Confraternity Bible

Does anyone else use the Confraternity Bible? It has a revision of the Douay-Rheims New Testament, new translations of some of the books of the Old Testament, and the old Douay-Rheims for the remainder of the books. I think it’s a good Bible… not as old-fashioned as the old Douay-Rheims, but not as problematic as some more modern translations. Does anyone know why it has fallen into such obscurity?

I have two small pocket sized copies I got from the Daughters of Saint Paul about 20 yrs ago. One is a hard cover of just the Gospels and the other is a complete New Testament in paperback. I too prefer this version over the others and wish I could find a complete Bible

Gratia et pax vobiscum,

We use the Douay-Rheims by Baronius Press. Although I like the type-setting it’s really not a very well manufactured Bible.

Ever since the NAB entered the New Lectionary DRB, RSV-CE, Confraternity/DRB, Jerusalem Bible hase taken a beating in the States.


The Confraternity Bible is practically the only one I read. I like the “archaic” language personally and wish they would have kept going with the Confraternity instead of the NAB.

One version has the 1st 8 books of the OT that was revised under Pius XII and the other has the Douay OT & Psalms with the Confraternity NT…


Yeah, that’s what I like about the Confraternity. It’s “moderate” archaic… enough old-fashioned language to instill a sense of mystery, beauty, and otherworldliness in Sacred Scripture, but not as hard to read as the unrevised Douay-Rheims. I think it’s a good compromise. I used to read the NAB, but the footnotes are odd and the language is so banal. Not to mention that “Hail, favored daughter!” really gets my blood boiling. I think it’s been changed back to “Hail, full of grace!” in later editions of the NAB. I think it’s telling that last time I checked EWTN doesn’t even sell NAB. I wish they’d reprint the Confraternity. I’m surprised some traditional publisher hasn’t done so… especially as it was the last “official” English Catholic Bible before Vatican II.

Scepter has it reprinted in pocket form:

Yeah, I bought that edition the other day at a monastery. I wish they’d reprint the whole Confraternity Bible (New and Old Testaments), though. The one I have is a deluxe family Bible (full color pictures, explanation of the traditional Mass, Bible history, the works) that my grandmother bought in the 50s. Problem is that it’s so huge and bulky that it’s a bit of a pain to use.

Gratia et pax vobiscum sir galahad,

As an aside, I noticed your signiture. Are you Maronite?


The Confraternity translation was done under the auspices of the U.S. bishops and was envisioned as a revision of the Douay-Rheims (except for the Psalms which would follow Pope Pius XII’s new Psalter from the Hebrew). The New Testament was pblished in 1941 after five years of work. However, after Pope Pius XII’s encyclical on scripture studies, Divino afflante Spiritu in 1943 encouraged consideration of the original texts, the bishops overhauled the Confraternity project and the Old Testament was translated from scratch from the original languages. As OT books were completed, various editions of the Confraternity Bible were published with the Douay translation used for the gradually shrinking remaining portions of the OT, as you noted. The Confraternity translations of the Books of Genesis to Ruth were first published in 1952; the Wisdom Books, Job to Sirach, in 1955; the Prophetic Books, Isaiah to Malachi, in 1961. The remaining books were finished by 1969 but never appeared under the Confraternity name. They were added to the existing Confraternity OT, Genesis was completely retranslated, other minor changes were made and a new translation from the Greek of the New Testament was added. The result was the 1970 New American Bible (NAB). The NAB was now the new official bible of the U.S. bishops. That is why the Confraternity version went away. The Confraternity Bible I have is a 1957 edition which measures 5.75" x 8.25". Similar bibles appear on ebay almost continuously. A search on “confraternity” will show them.

I love the Confraternity Bible too, and I have the little Scepter Confraternity New Testament, as well as an old St. Joseph Textbook edition that I found in my in-laws’ house when they were moving out. I have tried to bid on a nicer leather bound Confraternity translation on e-bay several times. I don’t live in the US, and I am never awake at the time the bidding ends so I have never won! From the number of people who bid on Confraternity translations of the Bible, I feel that there must be a tremendous demand for them. I know that the USBC owns the copywrite for this translation, as Cranch pointed out. I have heard that they will not allow this edition to be published. Does anyone know if this is true?

No, I’m not a Maronite. I just read about St. Rafqa and was very touched by her life and suffering. I think I’m a lone voice in the traditional world in that I love to sometimes assist at Mass at Eastern Churches, but am so much at home in the Roman rite that I prefer to worship at a reverently said NO Mass to an Eastern liturgy. Cranch, I had no idea that later books were added to the Confraternity Bible in its Old Testament. Mine doesn’t have the later books. I assume that the translations of the other books from 1961 are different than the ones that appear in the NAB?

Sinag Tala has reprinted the Confranternity Bible with beautiful murals on the cover. Its a hardcover with rounded page edges.

Complaints? Sometimes “Happy” is used insted of “Blessed” and “pity” instead of “mercy”.

Personally I like the Douay Rhiems much more.

One caution: I have one edition in 2 vols. that has some pretty awful notes and book prefaces (nearly as bad as the NAB)… wish I could remember the publisher.

On the contrary, the Confraternity translations of OT books newly published from 1952 through 1961 (33 books in all) with the exception of Genesis are indeed essentially the same as found in the NAB. When the remaining 13 OT books and a retranslation of Genesis were finished (by 1969), they were joined with the existing Confraternity books (some of which received minor editing) to form the complete NAB OT. Make some comparisons between the NAB and the OT books your Confraternity title page says are newly translated. You will find the NAB OT in the Confraternity and vice-versa! :slight_smile:

demerzel85 - Do you own this edition? I emailed the publisher some time ago requesting info on the size and seem to recall the Bible is quite small and thick, something like 4.5" x 6".

Can’t you look in the book? :slight_smile: Or is it in storage?

It’s somewhere among my piles of books, I’ll take a look and see if I can’t find it.

Yes in fact I bought it on my very first visit to the Opus Dei centre where I am. Sinag Tala is a publishing arm of Opus Dei.

4.5" X 6.75" X 2.85" (W X L X H)

So yes its small and thick. Don’t know why the publisher’s website has some problems though. Sinag Tala also prints the Handbook of Prayer by James Socias.

The New Testament of the Holy Bible
Confraternity Version
New York: Guild Press, 1967

One glaring example- the notes on the infancy narrative in Mt and Lk state that many now believe these accounts are haggidic midrash with an historical nucleus (my paraphrase) and while the note writer does not explicitly state that he agrees with this, the amount of space he gives to it suggests that he very well may.

I may have been a little harsh in my earlier post; in looking at it now there are some useful notes but there are also a good number that smack of an excessive trust in modern textual criticism, taking it as definitely true rather than as theory.
I do not recommend this particular edition.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit