Errors in YouCat, the Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church came to light during YouCat’s launch at the Vatican. Among the translation errors are an implication that the Holy See approves of contraception and euthanasia.
The catechism, a project of the Austrian, German and Swiss bishops’ conferences were to be given to participants at World Youth Day Madrid in August this year.
The errors are so significant that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is setting up a high level working group to compile the errors and fix them.
The first error, allowing for married couples to limit their family by using “contraceptive methods” was corrected for the launch by crossing out the incorrect phrase and including an insert with the correct translation.
A second error concerned the distinction between “active euthanasia” and “passive euthanasia.” The book explained that “active euthanasia” isn’t condoned by the church because it violates the 5th commandment, not to kill. YouCat goes on to say, “In so-called passive euthanasia someone helps another person in the dying process and thereby obeys the commandment ‘Love your neighbor’”.
Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, the archbishop of Vienna who spearheaded the book effort, said the original German book did not use the term “euthanasia,” but rather the less loaded word “Sterbehilfe,” which can either refer to medically assisted suicide or hospice-type care for someone on their deathbed.
While the original German version had been studied and approved by the doctrinal congregation before its publication, the other language editions did not pass through the doctrinal office after they were translated by different publishing houses.
“For each translation we had an agreement with the publisher and we, the Austrian bishops’ conference, asked that a bishop who had theological and catechetical expertise act as guarantor of the translation in his language,” Cardinal Schonborn said.
Schoenborn said that Venice patriarch Cartinal Agnelo Scola was responsible for the Italian translation.
“As you can see, the German language isn’t so easy for everyone,” Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi conceded at the end of the press conference.
Lombardi referred to the “misunderstandings” saying “let’s go ahead with the understanding that the new editions will, shall we say, be improved, and that it’s important that they arrive in time for World Youth Day.”
YouCat is first published in 17 languages and a further 13 are planned.
Pope Benedict wrote the preface to the book exhorting people to study the catechism. “This is my heartfelt desire”, he said.
News category: World.