Catholic Lectionary Bible in English outside of the USA


Is the Jerusalem Bible still the authorized English version for the Catholic Mass outside of the US? I know that at one time, the NRSV and the ESV were both being considered as a replacement. Can anyone here provide an authoritative answer for this question? Thank you!


Continental Europe, England and Wales, and Scotland still use the Jerusalem Bible (not the New Jerusalem Bible), although the English Bishops allow limited use of the NRSV-CE.

In Canada, the NRSV-CE is being introduced for general lectionary use.

The Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (which covers South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola, Mauritius and Tanzania), we use the New African Bible (which uses text based on the NABRE, with adaptations for African use).

In South America , the India and the Philippines they also use the Confraternity Bible (although the NABRE is the standard text used by the Philippine Catholic Bishops Conference).

The Vatican itself uses the Revised Standard Version as the text for use in all Papal Encyclicals and church documents.

That’s about as far as I know sadly. However, if a Bible has an Imprimatur, and even better, a Nihil Obstat, it’s safe to use for devotional purposes. This rule is sometimes relaxed in places like here in South Africa, where Catholic Bibles are in short supply…


Just curious, why is a Nihil Obstat better than an Imprimatur?


Q. 1. What does Nihil Obstat mean?

A. 1. When an author wants to publish a religious book, he/she presents it to the local Bishop to be reviewed. The Bishop then gives it to a knowledgeable priest to have it read and corrected if necessary. If corrections are required, it is returned to the author to be corrected. When the priest who reviewed the manuscript (book) is satisfied with the corrections, he writes “Nihil Obstat” on the manuscript. “Nihil Obstat” means “no problem.”

Q. 2. What does Imprimatur mean?

A. 2. When the Bishop is satisfied with the content of the manuscript, he writes “Imprimatur.” This word means “Let it be printed.”.

Q. 3. Why does one require an Imprimatur?

A. 3. An Imprimatur is an official declaration that the material to be printed is free of doctrinal or moral error. The Imprimatur or Nihil Obstat does not mean that those who reviewed it, agrees with the content, opinions or statements expressed by the author.*


The Eastern Churches in India use the RSV-CE for the lectionaries.


The RSV-2CE Lectionary is approved for use in the Mass by the Antilles Episcopal Conference.


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