in linguistics and knew many foreign languages. For example, Pope Benedict XVI was able to speak 7 languages, and he was proficient in French, whereas Pope John Paul II was fluent in 12 languages and practiced 7 of them. Pope Francis is a very honest man, and he has changed the tradition of John Paul II of greeting the happy Easter in 65 languages. Truthfully, he has stated his lack of eloquence in phonetics, pronunciation, and intonation and never let them mitigate his speeches. In English, he is bad at phonetics.
Language of the Church
In October 2014, Pope Francis decided that Latin would not be the official language of the bishop's gathering. The bishops gathering called Synod speaks Italian as a primary language from all around the world. This decision was against the tradition that was carried by Pope Benedict XVI, which states that Latin would be used to educate and promote beyond the Roman Catholic Church. The Latin language is not so much used in Churches for the last 40 years. They prefer to use regional languages and dialects.
Pops Struggle for English
The Pope has declared honestly that he is poor in English and he has to struggle with it. Although English is not a new language for the pope. Many years back in 1980 he went to live in Dublin, Ireland. He made 43 attempts to learn for the first time in Dublin. As per Irish independence, Pope Francis spent 14 Euros in buying language tapes to practice English. The Pope gave his first speech in English on October 20, 2013, in a video message.
The Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi, stated that Pope has decided not to make any discrimination among the languages. Moreover, he has no desire to read speeches in all the languages due to its simplicity. So, to be understood by the foreign people, the Vatican must make sure that the Pope's message is translated and interpreted in multiple languages so that it can reach the global world. Some people think he doesn't read a summary in various languages just because of preparation and exertion. Some people consider it a good development. The Vatican officials want Pop's speeches to be heard and understood. This act of the Pope can also have an impact on the selection of future papal candidates. The potential candidate should not be penalized for not being multilingual. This would be a big hindrance by the cardinal electors. The non-English message by the Pope will lose its importance as compared to the familiarity that comes from listening to English by the Holy father. Some Protestant countries like Britain view the papacy and the church as foreign, and the notion that the Pope can't speak English complements this perception.
According to the document in a recent poll of churchgoing Catholics states that despite Pop's linguistic shortcomings, he has not lost its receptivity in the United States.
Let's Wrap It
People around the globe speak different languages. No one can be proficient in all the languages. Likewise, the Pope is not fluent in the English language.
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