Catholic bishops remove ‘booty’ from the Bible

March 2, 2011

Catholic bishops have kicked the "booty" out of the Bible. The U.S.
Con­ference of Catholic Bishops has brought about a new translation of
the Bible, one it says is more accurate, more accessible and more
poetic.

Booty, a word that sets off snickers in Sunday school, has been replaced by spoils of war in the newest edition of the New American Bible, the English-language Catholic Bible.

"We
needed a new translation be­cause English is a living language," says
retired auxiliary bishop of Milwaukee Richard Sklba, part of the NAB
review and editing team. The new version, updated from the 1970 edition,
was published March 9.

While Catholics may read from any of two
dozen English translations, the New American Bible is the one used by
U.S. bishops for prayer and study. It can take decades for the Vatican
to approve the scriptures to be read during mass.

One change that
may set off alarms with traditionalists is in a passage that many
Christians believe foreshadows the coming of Christ and his birth to a
virgin. The 1970 version of Isaiah 7:14 says "the virgin shall be with
child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel."

The new text
refers instead to "the young woman," as is the case also with the New
Revised Standard Version Bible. The Hebrew word almah may or may not signify a virgin, the NAB explains. Some other changes:

  • The 1970s version of the 23rd Psalm—"even when I walk through a dark
    valley"—becomes a "walk through the valley of the shadow of death."
  • Proverbs 31:10, an ode to "The Ideal Wife," is now a "Poem on the Woman of Worth."

"Women
will like this: being measured by their own accomplishments, not in
terms of a husband's perspective," says Mary Elizabeth Sperry of the
bishops' organization. "Some people will be gravely distressed and
others will be absolutely ecstatic and some will just say, 'I liked it
the old way.'"  —USA Today/RNS