Who speaks Latin these days?

In 2013, Giovanna Chirri, a journalist for ANSA, the state-run news agency in Italy, was able to break the news of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation to the world thanks to her proficiency in Latin.

Chirri was present at what seemed to be a routine papal announcement on Monday, when the Pope made the surprise announcement in Latin that he would be resigning due to “advanced age”.

Chirri’s understanding of the language allowed her to recognize the significance of the announcement and report on it to the world. According to ANSA, most media sources decided not to cover the event, which began with 20 minutes of announcements about other church matters. The news would surprise the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, but someone had to inform them first.

Chirri has “polished” Latin skills, her employer said, but it took confidence to trust that she heard what she thought she heard.

(The news of) his resignation didn’t seem real to me. I told myself ‘you misunderstood’

she told ANSA.

According to ANSA journalist Giovanna Chirri, Pope Benedict XVI’s Latin was “very easy to understand.” However, it wasn’t until the announcement of the Pope’s resignation was repeated that Chirri filed an urgent bulletin for ANSA, which was then picked up by the rest of the world.

Despite being a devout Catholic, Chirri tries to keep her faith separate from her work covering the Vatican. However, the Pope’s announcement on Monday made her emotional, and she had to fight to maintain her composure. Latin remains the official language of the Roman Catholic Church and is used for all official acts, including the Pope’s announcement.

Giovanna Chirri’s story about breaking the news of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation illustrates the significance of language skills in journalism. Because of her grasp of Latin, Chirri was able to understand and report on the Pope’s statement before anybody else, giving her the inside scoop on the subject. It also underlines the continued use of Latin in the Roman Catholic Church, despite the fact that it is not a widely spoken language in current times. This story serves as a reminder of the significance of knowing various languages and being aware of a story’s cultural and historical background in order to report on it appropriately.