Rome and the Bible

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Vatican II opened a new epoch for the Bible in Latin America. In chapter VI of Dei Verbum (the Constitution on Divine Revelation) the council gave unequivocal approval to the effort to providing “easy access to Sacred Scripture … for all the Christian faithful” and promoted the production of Bible translations made from the original texts “in cooperation with the separated brethren.”

With this encouragement, in the last few years the Roman Catholic church in Latin America has developed an impressive array of programs intended to put the Scriptures in the hands of the people. And, interestingly enough, no translation has enjoyed a wider distribution in Roman Catholic circles than Dios llega al hombre, the popular version of the New Testament produced and distributed by the United Bible Societies as the Spanish counterpart to Good News for Modern Man.

A very significant event in relation to Rome’s new attitude toward the Bible, the first Conference of Bible Scholars in Latin America, took place in San Miguel (near Buenos Aires), Argentina, at the end of August. Sponsored by the Departments of Ecumenism and of Catechism of CELAM (the Latin American Episcopal Council, an official body existing for the service and coordination of the episcopal conferences throughout the continent), it attracted fifteen people directly involved in biblical scholarship, plus four Latin American bishops, including Eduardo Pironio of Argentina and López Trujillo of Colombia, president and secretary of CELAM respectively.

To underscore the importance of the gathering, several distinguished visitors from Europe were present also: the Reverend John van der Valk, general secretary of the World Catholic Federation for the Biblical Apostolate; the Reverend ...

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