Thursday, August 7


Bonus HV Article

While I stand by my previous statement about Cardinal Stafford's article on Humanae Vitae, I do have one more to pass along. This one, "Grave Motives to Use a Good Translation," from Homiletic and Pastoral Review, relates information about various translations of the document that is crucial to understanding the documents directives on spacing births.
The NC News Service made the Pauline edition translation for quick publication in the Vatican’s L’Osservatore Romano newspaper when HV was promulgated. This very first version in English is still the most widely published and used in the United States, despite the later emergence of better translations which are based on the Latin, including one published by the Vatican. The Pauline edition relies heavily on Italian to English cognates and it copies the Italian sentence arrangement without proper regard for English structures. While it adequately presents the Church’s teaching against contraceptive use, it inaccurately communicates the Church’s teaching on periodic abstinence.

In one example, paragraph 14 states (italics added):

If, then, there are serious motives to space out births ... (Pauline edition)
If therefore there are well-grounded reasons for spacing births ... (Vatican translation)

The first difference occurs because the Pauline edition renders the Italian
words “
seri motivi” as “serious motives,” while the Vatican translation renders
the Latin words “
iustae…causae” as “well-grounded reasons.”

Language nerds will particularly find some of the various permutations interesting, but the author explains each step of the way clearly enough for anyone to grasp. The implications of this are far-reaching, especially given the social pressure in some Catholic social circles (actual and virtual) to have as many children as possible when 'grave reasons' aren't manifest.

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