On the usefulness of Latin (again)

The Public Orator at Oxford (and Cambridge) is responsible for the public Latin of the University: for speeches in Latin at the awarding of honorary degrees, for addresses by the University to people like the Queen or other members of the Royal Family and so on. At present the Public Orator at Oxford is Richard Jenkyns.

Back in April, Jenkyns published an article in Oxford Today (a puff magazine they send to graduates) prompted by that journalist who scooped the world on the Papal resignation because she knew Latin.

Having paid attention in class at school, she realised what he was saying; the rest of the press had to wait for translations. Judging from their blank faces, the cardinals present did not know what was going on either.

It is an interesting piece but that typically Oxford swipe against the Cardinals' Latinity is most unjust. Cardinal Arinze makes it plain that they understood what was happening (from 0:43).