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Online Edition - Vol. VIII, No. 3: May 2002

News

Extreme Teen Bible -- TNIV "Inclusive" Bible stirs renewed controversy -- Bishops to consider new Spanish Bible translation -- Confessions during Mass -- Sacred Art Academy

Extreme Teen Bible

The logical extreme of "free" translation has been reached by the venerable Bible publisher, Thomas Nelson, in its new " Extreme Teen Bible ".

"What we did with the ' Extreme Bible ' was we said things like, 'cool', and used the lingo that [teens] use", said Kate Etue, acquisition editor of Extreme for Jesus, a division of Thomas Nelson. "It doesn't have to be academically and grammatically correct".

Etue believes the elimination of traditional sacred language - she calls it "Christianese" - is a major achievement of this translation. She thinks the "phenomenal" teen response to the Extreme Teen Bible is due to the radical approach to translation.

The anti-Christianese approach is said to be necessary in order to attract teenage readers who might otherwise be drawn to Buddhism, Wicca, etc. The "dynamic equivalent" approach to translating Scripture epitomized by this effort is defended by some Catholics, who characterize more formal language as "slavish literalism".

The " Extreme Teen Bible " is available in stores like Sam's Club and Barnes and Noble, as well as Christian bookstores. Extreme for Jesus has published more than 30 books over the last two years. As a side project, the company has produced a compact Bible that resembles a Palm pilot.

--Source: The Washington Times, April 10, 2002.

***

TNIV "Inclusive" Bible stirs renewed controversy

In a surprising reversal of an agreement reached after a conflict in 1997, Today's New International Version [TNIV], an inclusivized version of the New Testament, was published jointly in April by the International Bible Society (formerly the American Bible Society) and the evangelical Protestant publishing house, Zondervan, now part of Harper Collins.

Based on the popular New International Version [NIV] The Old Testament of TNIV will be available by 2005.

In 1997, the International Bible Society announced it would publish a gender-neutered version of the NIV, but met stiff opposition and had to suspend the project.

Although TNIV's advocates hailed it as a step toward gender equality, others, such as Focus on the Family's James Dobson and the Southern Baptist Convention, criticized the project, claiming that neutering the text alters the Word of God and obscures essential Christian doctrines.

"[Obscuring] the masculinity intended by the authors of Scripture" violates the Gospel by "obscuring the fatherhood of God ... and the true identity of Jesus Christ", Dobson said.

Feminists, however, believe the TNIV does not go far enough.

"It's time to get rid of patriarchalism", stated Jim Sanders, who helped translate the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) Bible. "God is God, neither male nor female. Pneuma is the word used for the Holy Spirit in all Greek manuscripts and it is neuter - not masculine or feminine", Sanders said.

The NRSV translation, a project of the National Council of Churches, was rejected for use in Catholic Liturgy by the Holy See in 1994, although the Canadian bishops' conference had based a revised Lectionary for Mass on the defective NRSV.

Mimi Haddad, president of "Christians for Biblical Equality", a non-denominational feminist group, said the NIV was "the last translation to get on the gender-accuracy train", and praised the Revised New American Bible, published by the US bishops, for its use of "gender-accurate" terminology.

The old NIV, one of America's best-selling Bibles, does not use "inclusive" language, and will continue to be published by IBS / Zondervan - alongside the TNIV.

-- Compiled from various sources

***

Bishops to consider new Spanish Bible translation

A new ad hoc committee will explore the possibilities of a new Spanish Bible translation, according to a Catholic News Service report April 26. In March the US bishops' Administrative Committee approved the formation of the committee who would study the matter with the Latin American bishops' council (CELAM) and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Those who support the idea say a new Spanish Bible would help unify the 300 million Spanish-speaking Catholics in the Western hemisphere. They think it would also help standardize the use of Bible quotes in catechetical and liturgical materials, and provide revenue through royalties and sales, the CNS report said.

At present, there are difficulties because of variations in Spanish terminology from country to country, and different cultural and social situations that may influence understanding and application of sacred Scripture. But it may be difficult to find enough biblical scholars who could undertake so large a translating task.

-- Source: Catholic News Service

***

Confessions during Mass

The Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, in response to an October 2001 query, declared the practice of hearing confessions during Mass "lawful", and even encouraged the practice whenever there is a large number of priests available -- suggesting that some priests refrain from concelebrating in order to hear confessions.

"Above all nowadays, when the ecclesial significance of sin and the Sacrament of Penance is obscured in many people, and the desire to receive the sacrament of Penance has diminished markedly, pastors ought to do all in their power to foster frequent participation by the faithful in this sacrament. Hence canon 986.1 of the Code of Canon law states: 'All to whom by virtue of office the care of souls is committed, are bound to provide for the hearing of the confessions of the faithful entrusted to them, who reasonably request confession, and they are to provide these faithful with an opportunity to make individual confession on days and at times arranged to suit them'", the CDW said in its written response to the query.

The CDW's response reminds priests of their duty make "the spiritual riches" of the Church, e.g., frequent Confession, accessible to people.

The emphasis on making the sacrament available to the faithful indicates a shift in the Holy See's position. Past instructions, such as the 1967 Eucharisticum mysterium (Sacred Congregation of Rites), tend to discourage offering confession during Mass, since doing so would detract from the "active participation" of the congregation. In its response, the CDW clarifies that previous instructions in no way intended to suppress the practice of hearing confessions during Mass.

(The CDW response is available here .)

***

Sacred Art Academy

The American Academy of Sacred Arts in Philadelphia, founded by Sister M. Paula Beierschmitt, IHM, is dedicated to responding to the Council's call "that schools or academies of sacred art should be founded ... bearing in mind that, they are engaged in a kind of sacred imitation of God the Creator ... to edify the faithful and to foster their piety and their religious formation".

The academy, established in 1993, has committed itself to the "encouragement and placement of artists", "preservation of artistic treasures of the Church", and "artistic quality and spiritual insight".

The Academy hopes to expand its support primarily of visual artists for the purpose of developing both their Catholic faith and their artistic skills "in an environment that appreciates the Church's tradition in sacred art".

For further information, contact Sister Paula at American Academy of the Sacred Arts, 1629 Porter Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19145; (215-339-5041).

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