Translation… and contraception!

Whoops! Looks like we have a translation problem. “Italian version of WYD catechism appears to support contraception,” according to a story in CathNews.

No worries. The topic at hand doesn’t seem to appear in the orations of the Roman missal.

UPDATE: CNS reports that production of the Italian edition with the mistranslation has been suspended so the mistranslation can be corrected.

 

30 comments

    1. decision to prohibit cohabiting couples from receiving Holy Communion.

      No, he hasn’t decided to prohibit it, he’s reiterated a ban that’s already in place:

      Can. 916 Anyone who is conscious of grave sin may not celebrate Mass or receive the Body of the Lord without previously having been to sacramental confession, unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, which includes the resolve to go to confession as soon as possible.

      There is no word yet about whether he intends to extend the ban to sexual abusers of children, or to the religious authorities who covered it up.

      Those who have not repented of these sins and confessed them are also already banned from receiving communion. In the meantime, the Church has an obligation to address other moral issues than the sexual abuse of children and doesn’t wrong the victims by doing so.

      1. Whatever the rules state, the stark eality is that the cohabiting couples don’t go to Communion, the abusers get to continue celebrating Mass, and those who covered up for them get made Archpriests of Vatican basilicas.

      2. The fact is that the church needs to reassess its stance on sexual ethics in relation to cohabiting couples. In an era when to cohabit was almost certain to bring new life into the world, and when only a short period of time elapsed between a woman’s reaching biological maturity and marriage, a ban on cohabitation made sense.

        But today, when the period between a woman’s first being able to conceive and marriage is likely to be, on average in the developed world, at any rate, fifteen to twenty years, is it reasonable to maintain such an absolute stance?

        Sure, it makes for easy decisions and a black and white world view. But life is greyer than it is black and white. And, in the modern world, medical, biological and technical advances have made such decisions complex.

        In light of these changed circumstances, how can a person speak with certainty about the state of another person’s conscience, without first having enquired of that person as to their moral reasoning?

      3. The fact is that the church needs to reassess its stance on sexual ethics in relation to cohabiting couples. In an era when to cohabit was almost certain to bring new life into the world, and when only a short period of time elapsed between a woman’s reaching biological maturity and marriage, a ban on cohabitation made sense.

        Which is to say that you disagree with the prohibition on sex outside of marriage and the prohibition on contraception?

      4. Samuel,

        Are you seriously trying to dialogue with mutual enrichment, or are you settling for heresy hunting? It appears to be the latter. What do you get out of this? I would find it exhausting and frustrating and unrewarding to keep doing this, especially since it seems to bring about no favorable results. Just wondering what you’re up to.

        For what it’s worth, I try to hold to Church teachings without wasting my time (or disturbing my inner peace) on useless or tiresome strategies.

        awr

      5. Fr. Ruff, why do you reply to comments on the blog? Why does my comment draw a response from you and not Gerard’s? You frequently reply to comments that challenge your view or the views of Pray Tell contributers and you don’t seem to persuade them very often.

        For myself, the people who comment on blogs are a small subset of the people who read the comments. The success in persuading one particular person is not the only measure of the usefulness of comments.

      6. Why does my comment draw a response from you and not Gerard’s?

        Because, Samuel, you are beating the wrong dead horse. The point of this thread is to continue hammering on a certain theme dear to the editors. Now please return to complaints about You Know What, there’s a good chap.

      7. Samuel —

        The reason that Fr. Ruff replies to comments like yours is because it doesn’t tow the party line of false-ecumenism that the editorial staff of this site favors. Anything that points to the Catholic Church’s authority to decide or proclaim something, qua the Catholic Church, is right out, because the Lutherans and Episcopalians wouldn’t be able to sign off on it, and because it would supposedly end the so-called “mutually enriching dialogue.” I used to be an Episcopalian, and I can tell you that the point of such dialogue is such that people that have orthodox belief should simply shut up and listen until their minds are changed or they decide to go elsewhere. Dialogue is a one-way street to them, and if you “keep beating your dead horse,” by referring to solidly Catholic teaching, your posting privileges will likely be taken away.

        /Let’s see how long this comment stays up…

  1. Anthony Ruff, OSB :
    Samuel,
    Are you seriously trying to dialogue with mutual enrichment, or are you settling for heresy hunting? It appears to be the latter. What do you get out of this? I would find it exhausting and frustrating and unrewarding to keep doing this, especially since it seems to bring about no favorable results. Just wondering what you’re up to.
    For what it’s worth, I try to hold to Church teachings without wasting my time (or disturbing my inner peace) on useless or tiresome strategies.
    awr

    Leave him, Anthony: it’s all he’s got.

  2. There seems to be an error in the “Update”:

    UPDATE: CNS reports that the editor of the Italian edition with the mistranslation has been suspended.

    The CNS story says the edition has been suspended from distribution, not the editor suspended:

    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.

    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.

  3. “Which is to say that you disagree with the prohibition on sex outside of marriage and the prohibition on contraception?” S.J.H.

    Both issues fall into the category of belief. Belief is the church’s attempt at any one point in its history to give a rational account of the tenets it holds. No single statement of belief exhausts the complexity of what is believed. As such beliefs change. Indeed they must do so, in order to make sense to each succeeding generation of believers and to take into account and to keep pace with the advances in science.

    To point out what is lacking in a current position of the church on any topic does not mean that that position has to change automatically. It is simply the first step at bringing the church’s position into dialogue with contemporary experience.

    It appears that this is a dialogue which you would want to stymie.

    1. To point out what is lacking in a current position of the church on any topic does not mean that that position has to change automatically. It is simply the first step at bringing the church’s position into dialogue with contemporary experience.

      It appears that this is a dialogue which you would want to stymie.

      Well, yes. I would argue that there isn’t anything lacking in the Church’s current position that sex outside of marriage is wrong. There might be something lacking in the presentation of that view, but the view itself is correct. Hence, I would stymie “dialogue” on changing the Church’s position to accord with “science”, because the Church’s position already accords with true science and wisdom.

      St. Paul is pretty clear about fornication being wrong: “Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, N.A.B.)

      Do you read this passage as not condemning fornication?

      1. Samuel — While I can’t claim to speak for Gerard with respect to how he reads the passage you quoted, your conversation with Gerard is a perfect example of my last comment above. My experience is that folks that talk as Gerard does about keeping dialogue open don’t want to read and/or ascribe any authority to a particular passage of scripture or Church proclamation at all, *as long as* people like you are still “at the table.” If folks like you are allowed to ascribe authority to those things and quote them as being authoritative on the matter, then that “cuts off the dialogue,” because you didn’t let them win. The point of this is to keep any talk of the meaning of Scripture and its authority out of the conversation *for long enough* so that whoever is still left “at the table” all agree to ascribe to Scripture the new meaning that they wish it to have. If you start bringing in the currently-accepted meaning and authority of Scripture into the dialogue before that point is reached, then you’re simply being uncharitable and closed-minded and not willing to discuss the matter. See how that works? It’s a word war of attrition. You automatically lose because you’re going to get frustrated and disgusted at some point at his refusal to recognize the authority and meaning of Scripture (conversation-stoppers), and then when you leave the dialogue, and there’s no one with enough spine left to object, he’ll slap some modern exegesis (read: lipstick) on that verse (pig) and call it progress.

      2. I see a qualitative difference between the sexual activity of cohabiting couples and casual sexual contact outside of marriage. Your blanket condemnation of both may make for a quick answer to a question which is in fact complex. Black and white morality is characteristic of the conscience of childhood (or, if you like to use the Freudian term, the Superego.) Whereas, the adult conscience is aware that life is not black and white, that moral reasoning is complex.

        To answer your question in a sentence: the passage you quote condemns fornication. However, whether two people who live together before marriage automatically become fornicators is not so easily determined. I would have to ask them about their moral reasoning and the position of their conscience.

        Hence, in my view, Michael Sheehan’s decision to ban cohabiting couples from receiving Holy Communion is at best questionable, and at worst an example of a fixation on sexual morallity, to the neglect of other moral areas, that one would have thought was a feature of bygone days.

        The issue about his acting in such a manner gives the impression that the primary hang-up of church authority is sex. In fact it is power. Since sexuality is part of the life of every human being, the desire to control the life of another person very often takes the form of the desire to control their sexuality. This is essentially an abuse of power.

        I would like to know whether he has issued similar bans in relation to tax evasion, racism, sexism, homophobia, drug abuse etc. I imagine I already know the answer.

      3. Don, if your view of dialogue and people’s real motives (and you seem to know other’s motives very well) is that cynical, I can only wonder why you participate in a discussion.

        Some of your comments seem to imply that teachings never change. But Catholic teaching has changed on a whole host of moral issues. Note that I’m not advocating any change here – but I am suggesting that you be a bit less suspicious and fundamentalist-sounding.

        awr

      4. Fr. Ruff, but the teaching on fornication isn’t one of those, right? It hasn’t changed. If there’s a better way to defend that teaching, why don’t you show it to us by your example, rather than merely criticizing those who uphold it?

        Furthermore, Gerard’s comment about the Archbishop is just as confident about motives ascribed to the Archbishop (“This is essentially an abuse of power.”) as Don’s is about Gerard’s motives. But Gerard’s comment critical of the Archbishop doesn’t draw the same censure?

        Update: or for that matter Gerard’s comment about my comments being motivated by “paranoia”?

      5. I’m very traditional on my moral beliefs (and doctrinal, for that matter), so my main concern isn’t to agitate for change or try to get the door open to change.

        My growing concern is a rising conservativsm which I see as narrow-minded, judgmental, angry, magisterium-fundamentalist, uninformed, unecumenical, anti-modern world, and so forth. The blogosphere is rife with this toxic stuff. It makes me embarassed to be a Catholic. I deeply fear that intelligent, thoughtful people with serious concerns of moral integrity will largely walk away from our Church (they already are), and all that will be left are these zealots. This could be a very dark era we’re entering.

        Then I see the vision of faith and discipleship in the Gospels, the joyful trust in God of OurLord, far from legalism or ritualism or doctrinal haranging, and my sadness deepens. Then I read the Council documents and the vision they propose, and it deepens further.

        So when I see fellow Catholics who share my doctrinal/moral convictions, but have lousy arguments from a world of black-and-white immature faith, and who make Catholicism look more and more ridiculous or repulsive, I feel I must reply.

        The credibility of our Church, its ability to give witness in a copmlicated modern world, is at stake.

        You asked. I gave my honest reply. This is what makes me tick.

        awr

  4. Please do not misquote me, Samuel! In the sentence ‘This is an abuse of power.’ the antecedent of ‘this’ is not Michael Sheehan’s action per se, but the desire to control the life of another person.

    No need to jump to wrong conclusions. I sense paranoia.

    If you are going to have such difficulty identifying antecedents in such a clear and simple case as this is, I’d hate to think how you will fare with the 2010 translation, with its separation of subjects and verbs and verbs and objects.

    1. Please do not misquote me, Samuel! The antecedent of ‘this’ is not Michael Sheehan, but the desire to control the life of another person.

      It’s not really a misquote. The problem is not the accusation of abuse of power (which you maintain you’re not attributing to the Archbishop but somewhere generic), but the accusation that the Archbishop’s motive is power (which he is abusing) in the first place. You wrote:

      The issue about his acting in such a manner gives the impression that the primary hang-up of church authority is sex. In fact it is power.

      To seek to govern (among the roles of a bishop, see Vatican II’s Christus Dominus), which neccesarily involves some degree of control, is not prima facie evidence that the Archbishop is “h[u]ng-up” on power. Something you do in fact attribute to him.

  5. Michael Sheehan’s decision to ban cohabiting couples from receiving Holy Communion en masse, (if you will pardon the pun) without consulting each person in that situation to enquire into their moral reasoning, is regrettable.

    The fixation of church authorities with sexuality is not the real problem. It masks a deeper pathology, namely, power.

    The desire to control the live of another adult and the decision to act on that desire is an abuse of power.

    1. So you do hold that the Archbishop was motivated by a desire for power then? Why couldn’t he be motivated by a desire to preach the Gospel as it is found in the teaching of the Apostles, who condemned fornication?

  6. I refer you to Fr Anthony’s most recent posting.

    “So when I see fellow Catholics who share my doctrinal/moral convictions, but have lousy arguments from a world of black-and-white immature faith, and who make Catholicism look more and more ridiculous or repulsive…”

    Nota bene!

  7. Fr. Ruff – Since you’re putting yourself out there. I hear you saying you’re very traditional in both morality and doctrine on the one hand, and on the other I hear you, a priest, calling people who hold and preach those morals and doctrines all sort of nasty epithets. So forgive me if I simply don’t believe you in the first place when you say that you hold them. Someone who holds to traditional morality and doctrine is comfortable with anathemas, which are traditional (Biblical, even) in every respect. To say that something is not black-and-white is to say that something is unclear, muddled, or not capable of being determined. But the Catholic faith is clear (allowing for mystery), and has been largely determined by anathemas–that is to say, by defining what it *isn’t.* Where we may not be able to define White, we have been able to define Black, and have done so throughout the centuries. Whatever the nature of the Trinity, there are not 3 Gods.

    That isn’t to say *living out* the faith is always *easy* or uncomplicated by obstacles, difficulties and opportunities for special pleading. It is often difficult to know what to do when one is faced with choices about where and with whom to live. While the Church can’t always tell you the correct moral decision, it can tell you what decisions are definitely immoral. The Church cannot tell you that you ought, in a moral sense, live in a rectory, or in a monastic house, so in that sense, all of those options are White even if the decision is Gray to you. But if you want to live with a 23 year old female, the Church is able to say that is Black. Doesn’t mean your intentions are not subjectively pure, just means the action is out of bounds. This is not immature, it’s parenting.

    What’s immature is plugging your ears and telling your parents that you won’t obey them because they aren’t perfect, don’t have all the answers, and because issues “aren’t black-and-white.” It’s a cop-out.

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