Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New Catholic Version: New Testament

Don't you love it when a new Catholic translation of the Bible is published, yet you don't know much about it.  (Thank you to a comment from a reader who alerted me to this.)  Well, Catholic Book Publishing produced the NCV Psalms a decade ago.  Some of you have mentioned it here before, but I haven't really had the time to investigate it.  Who knew that they also were commissioning a New Testament translation?  Could an Old Testament be far behind?  I picked up a compact paperback copy of the NCV New Testament at a local Catholic book store.  There were also editions in a larger paperback illustrated edition, as well as a vest pocket edition in imitation leather.  In all the editions I saw, the words of Christ were in red.

Before I speak of the translation, since I really haven't had time to look into it, enjoy some photos from below.  I will say, since I know some of you will ask, that Luke 1:28 is translated "full of grace."  All three of the editions of the NCV that I looked at had the exact same look and feel as the Saint Joseph edition NABRE's from Catholic Book Publishing.  Also note that it has been approved, with canonical rescript, via the Philippines Bishops Conference.


Jeff S. said...

When I went to the Catholic Publishing Website just now and did a
search for "New Catholic Version" I got these 9 results of which
2 were the Psalms, 5 were the New Testament, 1 was Imitation of Mary
and 1 was Pray The Rosary.

The two Psalms were Size: 4 3/8 x 6 3/4
All of the 5 results for the New Testament are "Vest Pocket Edition"
of Size: 3 3/4 X 5 1/4

So what information can you give regarding the larger size you mentioned? It doesn't seem to exist on the company's website.

Eric Barczak said...

From the sample pages on their site and the photos, it seems to be a smooth read. It also appears to hhave a notes in the back format like an Oxford NABRE.

What's more interesting to me is that they had to go to the Phillipines for approval. Why not in their own backyard?

The cynic in me wonders if this was an attempt to get the NT redone to go with the NABRE OT and have a fully fresh and liturgical ready translation, but the USCCB didn't care for it, or perhaps the licensing, so they got approval elsewhere. Although, if its taken since 2002 to get the NT (presuming they started after the psalms were done), I don't know if I'd live to see the complete NCV Bible.

Timothy said...


This is the larger paperback one I saw:

I have seen this in the NAB before as well.

Jeff S. said...

Thanks, Tim.
It's amazing how many different English translations are popping up.
It makes one envious in some ways of those Protestants who have always read just the King James Bible (hopefully the original one with as they call it, the Apocrypha) and those Catholics who stick with the
Douay-Rheims (Challoner) version and thus don't get stuck in the perpetual cycle of wondering just what is the "best" translation to read.
I'm friends with a devout Catholic family and like to give them
presents now and again of various Bibles such as the two recent
Didache offerings of first the RSV-2CE and then the NABRE.

But the one they like the most is the 1966 Jerusalem Bible which they'd never really seen before.

If you use the analogy of "complementing protein" in nutrition
and apply it to Bible reading, what would be say the best
2 or 3 Bible diet? My feeling is that one of the "foods" should be
the 1966 Jerusalem Bible. And given the respect given in Catholic circles to the RSV-CE and RSV-2CE, what would be wrong with the
original King James with the Apocrypha (which it actually had) and
is now being sold again with by Cambridge University Press, given that the RSV is a revision of that King James?

And then if one wanted to have a 3 Bible diet, add in the
Douay-Rheims or Confraternity (the last one available in the mid-1960s which had all but the impossible to find now Samuel to Maccabees which came out in 1969)?

Timothy said...


Very little publicity about this and no list of translators either, other than the general editor. Strange.

Eric Barczak said...


My 3 complimentary translations/editions would be:

1. Douay Rheims.
2. Ignatius Didache Bible.
3. Little Rock Catholic Study Bible NABRE.

With this, I get the hyper-conservative traditional translation; a modern translation with outstanding theological commentary, and a very accessible study bible that connects the church and her worship to scripture (in the closest translation to the USA lectionary).

Eric Barczak said...

A quick follow-up thought: I've been using the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible notes via the Lighthouse app in parallel when reading the Didache Ignatius, and I've found that combination to be lovely. I wouldn't feel bad about just using a regular edition of the NABRE instead of a study version for the liturgical parallel.

Tom said...

I think a nice addition to the Bible market would be a small leather-bound edition of the Wisdom books, Sirach & Wisdom & Proverbs and such.

Jeff S. said...

Wouldn't it be wonderful if Oxford University Press would take the
ORIGINAL Douay-Rheims of 1609 and simply reprint it using modern typography so one wouldn't have to struggle so much to read it.
If you've ever gone online to see a scan of the original, it's very torturous to try to read the main text and even worse to try to read
the notes in the margin which are in smaller print and using that
old-time font and the quality of the scans is pretty poor. I actually
bought from someone in Canada a "scan" turned into a photocopy and
then had it bound locally. But it's really not fun to try to read.

Here's the ISBN for Oxford's 400th Anniversary edition: 9780199557608
and if you input that on Amazon you get to "Look Inside" and you'll
see that even though it's old-time font and spelling, the printing comes out nice and clear unlike the only available scans of the original 1609 Douay.

Imagine if Oxford would do the same nice cleanup job with the ORIGINAL 1609 Douay-Rheims.

By the way, the Oxford website itself gives the WRONG dimensions
of that version. It INCORRECTLY has 6 1/2 x 9 7/8 inches
while Amazon CORRECTLY has it as 11.3 x 2.5 x 9 inches. I verified
that but calling up Oxford University Press just now and their phone representative said their internal website had it as the larger dimensions shown on Amazon, basically slightly bigger than typical looseleaf notebook paper.

The Oxford website link is

I ordered it just now to have it as a nice complementing protein
for my mostly Catholic Bible collection. Actually I do already
have two Cambridge versions of the complete KJV, one of which being
the David Norton edited one. And of course being one of the compulsive obsessive types that are one this website I also have
the NEB of 1970 and the REB of 1989 :) each of which has as they call it the Apocrypha.

Peter Kreeft of Boston College once wrote an essay kind of hoping that Catholics would adopt the complete King James and then some sort of grand union might finally occur among all Christians.
At least in terms of having one common Bible.
It appears in the April 2000 New Oxford Review (nothing to do with
Oxford University Press) at

Here's an excerpt from his summary:
No other Bible translation will replace KJV as the unifying one. Others have been tried. All have failed. The people have voted with their feet, and at their bookstores.

Perhaps accuracy will demand a few revisions to the KJV -- or perhaps just a few footnotes. The old Revised Standard Version almost succeeded. But it too "fidgeted" just a little more than it had to, and it will soon be unavailable anyway, to be replaced (again!) by one without any Thees or Thous. As for the New Revised Standard Version or any translation beginning with the dread letter "N," forget it. "New" here is a code word for "the first step in being politically correct," and also for "to be further amended soon."

The Tridentine Latin Mass is to the new Mass what the KJV is to the new Bibles. We need a liturgical revolution here even more desperately (may Cardinal Ratzinger live forever!). I suggest a simple, radical-sounding step. In the pews we now find flimsy, cheap "missalettes" ("missalettes for Christianettes"), which look as ugly, commercialized, dull, secular, and ordinary as the language inside. I propose that we replace them with lightweight bronze tablets, chained to the pews, on which is inscribed the common portion of the Tridentine Mass. Within a year we will have our liturgical revolution. We will have conquered the Fidget!

How about this as a "parallel" Bible:

Original 1611 King James, Original 1609 Douay-Rheims , 1966 JB, NABRE

Just throwing all this out there for discussion.

Christopher Buckley said...

Out of curiosity, IS this technically an approved "Catholic" book of scripture, as in it being approved for personal study and devotion? Or is it a "Catholic" edition the way the Message and the CEB present: the books in the right order? :-)

It's not yet on the USCCB's page listing approved versions (which is notriously spotty at best): http://usccb.org/bible/approved-translations/index.cfm

rolf said...

Sorry Jeff, I am not a big fan of old English. I will stick with the RSV-2CE and NABRE!

Timothy said...


Yes, it seems to be so.

Timothy said...


I have three of the Saint John's Bible volumes and use them for daily lectio/visio divina. The volume on the Wisdom books is quite spectacular. I will be getting that one next. It is a bit large, but worth every penny.

Jeff S. said...

Couldn't resist posting this Review Comment from the Amazon website:

Of course the responders to the comment pointed out that the original comment was not exactly true! :)

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1Know Your Bible
Byavid reader "Jo"on April 23, 2015
Format: Leather BoundVerified Purchase
Not what I expected...I should have researched this particular Bible more before buying...it seems to be Catholic based, and there are images in the Bible I don't believe should be there...
3 commentsWas this review helpful to you?
Report abuse

Mary Elizabeth Sperry said...

I can actually address some of these questions. The NCV NT will not be on the USCCB listing because we only list translations for which the USCCB granted the canonical rescript following the implementation of the 1983 Code of Canon Law. (Prior to that time, the local bishop, not the conference, granted the imprimatur.) The revision of the NABNT was not approved until 2012 and work did not begin in earnest until 2015. The intervening time was used for planning, budgeting, identifying editors, developing and approving principles of translation, and hiring revisers. Work is currently proceeding well, but, no, I can't share any draft text.

Christopher Buckley said...

Thanks Mary Ellen-

Could I respectfully ask the USCCB to rethink your list from the reader's perspective?

Rarely do we ever need to distinguish which translations were granted the USCCB canonical rescript.

However, we DO need a clear list of approved full-Bible translations for use by Catholics every time someone buys a Bible for a confirmation gift, a new inquirer wants to pick a "Catholic Bible" to see if RCIA is right for them, or we engage in apologetics.

Far more useful would be a simple list of which Bible translations Catholics may use. Someething akin to this list from the Episcopal Church would fit the bill nicely: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/bible

Bonus points if you can include non-English translations, and correlate to reading level or linguistic ability.

Many thanks from a supportive reader.

Christopher Buckley said...

Sorry, that should have been Mary Elizabeth.
Apologies. I can't edit my comment to correct. :-)

Max said...

It's interesting to note that the Episcopal Church authorizes several Catholic translations. :)

Biblical Catholic said...

I have searched and searched and searched and cannot find anything about this text, not who authorized it, who the translators were, what the purpose of the translation is etc all the basic stuff you expect to be explained in the preface to a Bible. It's weird that this thing was published with no fanfare, no publicity, in apparent total silence. Whenever I search for information all I can find is the page to order it.

It is very odd.

Biblical Catholic said...

I have searched and searched and searched and cannot find anything about this text, not who authorized it, who the translators were, what the purpose of the translation is etc all the basic stuff you expect to be explained in the preface to a Bible. It's weird that this thing was published with no fanfare, no publicity, in apparent total silence. Whenever I search for information all I can find is the page to order it.

It is very odd.

Timothy said...


The question I keep asking myself is who commits the time and resources necessary to do a translation of the New Testament, yet does literally no publicity or social media outreach? You are right, there is literally nothing about it anywhere. Heck, the main page at Catholic Book Publishing says nothing.

Michael Demers said...

I'm working on the theory that the NCV is basically an updating of the CCD Bible. (I should have kept the one I had).

Biblical Catholic said...

Does it have a preface that provides any explanation?

Timothy said...


The third and fourth pictures I provide are all that is there.

Anonymous said...


I just left an email on the Catholic Book Pub site asking for details on the New Catholic Version Bible. I also suggested they look at your site and consider leaving product info regarding the translation, who authorized it, and who are the translators etc. Let's see how they respond. Knowing CBP as a solid Catholic publisher of primarily liturgical books like the lectionary, LOTH and personal prayer books they also work closely with ICEL and CCD----they are not known for marketing and promotion of their products. Anyway let's see how they respond.

Lenny V

Timothy said...

Thanks Lenny. Do let me know if they respond. I have attempted contact in the past, but always unsuccessfully.

Jay said...

When somebody gets a copy, they should post a page in the middle of one of the Gospels so we can see if it's a reprint of an already-existing translation.

Timothy said...


I have a copy and posted a picture of the beatitudes. If anyone wants a particular verse, I'll be happy to put it in the comments here.

Deacon Dave said...

I ordered the larger Study Edition of this NCV New Testament today from Catholic Book website. $13.75 incl shipping (paperback). They have "look inside" pages at the site and the extra material looks identical to their older (green pb) NAB Study guide edition.

Anonymous said...

Hello Timothy,

I was wondering, judging from your pictures the font size seems to be reasonably large for a Bible of that size.
Am I right about right about that and if so what would you estimate the size of the font is.



Christopher Buckley said...

Interesting re: the theory that it's an update of old CCD or NAB Bible texts, since the CCD owns the copyright and stands pretty firmly behind the NABRE as its primary English translation.

If the NCV is an update of the pre-NABRE NAB texts, then what we're seeing is a wave of publisher-sponsored updates of older, approved Biblical texts that aren't necessarily being submitted to the USCCB Secretariat of Doctrine and Canonical Affairs.

First there was the RSV "Second" Catholic Edition, produced entirely at the behest of Ignatius Press, seemingly as a byproduct of its revisions to the Ignatius Lectionary.

Now there's the NCV New Testament, seemingly produced by Catholic Book Publishing as its own revision of NAB (or even Confraternity Bible?) texts.

Frankly, as a Biblically-oriented catholic, it's a bit offputting. This lack of transparency, and inability to describe scholarship and textual basis of these so-called "new translations" loads evangelical critics of Catholicism for bear!

Timothy said...


To your point, I found it fascinating that the NCV in Matthew 16 went with "netherworld" over "hades" or even "hell." That might add ammunition to your belief that there be a direct connection to the NAB.

EvergreenGuy said...

RSV-CE 2nd edition = a particular vision of what the NRSV Catholic Edition should have been.

NCV NT = a particular vision of what the NABRE NT should have been?

Christopher Buckley said...


Interesting parallel.
Worth noting though that the NABRE NT isn't finished yet.
They only revised the OT in 2011, and are in-process on the NT revision now, with final text expected in 2025.


Anonymous said...

I may have missed this in the thread, but does the NCV NT have study notes? I ask because the study notes for the NCV Psalms are excellent - a perfect blending of historical-critical and Christological/ecclesial insights.

Timothy said...


It does. They are likely similar in tone to the psalms. They are endnotes in the pocket editions.

EvergreenGuy said...

Christopher Buckley,

BY NABRE I meant the current NTmincluded in the NABRE, which was revised in 1986. It will be interesting to see what the second revision of the NAB NT, currently ongoing, looks like.

Timothy said...


I agree with your point in the connection between the NCV and NAb, although I disagree with your comment on the RSV2Ce and NRSV. The NRSV is actually a full revision, while the RSv2Ce is at best a behind-the-scenes selective updating.

Michael Demers said...

Lots of behind-the-scenes editing going on with the NCV and the RSVCE2. Kind of sad.

EvergreenGuy said...

Yes, the NRSV is a much more extensive revision than the RSV2Ce but in a way that was my point. There are lots of folks who think the NRSV went too far (henceh, on the evangelical side, the ESV, on the Catholic side the RSV2Ce, on the Orthodox side the translation that underpins the Orthodox Study Bible's OT + the NKJV). The RSV2Ce is part of a "what should have been" take on the NRSV's mandate -- just update the sturdy RSV a little bit, drop the thees and thous, etc.

Biblical Catholic said...

This cannot possibly be a revision of the NAB. not merely because it is being promoted as a brand new translation from scratch, but because no one is allowed to revise the NAB without permission from the Bishops.

I don't know what this is, but it is not a revision of any existing text.

wxmarc said...

I'm not so sure that it is simply a revision of the NAB text. The preface (see Timothy's picture) lists the chairman of the translating committee (Fr. Jude Winkler, OFM Conv., SSL). It briefly says that they were committed to formal equivalence and consulted numerous translations. That information is not very specific, but it is already more enlightening than the almost nonexistent information regarding the RSV-2CE.

Also, I think the approval status is very different than the RSV-2CE. This translation has a canonical rescript from the Philippines bishops conference. It has been explicitly approved. The RSV-2CE was not granted a new rescript, based on the opinion that the changes were not consequential.

Does the USCCB need to grant a rescript if another bishop's conference has already done so? For example, has the USCCB ever granted a rescript to the JB or the NJB? I believe the JB was grandfathered under the previous code of canon law, which allowed a local ordinary to grant an imprimatur to a scripture translation.

I really wish we could go back to that rule, rather than requiring the bishop's conference to approve all translations, even if they will never be used in the liturgy. Since the USCCB's primary focus is the liturgy, we end up with situations like the RSV-2CE being in limbo, the NCV being offered to a different bishop's conference for approval, and the CEB never getting past square one on its approval process.

Christopher Buckley said...

I hear what you're saying (as I too prefer the sound of the RSV-2CE, despite its sketchy canonical approval status).

But it's important to distinguish our terms here; there's a difference between an "update / revision" and a "new translation."

The RSV-2CE is an "update" or a "revision" of an existing translation: no one went back to re-translate from Hebrew and Greek. They just edited the existing English translation.

The NRSV is a new translation. The translation team went back to the Hebrew and Greek and translated it all over again.

In fact, the source texts had evolved in the decades since the RSV was translated.
-Where the RSV relied on the Masoretic Text for its OT, the NRSV used the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartenia 3rd edition.
-The RSV used Nestle-Aland's 17th edition Greek NT, but NRSV used UBS 3rd.
-By comparison, the NABRE uses newer source texts than either: BHS for the OT, and Nestle-Aland 26th edition.

It's important since though the FLOW of the RSV-2CE hits my ear better than the diction of the NRSV, it's still based on an older source text. To benefit from all the gifts of textual criticism, as specified in Divino afflante spiritu, then I want a translation that's a) made from the original langauges and b) using the latest (most reliable?) editions available. Therefore, I choose the NABRE.

This NCV rubs me the wrong way, because it's completely opaque about what it is, and what it's built on.

Is it a translation? If so, what's the source text? Pope Pius XII said that should matter to me.

Is it just a revised edit of an original translation? If so, what translation is it updating?

Anonymous said...

I just left a day without Internet, and I just missed all of this!!!

About the imprimatur, as I had talked previously with Tim, I was the one who confirmed to him that it was Philippine Bishops Conference who granted the imprimatur.

Bishop Bastes was President of Biblical Apostolate of the Philippine Bishops Conference. His term was between 1999-2009, if he had granted the imprimatur during his tenure, the answer to your question perhaps is that the NCV team cannot reach USCCB during that time because they were working on the NABRE that time. Perhaps it was the Philippine Bishops Conference that was accessible at that time.

I asked Timothy before who granted the Nihil Obstat, but I had a feeling that it was also from the Philippine clergy.

And to the Christopher's theory that the NCV is a reincarnation of the CCD, I had to speak boldly, that could be one of the reasons, if we are to think, since asking for an imprimatur from a work originating from CCD but not in the lineage of any NABs could be seen as "treason". (Anyways Tim can choose not to approve this if he would find this very dangerous. Otherwise, Ms. Sperry can just shake this off...)

And adding to the ammunition is that the copyright page explicitly says that the version is not intended for liturgical purposes.

John Francis Frederick Manlapig said...

So we have a new Catholic bible translation, and the imprimatur is from the Philippines. That's a bit strange...

(Bp. Bastes, aside from being head of the biblical apostolate of the CBCP as Gerald said,
was also former head of the Philippine Bible Society).

1. I haven't seen a copy of that in our bookstores here in the Philippines. If the imprimatur came from here, I guess we could've seen that sold here.
2. I also agree with the others who commented that they are puzzled whether it is a new translation or a revision of an earlier text (maybe the elusive Confraternity edition?).
3. Is this similar to some new translations which have not gone "mainstream"? Examples of which are The Alba House Gospels and its subsequent NT and the New Community Bible (which I saw in Singapore, and published by St. Pauls, India).

Just puzzled...

Timothy said...

I find the comment "numerous translation were consulted" strange as has been pointed out. What does that mean?

Also, in connection with the NAB, the NCV capitalizes the "I AM" sayings through out John.

Biblical Catholic said...

The 'Confraternity Translation' is simply an early name for the NAB, it isn't a separate or distinct translation.

There was a 1941 Confraternity NT, which is a revision of the Challoner Rheims NT.

But the 'Confraternity Old Testament' is the same as the 1970 NAB OT.

Javier said...

regarding differences in the source text for the OT, the Wikipedia says: "The Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, or BHS, is an edition of the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible as preserved in the Leningrad Codex, and supplemented by masoretic and text-critical notes. It is published by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (German Bible Society) in Stuttgart."

Michael Demers said...

The CCD Bible was done between 1941 and 1969. The 1970 edition was renamed NAB. Genesis was retranslated, Job to Sirach were revised, the enumeration for the Psalms followed the Hebrew, and last but not least, the spelling of proper names followed the customary forms found in English bibles since the KJV.

Jeff S. said...

Biblical Catholic,
The 1970 NAB Old Testament had one important difference from that
of the Confraternity: It had a completely new Genesis.

And its New Testament was a completely new one. So to put it in
a simpler and somewhat humorous vein, the 1970 NAB had a different
and a different ending than the final version of the Confraternity (1969).

And of course it changed the spellings of all the people and places to conform with the "standard" Protestant spellings.

maytaglady said...

I received my copy of the New Community Bible a few weeks back. Hunted high and low through bookshops in Singapore and could not find a copy of it, save for a pocket sized NT. Had to order it from the US. Only slightly disappointed that the quote from the Gayathri mantra was taken out of the earlier edition, but on the whole very pleased with the historical and theological notes which replaced the pastoral ones in the CCB.

Anonymous said...

Chances are if this is not a reincarnation of CCD, perhaps this can be the NAB Liturgical New Testament, the one used in Lectionary and Missals.

Tim, please do check.

Biblical Catholic said...

"The 1970 NAB Old Testament had one important difference from that
of the Confraternity: It had a completely new Genesis.

And its New Testament was a completely new one. So to put it in
a simpler and somewhat humorous vein, the 1970 NAB had a different
beginning and a different ending than the final version of the Confraternity (1969)."

Yes, the NAB NT is different because the original 1941 NT text was discarded.

You are right about the fact that the book of Genesis was re-translated.

The Confraternity OT, later called the NAB, was published in 6 volumes from 1952 to 1969. The first volume, Genesis-Ruth, was published in 1952. When it came time to published the entire translation in a single volume, it was determined that the book of Genesis, being the first book translated, was of a different style of the rest of the OT, so it was re-translated to be consistent in style with the rest of the OT.

The NT was published in 1970 and was immediately judged to be lacking, and a full revision was ordered, which was published in 1986.

After the NT revision was published, it was decided to revise the Psalms in the same style, the revised Psalms were published in 1991.

Then the entire OT, including the Psalms, was revised, and published in 2011.

And now the NT is being revised yet again.

It's funny, the NAB has been a 'work in progress' since 1937, and it has never not been under revision. Thus, the NAB is a translation that has been in progress for 78 years.

Timothy said...


And that is a problem. The need now is for a stable text that can last at least half a century.

Christopher Buckley said...

Thanks Javier for clarifying my BHS / MT statement.

Agreed also that the "Confraternity Bible" wasn't any one discrete translation of its own, but just a shorthand name for the series of intermediate revisions of the Challoner-Rheims NT the CCD sponsored between 1936 and 1969, and that has ultimately resulted in the NABRE (with the revised NT due a decade from now).


Meanwhile, here's what I can find about the Chairman of the NCV translation committee. Maybe Fr. Winkler could be reached for comment, esp. re: "numerous translations" being consulted.


He's written a children's book about Pope Francis: http://www.companionsofstanthony.org/book/cart-product.html?ID=SC-40

Conducts a daily podcast of lectionary reflections:

Blogs frequently here:

And was named Assistant General CFC at the 2014 Chapter of the Conventuals' Province of Our lady of Consolation:

Which means that we MAY be able to submit a question to him here:

Christopher Buckley said...

Timothy and BC-

Which is why I remain convinced that thee biggest obstacle to the NAB(RE) is simply its nomenclature.

To put it bluntly: calling it the "New American" anything segregates it geographically in a way that limits its reception among other English speaking Catholics.

I don't think that's what the CCD wanted at all. Think about it:

In 1936 the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine itself wanted a more readable English version of the Bible than the Challoner-Rheims. They began revising the Vulgate, but after Divino afflante spiritu in 1943, they scrapped it and began again from the original languages. They created a number of "Confraternity" and "NAB" editions along the way, and will currently complete the effort when the final "NABRE" NT comes out in 2025, almost a century after the project began.

The smartest thing they could do at that point would be to change the name to something that emphasizes that this is the Bible in English sponsored by the CCD for the entire English-speaking Church.

I'd vote for "the Bible for Catholics in English" (BCE).

Rather than see it as "one of a number of English translations for Catholics," I think it should be branded as "the Church's own translation for English-speaking Catholics." Like the way the world's French-language Bishops conferences have issued "La Bible - Traduction Officielle Liturgique"


If you read the Bible - or worship - in French, here is the Church's translation.

[I wonder if there's something of similar status for Spanish-speaking Catholics?]

But simply by virtue of it being the official CCD-sponsored translation of the Bible in English, the NABRE shouldn't be "competing" with other English translations. It should seen as a peer of La Bible Liturgie.

Eric Barczak said...


While I agree 150% on having a stable text, the sad reality is that a couple factors will likely prevent that:

1. Can't satisfy everyone-someone won't be satisfied with what's out there and will do a new translation.
2. Language is changing at a rapid pace, with new idioms replacing old.
3. New textual discoveries will always be tweaking the standard biblical texts and people will want the most accurate translation possible. People love the RSV, but complain because its not based on the latest manuscripts.

In all honesty, how obsessed do we really need to be on using the latest and greatest textual basis, or clearest modern idiom (which no matter what, will leave some people unhappy)? The tweaks with new manuscript discoveries may move a few verses in or out of favor in a translation, but the core message and details will never change. Ultimately, with the church guiding us, no Catholic translation is going to jump the shark and indicate homosexuality is ok. Some truths may be clearer in one translation over another, but they're all still there, irregardless if a footnotes speculates who did or didn't write the Magnificat.

Timothy said...


I understand what you are saying. I would say that there hasn't been any major "finds" textually for a few years. Certainly the Dead Sea Scrolls are a game changer and must be considered if you are using an eclectic text. If you are using the Vulgate or TR, not so much. And yes, language continues to evolve, we have certainly seen that in English with the use of inclusive language, like it or not, as well as how certain idioms have changed and adapted. Yet, with all that said, there is no reason that a standard text cannot be produced and lived with for at least a half century. I surely hope the NABRE will become that, although I have some doubts.

I have been a proponent of the NRSV as many of you know. Occasionally I am asked if it should be revised. My answer is no. For me, it meets all the the things I wrote about above. It remains a very readable, literary, and formal translation which is aided by generous textual notes that clear up ambiguities and the occasional inclusive language mishap. I really hope the NABrE in 2025 will replace my NRSV, but I just don't know.

My point remains that a standard English text of Scripture can happen. Stuff like the NCV are interesting, mostly due to it being extremely odd and with so many questions left unanswered about it.

Perhaps the unity we seek and desire in a standard Catholic Bible translation mirrors our inner most desire for unity in the Church. In many ways, our championing of a particular translation correlates to what side of the spectrum we are theologically in the Church. I desire unity, in both cases. Perhaps that is why I read the NRSV and Knox!

Javier said...

there is nothing similar to the french 'Traduction Officielle Liturgique' for spanish speaking catholics.
The Spanish Conference of Bishops has sponsored "La Biblia, Versión Oficial de la Conferencia Episcopal Española", which is now the official spanish version for all liturgical and catechetical uses. But only for Spain.
Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, use a single version for liturgical use, the argentinian "El Libro del Pueblo de Dios".
There is an ongoing project to provide a single transalation for all the spanish speaking catholics of the Americas. It began as an initiative of -and funded by- the USCCB, who asked the CELAM (Latin American Council of Bishops) to put together a new translation of the Bible, to be used by the spanish speaking catholics of the United States. It eventually expanded to be the project of a Bible for all the spanish speaking catholics of the Americas. The New Testament has been published two months ago. When the complete Bible is published (probably next year), it 'might' become the official version for liturgical and catechetical use throughout the spanish speaking Americas (and in the US, if there are Masses in spanish there, which I don't know). But Spain won't adopt it, as they already have their own.

Anonymous said...


I'm with you on the NRSV. I started using it when it first came out. I was in college at the time and it was the first bible I bought for myself. Since then, I've had periods of trying other translations as I learned more about the options available, literal v. dynamic, etc., but now, even after trying the NABRE (which I like and think is very good overall), I chose the NRSV for my "one bible one year" and don't see myself ever switching again.

Why? Because even if another translation is released, like a revised NABRE in 2025 or later, I can't imagine it being so much better than the NRSV that I would want to switch after having so much time invested in the NRSV. I find other translations useful to supplement for study purposes, like the RSV2CE in the ICSB and the NABRE, but the NRSV will remain my main go-to translation.

Michael P.

Biblical Catholic said...

The reason why the NAB is called the 'NAB' is because it was the first completely new and original translation of the entire Bible to be published in English and completed entirely by American scholars.

The bishops and editors were quite proud of the fact it was the first American Bible ever published. (Some people cite the Revised Standard Version as the first American Bible, but while the RSV was certainly a watershed moment in the history of American Bible scholarship, it was merely a revision of an existing text and not a completely new translation.)

Jay said...

I checked my copy of a recent CCB and this New Testament isn't from it. But really, not telling us who made the translation is what the Jehovah's Witnesses do.

Anonymous said...

@Christopher Buckley:

Your comments re the "American-ness" of NAB/RE are, I think, highly pertinent. Call it something less provincial and you have done more than half of the marketing for it. But the flipside is this: would other English-speaking Catholic jurisdictions be happy with granting a quasi monopoly to a Bible translation that is for all practical purposes owned by USCCB? Would they be happy to relinquish control? Or would the ownership need to be broader for it to be more widely accepted?

Biblical Catholic said...

But the thing is, the bishops originally had the hopes that the NAB might become an ecumenical Bible, used by Catholics, Protestants or maybe even Orthodox. This is the reason why they went out of their way to avoid using the word "Catholic" in the name of the Bible.

And there is no way that the USSCB will ever relinquish control, as the entire reason why the NAB was made was to create a revenue stream for the American Church. Right now, every time someone buys a copy of the NAB, every time sometimes pays a royalty to quote the NAB, every time a publisher prints a missalette, or CCD materials, the USCCB gets paid. They aren't going to give up that stream of revenue. I have no idea how much money they make from the NAB, but if you go back to the publication of the Confraternity NT in 1941, the American Church has to have earned at least tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, if not actually billions of dollars. It's an important source of revenue it is not going to give up,

Christopher Buckley said...

Well, technically the copyright is owned by the CCD:

"The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) owns the copyright on the New American Bible, revised edition translation. The copyright allows the owner to protect the integrity of the text so that individuals may not introduce changes without permission. Royalty fees earned by licensing the text to companies who publish and sell Bibles help to provide funds for Scripture scholarship and other educational needs." http://usccb.org/bible/permissions/index.cfm

As I understand it, that's an association belongs to the entire Church, and isn't a ministry unique to the USCCB.

Anonymous said...

It is perhaps mysterious that two major languages in the Church (French according to Chris, and in Spanish from Javier) and in the world in general, had already extending efforts to put up a liturgical Bible for their languages regardless of the nation.

It would total to three if I would include the "Conferenza Episcopale Italiana" liturgical version of the Bible which stands for the Italian-speaking Catholics.

C'mon, English-speaking Catholics, the ICEL must be revived!
We must also get this synergy with Bible and the Liturgy started!

Anonymous said...

Chris and Javier,

Do these liturgical version stand more in the formal equivalence camp, as I would expect from conforming to the mandates of Liturgiam Authenticam?

Anonymous said...

Javier, from what I have read from the BIA website, it says that the BIA: "Esta no es una Biblia popular, ni una Biblia de estudio, sino una Biblia intermedia con un lenguaje accesible para el lector medio y que trata de ser digno literariamente”

In English (if I'm correct Javier):
"This is not a popular Bible, nor a study Bible, but an intermediary Bible (i.e. standing in the middle of the Bible translation spectrum) with an accessible language for the common lector and is rendered in a literary manner."