Bringing the Word to the world for two centuries; what a difference 200 years makes

On May 12, the American Bible Society celebrated 200 years of work to bring the Bible not only into every American home but also to every corner of the world. A.B.S. leaders described in detail their plans to increase access to Scripture by investing in translation efforts as well as by working to help people who have experienced trauma, especially in war-torn countries, find comfort and healing in the word of God.

In 1916, when A.B.S. celebrated its centenary, America’s editors explained that the Catholic Church could not join in the widespread congratulations because it could not endorse the distribution of Scripture outside the church’s interpretive authority. One hundred years later, the A.B.S. bicentennial celebration opened with Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations, reading a message of congratulations from the Vatican secretary of state. He then introduced Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, who read a personal message from Pope Francis to the international delegates to the United Bible Societies’ World Assembly, which coincided with the A.B.S. celebration. To say that this would have been unimaginable a century ago is to understate the case dramatically.

Advertisement

For our part, America is happy, finally, to add its editorial voice in congratulations, and more than that, in gratitude. We have partnered with the American Bible Society in our “Living Word” series and also in the ongoing sponsorship of the Word column in every issue of the magazine. The project of bringing the word of God to a world in need is large enough to demand all we have to offer, and finding companions for the work is a gift and a grace.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Lisa Weber
1 year 6 months ago
What a difference a hundred years makes in the attitude of the Catholic Church!

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Homeless people are seen in Washington June 22. Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., chair of the U.S. bishops' domestic policy committee, released a statement Nov. 17 proclaiming that the House of Representatives "ignored impacts to the poor and families" in passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act the previous day. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
The United States is thwarting the advancement of millions of its citizens, a UN rapporteur says.
Kevin ClarkeDecember 16, 2017
Why not tax individuals for what they take out of society instead of what they contribute?
Paul D. McNelis, S.J.December 15, 2017
Pope Francis will renew the mandate of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors for another three years, informed sources told America this week.
Gerard O’ConnellDecember 15, 2017
Worshippers recite the Lord's Prayer during Mass at Corpus Christi Church in Mineola, N.Y., on Oct. 13. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic)
Making ancient Scripture sensible in contemporary languages will always prove a hazard-heavy challenge.
Kevin ClarkeDecember 15, 2017