The Vatican's daily newspaper has called for Latin to be made the official working language of the European Union, after attempts by the new Finnish presidency to promote its use in EU departments.
"While Latin has been given up as a compulsory subject in schools over recent years, interest in the language is growing in Europe and other parts of the world," the semi-official L’Osservatore Romano said in a commentary.
"In these circumstances, it would constitute a suitable instrument for international communication."
The paper said a Latin-language news programme, Nuntii Latini, had been broadcast weekly for the past decade by YLE, Finland’s equivalent to the BBC, making the ancient Roman language "potentially contemporary."
It added that Latin formulations had been found for numerous modern phenomena, such autocinetica (motorway), supervenalicium (supermarket), fullonica electrica (washing machine) and pilae coriaceae lusor (soccer star).
Besides Finland, which has a tradition of classical scholarship, other countries have reported a growing interest in Latin, whose renewed use as a once-universal language has also been encouraged by the Catholic Church.
The Finnish government set up a weekly news summary in Latin when it first assumed the EU’s rotating presidency in 1999, and has repeated the service, alongside English, French and Swedish, since taking over the six-months presidency for its second term on 1 July.
Classics scholars have insisted use of the language would "turn EU jargon into poetry". As examples, they said the Common Agricultural Policy could be rendered as "Ratio communis agros colendi" (“common scheme for cultivating the fields”), while the EU's Acquis Communautaire, or body of laws and regulations, could be Latinised as "Corpus legum institutorumque iuris Europaei."
"Using Latin is a way of paying tribute to European civilisation and it serves to remind people of European society’s roots, stretching back to ancient times," explained Mia Lahti, editor of the Finnish presidency’s website.
"Latin isn't dead – it’s still very much in use in different forms across the world today. After all, Italians, French and Spaniards all speak a new form of Latin."
Several Italian newspapers have backed the L’Osservatore Romano proposal, while noting that Finland itself was never part of the Roman Empire.