Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Busted: Media Circulating False Quote from Pope's Book Not In English Edition, Random House Confirms

In response to my inquiry (basically, the same as what I posted here), Random House confirmed via email my suspicion that the quote in several media stories is not legitimate, saying that the quote circulating is a bad translation from the Italian text and is not to be found in the English text of the Pope's new book on the Infancy Narratives. The Pope's book was written in German.

The real quote:


"No presentation of the crib is complete without the ox and the ass" (p. 69).

The quotes the media have been circulating:


"No one will give up the oxen and the donkey in their [sic] Nativity scenes" (Time, Telegraph, UPI, Christian Post).


"No nativity scene will give up its ox and donkey" (Daily Mail, Guardian, Catholic Herald, National Post, Catholic News Agency/EWTN).

What does this all mean? At any point the writers of the stories about the Pope's book in the English-speaking press could have picked up the book and looked up the quote to publish it accurately. They did not. They did not bother. The media is reporting on itself, not on the Pope. They want their controversies. Well, now they've a credibility controversy (they should anyway). Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. They should all be running corrections! More on this to come...

Please share this on social media that the truth may be known.

Update: Please check out my article on First Things.