One factor in the growing popularity of traditional biblical and liturgical texts

Richard Challoner painting

Several people have noted that the Vatican's page about scripture directs the faithful to their local episcopal conference, saying "The Holy Bible is available in almost every language on earth: the Episcopal Conferences take care of the continuous updating of the translations. In order to have access to the latest Bible version, kindly consult the website of your Episcopal Conference."

In his post on this matter, Fr Z makes various important points, notably about the Church as authentic interpreter of Holy Scripture. (See: Looking for an approved Catholic version of The Bible? Not much help at this site.) In an update, he notes that the Latin version (neo-Vulgate) is hidden away in another part of the website. Actually, somewhere else the New American Bible (NAB) is also tucked away

Those of us in England and Wales will not find online the (utterly dreadful) Jerusalem Bible translation which is currently in use in most Churches for the readings at Mass, or the older Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition which is still legitimate, or the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (2nd edition 2010) which is meant to be coming into use in England and Wales soon (See: Three cheers! A new lectionary in the pipeline - using the RSV.)

The problem is presumably that those translations are copyrighted. The NAB is indeed copyrighted by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, but there are fairly generous provisions for both print and online use, and I suppose that the CCD is cool about the Vatican website making the whole text available online.

One consequence of approving copyrighted biblical and liturgical texts is that it strongly favours the dissemination of traditional texts which are, in the nature of the case, usually out of copyright because of their age. Hence more and more Catholics are becoming familiar with the Douai Rheims Bible as revised by Bishop Challoner, which is available free of charge everywhere (for example on the excellent app iPieta.) Likewise, if you want to print liturgical texts for the traditional Mass, you can pick up copies all over the internet in various formats, whereas for the modern rite, it is not so easy, and if you print off copies, you will put yourself at risk of being chased for fees.


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