VATICAN, April 11, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Italian-language version of a new Catechism designed for youth and to be distributed at this year’s World Youth Day in August incorrectly states the Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception, reports the Catholic News Agency (CNA).  The English version of YOUCAT– short for “Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church” - does not contain the error.

CNA and EWTN News reported this morning that question 420 in the Italian, Q&A-format YOUCAT, slated for release on April 13, states:

“Q. Puo una coppia christiana fare ricorso ai metodi anticoncezionali?” (Can a Christian couple have recourse to contraceptive methods?)

“A. Si, una coppia cristiana puo e deve essere responsabile nella sua facolta di poter donare la vita.” (Yes, a Christian couple can and should be responsible in its faculty of being able to give life).

In the English version, however, question 420 reads:

Q. May a Christian married couple regulate the number of children they have?

A. Yes, a Christian married couple may and should be responsible in using the gift and privilege of transmitting life. [2368–2369, 2399]

The English version goes on to explain:

Sometimes social, psychological, and medical conditions are such that in the given circumstances an additional child would be a big, almost superhuman challenge for the couple. Hence there are clear criteria that the married couple must observe: Regulating births, in the first place, must not mean that the couple is avoiding conception as a matter of principle. Second, it must not mean avoiding children for selfish reasons. Third, it must not mean that external coercion is involved (if, for example, the State were to decide how many children a couple could have). Fourth, it must not mean that any and every means may be used.

While CNA reported that Vatican sources speaking on condition of anonymity had speculated that the original German might be to blame, Ignatius Press President Mark Brumley contradicted this statement. Ignatius Press is responsible for putting out the English-language edition of YOUCAT.

Brumley told LifeSiteNews that he did not recall any problems with the original German text. He noted that with all translations it is common to have an “editorial back and forth”; however, neither he nor his staff recall such over Question 420.

On the Ignatius Insight blog Brumley wrote: “The problem did not originate with the German text - at least not if the Italian translation is based on the same German text as that on which Ignatius Press based its translation. The German text of question 420 asks whether a Christian married couple may regulate the number of children they have. It does not ask whether the couple may use methods of contraception.”

YOUCAT, intended to be handed out to millions of youth attending World Youth Day in Madrid Spain from August 16-21, includes a foreword from Pope Benedict XVI.

“I beg you,” Benedict XVI writes, “study this Catechism with passion and perseverance … You need to know what you believe.”  The pope adds in the foreword, “Yes…you need to be more deeply rooted in the faith than the generation of your parents so that you can engage the challenges and temptations of this time with strength and determination.”