What pope wanted to change the Bible?

Hey, everyone,

I am preparing a talk on Catholic Church Teaching for a local parish and am looking for some help with research. I thought I read in *Triumph *(H. W. Crocker III) that there was a pope who intended to re-translate the Bible, though he knew he had mis-translated it to his own advantage. This would have caused an issue with infallibility, but, wouldn’t you know it, he died very shortly before it was finished.

Has anyone heard this story or know this pope’s name? I’ve gone through my copy of *Triumph *again and can’t find anything; though I may have heard it through another soucre (reading a lot + a bad memory can really give a guy trouble).

Any help is greatly appreciated!

This sounds like a VERY warped version of the difficulties with the Sixtine edition of the Latin Vulgate, which printing was full of typos.

His successor Pope Clement ordered it withdrawn and had a new edition, the so-called Clementine Vulage issued.

Unfortunately, this version had typos of its own. And unfortunately, I don’t know which Clement or Sixtus, either.

I think Pope Pius X wanted a new edition started. But this was not brought to fruition until the publication in the last decade or so of the Nova Biblia Vulgata.

It was Pope Martin Luther I

Considering all of the errors in Crocker’s book, it should really be considered a work of fiction.

Pope Sixtus V

I heard the same story somewhere but I don’t think it was in Crocker’s Triumph, which merely says of Pope Sixtus V that he “revised the Vulgate Bible” (p. 279) and of a successor, Pope Clement VIII, “As pope, he revised Sixtus’s revision of the Vulgate—which needed help…” (p. 279)

Pope Sixtus V

I heard the same story somewhere but I don’t think it was in Crocker’s Triumph, which merely says of Pope Sixtus V that he “revised the Vulgate Bible” (p. 279) and of a successor, Pope Clement VIII, “As pope, he revised Sixtus’s revision of the Vulgate—which needed help…” (p. 279)

Thanks for the reference. Now I have to figure out if I’m crazy or if I heard that somewhere else. Either way, it obviously isn’t true so I guess it doesn’t matter…

Considering all of the errors in Crocker’s book, it should really be considered a work of fiction.

I certainly think that it’s a strongly biased book (he excuses the sale of indulgences because they funded the Sistine Chapel, for example) but is it inaccurate? I assumed it was a trustworthy book. What are some of the errors in it?

It was Pope Martin Luther I

Ah yes, it must have been him…

"What about when Pope Sixtus V issued a botched revision of the Latin Vulgate Bible. This edition was so filled with errors, omissions and deformities of the text, that it was hastily recalled after his death by embarrassed Roman cardinals. But the damage was done. Sixtus V had formally taught that the defective edition was to be the only Bible used for the entire Church. If that isn’t a perfect example of a pope fulfilling all the necessary ingredients for teaching ‘infallibly’, nothing else in papal history is. The pope clearly taught error." (Madrid, p. 242, Pope Fiction)

Sixtus V reigned as pope from 1585-1590. He has been described as a “brilliant leader in political and ecclesiastical arenas, a tireless innovator in agriculture, engineering and law, he effectively enacted and enforced laws, created an impressive aqueduct system, reformed clergy and the Church’s liturgical customs, tackled building projects, drained the swamps near Rome to eliminate the siege of malaria, spent large amounts of money on charitable works and missions, and oversaw the completion of the St. Peter’s Basilica.” Unfortunately he had an ego to match and this got him into serious trouble when a revision of the Latin Vulgate edition of the holy Bible was begun. “Historian Francis Gasquet explains the background of the Vulgate: ‘The Latin text of the Sacred Scriptures had existed from the earliest times of Christianity.’ The translators were unknown to St. Augustine and St. Jerome; but the former says that the old Latin version had certainly come ‘from the first days of the Faith’, and the latter that it ‘ had helped strengthen the Faith of the infant Church.’ Made and copied without any official supervision these western texts soon became corrupt or doubtful.”

Since the Church was much threatened by Protestant doctrines that were fast appearing throughout much of Europe and since there were numerous editions of the Vulgate in circulation, Pope Sixtus recognized that the Church required best biblical translation possible to meet Protestant arguments. He acted forthrightly in assembling a team of scholars and linguists, headed by eminent theologians like Cardinal Robert Bellarmine and others. They compiled as many Greek manuscripts as could be assembled and finished the revision process by the end of 1588. But apparently overcome by pride, the pope found the ten thousand readings they had diligently chosen inadequate, and angrily announced he would personally revise the Vulgate. He declared, ‘We, weighing the importance of the matter, and considering carefully the great and singular privilege we hold of God, and our true and legitimate succession from Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles . . . Are the proper and specially constituted Person to decide this whole question."

Ill equipped for the task, Sixtus eliminated all the work done by the former commission, and started fresh. Unfortunately his abilities to translate, edit and make all the appropriate decisions were beyond his capabilities and the result was an error filled translation presented to the cardinals in early 1590.

Cardinal Bellarmine and Fr. Toledo, another Jesuit scholar revealed their fears "…that by such mutilation he [Sixtus] was laying himself open to the attacks of the heretics, and was giving more serious scandal to the faithful than anything else the pope could do . . . " If Sixtus had formally promulgated this distorted version, it would have allowed a strong case to be argued against the doctrine of papal infallibility since the Pope would have fulfilled the three requirements layed out by Vatican I for an infallible teaching. But the weight of opposition was sufficient, thanks to Bellarmine and others, to stope the Pope from releasing it. Still, he worked on correction of typographical errors with the apparent intention of releasing a corrected version soon. Patrick Madrid writes, “Expectation was at a boiling point. The news in Rome had it that the official promulgation would happen any day. Advance copies of the new Vulgate had been bound and delivered to all the cardinals in Rome along with advance copies of the bull officially publishing it. Everything was ready for the pope to promulgate the new version. Nothing could stop him.” But at the last moment Sixtus, whose health and vigor were never questioned, took to his bed, dying on August 27, 1590 after a brief illness. The Holy Spirit’s promise to guide the Church to all truth seems to have been fulfilled again. “Only God knows if Sixtus’ sudden death was dramatic proof of divine intervention-- the evidence that papal infallibility isn’t just a Catholic idea, but that God Himself will prevent, by death if necessary, the pope from teaching an error formally to the Church.” (Madrid, pps. 242-51, Pope Fiction).

What an strange topic to give a talk about to a Catholic Parish. Rather than address a complex problem occuring during the reformation, do your parishioners understand the scriptural support of papal infallibility and episcopal succession. Surely that will be a much more useful talk

As to details of whether or not Pope Sixtus V issued this error fillder version see link below

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=81780

Michael

Danalad,

I certainly think that it’s a strongly biased book (he excuses the sale of indulgences because they funded the Sistine Chapel, for example) but is it inaccurate? I assumed it was a trustworthy book. What are some of the errors in it?

I don’t have my copy with me at the moment, but the first chapter alone has about a dozen significant errors. I started making a list when I was using it for part of a history course on the Papacy, until I just refused to continue reading. He isn’t much better in person either. I went to a speech he gave in which he suggested that the Sack of Constantinople by the 4th Crusade should be celebrated as a Catholic holiday. When I pointed out to him that celebrating something that got all of the participants excommunicated seemed like a rather poor idea and that in the long term did much harm to the Church, he brushed me off with a “lets agree to disagree” line.

Anyway, I will try to go through my copy and post some of the stuff from the first chapter here.

Thanks for the informative posts.

I am a budding lector for my parish. I have at home the New American Bible, the Jerusalem Bible, and a Dhouy Rheims.

I am no scholar of Scripture. Some of my children went with the Evangelicals because they could reach them at their level, a young people’s community, that is bringing in large numbers of individuals.

I am returning to study the roots of my faith’s history.

How does the Latin Vulgate play into the Bibles I have at home?

The Douay-Rheims was translated directly from the Latin Vulgate in the late 16th century. A revision of it was made a century (or less?) later by Bishop Challoner, which revised it according to the Greek, but the Douay-Rheims remains essentially a translation from the Latin Vulgate.

The New American Bible is translated from the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic texts of the Bible. The translators also based their translations on the then-current findings of biblical criticism. The various revisions of it that have occurred since then were made simply to bring it into conformity with standard English, because our language changes too frequently.

The Jerusalem Bible is actually not a translation from any of those – it is an English translation of a French Catholic Bible, and THAT Bible came from the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. The translators checked the French against the Greek and the Hebrew and Aramaic in translating it into English, but I believe they also used the Latin Vulgate as an authoritative reference, sometimes adapting the language to accommodate the Vulgate’s perspective, because it is said that the Vulgate is among the oldest copies of the Bible that we have, even though it is a translation.

I hope that helps. God bless!
-Dmar198

:thumbsup:

“Only God knows if Sixtus’ sudden death was dramatic proof of divine intervention-- the evidence that papal infallibility isn’t just a Catholic idea, but that God Himself will prevent, by death if necessary, the pope from teaching an error formally to the Church.”

:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

***Hi Dan,

A couple of thoughts. As one with 15 years of teaching experience grades 3 to 12 and RCIA, I think your going to open “a can of worms”?

Thought about is a very long way from actually doing.

*2 Cor. 13: “8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.”

John 8: 31”Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

*Gal. 2: “5 to them we did not yield submission even for a moment, that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.”

John 14: 16 And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.

2 Tim. 4: “3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. 5 As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

*2 Tim. 1: “13 Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; 14 guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.”

John 16: “12 "I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14* He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Col. 1: “5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing–so among yourselves, from the day you heard and understood the grace of God in truth,”

John 14: “6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”

John 17: 17 Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth. 18 As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.*

*John 14: 25 "These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
**

Christ Himself guarentees the TRUTH of His Bible and His Church on all matters of Faith and Morality. On these issues Popes cannot ERROR!

It’s good your checking first. But this topic and those that risk Catholic truth should be avoided where possible.

Best of luck and God Bless you!

Three pertinent thoughts:

  1. Regardless what topics may be better to discuss, the topic at hand in danalad’s parish is which pope nearly promulgated a ‘bad bible’. Deserves a good answer – within the broader context of ‘ex cathedra’ specfically and history generally.

  2. The quote of Dr Madrid, previously posted on this thread, is only the chapter header for that ‘bad bible’ chapter in his book “Pope Fiction”. In the chapter headers, Dr Madrid outlines the typical attack on the papacy. The post to this thread would be complete by showing how Dr Madrid deflates that spectre. Alternatively, one can buy a copy for about $15 at places like Amazon, or one can go direct to Dr Madrid’s Surprised By Truth website.

  3. Pope Sixtus 5th was a notable reformer and renaissance man. Not least of his actions (as pope from 1585-1590) were condemning astrology, renewing the Pope St Pius 5th rule for bishops to make formal visitation at regular time intervals, and facilitating the continuing war against Islamic aggression and Protestant revolts. As stated elsewhere, he also did some significant work in the arts, like with the Sistine Chappel. He also fought rampant crime & intrigue, and fought for food for the people. For all that he was, he was neither a historian nor a scholar. Pretty certainly, he knew insufficient greek and aramaic with which to be certain of the accuracy of his preferred translation. When he suddenly died in August 1590, the cardinals had to meet 4 times in 1.5 years to select 4 successors in rapid order. With all the discord and warfare already going on, it’s little wonder that the cardinals, hardly supportive of Sixtus 5th’s bible aspirations in the first place, withdrew Sixtus’ edition before it was to have been published & promulgated. Pope Clement 8th, elected in early 1592, had a long history before serving as pope (1592-1605); he knew of Sixtus’ bible attempt, but apparently never bothered to re-consider publishing it after all.

For broader context, read the work of a bona-fide historian, Dr Warren Carroll. He details the broader discussion of these times in his lay & religious history, “The Cleaving of Christendom”. Especially note pages 405-469, for this bible issue. Also note how Dr Carroll is never afraid to criticize Catholics for immoral or questionable actions, and how he has a rather high evidential bar before he considers something ‘history’ (versus ‘myth’). Carroll heavyly discusses Pope Sixtus 5th, but the ‘bad bible’ is such a non-issue that Carroll never even discusses it.

Regards,
Paul

=pcpekarek;5644933]Three pertinent thoughts:

  1. Regardless what topics may be better to discuss, the topic at hand in danalad’s parish is which pope nearly promulgated a ‘bad bible’. Deserves a good answer – within the broader context of ‘ex cathedra’ specfically and history generally.
  1. The quote of Dr Madrid, previously posted on this thread, is only the chapter header for that ‘bad bible’ chapter in his book “Pope Fiction”. In the chapter headers, Dr Madrid outlines the typical attack on the papacy. The post to this thread would be complete by showing how Dr Madrid deflates that spectre. Alternatively, one can buy a copy for about $15 at places like Amazon, or one can go direct to Dr Madrid’s Surprised By Truth website.
  1. Pope Sixtus 5th was a notable reformer and renaissance man. Not least of his actions (as pope from 1585-1590) were condemning astrology, renewing the Pope St Pius 5th rule for bishops to make formal visitation at regular time intervals, and facilitating the continuing war against Islamic aggression and Protestant revolts. As stated elsewhere, he also did some significant work in the arts, like with the Sistine Chappel. He also fought rampant crime & intrigue, and fought for food for the people. For all that he was, he was neither a historian nor a scholar. Pretty certainly, he knew insufficient greek and aramaic with which to be certain of the accuracy of his preferred translation. When he suddenly died in August 1590, the cardinals had to meet 4 times in 1.5 years to select 4 successors in rapid order. With all the discord and warfare already going on, it’s little wonder that the cardinals, hardly supportive of Sixtus 5th’s bible aspirations in the first place, withdrew Sixtus’ edition before it was to have been published & promulgated. Pope Clement 8th, elected in early 1592, had a long history before serving as pope (1592-1605); he knew of Sixtus’ bible attempt, but apparently never bothered to re-consider publishing it after all.

For broader context, read the work of a bona-fide historian, Dr Warren Carroll. He details the broader discussion of these times in his lay & religious history, “The Cleaving of Christendom”. Especially note pages 405-469, for this bible issue. Also note how Dr Carroll is never afraid to criticize Catholics for immoral or questionable actions, and how he has a rather high evidential bar before he considers something ‘history’ (versus ‘myth’). Carroll heavyly discusses Pope Sixtus 5th, but the ‘bad bible’ is such a non-issue that Carroll never even discusses it.

Regards,
Paul

Thank you very much for the information:D

DMAR,

Thanks very much for your reply…it explained a number of things…Thanks again!
Kathleen

just on a side note about commemorating war/crusades etc. we still commemorate world war 1 and 2 and other wars not to glorify the evil but for so much more. Also plz be very careful when you talk of the crusades its not as clear cut as the u.s.a invading iraq or Iraq invading Kuwait, i’d say its more like colonisation in that its murky and unclear. Muslims were attacking christians and vice versa with and without claiming their acts were in the name of God/Allah. My teacher @ uni has a nack for slandering the church with his plethora of two attacks: crusades and peadophiles.

…wait, what? How could it possibly meet the Vatican I requirements for infallible teaching? For starters, I don’t see that promulgating a translation of the Bible possibly be considered as “defining a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the whole Church”… not to mention the rest of the* ex cathedra* restrictions, listed below. Or am I completely missing something?

newadvent.org/cathen/07790a.htm

The Vatican Council has defined as “a divinely revealed dogma” that "the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra — that is, when in the exercise of his office as pastor and teacher of all Christians he defines, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the whole Church — is, by reason of the Divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer wished His Church to be endowed in defining doctrines of faith and morals… For the correct understanding of this definition it is to be noted that:

[LIST]
*]infallibility is not attributed to every doctrinal act of the pope, but only to his ex cathedra teaching; and the conditions required for ex cathedra teaching are mentioned in the Vatican decree:
[LIST]
*]The pontiff must teach in his public and official capacity as pastor and doctor of all Christians, not merely in his private capacity as a theologian, preacher or allocutionist, nor in his capacity as a temporal prince or as a mere ordinary of the Diocese of Rome. It must be clear that he speaks as spiritual head of the Church universal.
*]Then it is only when, in this capacity, he teaches some doctrine of faith or morals that he is infallible.
*]Further it must be sufficiently evident that he intends to teach with all the fullness and finality of his supreme Apostolic authority, in other words that he wishes to determine some point of doctrine in an absolutely final and irrevocable way, or to define it in the technical sense. These are well-recognized formulas by means of which the defining intention may be manifested.
*]Finally for an ex cathedra decision it must be clear that the pope intends to bind the whole Church. To demand internal assent from all the faithful to his teaching under pain of incurring spiritual shipwreck (naufragium fidei) according to the expression used by Pius IX in defining the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. Theoretically, this intention might be made sufficiently clear in a papal decision which is addressed only to a particular Church; but in present day conditions, when it is so easy to communicate with the most distant parts of the earth and to secure a literally universal promulgation of papal acts, the presumption is that unless the pope formally addresses the whole Church in the recognized official way, he does not intend his doctrinal teaching to be held by all the faithful as ex cathedra and infallible.
[/LIST]

[/LIST]

Madrid lays out the common charge made by non-Catholics and then responds.

I’m not sure I understand what the problem is…

I just don’t see how this issue could possibly be related to papal infallibility… maybe I’m reading your quote from Patrick Madrid incorrectly, but he seems to grant that “if Sixtus had formally promulgated this distorted version, it would have allowed a strong case to be argued against the doctrine of papal infallibility since the Pope would have fulfilled the three requirements layed out by Vatican I for an infallible teaching”… which claim seems to be simply and utterly untrue: even if Sixtus had formally promulgated this distorted version, no case could have possibly been made against the doctrine of papal infallibility, since the Pope would not have fulfilled the requirements layed out by Vatican I for an infallible teaching. (?)

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