Responses to the “First Revised Edition 2011” of the 2008 St Pauls’ New Community Bible still not acceptable by Catholics
From the month following the release of the St Pauls “Indianised” or “contextualized” New Community Bible (NCB) in June 2008 by the Bishops of the Indian Church until January of 2015, during which period it had been withdrawn for “revision”, released again and even exported, this ministry had published a total of 21 reports analysing and documenting various issues related to this so-called Bible that we and many Catholics, including priests and theologians, had rejected and strongly objected to because of serious problems in its commentaries and in a few of its twenty-four illustrations or line drawings.
Our ministry, supported by good priests, had been forced to send copies of the NCB to certain dicasteries of the Holy See when the Society of St Pauls did not respond to our communications and our Bishops failed to give us any reassurance that the offending commentaries and drawings would be expunged from the NCB,
Last month, in February 2015, we once again re-visited the issue to bring Catholics up-to-date on the more recent developments which we had been keeping track of since our last three reports (old numbering 19, 20 and 21) of May and June 2013.
When doing so, we updated and/or revised and re-numbered six old reports (old numbers 16 through 21), and we wrote and released four new reports (numbers 22 through 25).
Please find the list with titles and links within the first three pages of the present report.
The present file, which will be updated from time to time, is a record of our communication with the Bishops and others on the new reports, numbers 22 through 25, and the responses that we receive.
Reports numbers 22, 24 and 25 of the NCB series give the details of the defense of the aberrations and errors of the 2008 edition by a Bombay Bishop, Most Rev. Agnelo Gracias, the revisions done in it after it was withdrawn from the shelves of Catholic bookshops, and our verdict on the Revised Edition, which is that it is still not recommended by us for Catholics.
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Date: Sat, 07 Mar 2015 11:14:17 +0530
Subject: PROBLEMS PERSIST IN THE “FIRST REVISED EDITION 2011” OF THE ST. PAULS NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE
Dear Most Rev. Bishop Agnelo Gracias,
Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay
Our team has examined the “First Revised Edition 2011” of the 2008 St Pauls New Community Bible (NCB) published by the Bombay Saint Paul Society, and compared the revisions in its commentaries with the commentaries of the latter. Please see:
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 24-WHAT WERE THE REVISIONS MADE IN IT?
We are pleased to report to you that the majority of those portions of commentaries and a couple of illustrations that we found in the 2008 edition to be offensive and unacceptable to Catholics have been expunged or excised, and we would like to express to you and your fellow Bishops our thanks for ensuring their deletion/removal by the publishers, the Society of St. Paul, thus graciously recognizing that we were completely justified in rejecting them.
This communication is addressed specifically to you because, toward the end of 2008, you had circulated a response to our July 14, 2008 critique on the NCB, which response you did not provide me a copy of despite my requests to you and to the Cardinal Archbishop for the same. See:
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 01-A CRITIQUE JULY 14, 2008
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 22-BISHOP AGNELO GRACIAS DEFENDS IT YET IT IS PULLED FOR REVISION FEBRUARY 2015
Regrettably, our examination of the two editions reveals that there are a few retentions in the Revised Edition that continue to make it unacceptable to Catholics. On the basis of our findings and observations, we have published the report:
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 25-REVISED EDITION NOT RECOMMENDED FOR CATHOLICS FEBRUARY 2015
We have marked copies of the present email letter to the following Bishops:
1. His Eminence Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, former President-CBCI, President-CCBI, President-FABC
2. Bishop Percival Fernandez, Auxiliary Emeritus of Bombay, Former Secretary General-CBCI (who gave the Imprimatur for the 2008 edition)
3. Bishop Thomas Dabre, Bishop of Poona, then Chairman of the Doctrinal Commission-CBCI (who gave the Nihil Obstat for the 2008 edition)
4. Archbishop Maria Calist Soosa Pakiam, Metropolitan Archbishop of Trivandrum (Latin Rite), Chairman of the Biblical Commission-CBCI (who wrote the Preface to both editions)
5. His Eminence Baselios Mar Cleemis, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum (Syro-Malankara Rite), President-CBCI
6. Bishop Dominic Savio Fernandes, Auxiliary of Bombay
7. Bishop John Rodrigues, Auxiliary of Bombay
8. Bishop Bosco Penha, Auxiliary Emeritus of Bombay
Due to restrictions in the number of addresses that can be included in the Cc in my Outlook Express, I will be separately writing a similar letter to the Fathers of the Society of St. Paul and The Examiner as well as to other Bishops and individuals, around 10 to 12 email addresses at a time.
We are constrained to publicize our reports using the social media because from past experience (the NCB issue, etc.) the concerns that we expressed in our correspondence with the Bishops was not taken seriously until they were picked up by the print and Internet media.
We look forward to acknowledgements of this communication as well as assurances that our reports will be studied by yourself and your fellow Bishops, and eventually being informed by you of your individual and/or collective decisions.
The other reports from our ministry in the New Community Bible series are:
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 02-THE PAPAL SEMINARY, PUNE, INDIAN THEOLOGIANS, AND THE CATHOLIC ASHRAMS 18 SEPTEMBER 2008/SEPTEMBER 2009/APRIL 2012
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 03-A FRENCH THEOLOGIAN DENOUNCES ERRORS IN THE COMMENTARIES FEBRUARY 24, 2009
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 04-THE ONGOING ROBBERY OF FAITH FEBRUARY 24, 2009
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 05-THE ANGEL GABRIEL DID NOT APPEAR TO THE VIRGIN MARY MARCH 15, 2009
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 06-PRESS REPORTS AND READERS’ CRITICISMS MARCH 22, 2009/DECEMBER 2009
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 07-UNPUBLISHED LETTERS AGAINST ITS ERRONEOUS COMMENTARIES-THE EXAMINER MAY 2009
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 08-LETTERS CALLING FOR ITS WITHDRAWAL 31 DECEMBER 2008/DECEMBER 2009
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 09-LETTER TO THE CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH APRIL-MAY 2009
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 10-CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE SECULAR MEDIA, AND WITH PRIEST-CRITICS OF OUR CRUSADE AGAINST ITS ERRORS MAY 2009
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 11-VATICAN HELD RESPONSIBLE, BRAHMIN LEADERS DEMAND ITS WITHDRAWAL JUNE 25, 2009/DECEMBER 2009
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 12-LETTERS TO ROME JUNE 2009/AUGUST 2013
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 13-RESPONSES FROM THE BISHOPS AND THEIR EXECUTIVE COMMISSIONS AUGUST 2009
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 14-UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX GREEK CATHOLIC BISHOPS CALL IT A NEW AGE BIBLE, “EXCOMMUNICATE” INDIAN BISHOPS
MARCH 2010/APRIL 2012
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 15-DEMAND FOR ORDINATION OF WOMEN PRIESTS-FR SUBHASH ANAND AND OTHERS
APRIL 2010/JULY 2010/APRIL 2012/17 MARCH/10 APRIL 2013
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 16-CRITIQUE BY DERRICK D’COSTA
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 17-EXTOLLED BY CAMALDOLI BENEDICTINE OBLATE 1/5/10 MAY 2013
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 18-REVISED EDITION COMING, ST PAULS IN DENIAL JULY 2010/DECEMBER 2011
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 19-REVISED EDITION PUBLISHED A YEAR AFTER DENIAL JULY 2010/DECEMBER 2011
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 20-HALF-TRUTHS FROM CARDINAL OSWALD GRACIAS 28 JUNE 2013
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 21-INDIAN CHURCH’S SYNCRETIZED BIBLE EXPORTED 7 MARCH/6/9/24/30 MAY/5 JUNE, 2013
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 23-EDDIE RUSSELL CALLS IT A HINDUISED HERETICAL BIBLE FEBRUARY 2015
HINDU RELIGIOUS MARK ON THE FOREHEAD 22-THE NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE
SECOND Cc TO: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
1. Archbishop Albert D’Souza, Archbishop of Agra, Secretary General-CBCI (who gave the Imprimatur for the Revised Edition 2011)
2. Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt, Bishop of Palai, Chairman of the Doctrinal Commission-CBCI (who gave the Imprimatur for the Revised Edition 2011)
3. Bishop George Punnakottil, Bishop Emeritus of Kothamangalam (who gave the Imprimatur for the Revised Edition 2011)
4. Bishop Abraham Mar Julios, Bishop of Muvattupuzha, (who gave the Imprimatur for the Revised Edition 2011)
5. Bishop Thomas Dabre, Bishop of Poona, then Chairman of the Doctrinal Commission-CBCI (who gave the Imprimatur for the Revised Edition 2011)
6. Fr. Varghese Gnalian SSP, Provincial Superior of St Pauls (who gave the Imprimi Potest for both editions)
7. Fr. Augustine Kanachikuzhy SSP, General Editor of St Pauls (who wrote the Presentation for the Revised Edition 2011)
3, 4, 5, 6 to various St Pauls addresses:
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Date: Sat, 07 Mar 2015 13:16:52 +0530
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Date: Sat, 07 Mar 2015 13:18:34 +0530
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Date: Sat, 07 Mar 2015 13:20:28 +0530
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Date: Sat, 07 Mar 2015 14:32:19 +0530
(Auto response, date apparently incorrect)
From: A priest of St. Pauls’ Society
Date: Fri, 6 Mar 2015 23:47:21 -0800
Subject: Thank You for the mail. Re: PROBLEMS PERSIST IN THE “FIRST REVISED EDITION 2011” OF THE ST. PAULS NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE
Thank you very much for the email. I am not available to open it immediately. I will be attending to it at the earliest. Take care! God bless you.
From Derrick D’Costa, Bahrain:
Subject: PROBLEMS PERSIST IN THE “FIRST REVISED EDITION 2011” OF THE ST. PAULS NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE
Date: Mon, 9 Mar 2015 11:30:17 +0000 (UTC)
Dear Br. Michael
Thank you very, very much for the documents sent.
Document 24 was as usual chronological and very well-written.
1. I welcome the break in the documents, 23, 24, 25 as a combined document would be very difficult to process.
Also 24 deals mainly with Bishop Gracias’ response to the many objections. (Though apparently the good Bishop was focused solely on you, and your so-called “sympathisers” he fails to grasp, it appears, that you were the focal point for many differing points of view, for instance, the pro-life priest from Pune, my personal view regarding it as a wasted opportunity and more inclined to propagate the tenets of Brahminical Hinduism, Fr. Jean, charismatic movement leaders, and so many others including other, very loyal children of the Church. Not all would fit into convenient brackets as such.
2. Document 24 is super, and it was so Shakespearean – the use of the good Bishop’s overused word “apt” in the manner of Marc Anthony’s “For Brutus is an honourable man”; it was, pardon my saying so, most amusing. The lack of seriousness in the Bishops response, and the painful lack of empathy with the suffering of laity was so clearly evident.
3. The objections of your document 25 seemed a little too brief.
I am sure the removal of the Gayatri Mantra and other miserable pieces of commentary was very welcome, but is not the lack of Catholic context still very apparent?
The references to the fathers of the Church barely seems to have improved.
Does the Bible propagate Brahminical Hinduism or Christianity, and is there a real perception still that it is the former?
This second round from you will, I fear, have much more limited responses especially since a lot of the commentaries have been excised. There are more questions than answers here:
Why is there no nihil obstat?
Why is the “subliminal” Om still on the cover?
Who approved the revisions?
Have any disciplinary action/s been taken in respect of the original commentators for their errors?
Are there pastoral motives for the continued expropriation of non-Christian religious texts?
Is there a lack either in terms of acquaintance with the teachings of the Fathers of the Church or in the absence of sound commentaries that could have been included?
(In my view it still remains a wasted opportunity)
One more serious issue is that whilst ignorance of the Catholic religion may be deliberate, the profound ignorance of the Hindu faith especially in terms of the spurious analogies in the commentaries is betrayed by most of the commentators.
Witness “Tobit walked in righteousness (dharma) and was friendly with everyone”.
Now is righteousness a synonym of Dharma? But the Hindu faith teaches
due to a person’s previous Karma, he/she will enter the respective Varna in which they will have to follow their Dharma, in that sense it cannot be divorced from the Karmic cycle of being born in a particular caste, and the righteousness and faith of Tobit then is truly provided an odious comparison, for example for a noble man such as Tobit it would be most “undharmic” to “2:3-5 And when he had gone, returning he told him, that one of the children of Israel lay slain in the street. And he forthwith leaped up from his place at the table, and left his dinner, and came fasting to the body: And taking it up carried it privately to his house, that after the sun was down, he might bury him cautiously. And when he had hid the body, he ate bread with mourning and fear”
Can you impose the caste structure on a religious Jew? A beloved figure of the Old Testament is reduced to following his “Dharma”.
Righteousness is not equal to Dharma.
The hierarchy may accept the subordination of Catholic truth to majoritarianism, but thank God for the laity who will reject them like the 21 martyred Coptic Christians.
The pain of the laity is rarely and most inadequately felt by the hierarchy and that is why their efforts bear so little fruit.
God bless you, Derrick
Derrick D’Costa, one of those very knowledgeable lay Catholic apologists who opposed the NCB, see report number 16, points out problems that still persist after the “revision”, even as I have in report number 25.
In 2008, a few people had, like Derrick, insisted that there is a subliminal “Om” in the cover art work.
The different covers under which the NCB is being sold as the Revised Edition:
An image of the First Revised Edition 2011 in which the cover artwork is identical to that of the 2008 edition:
Derrick D’Costa provides evidence that the stylized “B” of the word “Bible” on the NCB cover is in reality a component of the OM symbol and has been incorporated to convey the OM subliminally:
I must admit that Mr. D’Costa had pointed this out to me as far back as in 2008. I believe him now because I cannot discount the possibility that the theologians behind the NCB would do such a horrible thing.
See MANTRAS, ‘OM’ OR ‘AUM’ AND THE GAYATRI MANTRA
This report will be updated from time to time.
Derrick D’Costa’s name has been used with his permission.
The names of others who respond will not be included without their explicit consent.
Subject: Rv: [New post] http://www.ephesians-511.net on the New Community Bible in the Indian press
Date: Sun, 22 Mar 2015 10:36:39 +0000 (UTC)
Congratulations Mike!!!! Your work is not for nothing! God bless you! Javier Lopez Torres, Madrid, Spain
Subject: Re: PROBLEMS PERSIST IN THE “FIRST REVISED EDITION 2011” OF THE ST. PAULS NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 2015 08:15:35 +0000 (UTC)
This is a huge success, thank the Lord! Let’s hope that the next edition takes into account the remaining problems (I find it difficult that they will withdraw it again). It would be important if you could keep regular contact with the editors.
Warmly in Christ, Maria Laura Pio, Rovio, Switzerland
Subject: PROBLEMS PERSIST IN THE “FIRST REVISED EDITION 2011” OF THE ST. PAULS NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2015 12:37:07 +0000
Thank you for faithfully working on this project
We trust your efforts will bear fruit that abides.
We pray that the Holy Spirit will inspire all concerned to do His will in this matter. Every blessing in Jesus
Catholic apologist, India
I. Subject: RE: PROBLEMS PERSIST IN THE “FIRST REVISED EDITION 2011” OF THE ST. PAULS NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE Date: Mon, 23 Mar 2015 17:21:15 +0000
Thanks for this mail dear Michael!
We appreciate your great job and pray that the Lord may lead you to do greater works than these under His care.
Love and prayers,
Myrtle and Joe Lobo (parents of a cloistered nun, a lay preacher and a priest in Rome), Mangalore.
II. Subject: Re: PROBLEMS PERSIST IN THE “FIRST REVISED EDITION 2011” OF THE ST. PAULS NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE Date: Tue, 2 Jun 2015 15:41:40 +0530
We have gone through your critique in detail and we fully support your conviction that the NCB Revised Edition 2011 is still not recommended for Catholics.
We happened to notice that one of the pictures shown on the first page of your critique (The First Revised Edition 2011 of the 2008 St Pauls New Community Bible is not recommended for Catholics) looks similar to the cover of the Good News Bible also published by St. Pauls. Do you think it was done deliberately to induce people into buying this one instead of the Good News Bible? Just a thought – may be nothing in it! (In fact their suspicion is not unfounded –Michael)
Coming back to your critique on the bindi on the forehead of the Virgin Mary in the illustration of the flight into Egypt, we cannot understand why this unnecessary attempt to ‘Indianize’ everything possible? The very artistic line drawing shows a map in the background – it could be the Mediterranean region but it is definitely not the Indian subcontinent. Then what is an Indian couple doing in the Mediterranean or the Middle East in Bible times?
In any case we do not want to see obviously Hindu illustrations in the Catholic Bible – no one can call it Indian – if so, then Muslims would be also wearing a bindi. It is a Hindu religious symbol.
Ref. section 2 of your critique, we agree that prana cannot be equated to the ‘breath of life’ of God. In Hindu religious belief God is an impersonal energy that is in all and is all while Christians believe that God is a personal Divine Being.
Section 3: This section refers to Yoga and yogic techniques, which are Hindu religious practices, being gratuitously inserted into the Bible as footnotes. The comparison of the “rest” in Genesis 2:2-3 to the Indian samadhi is gross. There are very satisfactory explanations of “rest” by renowned Scripture scholars like Dr. Scott Hahn which explain “rest” in the context of the Sabbath and covenant based on Scripture itself (Exodus 20:8). What relevance does samadhi have with covenant?
Section 4: We agree with your demand that the contrived “comparison”, equating Jesus with the Hindu deity Krishna which is retained in the Revised Edition be dropped.
Section 5: We support your objection to the retention of the “dancing”, crucified Jesus in the Revised Edition on page 1610.
Section 6: The Ignatius Study Bible based on the RSV clearly explains that the meaning of the Hebrew word “alma” can be inferred from its usage in at least two other places in the Bible, one where Abraham’s servant calls Rebecca “almah” and in one other place. Both are understood as a young virgin, carefully guarded by her parents (hidden). In the English translation from the Greek it is “virgin”.
Therefore we agree with your objection to the Revised Edition retaining the commentary which denies Matthew’s emphatic assertion in 1:22-23.
(A couple in family and prolife ministry with three sons in the seminary and a daughter in the convent) Goa
Categories: Hinduisation of the Catholic Church in India