Saturday, 10 May 2008

A Denomination's Change Of Heart!

Until recently, the Roman Catholic Church HAD BEEN one of the most vocal opposers of venacular Bible translations. (Though I'm a "Calvinist," I belive some of the underlying reasons were reasonable!). Listen to Pope Ggregory XVI (16th) in a circular letter (encyclical) he wrote 8th May 1844 called Inter Praecipuas (i.e. On Biblical Societies):

"...We emphatically exhort you to announce these Our commands to the people accredited to your pastoral care; explain them in the proper place and time, and strive mightily to keep the faithful sheep away from the Christian League and other biblical societies, as well as away from their followers. Also take from the faithful both the vernacular Bibles which have been published contrary to the sanctions of the Roman Pontiffs and all other books which are proscribed and more zealous each day to preach the word of God, both through yourselves and through the individual pastors in each diocese, and through other ecclesiastical men fit for the task. In particular, watch more carefully over those who are assigned to give public readings of holy scripture, so that they function diligently in their office within the comprehension of the audience; under no pretext whatsoever should they dare to explain and interpret the divine writings contrary to the tradition of the Fathers or the interpretation of the Catholic Church. Finally it is proper for a good pastor not only to safeguard and nourish his sheep...Nor indeed are the seducers to be deprived of the same priestly solicitude, especially the teachers of impiety themselves; although their sin is greater, We should not shrink from their salvation, which We may be able to procure by some means."

Now listen to Part 1, Section 1 1, Chapter 2 2, Article 3, Subsection 5 of "The Catechism of the Catholic Church":

131 "And such is the force and power of the Word of God that it can serve the Church as her support and vigour, and the children of the Church as strength for their faith, food for the soul, and a pure and lasting fount of spiritual life." Hence "access to Sacred Scripture ought to be open wide to the Christian faithful."

132 "Therefore, the study of the sacred page should be the very soul of sacred theology. The ministry of the Word, too - pastoral preaching, catechetics and all forms of Christian instruction, among which the liturgical homily should hold pride of place - is healthily nourished and thrives in holiness through the Word of Scripture."

133 The Church "forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful... to learn the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ."

:) Now, isn't that lovely?!

I just came across an artile in the United Bible Society's The Bible Translator (Vol 42, Num 2A) written by a Roman Catholic and entitled "Roman Catholics, Bible Societies and Bible Translation." Select the title of the artilce to read.

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