Pope goes on another tirade against the number seven
Okay, so Pope John Paul II probably didn't really attack the digit. But that's what it looked like when Weblog tried to translate a potentially controversial homily. As frequent readers know, Weblog is skeptical of many news reports summarizing statements by Roman Catholic leaders—especially when the statements aren't in English. So an Associated Press story reporting that John Paul II "renewed his appeal to the faithful Sunday to combat competition from evangelical sects" caught Weblog's attention—and suspicion. As the AP notes, the pope rarely harangues against "evangelical sects" unless he's in Latin America. In Rome, he's usually all about unity. So Weblog tried to translate the homily, delivered in Italian, using the Babelfish translator. Not so good. What the Associated Press had as the big controversial sentence, "In your neighborhood, in fact, the challenge of sects isn't absent," came out as "In your quarter, in fact, the challenge of the seven is not absent." And that's even one of the most understandable sentences Babelfish produced. Yikes. The Vatican has translated the homily into Spanish and French, both of which fare better through Babelfish, but why doesn't the Vatican offer an English translation itself? Of course, maybe the Pope just lost a bunch of Vatican money at a craps table lately, but that doesn't seem likely.

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