22 July 2016


Further UPDATE: The admirable, erudite and hospitable Mgr Wadsworth has kindly copied to me the official text of the new OF Preface for S Mary Madalene ~~~ and the hortu has been corrected to horto. So no longer need we speculate about whether an amazingly sophisticated pun was intended between horto/(h)ortu (garden/dawn). But the Congregation's Typing Pool has not left us bereft of philological excitements: the heading now reads Variationes et addictiones (sic)

UPDATE: A most gratifying thread, establishing, I think, a strong probability that the Appendix attached to the Compendium of the Catechism is the source of the mistake hortu. Before writing my original text (following) I did check of course in OLD and L&S and found no evidence either early (Varro) or late for hortus in the Fourth Declension. The Compendium was published in 2005. Can anybody push hortu any further back?

So Rome has decreed that the noun hortus (a garden) shall henceforth be deemed to be of the fourth declension rather than of the second.

I wonder what the dogmatic consequences of this are. Does it offer revolutionary eisegetical possibilities for expounding Genesis 3? Lexicographically, of course, it means that faithful obedient Novus Ordo Catholics will be obliged, in the future, to refer not to horticulture but to hortuculture.

Traddies, needless to say, in their petty-minded, contrary, manner, will probably seize every opportunity to work horticulture into their conversations as a childish way of "getting at" Papa Bergoglio. Or should I write "Papa Bergugliu"? How should one decline Bergoglio? Will there be a Vatican ruling on this?

How terribly difficult it is to be a Catholic and/or a hortuculturalist in the Third Millennium.


Fr Neil said...

Perhaps the same register might be achieved in the English translation of the new preface by the use of 'garding', as in 'Parding, Mrs Harding. Is my kitting in your garding?'

Stephen v.B. said...

Dear Fr Hunwicke,

Are you referring to a recent instance of this morphological cuckoo's egg? I recall - and can confirm - the presence of "agonia in hortu", listed as a Dolorous Mystery in the appendix to the Compendium of the Catechism, which was edited, I am sorry to say, under the auspices of the Pope Emeritus, to whom some of the blame of this offence against the declensions must be attributed.

Kind regards,
Stephen van Beek,

Left-footer said...

Enough! An end to my ultramontanism!

vetusta ecclesia said...

Please elucidate context!

Liam Ronan said...

u or i? I thought it was u or me. I'm no grammarian.

Bernard Brandt said...

I am reminded of the riposte of Mrs. Dorothy Parker, when asked to use the word 'horticulture' in a sentence:

'You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think.'


The Flying Dutchman said...

I think the reverend gentleman is referring to the new preface for the feast of Saint Mary Magdalen.

CE User said...
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Art McCulloch said...

I think one should decline Bergoglio when necessary.

Anonymous said...

Sir, having nothing better to do with my time I thought I would try to understand what the devil this post means. I left school at 16 and was off sick the week we done Latin but I think I’ve cracked it - “eureka!” (as it were). Is it something to do with the genitive (a noun modifying a noun) which in the second declension goes –i and in the fourth goes –u? (thanks, Wikipedia). Am I close, and if so do I win a prize? Plus, I’ve combed Genesis 3 for potential etymologically-inspired dogmatic tinkerings and I’ve come to the conclusion that you are, as we say, “just having a laugh”.

Well, it looks like rain tomorrow so I may have to put off my visit to my local garden centre, or as I call it the hortu agora.

Adrian said...

As church latin can't pronounce its aitches, perhaps we are meant
to hear 'in ortu' - at sunrise.

Stephen v.B. said...

Now I have it: the new preface for the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene! Well, my fault for not reading the daily 'Bollettino'.

One does wonder whether "Contrariis quibuslibet minime obstantibus" leaves any room for grammatical cavilling...

Anonymous said...

A quick consultation of Google shows many web sites with Catholic prayers in Latin that show "Agonia in hortu" as the title of the second sorrowful mystery of the rosary. Unless they are all programmed to perform instant updates so as to conform to the latest Vatican publications (now that would be both an ultra modern and an ultra-ultra-montane phenomenon), it seems that this is an established usage in Catholic devotional Latin. When, how and why it began I have no idea.

Stephen v.B. said...

I have found a small number of instances in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis: one in May 2003 and another in May 2005, both times in the Latin text of a 'Decretum super virtutibus'. Interestingly, the first instance also concerns the Garden of Gethsemane: the phrase "ex Hortu Olivarum" appears there within a quotation from a letter of the (now) Blessed Maria Pia Mastena, but I assume the Vatican translators are to be responsible. More important, however, is a sentence in the Apostolic Letter 'Novo Millennio Ineunte' (2000), cap. 25: "Nostro in conspectu transit vehementia ipsa illius eventus in hortu Olivarum, nempe Christi agoniae."

It is striking that the 5th declination ending in [-u] seems to occur only in gardens where Our Lord is present. One might compare this to the liturgical distinction between (divine) 'Domine' and (human, sacerdotal) 'Domne' - and, perhaps, adduce the old Mitfordian dichotomy of 'U' and 'Non-U'...

Stan Metheny said...

ΛΟΓΕΙΟΝ, the Greek and Latin dictionary site housed at the University of Chicago, cites the_Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources_ entry for _hortus_ as indicating 'also as 4th decl.'

Stan Metheny said...

Sorry. Forgot to include the web page address: http://logeion.uchicago.edu/index.html#hortus

Jeff said...

Humectus videtur antequam veniat sol,
et in hortu suo germen ejus egredietur

Job 8:16 Vulgate

RichardT said...

Google found Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber's Mystery Sonatas, including "Agonia in hortu".

But I cannot tell whether that was how it was given in the original (thought to be 1676), or when it was first published in 1905, or the 2008 publication of the particular edition being sold, or even an attempted correction when that was put online.


The original is in the Bavarian State Library, if anyone would like to check.

Andreas Meszaros said...


You are confusing in Job 8:16 “ortus, us m” with “hortus, i m”.

Elsewhere in the Vulgata:

4Rg 21:18 Dormivitque Manasses cum patribus suis, et sepultus est in HORTO

4Rg 21:26 Sepelieruntque eum in sepulchro suo, in HORTO

Est 7:8 Qui cum reversus esset de HORTO

Bar 6:70 Eodem modo et in HORTO

Jo 18:26 Nonne ego te vidi in HORTO cum illo?

Jo 19:41 Erat autem in loco, ubi crucifixus est, hortus: et in HORTO monumentum

Henry said...

not "in hortu suo" but "in ortu suo" (ortus, us: coming into being, birth)!

The Library of Latin Texts database (Brepols) provides three references only for "in hortu", all of them medieval and from rather obscure authors. Not only is 'hortu' not classical, but it certainly is no form of ecclesiastical Latin.

– Burginda - Exp. Apponii in Cant. cant. libri xii (expositio breuis ii) (CPL 0194 b)
'Quae caelo gloriam et terris pacem confert in hortu suo' (and I believe that 'hortu' here is simply a misspelling of 'ortu').

– Epitaphium Ennodii (CPL 1501)
'mundi caelebrator in hortu'

– Donatus Hasbaniensis - Uita Trudonis Hasbaniensis
'qualiter fontem in hortu'

Pistrina Liturgica said...

Re: Job 8:16

Weber's apparatus criticus to the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft edition of the Vulgate reports that is read in MSS LACS ; the Clementine edition reads . The modern editors printed in horto.

Pistrina Liturgica said...

We're afraid that our use of HTML tags resulted in the loss of text. Here is what we had intended to see:

Weber's apparatus criticus to the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft edition of the Vulgate reports that hortu is read in MSS LACS ; the Clementine edition reads ortu. The modern editors printed in horto.

Donna Bethell said...

Keeping in mind the formidable Msgr. Wadsworth's position as executive director of the International Committee of English in the Liturgy, responsible for translations of new liturgical texts, I can report that this morning he used in the celebration of Holy Mass according to the Missal of 1962 the new preface written for the Apostola Apostolorum for the Novus Ordo. Is this an instance of enrichment from the Novus to the Antiquior? Perhaps the first instance?

Chazalami said...

I know nothing about trying to push anything further back, but I am willing to go farther back, if you pay me.

William said...

I suspect that Chazalami is of the transatlantic persuasion. In English English, "farther" is rare, and all its possible meanings are encompassed by "further".