Y FAMILY FINALLY WATCHED the movie Saint Philip Neri: I Prefer Heaven. It’s an Italian telemovie based on the life of St Philip Neri. The departures from reality aside, it wasn’t too bad a movie. One bit caught my attention though.
St Philip needs to impress the Pope, so he plans to have his boys sing for the Pope. Apparently anything sung for the Pope must be in Latin. So he begins to teach them the Benediction hymn Tantum ergo Sacramentum (Down in adoration falling).
Tantum ergo Sacramentum, veneremur cernui
He sings it through ten times then asks if anyone can sing it back to him. One little hand shoots up and the charming urchin Pierotto sings:
Canta merlo sul frumento, “Venite a cena qui”
which roughly translates as “The blackbird sings on the wheat, ‘Come to dinner here’”.
From the outside Italian and Latin have so many similarities it’s hard to imagine that Italians could have much difficulty understanding Latin, but there you go. Shows the importance of going through the words before you start singing! A step I often forget.