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Tuesday, April 12, 2011



Once again, traduttore, tradittore.

Mark Brumley

The problem did not originate with the German text--at least not if the Italian translation is based on the same German text as that on which Ignatius Press based its translation. 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.

Jeffrey Pinyan

So what was "verified" by CNA, then? Did they see a different German text, or misunderstand the German text they saw?


Can someone explain exactly where the confusion does or does not lie? From the extended answer, the teaching seems clear. Only if you read the first sentences alone could you misconstrue. Is CNA trying to mislead, or what gives? I don't get it at all.

Ed Peters

Does IP ever get tired of being the only major house that always gets its text right? It must be frustrating. Hang in there, guys.


If true the Italian version should be recalled. This is a Catechism for the generation that were unfortunately taken out of sunday school by their bittered parents, to whom moral relativism is one of the world's few universal truths, taught sex education by Planned Parenthood affiliates, and given condoms with the purchase of their college textbooks, but will hopefully be the foot soldiers of the new evangelization. It's important in developing their conscious and preparing this catalog of Catholic belief and wisdom that we express the teachings of the Church clearly and consistently less they end up as lukewarm as their parents and grandparents.

Austine Crasta

The YOUCAT error is serious for several reasons:

1. It is a Catechetical Text adopted as the official Youth Catechism for the World Youth Day.

2. The original German text bears the approvals of Austrian Bishops’ Conference, German Bishops’ Conference, Swiss Bishops’ Conference, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Congregation for the Clergy, and the Pontifical Council of the Laity (wrongly printed as Pontifical "Congregration" for the Laity).

3. The foreword for the book has been written by the Pope himself.

If as CNA says it 'verified', the problem was present in the German text itself [ignore questions 1-4 if the German text was error free], we may ask:

1. Did this error occur in the initial drafting stages or in the post-approval printing stages?

2. If the former, how could the drafters and overseers of this catechism have made such a serious mistake as regards such a well-known Church teaching?

3. How could such a mistake have passed the review of the three German speaking episcopal conferences and the some of the top Vatican bodies?

4. It certainly couldn't have passed the notice of the various language translators. How then did it go unreported?

5. Were translators chosen for this catechetical text without giving sufficient consideration to their theological background?'

6. Do all the other language editions of YOUCAT have the necessary approval for their translations in accordance with canons 827 §1 and 829 of the Code of Canon Law?

7. Considering that the WYD organizers alone have ordered more than 700,000 copies, who bears the publishing losses for this error?

Considering that the text quoted above gives room for ambiguity, YOUCAT ought to be closely checked for any other ambiguous occurences that may have crept in inadvertently, hopefully not deliberately.

Inspite of having a good answer, Question no. 421 formulated thus, "Why are all methods of preventing the conception of a child not equally good?", suggests that it is okay to see NFP as a method of preventing conception whereas the Church sees it as a method of spacing/regulating births while at the same time being always open to life. (CCC 2370)

Further NFP and other methods of artificial contraception appear to be only relatively good or evil in the formulation of the question. On the contrary, the Pontifical Council for the Family's 'Vademecum for Confessors Concerning Some Aspects of the Morality of Conjugal Life', clearly says that NFP is "PROFOUNDLY DIFFERENT from any contraceptive practice". (Sec 2, 2.6)

If necessary, the text/translations should be temporarily withdrawn for a thorough doctrinal review and then released in time for the upcoming WYD.

Mark Brumley

As you might expect, I am beginning to get media inquiries. What I know about the situation allows me to put things fairly concisely:

1. The English translation of YOUCAT, published by Ignatius Press, does not, of course, endorse contraception but clearly affirms the Church's teaching that contraception is evil

2. The German text upon which we based our translation does not endorse contraception but clearly affirms the Church's teaching that contraception is evil

3. 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

4. It is my understanding that the Italian text is being fixed

Mark Brumley

Also, the CNA headline reads: "World Youth Day catechism suggests endorsement of ‘contraceptive methods’"

It should read "Italian Translation of WYD catechism ..." You have to go well into the article before it is clear that the Italian translation is the problem and not, for instance, the English translation. But at least it goes on to make clear that the Ignatius Press edition does not endorse contraception.


Thank you for clarifying. I'm a bit disappointed in the way CNA handled this. Their headline is unnecessarily provocative and misleading.

Certainly, this is something that needs to be addressed in the Italian translation and it is good for it to come to light, but it should not be the sole focus. YOUCAT is a phenomenal new resource for our Catholic youth that needs to be promoted, not shot down before it gets out of the starting gate.

Diane at Te Deum Laudamus


Is it possible that there were two iterations of German, perhaps an early draft and then the final version which was the one you got?

If CNA says they verified the problem was in the original German, it would be interesting to see if the German text they are reading is the same German text Ignatius had.

I'm thinking that perhaps more than one German version had gotten out with each being at different stages, otherwise, CNA needs to square it's story.


The above excerpt is for YOUNG PEOPLE??

It is hardly a model of clarity. I can easily see a teenager read it and say, "huh?"


It is for young people going to WYD, which I estimate are in their late teens, or their 20s. It is more concise than the Catechism, but it seems pretty straightforward, Bender.

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