.- The influential Italian political newspaper Il Foglio published an article today criticizing the New York Times for relying on a computer-generated translation from Italian to English of important responses from the Vatican to a sex abuse case. The failure to translate led the American newspaper to argue that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was protecting a sexually abusive priest from Milwaukee.
The article, titled âWhat the New York Times does not translate,â starts by saying, âLast Sunday, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd returned to attack the Pope. Commenting on the words of exorcist Gabriele Amorth, who said that behind pedophile priests is the devil, Dowd suggested a way for the Catholic church to solve the problem: hire a âsexorcist.â"
Nevertheless, âafter re-reading the NYTâs allegations against the current Pope on the case of the pedophile priest Lawrence Murphy, who abused hundreds of deaf children when he worked at a school in Milwaukee, it is the American newspaper which seems to be in need of some consultants,â the paper opines.
âBehind the accusations,â says Il Foglioâs senior writer Paolo Rodari, âthere is a gross translation mistake.â
Rodari reviews how NYTâs Laurie Goodstein reconstructed the events on her March 25 article and concentrates on the correspondence between the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Archbishop Rembert Weakland, then of Milwaukee, his Auxiliary, Bishop Richard Skilba and the Bishop of Superior, Raphael Fliss.
âThis is a meeting of crucial importance, because it reveals what path Bertone, on behalf of Ratzinger, decides to take once they know the facts.â
Il Foglio notes that the NYT story provides links to both the English and Italian version of the 1998 meeting, âbut it omits to say one thing: the English version is a grossly distorted translation of the Italian, made with âYahoo translator,â a translation that the Vicar of the diocese, Thomas Brundage, sent to his authority, Bishop Fliss, to help him understand the Italian,â the Italian political paper explains.
According to Il Foglio, Fr. Brundage warned in his letter that âIt is a very rough translation and the computer certainly cannot distinguish some of the peculiarities of canon law.â
The computer-generated English version would support the NYTâs allegations against Bertone and Ratzinger, âbut that same conclusion is not possible if a correct review of the sources is done, in other words, if (the story) is based in the official text written by the CDF in Italian,â Rodari explains.
âAnd it is here, in the Italian version, that many important things are said.â âIt is explained that either Fr. Murphy gives âclear signs of repentanceâ or the canonical process will go to the end, including his dismissal from the clerical state.â
âBut in the English version used by the NYT, instead, not only are some passages omitted, but frequently the contrary is said,â Rodari writes.
âIt is true, Bertone requests to take into consideration Murphyâs frail physical condition, who indeed soon after dies. But he never says that because of such conditions the process should be stopped. He says, and this is omitted in the automated English version, that in order to help Fr. Murphyâs repentance, âa period of retreat may be granted,â otherwise, the measure will be âmore rigorous,ââ the Italian paper states.