Proceed with Caution! (Update)

There has been much helpful discussion, in various and diverse posts here and elsewhere, regarding the recently concluded Extraordinary Synod on the Family. The long delayed English translation of the final Relatio has now been published on the Vatican website.

I've been reading it in preparation for putting together some reflections, and already I've noticed some problems with the translation. Let me point to a particularly egregious one.

Here is the English paragraph:

3. 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.

And here is the Italian:

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.

One notices at once the difference in paragraph numeration which can certainly cause confusion. But more serious is the omission from the last sentence of the English of the all-important: "the family founded upon the marriage between man and woman."

I would appreciate any assistance in discerning further discrepancies by those who are in a position to compare the two texts.


It seems that the English translation is now not accessible (November 6 afternoon) on the Vatican website. When one clicks on it, one is transferred to the page of Pope Francis! Is a correction in the works? Does the power of dotCommonweal extend so far? Stay tuned.

Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is a longtime Commonweal contributor.

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