Very interesting information coming out of today's press briefing, and it all surrounds the use of language, both the Italian language and the language of what words mean.
The first question that came up in the press briefing today was really about the use of Italian as the language for the Church in all of these official documents. Philadelphia archbishop Charles Chaput was there, and he said, "I'm at a bit of a handicap here because the document that we're working from is English, but it's not really official, and the one that we are supposed to be working off of is Italian. And we run into all these problems of, well, does this word translate exactly the same and all those kinds of issues."
Now we and many others have brought this up before, that really the Vatican needs to get out of the Stone Age, using Italian as the official language and disregarding English. You can use Italian, but the use of English here is prehistoric. Nobody wants to do anything in English. All the documents come out, and it all essentially can be laid at the feet of the papal spokesperson Federico Lombardi, who just continues to do everything in Italian. All the official documents are printed in Italian. You can't get anything in English. You try to ask somebody something in English, you get broken English in response. It's a nightmare trying to get through things. And of course if you're just a journalist, that's one thing, but if you're a bishop inside the Synod and you're reading something, you don't know exactly if what you're reading goes along with the translation. So when it comes time to vote on something, we may not be exactly sure what it is we're voting on. So that's a big problem.
The second thing is the Instrumentum Laboris, the working document, has big problems because as many people have pointed out, this is very Western European-oriented and really only talks about divorce and these sorts of things. And another good point was brought up that it says Catholic marriages are declining all over the world. Well, that's not true. It's not the case in Africa, for example, as African bishops will tell you. Catholic marriages there are exploding.
So this Instrumentum Laboris, this goes back to the issue that Ed Pentin put together in his book The Rigging of a Vatican Synod — all these charges last year, everything's manipulated, everything's trying to be geared for a specific outcome. And the problem is that it sure looks like that is going on between the use of Italian being the only official language that's going to be used and then what do these words actually mean, and the whole case of what's in the working document doesn't even apply to half the bishops here. So, there are big, big questions about all of this.