Do We Use The Douay-Rheims Version of the Holy Bible?
2. Council of Trent's Decree on the list of Sacred Books in Holy Scripture?
3. Dogmas on the Interpretation of of the Holy Scripture
1. Why Do We Use The Douay-Rheims Version of the Holy Bible?
In this section we deal with the second part of Rev. Burns's critique. First, since we are going to quote the Holy Scripture in the Douay-Rheims (D-R) version we would like to say that it is the only English translation from the Latin Vulgate that was approved by the Catholic Church (cf. Professor Edward Hull, The Wall Chart of World History, Dorset Press, 1988). It is in contrast to the Revised Standard Version recently submitted to Vatican but was rejected as not sufficiently conforming to the Latin Vulgate. This D-R version is a true and literal translation not a paraphrase as most of the modern English versions are. A paraphrase depends on the translators' personal understanding of the Holy Scripture. As a result, the danger of mistaking and misrepresenting the true sense of the word of God is great. The translators of the D-R version followed with a nice exactness the Latin Vulgate at the same time always consulting and comparing it with the Greek in order not to mistake the true sense of the Latin text. It is so close to the Latin text that the Church would not hesitate to approve it.
It goes without saying that the Latin Vulgate was the official Bible of the Roman Catholic Church which has the sole authority in interpreting it. Council of Trent affirmed this in Session IV, April 8, 1546:
"Moreover, the same sacred and holy Synod taking into consideration that no small benefit can accrue to the Church of God, if it be made known which one of all the Latin editions of the sacred books which are in circulation is to be considered authentic, has decided and declares that the said old Vulgate edition, which has been approved by the Church it self through long usage for so many centuries in public lectures, disputations, sermons, and expositions, be considered authentic, and that no one under any pretext whatsoever dare or presume to reject it." (Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, translated by Roy J. Deferrari from the 30th edition of Henry Denzinger's Enchiridion Symborum, published by Marian House, Powers Lake, ND 58773; # 785, p. 245)
2. Council of Trent's Decree on the list of Sacred Books in Holy Scripture?
"The sacred and holy ecumenical and general Synod of Trent, lawfully assenlbled in the Holy Spirit, with the same three Legates of the Apostolic See presiding over it, keeping this constantly in view, that with the abolishing of errors, the purity itself of the Gospel is preserved in the Church, which promised before through the Prophets in the Holy Scriptures our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God first promulgated with His own mouth, and then commanded "to be preached" by His apostles "to every creature" as the source of every saving truth and of instruction in morals [Matt. 28: 19 ff., Mark 16: 15] and [the Synod] clearly perceiving that this truth and instruction are contained in the written books and in the unwritten traditions, which have been received by the apostles from the mouth of Christ Himself, or from the apostles themselves, at the dictation of the Holy Spirit, have come down even to us, transmitted as it were from hand to hand, [the Synod] following the examples of the orthodox Fathers, receives and holds in veneration with an equal affection of piety and reverence all the books both of the Old and of the New Testament, since one God is the author or both, and also the traditions themselves, those that appertain both to faith and to morals, as having been dictated either by Christ's own word of mouth, or by the Holy Spirit, and preserved in the Catholic Church by a continuous succession. And so that no doubt may arise in anyone's mind as to which are the books that are accepted by this Synod, it has decreed that a list of the Sacred books be added to this decree."
"They are written here
"Books of the Old Testament: The five books of Moses, namely, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Josue, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, two of Paralipomenon, the first book of Esdras, and the second which is called Nehemias, Tobias, Judith, Esther, Job, the Psalter of David consisting of 150 psalms, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Canticle of Canticles, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Isaias, Jeremias with Baruch, Ezechiel, Daniel, the twelve minor Prophets, that is Osee, Joel, Amos, Abdias, Jonas, Michaeas, Nahum, Habacuc, Sophonias, Aggaeus, Zacharias, Malachias; two books of the Machabees, the first and the second."
"Books of the New Testament: the four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; the Acts of the Apostles, written by Luke the Evangelist, fourteen epistles of Paul the Apostle, to the Romans, to the Corinthians two, to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to the Philippians, to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, two to Timothy, to Titus, to Philemon, to the Hebrews; two of Peter the Apostle, three of John the Apostle, one of the Apostle James, one of the Apostle Jude, and the Apocalypse of John the Apostle. If anyone, however, should not accept the said books as sacred and canonical, entire with all their parts, as they were wont to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin Vulgate edition, and if both knowingly and deliberately he should condemn the aforesaid traditions let him be anathema. Let all, therefore, understand in what order and in what manner the said Synod, after having laid the foundation of the confession of Faith, will proceed, and what testimonies md authorities it will mainly use in confirming dogmas, and in restoring morals in the Church." (Denzinger, Op. Cit., # 783-784, pp. 244-245.)
The First Vatican Council in Session III , April 24, 1870 reaffirmed the Council of Trent's decree:
"And New Testament, whole with all their parts, just as they were enumerated in the decree of the same Council (Council of Trent), are contained in the older Vulgate Latin edition, and are to be accepted as sacred and canonical. But the Church holds these books as sacred and canonical, not because, having been put together by human industry alone, they were then approved by its authority; nor because they contain revelation without error; but because, having been written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and, as such, they have been handed down to the Church itself (canon 4)."
Dogma on the interpretation of the Holy Scripture.
The Roman Catholic Church has the sole authority in interpreting the Holy Scripture. Council of Trent affirmed this in Session IV, April 8, 1546:
"Furthermore, in order to curb impudent clever persons, the synod decrees that no one who relies on his own judgment in matters of faith and morals, which pertain to the building up of Christian doctrine, and that no one who distorts the Sacred Scripture according to his own opinions, shall dare to interpret the said Sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which is held by holy mother Church, whose duty it is to judge regarding the true sense and interpretation of holy Scriptures, or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers, even though interpretations of this kind were never intended to be brought to light." (Denzinger, Op. Cit., # 786, p. 245)
The First Vatican Council in Session III , April 24, 1870 reaffirmed the canon:
"'But, since the rules which the holy Synod of Trent salutarily decreed concerning the interpretation of Divine Scripture in order lo restrain impetuous minds, are wrongly explained by certain men, We, renewing the same decree, declare this to be its intention: that, in matters of faith and morals pertaining to the instruction of Christian Doctrine, that must be considered as the true sense of Sacred Scripture which Holy Mother Church has held and holds, whose office it is to judge concerning the true understanding and interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures; and, for that reason, no one is permitted to interpret Sacred Scripture itself contrary to this sense, or even contrary to the unanimous agreement of the Fathers." (Denzinger, Op. Cit., #1787-1788, p. 444).
Not only that, The First Vatican Council in Session III, April 24, 1870, decreed that the interpretation of the dogmas and doctrine of faith must be of the same sense and understanding ("eodem sensu, eademque sententia") as the Roman Catholic Church has once declared:
"For, the doctrine of faith which God revealed has not been handed down as a philosophic invention to the human mind to be perfected, but has been entrusted as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ, to be faithfully guarded and infallibly interpreted. Hence, also, that understanding of its sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained, which Holy Mother Church has once declared; and there must never be recession from that meaning under the specious name of a deeper understanding [canon 3]. 'Therefore . . . let the understanding, the knowledge, and wisdom of individuals as of all, of one man as of the whole Church, grow and progress strongly with the passage of the ages and the centuries; but let it be solely in its own genus, namely in the same dogma, with the same sense and the same understanding.'" (Denzinger, Op. Cit., # 1800, p. 448.)
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Created May 21, 1998 Feast of Ascension of Our Lord.