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Ecclesiastical Approval of the RSV-2CE Bible
Question from Maria on 1/8/2007:

Dear Fr. Gantley,

Ignatius Press recently put out a new edition of the RSV-CE Bible (http://www.ignatius.com/ViewProduct.aspx?SID=1&Product_ID=2765&Category_ID=185&). However, I'm a little concerned over the approval process they went through for this new edition. Was it valid?

Ignatius has this to say about it:

"Proposed changes were sent to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (which was then the National Conference of Catholic Bishops) and we were told that changes were of a sufficiently editorial nature to support retention of the previously granted Imprimatur. Later changes, made in conformity with translation guidelines of the Vatican document, Liturgiam Authenticam, were approved directly by the Congregation for Divine Worship, which also reviewed all of the text. [...] As indicated on the Frontispiece, the Second Edition was published in 2006 "With ecclesiastical approval of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops"."

They also say this:

"Most of the text is unchanged which is why we were told that no new Imprimatur was needed. We made editorial changes that the Congregation for Divine Worship (Vatican) suggested. We were not given the text of any further specific statement, by either the CDW or the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, that we were required or asked to put in the books."

I got this information from the Ignatius Press blog (http://insightscoop.typepad.com/2004/2006/02/the_new_ignatiu.html).

I'm having a hard time reconciling this with canon 829. Thank you for any light you can shed on it!

Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 1/8/2007:

Canon 829 states: "The approval or permission to publish some work is valid for the original text but not for the new editions or translation of the same." This canon prohibits a publisher from making changes in a text and then republishing the revised text with the same ecclesiastical approbation. It is a canon meant to prevent someone from "sneaking in" changes.

Clearly, however, Ignatius Press has not attempted to violate this canon. This is evident in the fact that they sought approval for the revisions in the text.

Furthermore, canon 829 is not primarily concerned with texts of Scripture. Scripture translations are covered by canon 825, with which they are clearly in compliance.

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