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"The Bible's unique appeal..."

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 31, 2003

Recently I came across a 1966 Catholic Truth Society edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible that contained this very peculiar preface:

DESPITE THE DECLINE of religious practice, the appetite of English people for new versions of the Scriptures is, paradoxically, greater than ever. Educated people are expected to have some acquaintance with the Bible even though religious convictions are no longer demanded. One does not need to be either a Christian or a scholar to recognize the Bible as great literature. With the growth of literacy greater numbers are able to enjoy the Bible's unique appeal. No other religious writing however exalted can compete with the sacred text.

We welcome a Catholic edition of the Revised Standard Version, not only because it will lead more of our people to read the Bible, but also because of its ecumenical value. May all who read it grow in the knowledge and love of God's word.

+John Cardinal Heenan Archbishop of Westminster December 1965

When I showed it to a friend of mine, she responded in these words:

Actually this is as good a summary as any (however sleepily put) of the thought behind most sermons I've ever heard from bishops -- "hopefully there's some magic in all of this that will cause you to turn your hearts to God, because I really can't say that I see anything in it..."

In fairness it should be mentioned that there are honorable exceptions. St. John Fisher, before becoming Bishop of Rochester, taught Sacred Scripture at Cambridge.

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