April 14, 2011

Condom slip attributed to Vatican causes pulping of Catholic catechism book


Il papa oscuro

“An Italian publisher has yanked copies of a book on Catholic Church teaching after a translation error implied the Vatican approved of contraception,” according to an Associated Press report.

The Italian publisher Nuova Citta has had to pulp 45,000 copies of the Italian edition of YouCat, a Catholic catechism book for young people, that is to be officially presented during a Vatican press conference today. They had already sold 15,000 – 16,000 copies.

The reason for the pulping is a translation error from the German into the Italian that seems to imply that the German-speaking Pope Benedict XVI approves of the use of condoms. He does not. According to the AP:

[In] the Italian copy of the book, which is set out as a series of questions and answers with commentary, the initial question is mistranslated. In the original German, the question concerns whether married couples can “regulate conception.”The answer says yes, then goes onto explain that the church promotes Natural Family Planning.

In the Italian however, the original question wasn’t translated as “regulate conception” but rather whether married couples could “use contraceptive methods.” The answer remained the same, an affirmative yes, implying that the Church was sanctioning contraception.

Rev. Joseph Fessio, head of Ignatius Press, YouCat‘s English-language publisher, told the AP, “It’s an embarrassment, but not a change in church teaching.”

But not as embarrassing as grown men obsessing over other people’s sex lives in the minutest detail.

Valerie Merians is the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.