VATICAN CITY — The Vatican on Wednesday hosted an unusual Latin competition for Christmas between schoolchildren from Austria and Liechtenstein, with participants allowed to call on cardinals for help.
The test entitled "Puer Natus Est" ("A Child is Born") included translations of liturgical texts from Latin into German, as well as a quiz on the Catholic Church but -- unlike most exams -- participants can bring mobile phones.
Bishops, cardinals and Latin experts from various countries including the president emeritus of the Vatican governorate, Giovanni Lajolo.
Latin is still the official language of the Vatican and senior clergymen need to master it in order to rise through the Catholic hierarchy.
Even though the Vatican II Council in the 1960s greatly reduced the use of Latin in the liturgy, some prayers particularly in the Vatican are still in Latin and the language is making something of a comeback in churches.
The Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's official daily, said the aim of the Latin test was to highlight the language's influence in the development of European languages and the Catholic Church's role in preserving it.
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