THE UBS GREEK NEW TESTAMENT
THE UBS AND ROME
In 1978 the World Catholic Federation for the Biblical Apostolate made the following report:
"By 1977 the World Catholic Federation for the Biblical Apostolate has become a major instrument of the Catholic Church in the realization of the goal [of ecumenical Bible distribution], in particular with regard to co- operation with the United Bible Societies. `Each year witnesses to closer and more significant collaboration between these two organizations.'" (Activities Report 1977, published by the World Catholic Federation for the Biblical Apostolate.)
Among the thirty-one Religious Orders associated with the World Catholic Federation are the "Oblates of Mary Immaculate" in Italy and Germany, and the "Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help" in Korea. (Activities Report 1977, published by the World Catholic Federation for the Biblical Apostolate.)
1977 also witnessed a Europe-wide Bible society conference attended by high leaders in the Catholic and Orthodox churches:
"Delegates from the whole of Europe met at the Ludwigshafen conference to discuss the future of the United Bible Societies. Monsignor Ablondi, Bishop of Livorno, Professor Tavares of the Catholic University of Lisbon, and representatives of the Greek Serbian and Rumanian Orthodox Churches, were present as full members of the assembly." (The Biblical Apostolate, VIII/2/78, quoted in Trinitarian Bible Society Quarterly Record (Jul.-Sep. 1978), pgs. 6-8.)
1978 witnessed the completion of several "interconfessional" translation projects between the United Bible Societies and the Roman Catholic Church. In this one year translations were completed in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, and German. All of these were the so-called "common language" versions, meaning they were based upon or modeled upon the Bible society's corrupt Today's English Version (Good News Bible). Some of these were published with the Apocryphal Books added, and with the addition of marginal notes and comments acceptable to the Roman Catholic Church. (Trinitarian Bible Society Quarterly Record (Jul.-Sep. 1978), pgs. 6-8.)
In 1979 UBS leaders attended a Catholic conference in Mexico and pledged closer cooperation with Rome:
"The [Catholic] Third General Conference of the Latin American Episcopacy took place at Puebla, in Mexico, and was opened by Pope John Paul II. At the conference, representatives of the United Bible Societies participated in an ecumenical religious service, and also provided a Bible information stand and closely co-operated with the World Catholic Federation for the Biblical Apostolate. Regarding this co-operation, we are told: `It signifies an official recognition of the services being offered by the UBS and announces the beginning of a new era and a new spirit of collaboration at the service of God's Word. It is the firm hope of the WCFBA [World Catholic Federation for the Biblical Apostolate] that this prophetic breakthrough has opened doors of communication and co-operation which will become a sign and instrument of the power of God's Word to renew the continent'." (Word-Event, United Bible Societies, No. 36, p. 27.)
As of 1981 there were over 200 interconfessional translation projects in progress. (C.B. Hastings, "Looking Closely at Complex Catholicism," The Commission, South Baptist Convention: Sep. 1982); The Commission is the official missions publication of the Southern Baptist Church.
By 1981 over 500,000 copies of the Good News Bible, with the Apocryphal Books added, had been published and distributed by the American Bible Society. (Foundation, Jul.-Aug. 1981).
By 1982, one Vatican secretariat sponsored more than a hundred full-time scholars in cooperation with the United Bible Societies in Scripture translation in many lands (Hastings, The Commission, Sep. 1982)
By 1984 "the pace had quickened, and it was reported that out of a total of 590 translation projects of the United Bible Societies, as many as 390 were of the interconfessional type. (Word-Event, United Bible Societies, No. 56, p. 28.)
In 1986 the UBS presented a copy of the new Italian interconfessional Bible to the pope:
The Italian Bible Society recently presented Pope John Paul II with a copy of a new Italian interconfessional Bible in a ceremony at the Vatican. Italian President Francesco Cossaga has also received a copy in the presidential palace. Both Protestants and Catholics co-operated in translating the new Bible, which is the result of 7 years' work. It has been published jointly by the Italian Bible Society and a Salesian publishing firm. ... The presentation of the Bible to Pope John Paul II was made by Luca Bertalot, the young grandson of the Italian Bible Society's general secretary Revd Dr. Renzo Bertalot. United Bible Societies was represented by consultant to the UBS, Revd Dr Laton E. Holmgren.
Addressing the Pope, Dr. Holmgren said, "For the first time in four centuries the Bible is a bond of unity rather than a source of division. Despite differences of tradition, dedicated people are producing more and more common Bibles which are being used in scores of lands and languages."
Pope John Paul replied, "Accept the warmest expression of my grateful appreciation for the result of your efforts. The task which you have undertaken is an important moment of collaboration. I ardently desire that it should not pass in vain, but that it truly produce a fertile rediscovery of our common base of origin. In returning to it, the entire Church cannot fail to benefit in rejuvenation, mutual cohesion and effective testimony to the world. I invoke the Lord's blessing upon all of you and upon your work."
The edition presented to the Pope carries the imprimatur (official Catholic approval) of the Bishop of Turin. ... Also present at the Vatican ceremony was Bishop Alberto Ablondi of Livorno, Italy, who is a member of the United Bible Societies General Committee and president of the World Catholic Federation for the Biblical Apostolate. Members of the Bible translation team attended with him. Copies of a new Catholic Study Bible, which uses the Good News Bible text, were presented to guests at the ceremony. The Bible contains notes on the text approved by the Catholic Church and has been published by American publishers Thomas Nelson. ("Pope Receives New Bible," Word in Action, British and Foreign Bible Society, Spring, 1986, No. 49, p. 4.)
ROMAN CATHOLICS IN LEADERSHIP POSITIONS
In the 1970s a Catholic woman named Maria Teresa Porcile Santiso was employed full time by the United Bible Societies as directress of ecumenical affairs in the regional centre of Mexico." (Word-Event, No. 36, p. 6)
"The new president of the WCFBA [World Catholic Federation for the Biblical Apostolate], the Right Reverend Monsignor Alberto Ablondi, is the Catholic Bishop of Livorno in Italy. Simultaneously he is a member of the General Committee and European Regional Executive Committee of the United Bible Societies, thus playing a part in the formulation and review of the UBS general policy." (Trinitarian Bible Society Quarterly Report, Oct.-Dec. 1985, p. 24.)
"Among the UBS Vice-Presidents will be found the name of Dr. Francis Arinze, who is not only a Roman Catholic archbishop (of Onitsha in Nigeria) but has also recently been made a Cardinal by the Pope." (Ibid., p. 25.)
Carlo Martini, Roman Catholic bishop of Milan, is one of the editors of the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament.
ROMAN CATHOLIC BIBLES
"The Canadian Bible Society [a member of the United Bible Societies] is prepared to make use of Roman Catholic versions like that of Ronald Knox, a modern English translation of the Latin Vulgate [Roman Catholic version]. Copies of this version have been circulated bearing on the front cover, `The New Testament, presented by the Canadian Bible Society, an Auxiliary of the British and Foreign Bible Society.' The title page has the words, `This New Testament is a gift from the Canadian Bible Society, an Auxiliary of the British and Foreign Bible Society.'... The Preface continues with commendations by Cardinal Griffin and Pope Pius XII. The title page bears the names of the publishers--Montreal: Palm Publishers.; London: Burns and Oates. Publishers to the Holy See [the Roman Catholic Vatican in Rome]." (Perry F. Rockwood, God's Inspired Preserved Bible, pgs. 39-40)
The distribution of Roman Catholic Bibles began in the early days of the Bible societies. The British and Foreign Bible Society supported versions produced by Roman Catholic priests in the early 1800s. These Roman priests were working with the Latin Vulgate, the officially approved Catholic version. We can be certain of this because prior to Vatican II the Catholic church strictly forbad the use of "Protestant" versions of the Bible by its people.
According to the Catechism prescribed by Pope Pius X in 1911;
"Any translation of the Bible into our mother tongue may be read, if it has been approved by the Catholic Church ... and if it is accompanied by the explanations approved by the Church. If a Christian should be offered a Bible by a Protestant, or by some emissary of the Protestants, he ought to reject it with horror, because it is forbidden by the Church; and if he should have accepted it without noticing what it was, he should at once pitch it into the fire, or fetch it to his Pastor. The [Catholic] Church prohibits Protestant Bibles, because they are either altered and contain errors, or not having her approval and notes explaining obscure passages, they may be injurious to faith. For this reason the Church also prohibits translations of Holy Scripture which she has already approved, but which are reprinted without the explanations approved by her."
The Catechism added this:
"The name of Protestantism conceals a monstrous heap of private and individual errors and gathers up in itself all heresies and represents all forms of rebellion against the Holy Catholic Church." (Translated from the Catechismo Maggiore (1911), pgs. 190-191 and 316-317, quoted by Andrew Brown, The Word of God Among All Nations, pgs. 121,122.)
Although this policy was changed during the 1960s, the Bible society sponsored the work of Catholic priests prior to Vatican II, meaning that the version was purely Roman Catholic.
Godly men protested against this policy, and the practice of circulating Catholic versions of the Bible by the British and Foreign Bible Society. An illustration is found in two letters to the Trinitarian Bible Society, one in 1859 and one in 1860, by a missionary and Bible translator. He speaks in regard to God's work among the Spanish speaking peoples:
"The important question is not the mere number of copies [of the Bible] that are put into circulation, but the character of those copies and their freedom from doctrinal corruption. We should think but little of sermons preached, if we were only told that their number was very great, and we had reason to believe they did not set forth the Gospel of Christ, or if we knew that their object was to deny some foundation truth: one orthodox declaration of Jesus Christ crucified would be worth them all and more.
"One the subject of the Romish versions, it seems however, to be peculiarly difficult to obtain a proper hearing, and to convince well-meaning persons that we are not justified in putting forth as the truth of God some known error in the hope of effecting some supposed extensive good. (September 12, 1860)
"Those who defend the circulation of the falsified Romish version of Holy made translations were so slight that the question is one of but little practical importance. ...
"We may well ask, Is it important whether we consider our Lord Jesus Christ to be the bruiser of the serpent's head, or attribute this to the Virgin Mary? Is it of no consequence that the second commandment be altered so as to make it only forbid the rendering of supreme worship to images?
[Catholic doctrine makes this change in order to allow for the idolatry which goes on within Catholicism with its multitudes of statues, pictures, and holy trinkets which are worshipped by the followers of Romanism.] Are we to regard the substitution of penance in the place of repentance as of slight moment? [The Catholic versions make all of these corruptions in their official Scriptures, either in the text, or through their footnotes and "explanations."] So I might go on with inquiry after inquiry, and the result would be the plain proof that the differences are serious indeed; for they substitute the false doctrine of man for the truth inspired by the Holy Ghost, and they give apparent sanction of God to that which is so contrary to His Holy will. Those who thus defend the corrupted versions show, that either they are really unacquainted with them, or else that they do not object to the false doctrine of Rome thus insidiously introduced. ...
"But how do some engaged in circulating the Scriptures gain their experience? They would speak of copies sold, and of the individuals into whose hands they pass. But there is another kind of experience little known to such distributors or sellers, and the results of this I wish to state. Let anyone who intelligently knows the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ have to do not only with Bible distribution but also with the reading of Holy Scripture himself to Roman Catholics. ... He will be made to feel, point by point, that a single perverted word becomes of consequence. ... I have been repeatedly so circumstanced as to be made to feel this painfully. ... I speak from ample experience when I say, that there is no reasonable ground for regarding the differences as slight, unless, indeed, we seek to palliate Romish error." (Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, September 17, 1859, quoted by Brown, op. cit., pgs. 41-44)
The Bible Societies have distributed accurate versions such as the King James Bible in English and the old Luther's Bible in German, as well as pure Romish versions, but the Bible reminds us that "a little leaven leavens the whole lump."
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