Monday, August 31, 2009

Universal Spanish-language Catholic Bible News

From Catholic News Service:

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Latin American bishops' council have completed another step in a project to develop a universal Spanish-language Bible translation designed to reach Spanish-speaking Catholics in the Americas. Father Sidney Fones, assistant secretary-general of the council, known as CELAM, and Msgr. David Malloy, general secretary of the USCCB, signed a publications agreement Aug. 25 in the Church in Latin America office at the bishops' conference headquarters in Washington. The USCCB's annual Collection for the Church in Latin America is funding the project and has pledged to contribute $1 million over 10 years, said Oblate Father Andrew Small, head of the Latin America office. He emphasized the Bible project is being "supported by the American people" through the collection. Father Fones said the new translation will serve the majority of Spanish-speaking Catholics who cannot understand current Spanish translations of the Bible because they are based on linguistic traditions in Spain.

Thanks to reader Chase for the link!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

More with Bob Rice

Bob Rice received his MA theology and christian ministry with a specialization in catechetics from Franciscan University in 1997. Before coming to teach at Franciscan, he was a youth minister for seven years at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Latham, NY. While there he lead a LIFE TEEN program (which was one of the nation's hub parishes), confirmation preparation, teen catechumenal preparation, and other ministries within the parish. Bob is a highly sought-after, internationally recognized speaker for youth and youth ministers, sharing the Good News to tens of thousands of people every year. He is also an accomplished musician who leads worship at the Steubenville Summer Conferences and has released many CDs (you can find out more at

I have heard Bob speak and perform on a few occasion both in Steubenville and here in Michigan. He is a very passionate and funny guy, who also has a deep love for the Lord. Bob also wrote a short, devotional commentary on the Gospel of Mark called “The Beginner’s Gospel”, Monster Ants Press, 2004.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Roman Missal

The USCCB has recently added a site to their main website which shows the changes that will take place when the new Roman Missal (in English) is implemented in the next few years. While many of the changes are subtle, they ultimately make the English more faithful to the Latin, and, in many cases, the Bible. I have heard praises and complaints on both sides of this issue, but I prefer to stay out of it for the most part. However, I do think having a more faithful rendering of the Latin original is a very good thing, even if it takes some time to get use to.
To see some of the most obvious changes, you can check them out here.
The date for full implementation has yet to be determined, but it looks like either Advent 2010 or 2011.
Another thing to consider is that very soon the USCCB will hopefully be completed with the NAB revision. This means that the Old Testament readings will be slightly different, plus the responsorial Psalm will be from the revised Grail Psalms.
So, lots of changes with the language in the Mass.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Lord's Day Poll Question Contest

After watching a few episodes of Survivorman this weekend, I thought up a "real life" poll question which I hope will be fun for those who stop by this blog from time to time. But, I figured it would be a whole lot more interesting if it were also a contest.

So, first comes first, here is the poll question:
If you were stranded on an island with an Orthodox, Evangelical, or Mainline Protestant Christian, which Bible translation would you bring?
Revised Standard Version
New Revised Standard Version
English Standard Version
Revised English Bible
New American Bible
New Jerusalem Bible
King James Version free polls

(Notice that all of the versions have editions with the Deuterocanonical/Apocrypha)

While this poll is suppose to be answered from the viewpoint of a Catholic, I welcome all fellow Christians to participate. In addition, this poll is not meant to be either apologetic in nature or ecumenical. That is where the contest comes in!

Those who want to participate in this poll have two options:

1) Simply answer the poll question and have a nice day.

2) Answer the poll question and then give a humorous explanation as to why you chose a particular translation in the post's comment box. The winner will be the one I judge to be the wittiest. (If you have a blog, it wouldn't hurt to advertise this contest on it. While it is not a requirement, it could break a tie!) All submissions must be done by Thursday, August 27th at 11:59PM. I will announce the winner later that weekend.

The winner will receive a copy of The Discipleship Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version Including Apocrypha (Hardcover)

So, consider this a poll question with a dash of Survivorman/Man vs. Wild, with a hint of an Ecumenical Council, and the subtle aroma of a bad sermon/homily joke.

Winner announced in Comments!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Catholic Youth Bible

With the recent changes in ministry work, the need for a good Catholic youth Bible has become a necessity. However, many of the youth Bibles I began to look at were rather disappointing to be honest. Most of them simply consisted of youth insert pages placed at periodic points within a standard Catholic Bible translation. Not much originality or quality needed it seemed!

This cannot be said for the Catholic Youth Bible published by Saint Mary's Press. Available in both the NAB and NRSV translations, presumably for both an American and Canadian audience, the Catholic Youth Bible (CYB) is simply the best Catholic youth Bible on the market period. Both editions are available in multiple cover options, including paperback, hardcover, some form of leather (not sure if it's genuine or bonded), and nu-tone/imitation leatherette. The edition that I am currently using, the NAB nu-tone/leatherette, is very smooth and lays flat when opened.

Here is a list of all that is packed into this youth Bible:

*50-page concordance to help readers locate scripture

*An expanded reading plan with all the Sunday lectionary readings

*Over 700 lively articles help readers

*Introductions to the major sections of the Bible and all the books of the Bible

*Biblical connections to many different cultures, illustrating the universality of the Catholic Church

*Insights into how the Church has interpreted certain scripture passages throughout history

*4 special indexes, 9 color maps, a 4-page color timeline, and 4 pages of full-color biblical art and photos

Both the NAB and NRSV editions contain all of these youth study tools. The NAB edition has the advantage of coming with the NAB notes and cross-references, while the NRSV edition is simply the translation and textual notes. (Perhaps one day there will be an easily available NRSV edition, of any kind, that includes cross-references!)

The most impressive element of the CYB is the attractive page layout. While it is a dual column format, the font size is very readable and the various articles that appear on almost every page is quite inviting to the reader. If I were a teen, I would imagine that just the overall layout of this Bible would make it more appealing to pick and read. However, if I were to be picky about one thing, it would be that the paper is very thin thus making pen marks bleed over to the other side with relative ease.

As mentioned above, there are over 700 different articles scattered throughout the Bible. All of these, which are thankfully indexed, span issues from abandonment and abortion to war and worship. Since I have yet to read all of these articles, I hope to make note of them during the school year and perhaps report on them in a future post. In addition to these articles, there are also pages devoted to biblical references to the Sacraments, as well as life and faith issues faced by many teens.

Overall, the CYB is a unique and attractive youth Bible. It's design makes it clearly the best option for youth, while also being a good model for other Catholic Bible publishers.

I would like to thank Cris at Saint Mary's Press for sending me a review copy. If you would like to view some page samples, you can do so here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Imitation Leather/ Nu-Tone Bible Covers

One of the main questions I have these days is in regards to the durability of the imitation leather/ nu-tone leatherette Bible covers that seem to be gaining in popularity. Over the past year or so, I have purchased a few of these types of Bibles, but I have yet to really use one of them in everyday use. However, with my new ministry job, I will be using the Catholic Youth Bible from St. Mary's Press, which comes with an imitation leather/nu-tone cover. So, how many of you regularly use a Bible which has an imitation leather/nu-tone cover? Has it held up? Do you like it?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Life with God Bible Review

While this blog's main purpose is to highlight, analyze, and review resources related to Catholic Bibles, it is clear that there are more and more Bibles and study tools being published by ecumenical Christian groups which may be of some benefit to the average Catholic. This trend is nothing new really, if you consider such study Bibles as the New Oxford Annotated Bible, HarperCollins Study Bible, and New Interpreters Study Bible. These study Bibles, largely academic, included both Catholic and Protestant scholars. There has not been, however, many ecumenical study Bibles that would be more devotional in its emphasis.

However, this has changed with the newly published Life with God Bible. Please note that this edition is a reprint of the original Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible of a few years ago. The main difference being that the Life with God Bible comes in a more portable size and in different cover editions. (I know that in the past one of the main reasons I didn't buy the Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible was because it was so large.) The edition I will be reviewing here is the imitation leather version with the Deuterocanonical books. It also comes in paperback and hardcover versions, with or without the Deuterocanonical books.

The ecumenical group responsible for this Bible edition is the Renovare organization. While you can check out more about the group at their website, they describe themselves as "a nonprofit Christian organization headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, and active worldwide. We seek to resource, fuel, model, and advocate more intentional living and spiritual formation among Christians and those wanting a deeper connection with God. A foundational presence in the spiritual formation movement for over 20 years, Renovaré is Christian in commitment, ecumenical in breadth, and international in scope." Those involved in the Renovare ministry team include the full spectrum of Protestant churches, as well as one Roman Catholic. The editors are Richard J. Foster, Dallas Willard, Walter Brueggermann, and Eugene H. Peterson. The main goal of this study Bible is to make "the Bible more accessible for the process of intentional formation in Christlikeness".

On to the Bible itself, which comes in a very portable, though not compact size of 7.3 x 5.1 x 2 inches. Its hard to place it in a particular size category, but I would relate it to the recently published NRSV Catholic Gift Bible, except that it is considerably thicker. The page format/type is very similar as well, although the NRSV Catholic Gift Bible might be slightly larger. My guess is that this is largely due to the inclusion of the Renovare commentary on the bottom of each page.

There are other similarities to the NRSV Catholic Gift Bible. First, it uses the NRSV translation, including all of the Deuterocanonical Books of both the Catholic and Orthodox churches. It is also nice that they are referred to as the "Deuterocanonical" books, not the "Apocrypha". You also find frequent reference to the Deuterocanonical books themselves in the NT commentary, most notably the Gospel of Matthew. Secondly, both editions include a concise concordance, which does reference all of the canon, including the Deuterocanonical books. Thirdly, the same Bible maps that were included in the NRSV Catholic Gift Bible are included in the Life with God Bible. The only difference is that the Life with God Bible places them at the back, which is where they belong. Finally, and unfortunately, one thing that both editions lack are cross-references. To be fair, however, the Life with God Bible does make occasional note of OT and NT references within the commentary. But, this is not done consistently.

The main contribution that the Renovare group made to this Bible edition is the inclusion of study notes/commentary, spiritual exercises, topical essays on key biblical figures, and a topical index which lists important scriptural verses related to the spiritual exercises. All of this can be previewed here. While the commentary primarily focuses on devotional/discipleship themes, there are many places, particularly in the OT, where it relates the kind of important historical information you would find in a typical study Bible. The periodical essays on biblical figures also combines both devotional and historical information. When referring to the spiritual disciplines, they mean an "intentionally directed action by which we do what we can do in order to receive from God the ability (or power) to do what we cannot do by direct effort." These spiritual disciplines include things like prayer, chastity, confession, fasting, meditation, sacrifice, and service. For the most part, I think a typical Catholic reader can find much to consider and meditate upon.

At this point, I have not found anything that a Catholic would really find objectionable. As a matter of fact, there is an emphasis on such "catholic" themes as the sacraments, broadly understood in a ecumenical context, as well as fasting and meditation. I have also found direct quotes in the commentary from Augustine, Brother Lawrence, Catherine of Siena, Francis of Assisi, Gregory of Nyssa, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, amongst prominent Protestant writers like CS Lewis. If you happen to find the New Life with the Bible at a local bookstore, you might want to check it out. While it doesn't have the much demanded cross-references that I always champion, it is a very nice edition which I plan to try out over the next few months. It's size and the resources it includes makes it a very handy day to day Bible.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Catholic Faith and Family Bible

Due out in January 2010, The Catholic Faith and Family Bible is a project developed by the Center for Ministry Development, in partnership with Our Sunday Visitor and HarperCollins. Although this project is set to be released in five months, there is already a decent amount of information about it online. You can see more about it here, including a link to sample pages. So check it out and feel free to comment on what you think about it so far!
(Thanks to reader Matt for the link!)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ignatius Catholic Study Bible NT News

According to, the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament is set to be released on May 10, 2010. Now let's hope that they get the entire Bible completed before 2020!

Product Description:

The only Catholic Study Bible based on the Revised Standard Version 2nd Catholic Edition, the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament brings together all of the books of the New Testament and the penetrating study tools developed by renowned Bible teachers Dr. Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch.

This volume presents the written Word of God in a highly readable, accurate translation, excellent for personal and group study. Extensive study notes, topical essays and word studies provide fresh and faithful insights informed by time-tested, authentically Catholic interpretations from the Fathers of the Church and other scholars. Commentaries include the best insights of ancient, medieval and modern scholarship, and follow the Church s guidelines for biblical interpretation. Plus, each New Testament book is outlined and introduced with an essay covering questions of authorship, date of composition, intended audience and general themes. The Ignatius Study Bible also includes handy reference materials such as a doctrinal index, a concise concordance, a helpful cross-reference system, and various maps and charts.

''With copious historical and theological notes, incisive commentary and tools for study, the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament is outstanding.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Catholic Bibles Blog Contest

Inspired by the vision and generosity of such bloggers as Esteban, my fellow Michigander, I have decided to have my own little contest. Why? Well, why not! I really don't have any major reason for doing this, perhaps other than to publicize the blog a bit more. ;)

So, what is the prize? Well, for this first contest the winner will receive a copy of the newly released The Life with God Bible published by HarperBibles. It's compact, uses the NRSV, comes without the Deuterocanonicals (oops on my part), and is in paperback! Sweet huh? Well, to compensate for the lack of Deuterocanonical books, I will also include in this contest a copy of Fr. Benedict Groeschel's God and Us: Reflections on the Apostles Creed. The shipping and handling cost will be $30.00, payable to me by way of a money order. Actually no, just kidding, the shipping is free!

Contest Rules:
1) Announce this contest on your blog, with a link to this site.

2) Answer the following questions in the comment section of this post:

***Who was the Pope on the day that I was born? (When I mean Pope, I am talking about the guy at the Vatican, not some fellow who was elected by his friends and lives with his mom somewhere in Iowa.)

***According to Catholic theology is Jesus a fully human person? Yes or No (no explanation needed)

***Pick a number between 1-100 (tie-breaker)

3) The contest goes until 11:59PM on Sunday. Whoever gets the answers correct and fulfills all of the contest requirements will be the winner. Friends and family are not eligible. I will only ship items to North American locations. Winner will be announced on Monday.

Update: Winner announced in comments!

Catholic Bible Poll at 500

Here are the official, though unscientific, results of the Catholic Bible Poll after 500 votes:

Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition 31% (154)
New American Bible 19% (95)
New Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition 19% (93)
Douay-Rheims 13% (64)
New Jerusalem Bible 8% (42)
Jerusalem Bible 7% (34)
Good News Bible 3% (14)
Christian Community Bible 1% (4)

Some thoughts:
***The battle for #2 continues between the NAB and NRSV. It always seems to go back and forth. In any event, the numbers are close and reflect the growing interest in the NRSV.

***The RSV-CE remains the clear #1 choice. It has received the same exact number of votes as the Douay-Rheims, New Jerusalem Bible, Jerusalem Bible, and Good News Bible combined!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Some Changes

As I have hinted at in some recent posts, I will be leaving my position in campus/young adult ministry for the Archdiocese of Detroit at the end of this week. I am truly grateful for the past five years at my current position, as well as the prior two years doing campus ministry in Pennsylvania. I have met some wonderful people over these past years, including my future wife! The Lord has provided me many opportunities to do ministry with young adults, and at the same time being ministered to by others. It is funny how the Lord works! I have also been blessed and nourished by the wisdom of many devout ministry people, both lay and religious, both Catholic and Protestant. If I am any better a follower of Christ, it is only because of His grace and the people he has brought into my life.

So, what am I going to be doing in the future? Well, in many ways this has been a year of milestones for me. First off, I completed the S.T.B. degree at Sacred Heart Major Seminary back in May. Secondly, I will be getting married in September. And finally I will be starting a new position as campus minister/freshman scripture teacher at a local Catholic high school. So, as you can see, there is plenty to keep me occupied.

However, I do plan to continue blogging as well! Although I am still working out how to be a "professional" biblioblogger, I have come to enjoy reporting on Catholic Bible releases and all things related to it. There are not many of us on the web who are concerned with quality Catholic bibles, so I hope at the very least, this site continues to provide a place for people to express their likes and dislikes in the Catholic Biblical world. Heck, every once in a while you might get someone like Fr. Fessio to stop by and comment.

So, I thank all of you who have stopped by over the past year. I look forward to discussing with you all the latest news, like the revised NAB, future NRSV releases (perhaps even with cross-references), and the eventual publication of the complete Ignatius Catholic Study Bible.

Praise be Jesus Christ!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Twittering at the CBA Meetings

The Catholic Biblical Association is holding their 72nd International Meeting this week (Aug. 1-4). Brant Pitre and Michael Barber, of the Singing in the Reign blog, are in attendance and will be Twittering about their experiences. For updates, you can follow them on Twitter. Information about the conference, itself, can be found here.

Sunday Mass Reading II (18th Sunday of Ordinary Time)

"Brothers and sisters: I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; that is not how you learned Christ, assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus, that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth."