In my last post, I offered an argument that Amoris Laetitia was written in a modern language and then translated into Latin later, with the various modern language translations based not on the Latin but on the modern-language original. The argument had two bases: (1) The Latin text appeared on the Vatican website months after all other languages had been published; (2) the various translations share features that cannot be explained on the basis of independent translation from the Latin.
There are other possibilities, of course. Maybe the Italians translate a text first, and then all the other translators use the Italian translation as a guide to their translation of the Latin. Maybe all the translators get together at a pub to decide what the text should really say, and then go home to make it say that. I don’t know! But a couple of conversations with people who work in the Vatican Latin offices have left me, rightly or wrongly, with the impression that it has been a long time since a papal encyclical was originally composed in Latin. Rumors have it that BXVI did compose in Latin, but even these rumors put the claim as a remarkable exception.
But since we are having fun with linguistic geekery, I thought I should look at the word “ideal” in John Paul II’s Veritatis Splendor, too. The famous paragraph, the one people often cite in comparison with Amoris Laetitia 303, is VS 103: Continue reading “A note on the Latin text of Veritatis Splendor”