habemas papam

I disagreed and argued with BBC News last night.

Mrs P was either unimpressed with my arguing with the television or disinterested by the content of my argument.

However, Pope Francis I was elected last night. As has been customary since (probably) the twelfth century, the announcement is made that

habemas papam

In full, it reads

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum:
Habemus Papam;
Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum,
Dominum [praenomen] Sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Cardinalem [nomen],
Qui sibi nomen imposuit [Papal Name].

Now, this is how the BBC translated the first line:

There is a Pope.

No.

No!

“Habemas Papam” translates as “We have a Pope”.

We have a Pope. We. First person plural subjective personal pronoun.

We.

Encompassing both the cardinals (old, archaic, venerable) and the congregation (youthful, vibrant, excited and owning an inordinate number of iPads!)

How much more effective is that than just the objective and factual and inaccurate “There is a Pope”?! Sorry BBC, but please. It’s important!

I also wondered about the name he’s adopted: Pope Francis. It suggests a sensitivity to the poor and animals, echoing St Francis of Assisi. And also – as the first non-European Pope for 1,300 years – the deliberate choice of a name derived from France and Frenchman could be an attempt to reconcile the first and third world churches….

Or. He might just like the name.

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One thought on “habemas papam

  1. Although your Latin is exemplary, I can understand a reluctance to use the term “we” in the translation. I suppose that the “we” is accurate for those inside the Vatican but in the big wide world the “we” might even be considered insulting (What do you mean “we,” Pale Face?). Also, have you considered the possibility that the new Pope is an aficionado of Francis Albert Sinatra? Too remote? How about Chill Wills? Too American?

    Like

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