After the "contraceptive" debacle, an even greater mess in "Youcat" - and what else could be expected from the Cardinal of Vienna? He is just so bad in defending the faith that he actually makes us side with Totò Rino Fisichella...
The Italian edition contained another translation error in its treatment of end-of-life treatment. While the German original said that a family may accept the inevitability of death of a loved one, the Italian translation used a term meaning "passive euthanasia," thus appearing to provide justification for the removal of food and water from a dying patient--a practice that the Church condemns.
As Sandro Magister notices, it is not merely another Italian translation problem:
"Triggering an active death is always a violation of the commandment: 'Thou shalt not kill' (Exodus 20, 13), on the contrary, to assist a person during the process of death is even a human duty."
So far, so good. But soon afterwards, in the paragraph that should develop and explain the short answer first, we read:
"... Whoever helps a person to die in the sense of active euthanasia violates the fifth commandment, those who help a person during death in the sense of passive euthanasia instead obey the commandment of love of neighbor. ... . "
Asked how it could be argued that "passive euthanasia obeys the commandment of love," Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the first manager of the original German edition German of the book, argued that, in German, the word "euthanasia" is not intendeded, but rather "Sterbehilfe", [meaning] help for death, [which is subject to broader meanings], even in a positive light.
But Monsignor Rino Fisichella rejected entirely - even in their formulation in German - the expressions "active euthanasia" and "passive euthanasia", as they lend themselves to misunderstandings and "should not be used."
In fact, in the Church's documents on the subject, including the encyclical "Evangelium Vitae", of Pope John Paul II, we never hear of "passive euthanasia", but rather of "euthanasia by omission", that is, that caused by the failure to provide the medical treatment or life support necessary for the person and proportionate to his condition, leading deliberately to death.
And in the same magisterial documents euthanasia by omission is also severely condemned. While the so-called abstention from aggressive treatment is accepted, that is, [abstention from] those treatments whose only effect is to aggravate and prolong the suffering....Cardinal Schönborn has announced that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will set up a working group to review the entire text of the new Catechism, the original and translations, and to collect all corrections that are to be made in subsequent editions. ...
At the end of the [presentation] press conference, Schönborn coldly laid the responsibility for the mistakes on Italian Cardinal Angelo Scola, who was to be the "guarantor" [of the translation] and, in fact, appears on the title of the book as the man "responsible" for the contents of the Italian translation.
The paradox is that Schönborn and Scola are, within the College of Cardinals, the most brilliant stars of the Ratzinger "school". I wonder what he thinks this time, their master.
We guess there is a very good reason why theological concepts in official Church documents should be handled in Latin. And it is hard to imagine that the concept of Passive Sterbehilfe was introduced naïvely by those who decided to do so in this Catechism - now that Catholic Catechisms are being "originally" written in the language of the Book of Concord! One can only imagine what other pearls of Northern European theology and morals are hidden in Youcat.
By the way, this is our 3000th post! Thank you all for your readership.