By CARMEL FITZSIMONS A Boot( loomgay priests has delayed the publication of the new English language Catechism of the Catholic Church until next year.
The Catechism was published last year in French and was due to be available in an English translation by March of this year.
Publishers Geoffrey Chapman say it is ready to be printed but they cannot proceed without a go-ahead from the Vatican.
They are playing down the rumpus over a book of confessions by gay priests and claim the delay in publication is due to a wrangle over the language used in the English translation.
Geoffrey Chapman published Chosen by Dr Elizabeth Stuart earlier this year. The book features 21 Catholic priests and seminary students from Britain and Ireland discussing their personal experiences of homosexuality.
Although the book was well reviewed by Catholic critics it attracted controversy in the tabloid press.
Insiders at Chapman confirm that complaints were
made to the Vatican about Chapman receiving the contract for printing the Catechism after the row over Chosen.
One source confirmed that the Vatican requested clarification from the publishers after a fake copy of the Chapman's catalogue was sent to Rome which appeared to show that Chapman's was advertising the catechism and the book of gay confessions on the same page.
The Vatican is said to have been concerned that a distinction should be drawn between official documents of the Church published by Geoffrey Chapman and other religious books they publish.
Geoffrey Chapman, part of the Cassell publishing group, publishes the Catholic version of the New Revised Holy Bible as well as Cassell's English Dictionary.
Fr Peter Verity, director of the Catholic Media Office, confirmed that there has been a campaign against Chapman. "We have had people haranguing us on the 'phone about Geoffrey Chapman publishing the Catechism," he said.
Fr Verity went on to say that although most of the criticism was about Chosen, "we have had one man who accused Chapman of publishing witchcraft because they produce astrology books".
Ruth McCurry, an editor at Geoffrey Chapman, said that as far as the publishers were concerned, the delay in the publication of the catechism is due to the row over inclusive language.
"Chosen is a very sensible, responsible book. Any problem about homosexual priests has taken a back seat to the debate over inclusive language," she said.
"The Catechism is at the printers, and the machines are all set up to run it. But critics, mostly in America, have sent the Vatican 65 pages of objections to the English translation and we cannot print until the Vatican has resolved them."
Inclusive language involves ensuring that the Catechism is not sexist; that it refers to brothers and sisters, not simply brothers, and uses the term "human race" rather than "mankind".