Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Distribution suspended for Italian edition of new youth catechism (YouCat)

The English language "Youcat: Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church"
is published by Ignatius Press of San Francisco. (CNS/Ignatius Press). 
The English version does not contain the error found in the Italian translation. 


I've been following this story and was tweeting news of it if you follow my Twitter feed @TeDeumBlog.

It all began yesterday when CNA / EWTN News reported, "World Youth Day catechism suggests endorsement of 'contraceptive methods'".  In the body of the article it stated that the problem was not in the English edition, but in the Italian.  Both texts were translated from German and there was some question as to whether it originated there or not.  Today, CNA /EWTN News reports, "Youth catechism publisher says 'contraceptive' language not in original text"


The English-language publisher of a new Vatican-sponsored youth catechism says that a passage suggesting the use of contraception by Christian couples is not in the book's original German text, which was incorrectly translated into Italian.




“The Italian translation was really a mistaken understanding of the German,” Ignatius Press Founding Editor Fr. Joseph Fessio told CNA on April 12. “We did notice in the German original there was some ambiguity, but we wanted to translate it in the way we knew was most consistent with the Church's teachings.”


According to Fr. Fessio and Ignatius Press President Mark Brumley, the Italian version incorrectly translates the German word “Empfängnisregelung.” Although the term literally means “birth regulation,” in a general sense that can signify natural family planning, it is also sometimes used to refer to “birth control” through contraceptive means.


However, the Italian version of the YouCat does not translate the term according to what Fr. Fessio says is its literal meaning. Instead, it renders the German word as as “metodi anticoncezionali,” meaning “contraceptive methods.”


“The problem did not originate with the German text,” Brumley said in a statement on Ignatius' website, “at least not if the Italian translation is based on the same German text as that on which Ignatius Press based its translation.” [continue reading further details about the linguistics].

Later today, Catholic News Service (CNS), the reporting arm of the USCCB is reporting that distribution of the Italian edition has been temporarily suspended as they investigate.  Mind you, a press conference has been on the schedule for tomorrow with Cardinal Schoenborn who headed the effort.  It will still take place and more information will be conveyed at that time. 

Youth catechism's Italian edition suspended after translation error
By Carol Glatz



Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Distribution of an Italian edition of a new youth catechism was temporarily suspended because of a translation error concerning the church's teaching on contraception.
Thousands of copies of the Italian translation of "YouCat," a recently released supplement to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, erroneously left the impression that Catholic couples could use "contraceptive methods."
As a result, "the product is temporarily suspended, but not halted," so that the Italian publisher can "examine the text," Elena Cardinali, a spokeswoman for the Citta Nuova editorial group, told Catholic News Service April 12. Citta Nuova, the publishing arm of the Focolare lay movement, handled the Italian edition of the catechism.
[snip]
The 300-page book uses a question-and-answer format to talk about what the church teaches.


Question 420 of the Italian edition and its brief reply incorrectly suggest that a married couple can use contraceptive methods.


The question in the Italian version reads: "Can a Christian couple turn to contraceptive methods?" The answer reads: "Yes, a Christian couple can and must be responsible about their capacity of being able to give life."


The answer in Italian goes on to explain -- in line with church teaching -- that the church does not accept artificial means of contraception, but does allow regulation of fertility through natural methods.


The error was not found in the original German text of "YouCat," nor in the U.S. English edition, which was published by Ignatius Press.


The German text of question 420 "asks whether a Christian married couple may regulate the number of children they have. It does not ask whether the couple may use methods of contraception," wrote Mark Brumley, president of Ignatius Press, on the Ignatius Press blog, Insight Scoop.


"I don't know why the Italian translation reads as it does, nor do I know how it came about that it reads as it does, but it should be fixed to reflect, without ambiguity, the church's teaching that contraception is evil," Brumley wrote April 12.


"It is my understanding that the Italian text is being fixed," he added.


A Vatican official, speaking on background, said a previously planned press conference April 13 was expected to clarify the issue.


The English translation of the question and reply in "YouCat" as published by Ignatius Press is: "May a Christian married couple regulate the number of children they have? Yes, a Christian married couple may and should be responsible in using the gift and privilege of transmitting life."


The "YouCat" Italian edition came out in bookstores March 30 and sold 14,000 copies in five days, a Citta Nuova press release said April 6. At that time, Citta Nuova said some 46,000 copies had already been printed and more than 27,000 copies ordered.

[snip]
"YouCat" was to be translated into at least 13 different languages and about 700,000 copies were to be distributed to young people taking part in World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid. An electronic version will also be available.
Pope Benedict wrote the book's foreword and said he wanted to supplement the Catechism of the Catholic Church by translating it "into the language of young people."
 Hopefully, someone is checking out all of the other languages, as well. 

What a mess.  Once an error like that makes it out of the gate, you can't get it back in the bag.  Chances are, of those 14,000 Italian copies that sold in 5 days, some are probably in the hands of secular journalists and dissidents who will exploit the translation error as authentic Catholic teaching. 



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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!
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1 comment:

Nick said...

Not that unusual. This usually happens to catechisms from time to time. But prayers for everyone.