Is #AmorisLaetitia being beta tested?

beta testSoooo…. Amoris laetitia is out.

Or is it?

Not a few times on this blog have I pointed out that, by the time the texts of documents are released officially in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis (AAS) changes are made.

When we got the name of the document in Latin (called the “incipit”), I wrote to someone in Rome asking what the rest of the sentence was.  Some people were having a little fun with Amoris laetitia as, for example, “The Pleasure of Lust”, which , standing free, it can mean.  I didn’t get any (serious) response back.

Anyway… here is an exchange from the combox under a different thread:

Charles E Flynn says:

There should have been a beta version of Amoris laetitia.

[What’s out IS the Beta Version. The final, official version will be in Acta Apostolicae Sedis.]

What is “beta testing”?  As I understand it, software goes through an initial trial called alpha testing inside the company that made it.  That works out big problems.  Then comes beta testing, which goes on outside the company that made it.  After beta testing, the final version is released to the public.


Acta Apostolicae Sedis? What’s that? Are you saying that AL is just a work in progress?

[AAS is the official gazette of and instrument of promulgation of the Holy See. Definitive texts are found in the AAS, usually some months after their initial release! I think this is a serious issue, because people rarely if ever go to the AAS and work from the official text. They rush to use what was originally released, in various languages, without double-checking them against what is officially published later on. For example, between the initial release of, say, the Latin of Veritatis splendor (yes, it was released also in Latin on the first day and the Latin text was published in L’Osservatore Romano the next day), and the release of the official text in AAS, there were hundreds of text changes. I know. I looked at them side by side. Most of them were small things, but they were changes. So, until we have an final, official version in the AAS, yes, this is a BETA. It’s been done this way for a while now.]

I have mentioned numerous times on this blog, problems with translations of documents.

I wrote years ago:

For a long time I have warned people about bad English translations of papal documents. 

There are methodological problems in that the documents are no longer composed in Latin.

The Latin text, which is the official text, is itself a translation.

However, since no one refers to the Latin text… few people know this.  Thus, they are always working with compromised versions of documents.

Moreover, the texts they are working with were those released at the time of the presentation of the document, even though the LATIN is itself revised [there is not Latin of Amoris laetitia, which is hilarious, given that we have an incipit!] before publication in is final official form in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.  But no one goes back to revise the vernacular versions in keeping with the changes in the Latin! Lot’s of people are misquoting documents because the vernacular docs themselves were never updated.

Imagine, for example, doing your doctoral thesis on something that involves papal documents.  Because you are modern doctoral candidate at a hip school that shuns Pharisaical nitpicking, no one expects you to know Latin, right?  So, you are stuck using vernacular versions of documents that were released to the PRESS many months before the official Latin version appeared in the Acta.  Remember, once the version appears in the Acta, that’s the official version.  How d’ya like them apples?

So, is Amoris laetitia being beta tested?  If I were still around the Press Office, I’d be asking that question until I got an answer.

Moderation queue is ON.

BTW… the online ACTA is about a year behind.  HERE  But it has been behind since about 1909.

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  1. Thomistica says:

    In my view, the issue about this being a beta version has now faded in significance, as the Pandora’s box of confusion is now open. [You are wrong about the “faded” part, but… okay… the legendary box is open, the cats are de-bagged, the barn has a depleted horse population….]

    More to the point, as I mentioned earlier, that confusion was fully intended. Arguably the Kasperite forces, and people like Antonio Spadaro S.J. and his group, went for what they took to be the soft underbelly of Catholic doctrine–Communion for the remarried, as a kind of Trojan horse issue for unraveling other moral doctrines. It’s what many in the Jesuit order, and all the McBrien types, have dreamed of for decades, and now they’ve achieved the first step of their intended deconstructive process. They absolutely want a hermeneutic of rupture, and they want the primacy of conscience in just the way Archbishop Cupich, the American Kasperite, understands it.

    If a revised version of AL comes out, the damage will already have been done. The beta issue is therefore academic, from that standpoint.

    With due respect to our Protestant friends, are we now all expected by this papacy to become functional Protestants? Why not just start attending one of these feel-good mainstream Protestant churches?

    People will argue that papacies come and go, or that this document has no magisterial authority. True, but if cardinals and bishops do not challenge the confusion of this papacy, they could enable another papacy of just the same kind, if not even worse.

  2. Janol says:

    Are you saying the vernacular versions of documents on the Vatican website itself not revised after the Latin texts are finalized? And how would one know if one is looking at a revised vernacular text or not?

  3. Elizium23 says:

    If they revise the first sentence of the Latin document, will they have to rename it based on a new incipit?

    [Only if they change the first two words in Latin… which they will not do.]

  4. Auggie says:

    @Thomistica: Ambiguity is the Trojan Horse Energizer Bunny… that, since VII, has kept on galloping/hopping through the parish gates. It needs to be hit with a ton of bricks.

  5. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    I am still trying to sort out the real Latin version of Paul VI’s Credo of the People of God. Long story omitted. Maybe this summer. It’s on my desk now.

  6. Andrew says:

    Fr. Z:
    The Latin text, which is the official text, is itself a translation.

    And it is clear to anyone reading such “Latin” documents that the thought process going into composing such documents was “modern vernacular” which is very different from the taught process of genuine Latin. Words such as information, situation, real, concrete, challenging – to name just a few are not used in Latin. To produce a document that would be truly Latin, the translator would have to be granted the liberty to abandon the idea of producing a “literal” translation. But even then, the translator would be left with the challenge (here I go using ‘challenge’) – with the difficulty of interpreting all the vague vernacular verbiage, which we use on a daily basis not noticing that it is often quite meaningless.

    Right from the beginning, the text of Amoris Laetitia, under no. 2, starts out by talking about “the situation of families” (it:la situazione delle famiglie; pl: sytuacja rodzin; fr: la situation des familles; es: la situación de las familias). Well, what exactly is a “situation”? Is it the address where the family lives? Is it their financial wealth? Their health? Is it vague? You bet! I would like to see how the translators will handle that one along with hundreds of other such vague concepts. The result will surely be “modernspeak” no matter how they cut it.

  7. iamlucky13 says:

    An example of an English translation difference that I noticed while digging into one of the more frequently discussed passages:

    In Amoris Latitiae, footnote 329 (which also references Familiaris Consortio 84), with some extra text for context, and the text of interest in bold:

    “In such situations, many people, knowing and accepting the possibility of living ‘as brothers and sisters’ which the Church offers them, point out that if certain expressions of intimacy are lacking, ‘it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers’ (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 51).”

    From Gaudium et Spes 51, English translation (link):

    “But where the intimacy of married life is broken off, its faithfulness can sometimes be imperiled and its quality of fruitfulness ruined, for then the upbringing of the children and the courage to accept new ones are both endangered.

    I assume the translators for Amoris Laetitia (Italian to English?) took on footnote 329 themselves, rather than referencing the official translation of Gaudium et Spes.

    One clear difference is the use of “often” instead of “sometimes.” A potentially bigger one is the omission of the phrase about courage to accept new children. However, that latter case may be a quirk of sentence structure combined with a decision to cut the quote in the original language off before reaching that point. Furthermore, it would have made the footnote significantly more contentious if Pope Francis were perceived to be lecturing the divorced and civilly remarried about having courage to have new children.

    That segues into the more significant point that Gaudium et Spes 51 is not about the divorced and civilly remarried, but about those who are validly married practicing periodic abstinence, such as for natural family planning, with sufficient reason. The relevance to the passage of AS that footnote 329 expands upon is indirect and distant, at best.

  8. Papabile says:

    I have worked through the SAW several times for 1962, and can find no promulgation of the editio typica of the 1962 mussel.

    I question whether it was actually ever formally promulgated. I can find the 1965 promulgation along with Tres begin All Is… But no 62.

  9. Papabile says:


  10. Elizabeth D says:

    We saw what autocorrect did to “missal” as well.

    And, that is pretty weird that there was no record of promulgation of the 1962 missal.

  11. Andrew says:

    May I also add: when a Latin document is created from a previously written vernacular text, the translator will never get a chance to use Latin’s full potential of richness and precision and elegance because his task is to produce a “literal” translation of the vernacular, and so the final result will be a Latin text of an inferior quality. The grammar and the vocabulary will be Latin, but the style of the document will be vernacular.

  12. Matt R says:

    Fr. Hunwicke just reposted his article on the lack of an editio typica for the 1962 missal, which, if there was an ET, would not be the December revision containing St. Joseph in the Canon Missae.

    I think your autocorrect caught “abhinc annos” as well.

  13. The Masked Chicken says:

    Can I get a bug bounty for discovering any errors? Goggle pays 20,000 U. S. dollars for a particularly nasty one.

    The Chicken

  14. iamlucky13 says:

    @ The Masked Chicken – perhaps an indulgence? Would trading proofreading labor instead of money for an indulgence be in violation of the prohibition issued at the Council of Trent?

  15. The Cobbler says:

    This papal document has definitely given rise to dom.

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