Something sublime, from The New York Times. The lede graph alone is priceless:
Reginald Foster, a former plumber’s apprentice from Wisconsin who, in four decades as an official Latinist of the Vatican, dreamed in Latin, cursed in Latin, banked in Latin and ultimately tweeted in Latin, died on Christmas Day at a nursing home in Milwaukee. He was LXXXI.
His death was confirmed by the Vatican. He had tested positive for the coronavirus two weeks ago, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
A Roman Catholic priest who was considered the foremost Latinist in Rome and, quite possibly, the world, Father Foster was attached to the Office of Latin Letters of the Vatican Secretariat of State from 1969 until his retirement in 2009. By virtue of his longevity and his almost preternatural facility with the language, he was by the end of his tenure the de facto head of that office, which comprises a team of half a dozen translators.
If, having read this far, you are expecting a monastic ascetic, you will be blissfully disappointed. Father Foster was indeed a monk — a member of the Discalced Carmelite order — but he was a monk who looked like a stevedore, dressed like a janitor, swore like a sailor (usually in Latin) and spoke Latin with the riverine fluency of a Roman orator.
…To the news media, for whom he was a lively perennial subject, Father Foster was the Latin King. To Vatican Radio, which broadcast a regular, highly discursive segment (in English) featuring him, he was the Latin Lover.
To the fanatically devoted, if gently frazzled, students who flocked to Rome to study with him, Father Foster was a taskmaster fondly known as Reginaldus.
“You will be picked on to answer questions,” he told The Sunday Telegraph of London in 2007, describing his pedagogy. “If you mess up, the Pope will make you disappear. He can do that, you know.”
To nearly everyone who met him, he was a knight-errant, evangelizing nobly, if quixotically, for the language he considered his mother tongue.
Read it all. You can thank me later.