The Translation of “Quadragesimo Anno” Also of Great Interest

     Sir,
The difference of opinion between H. E. Cardinal Villeneuve and the social crediters of Quebec revealed in the Montreal journal vers Demain presents an opportunity not to be missed.
There are two passages in Quadragesimo Anno, the great encyclical on the Reconstruction of the Social Order issued by the late Pope Pius XI, which are of great importance in dealing with uninformed criticism from members of the Catholic Church.

     From paragraph 75 of the Latin version, the English translation reads,

“For then only will the economic and social order be soundly established and attain its ends, when it secures for all and each all those goods which the wealth and resources of nature, technique, and the social organisation of economic affairs can give. These goods should be sufficient both to supply all necessities and reasonable comforts, and to uplift men to that higher standard of life which, provided it be used with prudence, is not only no hindrance, but is of singular help, to virtue.”

     The first part of this quotation is in my opinion a general statement of policy. Critics should be faced with it and asked whether they accept the Pope’s policy or not.

     If objections are made on technical grounds the following passage (paragraph 42) may be quoted.

“But she [the Church] never can relinquish her God-given task of interposing her authority, not indeed in matters of technique, for which she has neither the equipment nor the mission, but in all those that fall under the moral law.”

     The critic can then be asked what is his competency in financial technique and whether the clergy and laity are accustomed to go into all the details of the various callings of those employed in building, say, a church.

     But as the best form of defence is to attack, then procure the Latin text of the encyclical from the Catholic Social Guild, Oxford, price one shilling, and ask why the local church authorities have not attended to their own job by providing a correct translation in the vernacular for the laity.

     In paragraph 75 “recta proportio pretiorum” is translated, “a proper proportion between prices.”            The whole point of this sentence is lost in a confused jumble of words where the Latin plainly conveys that prices should be proportionate to incomes so that they can purchase the various products of industry. The significance of the error is apparent when one considers the consistent ignoring of the price factor, with its book-keeping implications, by “organised” Labour. I should be interested to hear from anyone if the same mistake is made in the French translation.
The English translation can be obtained from the C.T.S., 38-40 Eccleston Square, London, S.W. 1., price 2d.
Yours etc.,
PASCO LANGMAID, Cardiff; January, 1942.

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