A Latin papal poem

The following poem was broadcast to mark Pope Benedict’s trip to Britain in 2010, a time when dogmaticism was still a pope’s best friend. 

Of all of my poems that went out on the BBC World Service, this one probably garnered the biggest reaction. See some of the comments on the feedback page.  

I felt that the poem had to be in “Latin”.  I hoped it would be comprehensible, at least to people who, like me, possessed a vague smattering of school Latin. Here’s what I came up with – after much editing down at the behest of the producer. Below you’ll find an audio of a BBC newsreader reading the poem.   

Encyclica Britannica

Saluto populi.
Orbi et urbi.
Disturbi et perturbi.

Et tu Britannia.
Tua culpa.
Quo vadis?
Ad hoc?
Ad liberalismus?
Ad secularismus?
Ad egalitismus aggressivemus?

Habemus Papam,
Pontifex Maximus,
Capo di Tutti


contra homosexualismus
et matrimonia samesexismus,

contra contraceptum
et condominium
in Africanium,

pro status quo.
contra quid pro quo,

pro chastitum
et celibatum.

Et paedophilio?
et discombobulato.
Convocato et censura
in camera obscura.

Et ultimato, declarato:
Anglicanis Prodigalis,
reverto ad Papa,
ad paterfamilias.
Ego Benedict.
Ego veritas.
Papa Benny
est infallibus.

  • Audio broadcast of the poem on the The World Today (now Weekend) on the BBC World Service on 18 September 2010:    

  • A video version of the BBC broadcast with subtitles: