Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Response from Fr. Fessio (I think)

Catholic Bibles Blog reader Rolf pointed out to me in a recent post that Fr. Fessio from Ignatius Press had commented on some of the questions I had about the RSV-2CE in a post dated September 24. He commentated a few days later, but I unfortunately did not see it. Thank you Rolf for alerting me to this. (Yeah maybe I should start reading my own blog a little more carefully!)

I, of course, have no way of verifying that the comment was written by Fr. Fessio, but the specifics of his answer leads me to think that it is him. So, below I have produced his entire comment to my questions about the RSV-2CE.

Before that, let me just say thanks to Fr. Fessio for commentating on my humble little blog. I appreciate the answers that he provided, they certainly help to clear up the whole process by which the RSV-2CE was edited and published. My initial frustration about this issue was due to the lack of information I had received when I emailed Ignatius Press. There just seemed to be an unwillingness to answer any of the questions I had about the RSV-2CE. So, thank you for finding my blog and responding!

Let me also add that I definitely appreciate the work that Ignatius Press is doing in Catholic publishing these days. Anyone who has seen my bookshelves knows that I own dozens of books by Ignatius Press. The number of books by Pope Benedict that Ignatius Press has published certainly has helped us Catholics in the USA to come to know and love the mind and heart of the Holy Father. Yet, while those editions are most welcome, I would still love to see the Ignatius Catholic Study completed soon! I understand that there is a lot of work that goes into the production and editing of these editions, the quality of each volume so far shows the hard work that has been done. Having been leading multiple Bible studies on a weekly basis for a few years now, I know that there is a real need for a quality Catholic study Bible. Just know that there are a number of us out here who are waiting, mostly with patience, for a quality Catholic study Bible that can rival the quality of the recently published NLT or ESV study Bibles. Or at least make it better than the Catholic Study Bible, which to be honest, won't take much! Thanks again!

Fr. Fessio"

"The questions have been asked: who made the changes to the RSV-2CE? what are they? and why the secrecy?

The answer to the first question is not simple, but here's the essence of the answer. Ignatius Press wanted to reprint the RSVCE lectionary. A new OL (Ordo Lectionum) had been issued which required that any new printing of a lectionary follow the new OL. So IP modified the RSV-2CE Lectionary to conform to the new OL. It was reviewd by the Congregation for Divine Worship. We were surprised that the CDW required any changes at all to the RSVCE. We made the changes and, with approval of the CDW, removed archaic language (Thee, Thou, etc.). At the same time, the CDW was producing "Liturgiam Authenticam" which became and is normative for liturgical and biblical translations. Since there was a pattern to the changes required by the CDW, IP simply made those same changes to the parts of the Bible not included in the lectionary. The result is that the RSV-2CE Lectionary and Bible are the only lectionary and Bible that are compliance with "Liturgiam Authenticam".

The answer to the third question (why the secrecy about the changes?) will answer the second (what are they?). We didn't keep a list of the changes. We accepted some the CDW made without discussion; others we discussed and sometimes made them, sometimes convinced the CDW there was no need to make them, or an alternative was better. This process took *years*. I'm not sure we evan have the materials that would show which changes were made. And I (who, you may have suspected by now, am the editor of Ignatius Press) do not want to ask our overburdened productin department to do the research, if it is even possible, to make a list which is only of interest to a very small number of people.

And a last, immodest word about our being a "small Catholic publisher". Last year the books we sold would stack up over 16 miles high. In a three year period we could surpass the total number of volumes in all of Notre Dame University's 11 libraries (which they say is "nearly 3 million volumes")."

Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J.

Ignatius Press
September 28, 2008 9:31 PM

BTW: If you are looking for an online analysis of the different versions of the RSV Catholic Edition, you can see that here.


rolf said...

I like almost all of the changes in the RSV 2CE, the only change I would not have made is changing 'cup' to 'chalice'in the institution of the last supper in; Matt, Mark and Luke. This may have been a request of the Vatican to reflect the Latin (which the D-R does). But every translation has words that individual readers would change, and this I can deal with easily. I am still waiting for Ignatius to come out with a Study Bible with this translation, and then I will be satisfied.

Tim said...


I like the RSV-2CE as well, but I think for now I will stick with the NOAB RSV for daily use. I just like the size, notations, and overall quality more than the Ignatius RSV-2CE. But, alas, I have high hopes for the eventual publication of the one volume Ignatius Study Bible, which I am confident will become my standard Bible.

tour86rocker said...

Is the RSC-2CE Lectionary used anywhere outside of the Antilles? (I'm a fan)

Timothy said...

Not that I am aware of.