Bible translation used in official Church documents/doctrine?


Note: I am not looking for opinions on, or suggestions of, which translation is better, or which is preferred for personal study use.

I had been told at one time that the RSV (CE of course) was the translation used in official Church doctrine/documents (I can’t recall for sure which of those specifically). As I prepare to share this information with another party, I’m struggling to find evidence of this. Is anyone aware of this? Perhaps it’s a non-english version of RSVCE? (a 3 hour search has provided nothing - I promise I’ve looked :wink: )



You can easily spot-check this by taking your RSV and comparing it with the documents themselves. I did, and I can confirm that the English versions of documents from the Holy See are indeed RSV. I’m guessing it’s the 1971 RSV, not the RSV-CE (which, outside of a few passages, are essentially identical). There may be NRSV as well (as is the case with the Catechism).

As for a non-English version of the RSV, that’s a contradiction in terms. The RSV is an English translation.

If you have a Vatican passage in question, post it along with the document name and paragraph number, and we can compare.


Thank you!

Actually I’m just looking for confirmation of the fact in general (nothing specific except for those “credentials”).

Thank you, also, for the correction on the language (I clearly had not researched that point) :slight_smile:


You may wish to consider that official Church documents are first prepared in Latin, then translated into English et al. And the Scripture translation for US Masses reflects translation changes delivered by Rome to USCCB which I think have only been published in new Missals, not yet in a full Bible.


What I found in regards to the lectionary was that the 1970 version of NAB is used for the most part. When the new translation came out (NABRE) the USCCB (then the NCCB) submitted a lectionary with the NABRE changes and it was not approved. Ultimately there was a compromise of sorts that was made, and the inclusive portions that Rome disapproved of were left off, and the ones that didn’t change the meaning of the scripture were approved for usage. So as you said, there’s not a Bible with the exact readings from Mass compiled.

All that to say, I should have said in my op, “excluding lectionary” :slight_smile:


The US Lectionary uses the 1970 NAB Old Testament (incl. Psalms) and the 1986 New Testament (which is the same NT that is used in the NABRE). There are some modifications made to the translation to make it conform to Liturgical standards (such as ‘Hail, full of grace’, etc).


The current English version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church uses the RSV and NRSV but not the “CE” versions.



I thought the official Bible used by the Church is The Nova Vulgata.


How would the Nova Vulgata compare to other modern Catholic Bibles if it was translated into English?


Do you mean the English translation of Church Documents? The official documents are not normally written in English.

And, Yes, the RSV-CE is the translation used for scriptural references in some documents but The NAB was used for the lectionary.


Maybe a better question is how does the Nova Vulgata compare with the Clementine Bible, formerly the official Bible of the Church.

Using translations to compare is very disingenuous to the sources. They did it back in the 60’s, found differences between missals when the Latin source remained the same. Not good.


I believe in the U.K. and other English-speaking countries another English translation is used.


What translation do they use? Is it the ESV?


The RSV maybe?


The UK still uses the Jerusalem Bible, although, the lectionary we use in my local Ordinariate is from the USA. There is an urgent need to appoint a standard Anglicised version of the scriptures for use throughout the UK, unfortunately this wasn’t done when the new missal was introduced.


Not in the UK, AFAIK. Do you have information to the contrary?


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