Home | Join/Donate
Adoremus, Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy
Online Edition - February 2006
Vol. XI, No. 10
“Youth Bible” Problems Persist
by Helen Hull Hitchcock
The “Catholic Youth Bible”, an edition of the New Revised Standard Version with additions and comments aimed at high-school-aged youngsters, has been intensely promoted for use in Catholic schools since it was published by St. Mary’s Press in 1999 -- and it is still causing concern among Catholic parents. Several parents have recently asked for aid in evaluating this Bible. First, in December 1999, Adoremus published a review of the Catholic Youth Bible, “Selling Bibles to Generation Y”.
Although there is a serious need for a reliable Bible that includes sound and clear commentary in a convenient one-volume edition, this, regrettably, is not it.
A fundamental problem is that the Catholic Youth Bible uses the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). But the purpose in producing the NRSV was to incorporate so-called “inclusive” language, as the translators’ preface to the standard edition of the NRSV makes explicit. This is also stressed in the introduction to the Catholic Youth Bible, in which Father Alexander DiLella, OFM, states:
“... [the NRSV] offers the fruits of the best biblical scholarship in the idiom of today while being sensitive to the contemporary concern for inclusive language when referring to human beings”. - p xxi (emphasis added)
However, revising Scripture to reflect “contemporary concerns” conflicts with the Holy See’s authoritative 2001 Instruction on liturgical translation, Liturgiam authenticam. Concerning ideological influences (such as feminism), this Instruction states that these considerations “are not to be considered reasons for altering either a biblical text or a liturgical text” (LA 29), and even lists common devices used for gender-neutering Scripture and other liturgical texts that are to be avoided (LA 30-32).
The NRSV (hence the Catholic Youth Bible) is not consistent with these directives. In 1994, the Holy See decreed that the NRSV is not to be used in Catholic liturgy. If the NRSV is not suitable for Catholic worship, is it reasonable to give to kids?
The Catholic Youth Bible’s editors have added their own comments and texts interspersed throughout the text (in sidebars or introductions).
Following are a few highly problematic examples of these additions:
“God, loving father and mother” prayer - page 1049
Sweat Lodge “Great Spirit” ceremony advocated - p 1005
The Book of Jonah is called a “fictional short story”, a “biblical satire” and is ridiculed: “the reader is giggling at the goofiness of pigs...” - p 1072
The Gospel of Matthew is presented as fictionalizing Jesus: “The author of Matthew wanted to show how Jesus broke with certain Jewish beliefs.... So in the Sermon on the Mount, the Gospel has Jesus giving new interpretation to Jewish laws.... Such incidents probably reflect the experience of the author’s community with Jewish leaders as much as Jesus’ own conflicts”. - p 1120
A Native American sun worship prayer is included. There is no warrant for including such material from a completely pagan source. - p 1258
The explanation of Jesus’ institution of the Eucharist is seriously defective, and undermines Catholic teaching on transubstantiation:
“... [Jesus’ disciples] share the loaf of bread that he identified as his body given for us and the cup of wine that he identified with the New Covenant sealed by his blood”. - p 1237 (emphasis added)
Comments about African-Americans (p 7 and p 735) are inexcusably condescending: Much is made of different “shades” of “blackness”, kinky hair, etc.: “Whatever shade they are, it is good. And if you are one of them you are black and beautiful”. - p 735
God as Father avoided: “The God whom Jesus called Abba is the parent of all nations...” - p 940
1. Call our office to donate directly: (608) 521-0385, have your name, address and credit card number ready. If you would like automatic donations to Adoremus let us know what date(s) you would like to be billed on.
**Adoremus operates solely on your generous donations.**
Adoremus is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible.
Site Copyright © 1999 - Present by Adoremus
All rights reserved.
All material on this web site is copyrighted and may not be copied or reproduced without prior written permission from Adoremus, except as specified below:
Permission is granted to download and/or print out articles for personal use only.
Brief quotations (ca 500 words) may be made from the material on this site, in accordance with the “fair use” provisions of copyright law without prior permission. For these quotations proper attribution must be made of author and Adoremus + URL (i.e., Adoremus or Adoremus Bulletin www.adoremus.org.)
Generally, all signed articles or graphics must also have the permission of the author. If a text does not have an author byline, Adoremus should be listed as the author. For example: Adoremus (St Louis: Adoremus, 2005 + URL)
Link to Adoremus web site.
Other web sites are welcome to establish links to www.adoremus.org or to individual pages within our site.
Home | Join/Donate | Adoremus Bulletin | Archive | Index | Church Documents | Architecture | Posture | Music | Translation | What's NEW? | FAQ | Search Site | Site Map