The Vatican embarrassed again by new book’s errors
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican has again been embarrassed by a botched translation of its teachings, with the launch yesterday of an error-plagued book that implies the Holy See approves of contraception and euthanasia.
The errors came to light during a Vatican press conference launching “Youcat: Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church,’’ a youth-focused compilation of the thick volume of core church teachings. The book, a project of the Austrian, German, and Swiss bishops’ conferences, is to be given to young people attending this year’s World Youth Day in Madrid.
The launch, though, focused heavily on translation and interpretation problems. The errors were so serious the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, immediately announced it was creating a working group to compile the errors and fix them.
The Vatican’s problems began on the eve of the launch, when officials confirmed that Nuova Citta, the Italian-language publisher of “YouCat,’’ had pulled Italian copies to fix an error concerning whether married couples could plan the size of their families.
Editions handed out yesterday crossed out the erroneous passage and included a paper insert with the correct translation. But at the news conference, another problem in the Italian edition was highlighted in a section on euthanasia. Officials also admitted that French editions had been delayed because of errors in the translation from German about how Catholics should view other religions.
“As you can see, the German language isn’t so easy for everyone,’’ the Rev. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, conceded at the end of the press conference.
It was the second time in just a few months that a much-hyped book had mistranslated key church teachings. In November, the Vatican’s publishing house misconstrued the pope’s comments about condoms and AIDS, implying that it considered condom use for prostitutes justified in some cases.
“YouCat’’ makes clear that the Catholic Church opposes condoms, the pill, and other forms of artificial contraception.