The first version was asking the church if it would be up to the task of “welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities.” The text refers to gay people, and the initial English translation, which was submitted together with the original, was an accurate translation of the Italian text, which reflected the church’s continued acceptance of gays. However, with the criticisms the report received from the conservative bishops, who are English speakers, the revised version (in English) asked the church if it is “capable of providing for these people, guaranteeing to them a place of fellowship in our communities.” The switch in the wording, specifically the word “welcoming” that was changed to “providing” gave the wording a colder tone.
This was the only section that was changed as the rest of the report had no alterations in the tone when translated from Italian into English, according to reports.
Clarification from the Vatican
According to Rev. Federico Lombardi, the spokesman for the Vatican, the request from the English-speaking bishops was acted upon because the first translation was done in haste and was therefore ridden with errors. But when reporters at the press conference pointed out to Rev. Lombardi that the revision made a remarkable change in its meaning, he vowed to look into it and it seemed that a third version might be forthcoming.
Likewise, the Vatican spokesman emphasized that the original text in Italian is still the official one and that its entirety is being currently revised and a final report will be submitted for voting among bishops over the weekend. If the revision gets two-thirds of the vote it will then be circulated among the dioceses for further discussions, which will then be part of the agenda of the bishops’ meeting in 2015. The final report will then be created as a teaching document by the Pope.
It is significant to note that the bishops initially initially appointed by the Pope to the 10 working groups deliberating on the text on family issues were progressive thinkers. But he has added conservatives such as the bishop from Australia and Cardinal Wilfred Fox Napier, from South Africa. The South African bishops were among the most conservative of the groups discussing the family issues.
It’s all in the translation
The word “accogliere,” which was in the original Italian text translates to “welcome/welcoming” in English. This is very different from the word “providing” that is now the new word being used in the translated text of the issues on family, as requested by the conservative bishops.
Reporters have pointed out that the phrase “providing for” in reference to homosexuals in the revised text implies some form of pastoral care for them, such as in helping them get over their sin (being gay), which is not what the word “welcoming” connotes.