But according to Reginald Foster, the Vatican's top Latinist, the sounds of Rome's days of glory can rarely be heard in the eternal city these days.
"The cardinals mostly speak Italian now," he told Reuters news service. "Most of them studied here so they're comfortable with it. . . . I joke with cardinals in Latin . . . and most don't laugh." . . .
According to Foster, Ratzinger is one of the only remaining fluent Latin speakers.