The study of Latin is an integral element of a Catholic classical education. First and foremost, this is because Latin is the language of the Church and the Catholic tradition. Thus, an initiation into the knowledge of Latin is one of the necessary conditions for accessing the otherwise inaccessible sources of the Catholic and Western traditions, and the wisdom of the Church, in their original tongue. Second, the vocabularies of both English and the Romance languages are heavily influenced by Latin, and so Latin leads to a sort of self-knowledge by revealing the roots of one’s own tongue. Facility in Latin also serves as a strong foundation for learning other modern Romance languages.
While not a liberal art itself, Latin includes elements of the liberal arts. Latin orators exemplify the various canons of rhetoric, as do its poets in regard to figures of speech. Even logical tools such as definition, classification, division, or types of logical connectives—for instance, conditional clauses—can be discussed and inculcated informally in the study of Latin. Of course, Latin especially provides formation in the liberal art of grammar, beyond what is studied in English classes. The students will focus formally on the nature and function of grammatical principles like the parts of speech, the nature of noun cases, the tense structure or voice of verbs, etc. Seeing these grammatical principles at work in another language besides their own assists students to see more universally how human languages possess common grammatical principles.
The students will learn Latin by going ad fontes, to the original sources as much as possible, and by a method of viva voce instruction, or learning the language by actually hearing it and speaking it. Besides studying Latin grammar more formally, they will read from more difficult original sources of Latin history and literature.