Pope Francis is “We”

Today Pope Francis established a new committee – because we needed another committee -the (take a deep breath) Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organisation of the economic-administrative structure of the Holy See. HERE

So far what I like about this is that in the Chirograph (the personally hand written document) which establishes said committee, Francis used the Papal WE. For example:

A tale scopo, Noi abbiamo deciso … La Commissione svolge i propri compiti a norma del presente Chirografo e delle Nostre disposizioni operative… La Commissione Ci tiene informati sul suo lavoro e Ci consegna gli esiti dello stesso… Essa sarà sciolta su Nostra Disposizione.

What will the English have?

Will the translator respect the Holy Father’s HAND WRITTEN text, his clear desire to use “We”?


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Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Legisperitus says:

    They’ll use “We” but explain that it means Pope Francis and his “gang of eight.”

  2. pberginjr says:

    Literally laughing out loud, Legisperitus! Thanks for that comment. I’m glad I wasn’t drinking my coffee when I read that.

  3. Geoffrey says:

    I seem to recall the Latin text of Lumen Fidei used “We”, but the English translation used “I”.

  4. Anchorite says:

    Father, this is not an instance of pluralis maiestatis. It is an instance of Politburo’s plural.

  5. pfreddys says:

    The name of that commission is such a mouthful, it almost sounds like something out of a British bureau.

  6. John V says:

    The Chirograph dated 24 June establishing the (another deep breath) Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Institute for the Works of Religion was translated using Our, We, and Us.

  7. Legisperitus says:

    Hmmm. It uses “We” and “Us,” but then inexplicably says “my Pontificate” at the bottom.

  8. Wow! I am loving this practice of the Holy Father of doing things via Chirograph. The very fact that he did it that way tells all parties concerned that, 1) he takes the issue very seriously, and 2) that he is not about to let bureaucrats and diplomats get between him and his mission.

  9. Robbie says:

    I’m always suspicious of commissions. If a person wants to look as though he’s dealing with an issue without really dealing with it, appoint a commission.

  10. Vecchio di Londra says:

    @Geoffrey, I can’t find an instance in ‘Lumen Fidei’ of the Holy Father personally addressing the readers. The entire letter – as is common with papal encyclicals in recent times – is written entirely in the collective plural, as a response of the Church and its members, of all the faithful, to the Word of God. Benedict XVI used the same rhetorical technique. The Letter is (as far as I can see) faithfully translated in the first person plural in the English version.

    As Legisperitus says, it’s curious that the Chirograph ends with the sudden reversion to the first person singular. But even Homer nods…. (Or maybe the body of the text was drafted by a Vatican secretary, and the final bit before the signature was added by the Holy Father?)

  11. lousaint says:

    “anno Domini bis millesimo tertio decimo, ipso Anno Fidei, Pontificatus Nostri primo.” is translated “in the year 2013, the first of my pontificate.” (The reference to the Year of Faith is omitted in the English as well.)

    The same change from plural to singular is made in the English translations of the encyclicals of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. I know George Weigel claims that JPII abolished the Papal We, but at least in official Latin documents, it’s always been alive and well. You just wouldn’t know it from the English translations.

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