On the bookshelf

On the bookshelf

X factor

A small Marquette group translates a letter written to Pope Leo X in 1513 into English.

Libellus (“little book”) is a letter to Pope Leo X written by Camaldolese hermits Paolo Giustiniani and Pietro Querini. For centuries, its audience was limited to those who could read Latin. Italian translations appeared in 1995 and 2014. But Libellus is available in English now, in the new book, Libellus Addressed to Leo X, published by Marquette University Press.

The letter has historical significance because it called for church reform and demanded holiness in all church members and education for the clergy, according to Dr. John J. Schmitt, Arts ’66, associate professor emeritus of theology. The work also emphasized the papacy as humanity’s sole connection to God.

Some reforms Giustiniani and Querini proposed in their letter were enacted finally by the Second Vatican Council. For example, Catholics only then could celebrate the liturgy in the vernacular.

Marquette scholars who joined Schmitt in making this translation possible include Dr. Stephen Beall, as translator; Dr. Katherine Milco, Arts ’03; Dr. Constance Nielsen, Grad ’00, ’07; and doctoral student Lee Sytsma. “I am delighted that our press accepted this project from its start for incorporation in its series ‘Reformation Texts with Translation,’” Schmitt says. •


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