USCCB helps print English-Chinese Old Testament

U.S. bishops announced the first parallel translation of the Old Testament in English and Chinese, showing signs of renewed evangelization among the Asian community.

“These efforts show the continued growth and strengthening of the faith among Chinese Americans. It helps the Church around the world to understand the history and struggles of the Catholic Church in China,” said Bishop Randolph Calvo of Reno, chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs.

This parallel translation is published by Bible Vision, a nonprofit group of Chinese Catholic volunteers who promote Scripture study.

Chinese Americans make up the largest Asian population in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census. Yet they are a minority among Catholics nationwide at an estimated 340,860.

The new English-Chinese Bible includes text in English on the left column of each page—taken from the New American Bible—and Chinese text on the right column of each page—provided by the Studium Biblicum O.F.M. based in Hong Kong.

“In my viewpoint, this bilingual bible is an evangelization tool for interfaith families and intergenerational Catholics. It is also useful to the agnostics, especially Chinese students and scholars in the U.S. and other English-speaking countries,” said Carolyn Ng of the USCCB.

Although there are many Chinese dialects, this Bible is written in traditional Chinese.

The first Bible in Chinese was published in 1968 after a 40-year effort by Blessed Father Gabriel Allegra to complete the project.

Subsequent editions of the English-Chinese Bible were published in traditional Chinese, read by Japanese, Koreans and overseas Chinese. Efforts by Chinese to simplify the language and improve literacy made traditional Chinese unintelligible except for those living in mainland China. Later translations of the New Testament were published in traditional Chinese in 2009 and simplified Chinese in 2010.

The USCCB’s announcement of the 2013 Old Testament translation in traditional Chinese would bridge the gap in translations.

The Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs works with other committees to provide more opportunities to engage and evangelize Asian populations.

COMING UP: Q&A: USCCB clarifies intent behind bishops’ Eucharist document

Sign up for a digital subscription to Denver Catholic!

Last week, the U.S. bishop concluded their annual Spring meeting, during which much about the Church in the U.S was discussed. In particular, the bishops voted to draft a document on the meaning of Eucharistic life in the Church, which was approved by an overwhelming majority.

Since then, speculation about the nature of the document has run rampant, the chief of which is that it was drafted specifically to instigate a policy aimed directly at Catholic politicians and public figures whose outward political expressions and policy enactment do not align with Church teaching.

The USCCB has issued a brief Q&A clarifying the intent of the document, and they have emphasized that “the question of whether or not to deny any individual or groups Holy Communion was not on the ballot.”

“The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life,” the USCCB said. “The importance of nurturing an ever
deeper understanding of the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist in our lives is not a new topic for the bishops. The document being drafted is not meant to be disciplinary in nature, nor is it targeted at any one individual or class of persons. It will include a section on the Church’s teaching on the responsibility of every Catholic, including bishops, to live in accordance with the truth, goodness and beauty of the Eucharist we celebrate.”

Below are a few commonly asked questions about last week’s meeting and the document on the Eucharist.

Why are the bishops doing this now?

For some time now, a major concern of the bishops has been the declining belief and understanding of the Eucharist among the Catholic faithful. This was a deep enough concern that the theme of the bishops’ strategic plan for 2021-2024 is Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope. This important document on the Eucharist will serve as a foundation for the multi-year Eucharistic Revival Project, a major national effort to reignite Eucharistic faith in our country. It was clear from the intensity and passion expressed in the individual interventions made by the bishops during last week’s meeting that each bishop deeply loves the Eucharist.

Did the bishops vote to ban politicians from receiving Holy Communion?

No, this was not up for vote or debate. The bishops made no decision about barring anyone from receiving Holy Communion. Each Catholic — regardless of whether they hold public office or not — is called to continual conversion, and the U.S. bishops have repeatedly emphasized the obligation of all Catholics to support human life and dignity and other fundamental principles of Catholic moral and social teaching.

Are the bishops going to issue a national policy on withholding Communion from politicians?

No. There will be no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians. The intent is to present a clear understanding of the Church’s teachings to bring heightened awareness among the faithful of how the Eucharist can transform our lives and bring us closer to our creator and the life he wants for us.

Did the Vatican tell the bishops not to move forward on drafting the document?

No. The Holy See did encourage the bishops to engage in dialogue and broad consultation. Last week’s meeting was the first part of that process. It is important to note that collaboration and consultation among the bishops will be key in the drafting of this document.


Featured photo by Eric Mok on Unsplash