Good comments on Card. Burke and on a serious translation error

I had intended to write today about the translation error in the English version of the recent Synod’s final document.  However, over at The Catholic Thing, Robert Royal covers the issue well and says many of the same things I had intended to say, and he does so masterfully.  I urge you to read his piece.

Royal also comments on the demotion of Card. Burke, saying:

There’s a double sadness here. Pope Francis clearly approved these moves – whether they were instigated by him personally or by advisers he listens to. But it’s precisely voices like Burke’s that he needs to keep around. He’s already hearing plenty from often unreliable counselors like Cardinals Maradiaga, Marx, and Kasper. The last in particular seems more and more incoherent as he tries to explain precisely why marriage is indissoluble and yet those in a second sexual relationship – though not a marriage – may be absolved and return to receiving Communion. The only way that’s possible is if God repeals the Law of Non-contradiction. I don’t think that’s on his to-do list.

But there’s more and, I think, worse. I’m not especially given to conspiracy theories in sacred or secular contexts. But there’s some – let’s say – systemic problem within the Vatican that having a loyal truth-teller like Burke around helps to correct.

Read the rest over there.

And thanks to the reader who left me a voicemail (see sidebar).


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  1. SaintJude6 says:

    I actually quite enjoy hitting their comment sections with positive things about Cardinal Burke. A simple “God Bless Cardinal Burke” drives them nutty.

  2. McCall1981 says:

    Here’s an online petition thanking Card Burke for his service:

  3. majuscule says:

    I think I saw you over there when I was doing the same thing!


  4. Cradle Catholic says:

    A request from Cardinal Raymond Burke in the videolink attached.

    The link below is a talk given by Cardinal Raymond Burke given in Vienna on November 4, on why he and other Cardinals wrote the book “Remaining in the truth of Christ” as a rebuttal (my word, not his) to Cardinal Kasper’s book. He also speaks about the Synod process.

    At the end of his talk, which also included a question and answer period, he encourages more discussions/talks held like the one just held. He says it is crucial to have these types of discussions in the period leading to the next synod, and encouraged more of them to take place.

    While the talk is relatively long (about 40 minutes for the whole video), I hope readers find this link useful. Hopefully, it will help to provide sound discussions in the period leading to the next Synod on the Family- even in parishes. I found the talk powerful and beautiful.

    For my part, I intend to buy as many of the Cardinal’s book (Burke ofcourse, NOT Kasper’s) as I can afford, and to give them away to people who think that the Church teaching will change on homosexuality and second marriages that don’t have a declaration of annulment.

  5. iPadre says:

    Just look back to when Benedict was Supreme Pontiff. Many said that Benedict had no control, there was interference. It seems like nothing has changed. I thought that Pope Francis was going to reorganize the Roma Curia to fix that “mess.”

  6. iPadre says:

    Or is is unfixable?

  7. Someone please be the Garrigue says:

    It begs the question: Is the reform of the Curia actually happening, or is it the lobby asserting itself? How much power does the Holy Father have… God bless Cardinal Burke.

  8. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    It is now a week since (as Robert Royal notes) Fr. Robert J. Imbelli blogged about this … startling omission. When I checked just now, via the link in Fr. Z’s 30 October post, it had not yet been rectified. Neither had the omission of a translation of the Italian ‘validi’ modifying ‘matrimoni’ in the last clause of 48, which in English still reads “all the while maintaining that the marriage of two baptized Christians is always a sacrament.” O, those eagle-eyed translators, editors, webmasters, and whoever-all at .va!

  9. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Fr. Gerald Murray, as linked by Robert Royal, makes a good point, clearly, respecting the Relatio Synodi: “It gives vote tallies for each paragraph, but nowhere indicates that two-thirds of the votes were need for approval of each paragraph – or that, therefore, the three rejected paragraphs are not part of the final report, but rather are included for informational purposes” – whether in the original Italian or the English translation, where, curiously the heading of the “vote tallies” and note concerning abstentions are even left untranslated (!). The fact about the need for a two-thirds majority is one that can be ‘picked up’ variously online and in print journalism, but presumably one that can be easily missed, as well.

    In what can almost only be described as an impudent ideological spin (but correct me if I wrong, and chasten me if I am unjust or worse), Cardinal Marx (as quoted in translation by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt) said, “Although they had failed to get the two-thirds majority, the majority of the synod fathers had nevertheless voted in their favor.

    “They are still part of the text,” Marx continued. “I especially asked the pope about that, and the pope said he wanted all the points published together with all the voting results. He wanted everyone in the church to see where we stood. No, this pope has pushed the doors open and the voting results at the end of the synod will not change that.”

    Imagine a Synod of such organizational candor, transparency, and lucidity that it was published who voted how – and each Father was given an opportunity (like the commenters re. a Fr. Z poll) to explain paragraph by paragraph just why – where, in fact ‘he stood’ – as well…

  10. Daniel W says:

    My favorite part of Royal’s article:
    “we’re not talking about an elderly atheist editor at La Repubblica quoting from memory here”

  11. Mojoron says:

    I would like to tell Cd Burke that he is in our prayers and give him moral support. Is there an easy way to let him know we are thinking of him? If so, please place it on your main page.

  12. sw85 says:

    @iPadre —

    “Just look back to when Benedict was Supreme Pontiff. Many said that Benedict had no control, there was interference. It seems like nothing has changed. I thought that Pope Francis was going to reorganize the Roma Curia to fix that ‘mess.'”

    What in the world makes you think Francis’ Pontificate is helpless victim of unscrupulous Curial officials? Last I heard Francis booted most of the Curia from office.

  13. jhayes says:

    When I checked just now, via the link in Fr. Z’s 30 October post, it had not yet been rectified

    That’s an outdated copy on the Press Office website. The official copies of the Synod documents are on the Synod of Bishops website, here:

    The English version of the “Relatio Synodi” which used to be there has been removed. Only the Italian version is available now.

  14. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    So that’s what Fr. Robert J. Imbelli was talking about! Thank you!

    Therefore, the only thing now available online from the Vatican is “an outdated copy on the Press Office website”! – ?

    Did the “English version of the ‘Relatio Synodi’ which used to be there” differ in any particulars from the “outdated copy on the Press Office website”? Has anyone collated them (before it was removed)? Or are there at least screenshots?

    What Fr. Gerald Murray (as linked by Robert Royal) himself links to at the Herald (dated 30 Oct.) on 8 November when he writes “Now that we have the official English translation of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family’s final report,” is, I presume, identical with the “outdated copy on the Press Office website” – ‘presume’ because I have not collated them, but certainly both errors – re. both ‘a man and a woman’ and ‘valid marriage’ being left untranslated – are manifest there as well in any case.

  15. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Perhaps the corrected version will be available in time to serve as a birthday present for the Holy Father? Or is that giddily rushing things?

  16. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    Do you by any chance have any sense of Press Office editorial procedure? For example, the revisions in the copy of the English version of the interim Relatio were silently produced in what anyone might be excused in thinking was the original /“outdated copy” in that case: I was actually assuming, on its basis, that untransparently silent revision might be their procedure when I returned to the copy linked by Fr. Z on 30 October (!).

  17. chonak says:

    On Monday, Nov. 10, Abp. Kurtz, the president of the USCCB, stated at the bishops’ meeting in Baltimore that the bishops were awaiting a “final” translation of the relatio, since there were “some issues” about the version produced to date. I take it as a positive sign that he acknowledges the problem and he expects to see it corrected.

  18. jhayes says:

    The Italian “Relatio Synodi” is the official text from which Bishop’s Conferences should be working for their discussions (just as they did in the past, when Latin texts of official documents were issued).

    The English translation which was issued and then withdrawn by the Synod office was the only foreign language version offered. There were no translations into French, German, Spanish, or any of the many other native languages of the bishops conferences, posted on the Synod website.

    I suppose that the Synod could make a translation into each language and send it to each Bishops conference, but I have not seen anything announcing that they plan to do that.

  19. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    chonak & jhayes,

    Thank you!

    “La Santa Sede” website/address offer a choice of 10 languages to view and read it in, and the Bollettino has (so far as I can see) a ‘built-in’ possibility of 6 modern ‘European’ languages to choose from (not always in fact taken advantage of) , so it would seem equally practical and courteous to provide the “Relatio Synodi” in translations into the other five (to nine) of these languages. The “Relatio post disceptationem” appeared in four of them (so, translated into three) with astonishing rapidity, an example that surely could be followed, if with more care, as well as improved upon with reference to the number of languages.

    Do either of you (or any other reader-commenter) know if the Synod Fathers ever saw or heard anything but the Italian texts of the 62 paragraphs of the “Relatio Synodi” in (as I understand) their one-minute-each to vote on them electronically?

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