Now that the 2014 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops has been over for a while, we have to start asking some questions about the synodal documents that emerged during the meeting, namely the midpoint report, or Relatio post disceptationem, and the final report, that went to the Holy Father, the Relatio Synodi.
The final and official Relatio is still accessible on the Vatican website only in Italian. That’s what you find by on clicking “Synod of Bishops“, the obvious place to look for a document of the Synod of Bishops, right?
The notorious interim report, however, which was roundly denounced by the Synod Fathers (who were not allowed even to see it before it was released) has been on the Synod webpage in five languages since the end of the Synod on 19 October… a month ago. (Frankly, I think it was written already in July, because it was magically translated swiftly into five languages practically overnight. It was also bound and ready to distribute within 36 hours. The super-skilled Vatican translators handled that one, but the all important Final Report… not so much. But I digress.)
The other nine Synod-related documents listed on that page are in different languages.
Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like today. Relatio Synodi is the final report.
Just try to locate an English translation on a Vatican based webpage. It was finally released a couple weeks after all the others and it is buried on an obscure page of the Press Office’s website right where everyone would think to look for it. Since it is in the Bolletino, the daily press release, it scrolled out of view pretty fast. HERE
Out of sight out of mind? It just gets to hang out in oblivion until it is dusted off and – Eureka! – look what we found? What’s with that?
The plot thickens because there was an English translation link on the Synod website, but it was removed because it was riddled with errors. Most of the errors did not change the content in any significant way. BUT… there were some 90 errors, not 4 or 5, including the elimination of phrases, in only 62 paragraphs.
Weeks are passing and the only English version out there is just plain wrong in a key paragraph.
The weird thing about the only extant English translation is that a controversial paragraph is not translated correctly. WERE one able easily to compare the Italian original and other languages by clicking side by side links (which we can’t – at least at the Synod of Bishops page) you would more easily spot what can only be – after this lapse of time and after numerous people have pointed it out in public – a blatant falsification of the original.
And given what was falsified and not corrected, you have to ask: Who did this and why?
Here’s the deal.
Paragraph 4 of this final and official statement of the Synod which went to the Pope, has in the Italian original this conclusion about the challenges facing the Church today (emphasis added and translation):
4. Alla luce dello stesso discorso abbiamo raccolto i risultati delle nostre riflessioni e dei nostri dialoghi nelle seguenti tre parti: l’ascolto, per guardare alla realtà della famiglia oggi, nella complessità delle sue luci e delle sue ombre; lo sguardo fisso sul Cristo per ripensare con rinnovata freschezza ed entusiasmo quanto la rivelazione, trasmessa nella fede della Chiesa, ci dice sulla bellezza, sul ruolo e sulla dignità della famiglia; il confronto alla luce del Signore Gesù per discernere le vie con cui rinnovare la Chiesa e la società nel loro impegno per la famiglia fondata sul matrimonio tra uomo e donna. [“founded on marriage between a man and a woman.”]
Without knowing Italian, you probably figured out that part in bold. I was just being helpful, not condescending. By the way, even though the articles un and una are missing we say “a man and a woman” and not just “man and woman” so that we exclude polygamy… I hope.
By the magic of cutting and pasting from the English version which we had to dig out of an obscure page from the archive of the daily Bolletino at the Press Office’s site, an entirely different entity of the Holy See from the Synod of Bishops, whose official document it is, we find (emphases added):
4. With these words in mind, we have gathered together the results of our reflections and our discussions in the following three parts: listening, looking at the situation of the family today in all its complexities, both lights and shadows; looking, our gaze is fixed on Christ to re-evaluate, with renewed freshness and enthusiasm, what revelation, transmitted in the Church’s faith, tells us about the beauty and dignity of the family; and facing the situation, with an eye on the Lord Jesus, to discern how the Church and society can renew their commitment to the family. [You are waiting to see the part about “founded on marriage between a man and a woman” aren’t you!]
The final Italian words, describing the family as, “founded on marriage between man and woman”, seems to have been deliberately suppressed in the English version of an important Church document, an official document issued by a Synod that made headlines round the world for most for the better part of a whole month.
It has been a month now since the close of the Synod and the release of that document, and still the false translation of the Italian original is all that we have, on a completely different page.
So… what’s going on here?
Are they trying, by this haphazard treatment of an official document of the Synod, which Pope Francis seems to be trying to enhance in importance, to indicate that Italian isn’t the official language after all? Are we to wait for a Latin version of the document? Yeah, right.
Are they trying, by this haphazard treatment to slither some ideological position in – at least for English speakers? Are we to understand that it is not an integral and constitutive element of “family”, properly understood, that it be “founded on marriage between a man and a woman”? If that is the case, what is “family” founded on? Some other kind of relationship?
Like I say, it’s been a month now and this has already been pointed out.
I am reminded of how someone in control of the content of the Holy See’s site made sure that, for years Pope Benedict’s pivotal Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum – which emancipated the use of the 1962 Missale Romanum – was available only in Latin and that hugely useful, widely-read language, so similar to other commonly spoken tongues, Hungarian.
It only took six years to get other modern languages posted. HERE
No, no! That wasn’t done on purpose, I’m sure!