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Errors in Translation? (Synodos Part 5)

Anti-life, anti-family, homosexualist activists are already inside the Catholic Church, and in some places in the western world, well entrenched. How high up do they go in the Church hierarchy?

This is our Church. This is the one true Church established by Jesus Christ, the only one. The gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against the Church (Mt 16:18), but the enemy certainly can weaken it, and in the process, bring many Catholics to perdition.

We need to know our faith. We need to live our faith. We need to proclaim the gospel anew to Catholics, many of whom are lapsed. And we need to stand up and fight for authentic marriage and Christian family life.


Translation ‘error’? Final English Synod text cuts marriage ‘between a man and a woman’

Hilary White

Just at first glance, and without looking it up on Google Translate, what is the difference between these two passages of a recent important Vatican document, the final “Relatio” from October’s Extraordinary Synod of Bishops?

“…confronto alla luce del Signore Gesù per discernere le vie con cui rinnovare la Chiesa e la società nel loro impegno per la famiglia fondata sul matrimonio tra uomo e donna.”


“…facing the situation, with an eye on the Lord Jesus, to discern how the Church and society can renew their commitment to the family.”

A little pared down, perhaps? The official Italian original says, roughly, “…facing, in the light of the Lord Jesus, [how] to discern the ways in which to renew the Church and society in their commitment to the family based on marriage between a man and a woman.”

That last little bit does seem rather significant, doesn't it? Especially so, given the general tenor not only of the international secular media’s take on the Synod, but of what we know of the conflict within the Synod aula itself. There can be no doubt that in that tumultuous two weeks, there was a battle over attempts by the “progressivist” wing of the bishops to do whatever possible to water down the meaning of Catholic teaching on the nature of the family. There can also be no doubt that those efforts were quickly expanded to include an attempt at changing the definition of the family to include same-sex partnerings.

If it is a “translation error” as we are politely calling it, it seems a rather extraordinary coincidence that it should be such a significant omission. We will, no doubt, hear shouts from all directions saying it was just an oversight, a clerical error perhaps. But that seems hard to believe.

Let us look at the whole paragraph, the fourth of the introduction, so we don’t lose the context:

4. Alla luce dello stesso discorso abbiamo raccolto i risultati delle nostre riflessioni e dei nostri dialoghi nelle seguenti tre parti: l’ascolto, per guardare alla realtà della famiglia oggi, nella complessità delle sue luci e delle sue ombre; lo sguardo fisso sul Cristo per ripensare con rinnovata freschezza ed entusiasmo quanto la rivelazione, trasmessa nella fede della Chiesa, ci dice sulla bellezza, sul ruolo e sulla dignità della famiglia; il confronto alla luce del Signore Gesù per discernere le vie con cui rinnovare la Chiesa e la società nel loro impegno per la famiglia fondata sul matrimonio tra uomo e donna.

Here’s paragraph 4 in the official English version:

4. With these words in mind, we have gathered together the results of our reflections and our discussions in the following three parts: listening, looking at the situation of the family today in all its complexities, both lights and shadows; looking, our gaze is fixed on Christ to re-evaluate, with renewed freshness and enthusiasm, what revelation, transmitted in the Church’s faith, tells us about the beauty and dignity of the family; and facing the situation, with an eye on the Lord Jesus, to discern how the Church and society can renew their commitment to the family.

If you know even a little Italian, you can see that until we get to the last portion of this very long sentence, the English version is almost word-for-word. Until it makes the rather hot-button point that we in the Catholic Church define both the family and marriage in one way only.

Moreover, this wasn’t was not the only “translation error” that was made during the process of the Synod. In mid-stride, after the very vocal denunciation by some of the Synod bishops of the mid-term Relatio, the English version of that document was changed. A passage that called for the Church to “accept and value” the homosexual “orientation” was changed to speak of “providing for” homosexuals rather than “welcoming” them.

It seems apparent that some shenanigans are still going on with regard to the very problematic documents of this very problematic Synod. But what end is being sought is anyone’s guess. Who made the change from the Italian version to the English version? Who, if anyone, authorized it? Is there yet another version that is not being made available to the public that bishops will see? Who is responsible for approving Synod document translations? Is it the Synod administrator, Cardinal Baldisseri? Is it the obviously beleaguered Fr. Lombardi, the head of the Holy See Press Office? Getting accurate answers to these kinds of questions is like pulling hens’ teeth.

If it was a deliberate omission, an attempt at deception, who on the inside would imagine that no one was going to make a comparison? And which group of Catholics is being targeted? Are we, those the media calls “conservative” Catholics supposed to be influenced by it? Are we supposed to forget what Church teaching is? Or perhaps it is an effort to appease the Church’s secular enemies, to refrain from reiterating it in the language it is most likely to be read by secularist and homosexualist activists? Who knows?

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