“Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God, the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at his coming, so that, gathered at his right hand, they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.” A prayer
YOU MAY NOT BE A CHRISTIAN, nor for that matter a Catholic, but you cannot neglect Latin, once you can read this article. Reverend Father Samuel Gyimah of Saint Paul Amakom in the 'Echo', last Sunday, being the first Sunday of Advent (1st December), reminded the congregation about the origin of 'Advent', with Latin root 'Adventus' (meaning 'coming' or 'arrival'). It comes from 'ad', that is, 'to' and 'venire', that is, 'come'. It is the 'nominative' form of 'advenio' with the suffix 'tus'. We may need not go deep into the other 'case' of 'genitive', 'dative', 'accusative', 'ablative', 'vocative'.
Reverend Father Gyimah noted: “In our context (it is) the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (Christus Iesus) the Messiah. There is always a double sense of the Lord's coming – thus, the Lord's first coming when He assumed the lowliness of human flesh (on Christmas and His second coming in judgment at the end of time). In both cases, GREATER GRACE abounds. It is in this light that the Holy Church urges us to prepare ourselves for this grace.”
Many English words have their origin in Latin, Greek, French and Anglo-Saxon. Some have maintained their original roots, some have gone through transmogrification (the noun form of 'transmogrify' – 'change'); and the Romance languages: Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Catalan, Romanian, all have words whose roots are Latin.
When we were young, mass in the Catholic Church were conducted in Latin, and we had to follow the service using Latin. If you heard 'Paternoster', you would recite: “Pater noster quii es in coelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum, adveniat regnum tuum, fiat voluntas tuam sicut in coelo et in tetra, Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem sed libera nos a malo.” Read Matthew 6:9-13 when Jesus preached “The Sermon on the Mount”. We pray that the Lord God will each day give us “breads” or better put “loaves of bread” to quench our hunger. We would recite the Gregorian chant lyrics, the Nicene Creed or the Apostles' Creed “Credo in Unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem…” (I believe in one God, the Father Almighty…)
We cannot forget the contribution of Archbishop Kwasi Sarpong.
You may recall the changing of the “Lead us not into temptation” to “Do not let us fall into temptation” as endorsed by the Episcopal Conference of Italy in June, this year, approved by Pope Francis, and appearing in the Messale Romano. Pope Francis says: “It is not a good translation because it speaks of a God who induces temptation… I am the one who falls and Satan who leads us into temptation.” Traditionalists and conservatives debunk these changes. Meredith Warren, a lecturer in biblical and religious studies at Sheffield University says: “This new version of the Lord's Prayer tries to avoid implying that God has some hand in evil. But in doing so, the pope not only overlooks the many biblical examples where God works with the devil to tempt his followers and even his own son. The new version actually goes against the plain meaning of the Greek of the gospel text.” To some others, the change was “very upsetting” … and leads to “cumulative unease”.
Latin dominated English words with the Roman conquest of Britain, beginning in AD 43 under Emperor Claudius. Britain had been a target of invasions by Rome since Julius Caesar's expeditions in 55 and 54 BC. The most notable invasion of Britain was in AD 209 under Emperor Septimius Severus who claimed to have been provoked by the belligerence of the Maetae tribe in Britain. While most of Britain subjected themselves to Roman rule, the Caledonians resisted it till Agricola, the Roman governor, summoned more military men to attack, and the Caledonians fled, killing their own wives and the children in fear of Roman reprisals. In AD 411 the Roman legions left British shores to deal with the barbarian crisis which was within the heart of the Roman Empire.
Roman impact was great in Britain, and the British legal system was greatly influenced by Roman law (maxims): “amicus curiae” (friend of the court); “caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware); “ceteris paribus” (with other things being the same); “compos mentis” (having command of the mind); “de jure” (according to law-as against de facto); “de novo” (anew); “doli incapax” (incapable of guilt, exempli gratia, in Ghana, a child below 12 years); “ejusdem generis” (of the same class); “ex gratia” (by favour); “ex parte” (From or for one party); “fiat” (let it be done); “functus officio” (original purpose fulfilled); “gravamen” (things weighing down); “guardian ad litem” (guardian for the case); “habeas corpus” (have the body); “in camera” (in the chamber); “in flagrante delicto (in blazing offence); “in limine” (at the threshold); “in loco parentis” (in place of parent); “in re” (in the matter of). “actus reus” (guilty act) goes with “mens rea” to prove criminal liability; “ad hominem” (at the person), that is attacking a person's character rather than answering his argument, “inter vivos” (between the living); “locus in quo” (the place in which…); “mala fide” (bad) “mutatis mutandis” (having changed what needed to be changed); “nemo judex in causa sua” (none should be a judge in his own case); “nolle prosequi” (not to prosecute) “obiter dictum” (said in passing); “pendente lite” (while litigation is pending). “per curiam” (through court); “persona non grata” (unwelcome person); “pro tempore” (for the time being); “quantum meriut” (as much as it deserves); “quid pro quo” (this for that) “quo warranto” (by what warrant); “ratio decidendi” (reason for a decision); “res gestae” (things done); “res judicata” (a matter judged); “subpoena as testficamdum” (under penalty to witness); “subpoena duces tecum” (bring with you under the penalty); “suo motu” (of its own motion) “vel non” (or not).“Stare decisis” (Let the decision stand) is a principle by which judges are bound to precedents. “Stare decisis et non quieta movere” (stand by decisions and not disturb the undisturbed). Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) best known for his book “Leviathan” in which he elaborates on the theory of social contract, was influential in his plunge into jurisprudence, fashioning some of the legal maxims. He argues that in a mechanistic society, “…the life of man (is) solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” Francis Bacon in his “Collection of Maxims” states that the use of maxims will help in “deciding doubt” and “helping soundness of judgment.”
Names ending in “–us” (from) tend to sound Latinic. Even though Callistus is derived from Greek meaning beautiful, wonderful, Africanus was a Roman cognomen: from Africa (the northern), a 200 BC Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio who was honoured with it after his victory over Carthage in the Second Punic War, defeating Hannibal in 202 BC in the Battle of Zama. On the other hand, Joannes Leo Africanus (1494 – 1554) was a Berber Andalusi (Morocco) born al-Hassan Ibn Muhammed al-Wazza, diplomat and author, best known for his book Descrittione dell' Africa (Description of Africa) centred in the geography of the Maghreb and Nile Valley. If Africanus does not sound Christian; what about Habbakuk?
From Africanus Owusu – Ansah
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