The bureaucratic mindset

The bureaucratic mindset

After I posted the other day about the USCCB banning a podcast that used the New American Bible, Fr. Bob Carr of the Catholicism Anew blog actually called and talked to someone in the permissions office. This is his experience:

I called the head of the permissions department and got her side of the story of the podcaster told to cease and desist. I told her as a priest that we were tired of being made to look stupid by these situations.

She cited issues of copyright infringement and ensuring the liturgical texts were correct. I told her someone was just trying to share the gospel with shut-ins. We went back and forth and she cited issues of making sure the texts were always correct and that words were not left out. I responded with that this was about sharing the gospel.

She then said it would take a full thirty hours to check out the podcasts. I said “Thirty hours????? That is not even one week. How many hours do you think priests work?”

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • Ah, nothing like church bureaucracy in bringing the Word to the faithful. “Look, Augustine, we’re going to need to check your permissions before you publish that “Confessions” thingy.”

    Yes, I would just use the RSV. It sounds so much better. Or do you have to ask the Anglicans (or Cambridge U? I forget) for permission for that??

  • The RSV (Revised Standard Version) copyright is held by the National Council of Churches (NCC), to whom I presume that you would have to go for similar permission.

    The NCC granted permission to Ignatius Press and Scepter Books to use the RSV Catholic Edition text in their editions of and commentaries on that Bible version.  I was surprised at that, because the NCC also hold the copyright for the “inclusive-language” New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).  I thought that the NCC would withhold copyright permission on the RSV to “suppress” it in favor of the NRSV.  (That is smiliar to the situation when the American branch of a Catholic publisher well-known in the English-speaking world was acquired by a well-known liberal “Catholic” newspaper, which withheld copyright permission to some publishers who wanted to reprint some of the older and more “orthodox” titles of that publisher which the new owner would never reprint.)  Nonetheless, the National Council of Churches is near bankruptcy and thus desperate for money from any source or for any reason—such as granting permission to “orthodox” Catholic publishers to use the RSV Catholic Edition.

    I suggest that you use Bishop’s Challoner’s revision of the Douay-Rheims version, which was the standard (and only) Catholic version of the Bible for English-speaking Catholics until the appearance in the 1940s of Monsignor Ronald Knox’s translation in England and the American Catholic bishops’ Confraternity version (known in later revisions as the New American Bible). 

    Douay-Rheims is definitely in the public domain.


  • Some of the old DR and KJV has a charm to the language. Almost musical, no? I think it lends itself to memorization. It’s more poetic, I guess.

  • I love reading the Douay-Rheims, especially scrolling through it on New Advent. (I’m so impressed with their upgrade there! It’s very usable, linkable, and having the Latin is nice.)

    But, yes, there are lines like “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the earth out of which thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return.” (Gen 3:19) In the who of my what-now eats which? But then you get the completely uninspired/uninspiring NAB version: “By the sweat of your face shall you get bread to eat, Until you return to the ground, from which you were taken; For you are dirt, and to dirt you shall return.’”


  • It’s worth pointing out that the NAB is NOT the version of the Scriptures we hear at Mass (unless your parish uses an old lectionary). The new lectionary is based on the NAB, but it was “fine-tuned” to be more proclaimable. The version heard at Mass is in fact not available as a bound Bible anywhere on earth.

    (Of course, if you go to Holy Trinity or St. Athanasius here in Boston, you’ll hear the RSV in the readings!)

    There are so many better versions that can be used.

    For daily prayer I use the RSV-CE, but also like to have the Navarre Bible which has both the RSV and the Vulgate text, along with good commentary.

    But I also like the old Jerusalem Bible and the New Testament that the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine produced in the 1950s. The plan was to have the whole Bible produced, but that translation was scrapped post Vatican II, and we got the NAB instead. The CCD version is only available used, to the best of my knowledge.

    I didn’t particularly like the Knox translation, which reads like a paraphrase in places.

  • I believe our summer help priest at Fr. Rutler’s parish has been reading the Douay-Rheims translation, until recently. I would read along with my Magnificat version and be fascinated by the different words.

    What about the Liturgy of the Hours site? [url=][/url]  That seems to match the hard cover Breviary word for word. I dug around and found out they DO have permission:!OpenPage

  • Dom:

    The Confraternity revision of the Douay (produced in fits and starts from the 40s-early 60s), which included the entire NT and big sections of the OT, is very “readable.”  It’s not in the KJV-ish language of the original Douay or the Challoner revision, for the most part.

    BTW, the forms of the Douay currently in print (Loreto and TAN) are the Challoner revision.  By all accounts, Bp. Challoner didn’t hesitate to borrow from the KJV where he thought it worked.

  • Steve:  Agreed that the Knox can get a little loosey-goosey in its translations.  But that’s more in the OT than the NT, from what I’ve read.  Even so, it’s masterful English.

    Another good translation from the 50s is the Kleist-Lilly New Testament, so named because it was composed by a pair of American Catholic priests.  It’s very readable—almost colloquial—and has a decent set of introductions and footnotes.