From the Preface:
Most Americans who have studied Latin, with our priests and seminarians included, have employed this method, which they thought was ‘traditional’. But as something fully developed, this tradition scarcely goes farther back than 1880; and even in its beginnings it hardly antedates the seventeenth century.
In contrast to this method of grammatical analysis, Father Most’s textbooks reproduce much of the “natural method” by which children learn their native language. Hence, the significance of Father Most’s books is manifestly great for the Latin classes in any Catholic high schools or colleges. So much of our Catholic doctrine and culture have been deposited in Latin that we want many of our educated Catholics to be able to use Latin with ease. But the special significance of Father Most’s texts is for the Latin classes in our seminaries. Here the students still have much the same cogent motives to master the art of using Latin with ease as the pupils of the thirteenth or sixteenth century. They need it as an indispensable means of communicating thought in their higher studies, and afterwards throughout life. The objectives (knowledge about Latin and training of mind) and corresponding methods (grammatical analysis and translation) “traditional” since 1880 have taken over in our seminaries; and there too the students have been experiencing an ever growing inability to use Latin. Father Most’s textbooks can contribute much towards revolutionizing the teaching of Latin by bringing back, as the chief objective, the art of reading, writing, and (when desired) speaking Latin with ease.” [Preface]
Fr. Most’s textbooks start from a pedagogical method which is revolutionary in Latin instruction: the starting point is Later Latin (3-6th century), which Fr. Most considers more advanced than classical Latin by a simple principle: a language is effective at communicating its ideas in a clear manner with simpler vehicles. In the teacher’s guide, he makes his case for why Later Latin is more advanced in this than classical Latin, as the classical period was still evolving its vehicles and devices for communication. When he says this, Fr. Most is not attempting to belittle the importance of the silver and golden ages, but to simply note they are not per se the be all and end all of what is Latin. So he begins with Later Latin principles and grammar, and proceeds backward to reading the classical period at the end of book two and in book three. Thus, Fr. Most’s texts culminate in reading the prose of the classical period.
This is an excellent text applying the “natural method” with English language instruction to help the student read and understand Latin natively, with numerous vehicles for simplifying the necessary memorization as well as aiding in truly understanding Latin without constant need to look in a dictionary for rudimentary sentences.
Update: Thanks to a reader, we have acquired the tape-script for the otherwise unattainable tapes that accompanied these books. We will be working next year to reproduce the tape script on CD as well as for download. Keep this intention in your prayers!
Update 2: [3-1-2018] We are still working on producing the tape series. It takes a lot of time because it must be recorded precisely and accurately and this requires a lot of audio editing. The same person who runs the press, does the translation and the marketing is also doing the audio recording, so it takes some time.