THE CATHOLIC ESPERANTISTS
WHAT IS ESPERANTO?
It is an international planned language the author of which was a Polish doctor, Dr Ludovic L. Zamenhof (1859-1917). It is at least six times easier to learn than any national foreign language.
Esperanto is based on logical principles. The vocabulary is made up from word roots already internationally used, mainly drawn from Latin. The grammar is completely simple without the irregularities invariably found in other languages which complicate their study. Spelling is phonetic.
Our language allows a wealth of expression, is unambiguous and pleasant to the ear. Dialects do not exist. Users of Esperanto from all over the world speak in the same way. It is constantly evolving and being enriched by new words.
WHAT DOES IKUE STAND FOR AND WHAT ARE ITS AIMS?
Internacia Katolika Unuiĝo Esperantista (IKUE) stands for "The International Union of Catholic Esperantists". It is a ay organisation of the Catholic Church with an office in Rome which brings together supporters of the international language. It strives for the application of Christian ideals and the spread of the Gospel by means of Esperanto according to Jesus' command: "Go out to the whole world; proclaim the gospel to all creation". (Mk 16:15).
IKUE co-operates with the world centre of Esperantists, Universala Esperanto-Asocio (UEA) and also has rich ecumenical contacts. It works hand in hand with its sister organisation, Kristana Esperantista Ligo Internacia (KELI), which groups together mainly Protestant Christians. Thus Esperantist believers wish to contribute to unity not only in a spiritual sense but also in the fields of linguistic understanding and the brotherhood of all nations on a basis of equal rights.
The members of IKUE invite you who are sympathetic to their aims to learn Esperanto and take part in the task of bringing about a more united world.
THE CHURCH AND ESPERANTO
Right from its beginnings (in 1887) Esperanto drew a sympathetic response from many Christians, because they saw that it was a unique means by which to provide valuable service to the whole of humankind as well as to the Church. The first book translated into the new language was The Old Testament. The magazine "Espero Katolika" (Catholic Hope) first appeared in 1903.
HOW IS ESPERANTO USED IN CHURCH LIFE?
In 1910 the Internacia Katolika Unuiĝo Esperantista (International Union of Catholic Esperantists - IKUE) was founded. His Holiness Pope Pius X blessed its activities and declared: "Esperanto has a great future". Since then, this International Language has found supporters among many outstanding representatives of the Church. Both St. Maximilian Kolbe and Blessed Titus Brandsma, martyrs of Nazi concentration camps had very close contact with Esperanto.
The present Pope, His Holiness John Paul II sends his yearly "Urbi et Orbi" greeting (To the city and to the world) not only in many national languages but also in Esperanto. The former President of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, has become a patron of IKUE.
Christians often use this auxiliary Language to make contact with each other. Similarly, many missionaries are Esperantists. Vatican Radio broadcasts Esperanto programmes three times a week. Almost every year, Catholic or Ecumenical international congresses are arranged. At various conferences, religious services are held in Esperanto which the Holy See recog nises as a Liturgical Language.
WHAT ARE THE AIMS OF THE CATHOLIC ESPERANTISTS?
Users of Esperanto do not strive to replace national languages nor even the use of Latin, by a new means of communication, as some wrongly assert. Their only interest is that Christians, who are spread over the whole world, should have at their disposal a simple common language which respects the equality of all nations before God. In that way, they wish to remove unnecessary problems and barriers which greatly complicate communication not only among members of the Universal Church but also among people in general. Thus a contribution is made towards the fulfilment of Jesus' wish: "May they all be one" (Jn17:21).
For further information write to the Central Office of IKUE:
Katolika Unuiĝo Esperantista