Whatever you do, don’t smoke the seeds!
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
Thousands of copies of a new book about the Catholic Church’s teachings will have to be pulped after a translation error suggested that the Vatican had radically changed its views on contraception.
The book was officially launched on Wednesday at the Vatican, but the event was overshadowed by the embarrassing error, which will mean that around 30,000 copies will have to be scrapped.
The book, called YouCat – short for Youth Catechism – was originally written in German and contains a question and answer format about whether Catholic couples are entitled to plan the size of their families by “regulating conception”.
The answer provided was yes, because the Church sanctions ‘natural family planning’, in which married couples chart a woman’s menstrual cycle to determine when she might be capable of conceiving.
But in the Italian edition of the book, the question was translated as whether married couples could “use contraceptive methods.”
Again the answer was yes, implying that the Church had overturned its entrenched opposition to condoms, the pill and all other forms of contraception…
The translation mistake is just the latest in a series of public relations debacles to hit the Holy See.
In November, ambiguities in the translation of a book about the Pope, Light of the World, suggested that he believed that condoms were morally justifiable in some circumstances, for instance in preventing the transmission of a deadly disease such as Aids between a prostitute and a client.
Of course, the Holy Roman Catholic isn’t about to open the door to modern knowledge, ethics or understanding. Leaving the 14th Century behind might be too much of a shock. Might even lose a few gold bars along the way.