Papal Nuncio to Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH), Archbishop Alessandro D'Errico lays hands over Archbishop Petar Rajic, consecrated on January 23, 2010 in the Cathedral at Mostar
Followup on a previous post
On March 22, I made the post: Website in Medjugorje presents distorted translation of Archbishop D'Errico's address on new commmission.
I was going to let this issue rest, but some new information has become available so I wanted to share it with those who are interested (and based on the clicks, it was of interest to a segment of my readership and to those doing google searches).
Soon after seeing what I sensed was an irreconcilable difference between Croatian and English offered at Medjugorje.hr, I sent the text to Father Philip Pavich, OFM, requesting a good translation, but he did not see my email right away. Father spent 13 years in Medjugorje, and is well known to many who visited Medjugorje during his time there (1987-2000). He is well qualified as a translator and continues to do this kind of work today. Having gotten to my email late, he translated the portion I requested and sent it to me last week. Since he went through this trouble, and because it gives us a purer look, in English, of what is in Croatian at Medjugorje.hr, I offer it below.
Did the Nuncio speak in Italian or Croatian?
It has been said in various comboxes that the papal nuncio to BiH (since 2005), Archbishop D'Errico spoke in his native tongue of Italian and there was an oral interpreter there for Croatian. This may have been the case, but at the time of my original post, all that was available on medjugorje.hr was Croatian and English. I specifically looked for Italian, which I did not find until the next day. Therefore, it was a reasonable assumption on my part, that the archbishop spoke in the native tongue of the people (Croatian), as is customary for nuncios. It's fine if he did the interview in Italian. It is just not an assumption one would make, especially when the first texts made available were Croatian and English.
Which then, is correct (warning - if this seems confusing, it is): That which is presented to the Croatian langauge readers on this page at medjugorje hr, as well as those reading it on the BiH Bishop's Conference website; or the Croatian version medjugorje.hr presented in it's over view in the second paragraph here, which conflicts with the other version they have, or the version being read by people all around the world in other languages such as Italian, English and German at medjugorje.hr? The two Croatian versions they present on their own site, and these other languages cannot be reconciled. So, I posed that question in an email sent to the public address for Mir Radio on March 31. Here is the relevant part of my email which seeks clarification:
The two sentences in question differ in meaning between what is suppose to be the Italian original and what is in the text of the Croatian provided by Vecernji List (now copied onto the BiH Bishop's Conference website).
If the Italian is correct and the Croatian is wrong, I would like to update my readers. However, the best way to discern which is correct is to hear the audio. I have a friend in Italy who would like to hear the audio. Could you please send me the audio interview, or upload it to Medjugorje.hr (only the portion pertaining to Medjugorje would be necessary and shouldn't take up much more space than what the monthly messages take up).
Mistakes happen. And, there could be human error. If Italian was the original, then there is only one way to know for certain, and that is to hear the audio.
As of this blogpost, I have not yet received any kind of reply from Mir Radio, nor do I find any audio uploaded at medjugorje.hr. However, I do note that we have just passed Holy Week and Easter, so perhaps they will get to my email soon.
Let us look closer at an alternate translation, but we will use what the Bishop's Conference of BiH uploaded. When you see what is omitted, and how it differs, you will see why it looks suspicious.
Translation by Father Philip Pavich, OFM
I discovered yet another set of variances which would have altered the meaning for those reading the English translation offered by medjugorje.hr (and perhaps other langauges). It surrounds the word "question" which is omitted, at least from the English.
Without further delay, here is a translation of what readers of Croatian are getting. It is the entire paragraph pertaining to Medjugorje (with white space added by me for easier reading). I have emboldened certain relevant, key words in one paragraph. I added one note, brackted in red.
[Interviewer] Three days ago the Holy See established the International Commission for Medjugorje. How do you see that event?
[Abp D'Errico] Obviously, that also is a great sign of hope because it tells us one thing - the great attention that the Holy Father Benedict XVI pays to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and especially the Catholic community in the country and the questions being discussed within this community.
From personal experience, every time I met the Holy Father he had great interest in the question of Medjugorje, a question to which he was directed from the very beginning that he became prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It deals with a question for which he feels responsible as the supreme head of the Church to pronounce a clear message. The Holy Father personally knows it very well and he has told me that several times - he is well acquainted with the whole phenomenon [nota bene: this is a neutral statement and does not indicate the Holy Father is favorable as has been reported on many pro-Medjugorje websites. That he "knows it well" means simply that and the knowledge he has can be good, or bad, or both]. He knows about the great good that is being done in this region by the priests, the Franciscan friars, and the laity. And on the other hand he asks himself how come there is information in such opposition to this phenomenon.
For that reason he wanted to establish this commission which is on an especially high level to obtain a complete picture of it by persons who are highly qualified. So from different parts of the world he has invited cardinals, bishops, experts and expert witnesses to be part of this commission.
It was announced that the president of this commission will be Cardinal Ruini, a Cardinal of great prestige and of high qualification, who as everyone knows is very close with the Holy Father and not only since he is the Pope. He is always very close to the Holy Father. Cardinal Ruini also knows B-H very well, especially since the time of the war when he was President of the Italian Bishops' Conference.
One interesting and special thing that tells about the great solidarity of the Holy Father with this land and this community is the fact that he could announce the commission and finish the question with it. But, because of the respect he has for the communities in B-H he wanted the announcement of this commission to be simultaneous, both in the Vatican and in Mostar. In Mostar because obviously Medjugorje is located territorially in the boundaries of the diocese of Mostar.
I am well aware that the media have talked about this commission for quite a while. A great suspense has been created. Today we can say that we are satisfied and grateful to the Holy Father for this attention that he wanted to show toward Mostar and toward our Catholic communities. Thus, in the name of the Holy Father I announced this important decision of the Holy Father to the bishops at the same time that the news was also announced in Rome. It is clear to us that the work of this Commission will be very demanding and I would like to invite all our communities to commend the work of the Commission to the patronage of St. Joseph whose feastday we will celebrate and to Mary, Mother of the Church, who are the patrons of Mostar.
Isolating the problematic paragraph
English offered by medjugorje.hr (emphases mine in bold)
“Whenever I would meet Holy Father, he was always very much interested in Medjugorje. He was involved in everything, starting with the time when he was Head of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He is aware that this is the issue of special importance, and he, as supreme authority of the Church, needs to give his precise statement about that matter. Holy Father is very much familiar with Medjugorje phenomenon; he even mentioned that to me personally. He is aware of huge amount of positive and good influence of local priests, religious, Franciscans, lay people, and therefore, it is very difficult for him to perceive that there can be so many opposing information about the same matter.English offered by Father Philip Pavich, OFM (from Croatian) - added emphasis is italicized.
From personal experience, every time I met the Holy Father he had great interest in the question of Medjugorje, a question to which he was directed from the very beginning that he became prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It deals with a question for which he feels responsible as the supreme head of the Church to pronounce a clear message. The Holy Father personally knows it very well and he has told me that several times - he is well acquainted with the whole phenomenon. He knows about the great good that is being done in this region by the priests, the Franciscan friars, and the laity. And on the other hand he asks himself how come there is information in such opposition to this phenomenon.
Point 1: Missing in the medjugorje.hr version of English
- The word "question" preceding "Medjugorje" in several places. To say that the Holy Father is "interested in Medjugorje" is not the same as his being interested in "the question of medjugorje". In the English langauge, to say that someone has an interest in something can mean that the person has a favorable view of the thing (i.e., "The boy has an interest in fishing." means he enjoys it or likes it).
Point 2: Additions in the medjugorje.hr version (my notes bracketed in red):
- "therefore" [which is a word that leads to a conclusion]
- "it is very difficult for him [the Holy Father] to percieve"
- "about the same matter"
- medjugorje.hr: "...difficult for him to perceive that there can be so many opposing information..."
- Fr. Pavich: "...he asks himself how come there is information in such opposition to this phenomenon..."
With that, I am letting this issue rest, leaving people to draw their own conclusions unless something new comes to light.
With sincere gratitude and prayers, I thank Father Philip Pavich for sharing with us what the Croatian people have been reading.
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