Years ago I had a bunch of people all saying the same thing to me: “Ann, you MUST learn and use the Subjunctive mood. Use of the Subjunctive is a social sorting mechanism, and if you want to be taken seriously and sound like an intelligent person, you have to learn, understand and use the Subjunctive.”
And now, here we are, and all of those seemingly random admonitions from years ago are sounding downright prophetic.
The Subjunctive mood in language is the grammatical form of the hypothetical. In English it is fading fast from American mainstream usage, due largely to the fact that grammar is no longer taught to American school children, and also due to the fact that Americans are largely unread, and that which they do read tends toward teenaged vampire novellas. I know that Americans do not know or understand the Subjunctive mood because whenever I use it in writing, I generally get an email or two from a reader trying to correct me.
Look at the following two sentences and tell me which one is grammatically correct:
If I was her, I would not put up with that.
If I were her she, I would not put up with that.
The second sentence is grammatically correct. “If I WERE”. Every time I use the Subjunctive in writing, I get emails from people saying, “You don’t say ‘I were’, you say ‘I WAS’!”
The “strange” shift from I was/He was to I were/He were AFTER the signal word “if” is the Subjunctive verb form conjugation. Other words that signal this hypothetical mood and thus the use of the Subjunctive include “maybe”, “perhaps”, “I think that”, “I hope that”, “I wish that”, “in such a way that”, etc.
In Latin, the present Subjunctive has its own unique conjugation form, and it sticks out like a sore thumb – far more than the Subjunctive sticks out in English. When the Subjunctive appears in Latin, it is a huge red flag. Here is an explanation of the Present Active Subjunctive mood in Latin:
From here on, I will use the traditional term Subjunctive, although I would prefer to call it a Conditional as used in most modern foreign languages. I want to impress on your mind the sense of these new forms rather than their formal traditional title. When I say Conditional, I am calling forth all the associations that go with unreality, possibility, potentiality, in the English words “may” and “might” and “could be” and ” if it were…”. These are in a different world from the world of fact, where things “are”, where “is” can be counted upon to “be”, where facts are facts when you get down to brass tacks.
In short the Indicative is the world of Western Civilization and American practical hardheaded ability to take the world as fact. In contradistinction, what we are going to discuss is the shadowy world of the unknown, the unreal and the un-factual.
It feels good to take a positive, factual view of the world, but no one can go very far into living without observing that there are various levels of reliability and truthfulness. On a scale of one to ten I could outline the following:1 2 5 6 7 8 9 0 Engl.= is perhaps maybe just possibly might be might possibly be could possibly be
Now, let’s look at both the text AND the video of Pope Benedict’s attempted partial abdication announcement:
Non solum propter tres canonizationes ad hoc Consistorium vos convocavi, sed etiam ut vobis decisionem magni momenti pro Ecclesiae vita communicem. Conscientia mea iterum atque iterum coram Deo explorata ad cognitionem certam perveni vires meas ingravescente aetate non iam aptas esse ad munus Petrinum aeque administrandum.
Bene conscius sum hoc munus secundum suam essentiam spiritualem non solum agendo et loquendo exsequi debere, sed non minus patiendo et orando. Attamen in mundo nostri temporis rapidis mutationibus subiecto et quaestionibus magni ponderis pro vita fidei perturbato ad navem Sancti Petri gubernandam et ad annuntiandum Evangelium etiam vigor quidam corporis et animae necessarius est, qui ultimis mensibus in me modo tali minuitur, ut incapacitatem meam ad ministerium mihi commissum bene administrandum agnoscere debeam. Quapropter bene conscius ponderis huius actus plena libertate declaro me ministerio Episcopi Romae, Successoris Sancti Petri, mihi per manus Cardinalium die 19 aprilis MMV commisso renuntiare ita ut a die 28 februarii MMXIII, hora 20, sedes Romae, sedes Sancti Petri vacet et Conclave ad eligendum novum Summum Pontificem ab his quibus competit convocandum esse.
Fratres carissimi, ex toto corde gratias ago vobis pro omni amore et labore, quo mecum pondus ministerii mei portastis et veniam peto pro omnibus defectibus meis. Nunc autem Sanctam Dei Ecclesiam curae Summi eius Pastoris, Domini nostri Iesu Christi confidimus sanctamque eius Matrem Mariam imploramus, ut patribus Cardinalibus in eligendo novo Summo Pontifice materna sua bonitate assistat. Quod ad me attinet etiam in futuro vita orationi dedicata Sanctae Ecclesiae Dei toto ex corde servire velim.
Ex Aedibus Vaticanis, die 10 mensis februarii MMXIII
Here is the video, and the key timestamp is 01:28 when Pope Benedict clearly says, “sedes Sancti Petri VACET”.
So there is absolutely no debate, we have the official text in writing AND we have video of Pope Benedict clearly saying the words of the text.
Here is the problem. Every translation of this that I have seen, including the Vatican website and the subtitles on the video above, as well as all of the thought leaders out there arguing that Pope Benedict said, “the See of St. Peter WILL BE VACANT” are wrong. That is NOT what “sedes Sancti Petri vacet” means. “Vacet” is NOT the future indicative tense. The future indicative “WILL BE VACANT” in Latin is “VACABIT”.
Pope Benedict wrote and said “sedes Sancti Petri VACET”, which is the present SUBJUNCTIVE, and we have further confirmation of the intentional use of the subjunctive mood in this sentence by the signal particle “ita ut” in the previous clause, which means “in such a way that”, which not only throws up the red flag signal of the subjunctive mood, but signals a specific type of subjunctive mood called the POTENTIAL SUBJUNCTIVE. In English, the Potential Subjunctive must be translated as “COULD BE…”
So what is the actual, accurate translation of the Potential Subjunctive “sedes Sancti Petri VACET”?
“THE SEE OF SAINT PETER COULD BE VACANT”
I couldn’t make this up in a thousand years if I tried, folks.
Why does this matter? Well, let’s think about how well the Potential Subjunctive would go over in other juridical contexts. Let’s start with marriage vows.
Impressive Clergyman: Do you Wesley, take Buttercup to be your lawfully wedded wife?
Wesley: I COULD….
That isn’t assent, folks. Wesley and Buttercup would NOT be married if either of them said, “I could” instead of “I do.”
Let’s now consider a legal contract – say, a MORTGAGE. How do you think it would go over if you arrived at a closing on a real estate transaction in which you were buying a house using a 30 year mortgage; the bank’s representative is sitting across the table and you, the borrower, take the mortgage agreement and strike out all instances of the future indicative tense, and replace it with the potential subjunctive. So, for example:
”The borrower, John Smith, will pay 360 monthly payments of $1225.00 to the lender, “First National Bank of Springfield” becomes…
”The borrower, John Smith, COULD PAY 360 monthly payments….”
You should be laughing at the very notion.
Folks, this is what Pope Benedict did in his faux-abdication announcement. And he CLEARLY went out of his way to do it.
I have been aware of this for over two years, but I intentionally did NOT cover it in my video because I wanted to really drive home the “Substantial Error” point, but also because I knew that my audience would be mostly American English speakers, and if I started in on Latin Grammar and the use of the potential subjunctive in Latin, I would lose 90+% of the audience.
But, after having been asked by multiple people to PLEASE post about this, I am happy to write this up and explain it.
The fact that even Trad priests who read and recite Latin every day aren’t even aware of this, and in fact use the incorrect translation “WILL. BE. VACANT!” as their primary rebuttal to the Barnhardt Thesis only proves that being able to read and recite Latin is NOT the same thing as being FLUENT in Latin. Most Trad priests today only study Latin enough to make them comfortable in praying the Mass and the Divine Office, which is fine. It does not make them Classicists, Latin scholars, nor even Latin speakers. As an example, I can recite/pray large swaths of the Mass in Latin by now, and know the meaning of what I am saying just from the repetition of going to Mass every day for years and years. HOWEVER, I literally couldn’t ask you to pass me the salt in Latin if my life depended on it. I do remember from the Gospel that “salt of the earth” is “sal terrae”, so maybe the best I could do is point at the salt shaker, say, “SAL”, and then gesture towards myself. So most Trad priests today don’t have sufficient Latin to recognize this use of the Potential Subjunctive “VACET”, and think that the future indicative “will be vacant” is accurate, when, in fact, it is wildly incorrect.
Now, if Trad priests who say the Mass in Latin every day miss this, imagine all of the Novus Ordo Cardinals, Bishops and Priests who have ZERO knowledge of Latin. When Pope Benedict gave his faux-abdication speech above, almost NO ONE IN THE ROOM HAD ANY IDEA WHAT HAD JUST HAPPENED. There was one person that we can see in the video that knew enough Latin to realize what Pope Benedict was saying. It is the priest on the far right. Watch his eyes and the stunned look on his face, and how he is looking out at the hall filled with Cardinals who have no clue what is happening… BECAUSE NONE OF THEM KNOW LATIN.
Latin is the language of the Church because it is an incredibly PRECISE language that leaves very little room for confusion or ambiguity. Now do we see why satan HATES Latin, and why priority number one of the Freemasonic-Communist-Sodomite infiltrators was to purge the knowledge and use of Latin from the Church when they came to power in the 1960s?
So, this is YET ANOTHER data set in this bizarre situation pointing to the fact that Pope Benedict’s attempted partial resignation was invalid, and that he remains the one and only living Pope.
I hope this helps.
Mary, conceived without the stain of Original Sin, pray for us.