A friend writes to note the line in paragraph 29 of Caritas in Veritate : “Violence puts the brakes on authentic development and impedes the evolution of peoples towards greater socio-economic and spiritual well-being.”

Does this mark, he asks, an advance in the neo-Latin of the Vatican? What is Latin for “puts the brakes on,” anyway?

The Latin version isn’t up yet on the Vatican’s website, but the Italian version uses the straightforward verb that means “to restrain”—“Le violenze frenano lo sviluppo autentico”—so my guess is that the Latin does, too.

Someday, the Vatican will get a good English translator—for that matter, a good English copyeditor who understands modern typological conventions. But this is increasingly seeming a hope on a very distant horizon: Come the endtime, we’ll have genuinely English translations of Catholic documents.

Articles by Joseph Bottum

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