By MURRAY WHITE
A STALEMATE OVER inclusive language in the English nanslation of the new Catechism of the Catholic Church held fast on both sides of the Atlantic this week, despite episcopal hopes of its appearance by Easter.
Publishing houses for both the English and American Bishops have still to receive the go-ahead from the Vatican and say they need a "green light" from the Holy See by the end of the month if publication is to be guaranteed by Easter.
Leading US traditionalists, such as Archbishop William Levada of Portland, Oregon, have sought to reverse a tide of "inclusive" language, which centres on whether to describe Christ as "man" or "human". Their ire was raised by the use of the word "human" to denote all people throughout the initial translation of the first Universal Catechism for more than 400 years, by US priest Fr Douglas Clark.
The only English member of the editorial team, Bishop David Konstant of Leeds last week noted that the continuing delays were down to ensuring the text was written in language that was "under
standable and contemporary, given the limitations inherent" in producing a "universal" document.
In Rome, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger echoed Bishop Konstant in expressing his hope that the English language editions of the Catechism would be published by Easter.
But a spokeswoman for the Catechism's publishers in Britain, Geoffrey Chapman, said: "We are hearing rumours of things moving, but they're still just rumours".
Thousands of advance orders have been taken for the 560-page work, already available in eight languages including Italian and Spanish. In the US, more than 250,000 advance orders have been taken.
Ruth McCurry, editor of the Catechism at Geoffrey Chapman, did not see an apparent divergence of different languages as "a problem", but rather pointed to a failure by Vatican officials, "whose first language is nor English, to see what all the fuss is all about".
She said that "most, but not all" the objections centre on what could be a large number of small references of inclusive language.