Trent and Bible translation

I was thinking today about Trent declaring that Catholic rites cannot be imperfect or evil. Then I realized that during Mass we say “the word of the Lord” after the reading. So for this to be perfect, wouldn’t we have to say that every translation ever approved by the Church as “the word of the Lord” would have to be a perfect translation? Translations differ, but I think we have to say then that all the translations reflect different aspects of the originals, but that none is complete, but none is inaccurate at any point of the text. Thoughts?

That gets back to the Sola Scripture argument. Because we have the Magesterium to rely on to give us the authentic meaning, that we know is free from error, per Christ’s promise, we also know that indeed it IS “the word of the Lord”.

I view it like this, if I were to write this same post 5 times, I would likely say substantially the same thing, but say it 5 different ways. Which one is right? Probably the one that you identify with the most. I have probably 10 different Bible translations. When I am doing serious Bible study, I’ll drag out several different versions, since I will likely get a better insight from looking at the words from a slightly different prospective. Does that make one right and the rest wrong? No, just different.

Don’t forget we live in a fallen world. Nothing is perfect, save Our Lord.

That’s my 2 cents of thought.


Trent expounds the divine reality of sin, most especially the original one.

It would help if you listed what canon you were referring to from Trent. However with regard to sacred scripture no decrees were made at Trent other than what the accepted books of scripture were. With regard to what you have written, the liturgy of the word isn’t a rite. Rites are sacraments, they in fact can’t be imperfect or evil as they Christ and the Holy Spirit. So the Liturgy of Bapstism, the Eucharist, Martimony Holy Orders etc can’t be imperfect or evil.

Peace and God Bless

It is not the translation that is perfect at the reading. It is the verbal giving of the word to you spoken from the human mouth of the body of Christ in your physical presence that is perfect - you are hearing Jesus speak to you in person, not from a book. That is what is perfect.
Many people hearing Jesus did not understand him “correctly”, but he spoke, perfectly, simply because he was speaking. At mass it is perfect because it is the Church speaking and we are listening - words are coming out of the messengers Jesus sent to speak in his name, and if we hear them then we hear him, if we listen to them (believe them) we listen to him (believe him).

The translation used at any time by the speaker is the words chosen by Jesus at that moment to utter in person, just as Jesus said things in one way to the crowds, with one set of words, and then said them in a different set of words in private to his disciples (who are doing the same when they speak to us in different words at different times). Translations are the living work of Christ to decide in person how to speak to us so that we understand him. No one of the translations is “the Word of God” - Jesus speaking to us in person is the Word of God. That is why we value apostolic succession, which is where Jesus meets us in person.

THIS^^^. Well stated.


CANON VII. If any one saith, that the ceremonies, vestments, and outward signs, which the Catholic Church makes use of in the celebration of Masses, are incentives to impiety, rather than offices of piety; let him be anathema.

A corallary to this would be all the prayers and ceremonies approved by the Church surrounding the sacraments. Since She is there to nourish, none of her laws can be evil, otherwise She could not be a mother. (Her seperate teachings are not always infallible though, but that is not as important as the nourishing ceremonies) So my opinion at the moment, I think, is that She can’t have a faulty translation and still have it said “the word of the Lord” at mass; that is, the trasnlation must present something from the Deposit of Faith

You have perhaps noticed at Mass that the readings do not come from the lector’s personal Bible that they brought from home, but the lector reads from a book provided by the Church for the day’s readings at Mass. The lector and priest do not privately choose what text nor choose what translation to present to the people, but the Church provides words to them to proclaim, and the Church trains the “preacher of the homily” in theology and the doctrines of the Faith, so that they might also in the homily give further depth to the faithful about what they have heard and about what they will receive in the Sacrament.

Also, notice that we do not hear readings following some agenda proposed by the Bible itself; we hear readings that the Church wants us to listen to on any given day, as if Jesus, in his Body the Church, in the person of the Lector, is saying, “Here is what I want to say to you today…” It is a living “canonization” of the words spoken in that text at that reading, because it is Jesus pronouncing the words, the grammar, the content at that moment. Many people read the bible and its many translations, but not as “canonized” words - it is in the meeting of Jesus, in the person of the Lector, where it is Jesus actually speaking the words today that make them “The word of the Lord” (The word of Jesus, living, today, who is the Lord, our Lord)

The reason we say, “The word of the Lord,” is much the same that the prophets were told by God to say, “Thus says the Lord,” or various other ways of saying that something was a message direct from God. They follow the same format that was followed for messages or decrees of law from earthly kings and lords.

These aren’t the Church’s words or ideas. These are God’s words and ideas. The Bible is God’s message. We are just His ambassadors or letter-carriers.

I’m not sure you are understanding the canon properly. What it’s saying is that the ceremonies and accouterments are not the cause of irreverence or put in modern terms, the cause of boredom. Irreverence (impiety come from within, not without) Again in modern terms, we aren’t there to be entertained, but to worship.

However applying the above to sacred scripture would have nothing to do with translation at all, but rather would say in a corresponding analogy to the canon: Sacred scripture is not the cause of irreverence but a cause for reverence. Again, we aren’t there to be entertained by sacred scripture.

Peace and God Bless

Remember that the canons of Trent are frequently responses to charges laid against the Church by the early Protestants. There is a belief among some that the trappings of the Mass amount to a sort of pagan pageantry, or offend against some idea of “simplicity” that the worship of the New Testament Church is thought to possess.

The canon is asserting, in line with the general Catholic notion of sacramentality (that physical, sensory things can point to invisible truths), that the ceremonies and trappings of the Mass are aids to piety rather than obstacles – and that one cannot be in good standing with the Church who goes about proclaiming the opposite.

Nowhere does the canon assert that any Catholic prayer or trapping, much less any particular Bible translation, is or must be perfect.

What does that have to do with the topic of this thread?

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