"The word of the Lord endures forever," is the saying of a great prophet (Isa. 40, 8) and of the Prince of the Apostles (1 Pet. 1, 25).
In her belief in the divine authority and the perfect truth of the Bible, as being the inspired Word of God, the Catholic Church has never hesitated. Nor has the Church forgotten that this sacred Book was destined by its Author to convey His message to all His faithful servants of every place and time. Neither has she overlooked the fact that this message must lie sealed and silent to many of her children unless given them in their own language, at least by the voice of their pastors, if not by means of the written page.
Further, the Church has always realized that Holy Scripture was committed to her charge by virtue of its very origin and object. Like the Apostolic Tradition of Christ's teaching, the Bible, too, is a treasury of divine revelation. As such, it can have no rightful guardian and dispenser except that Church which Christ formed and commissioned to teach to all the world the truths revealed for man's salvation. There can be no graver crime than the least corruption of that eternal truth which Christ has brought us. The Church is, therefore, watchful over Holy Scripture; and not only over its message, but likewise over its written transmission.
In exercising this guardianship, the Church has given special sanction to that Latin version which, because of its common use for centuries, won the name of "Vulgate." Her intention in this is primarily to declare which of many Latin versions is to be regarded as substantially accurate and safe in all matters of faith and morals. It was from this Latin text that most of the vernacular versions of Europe were made. It was also from this text that our first printed Catholic Bible in English was taken.
In 1560 the Catholic Church had been outlawed in England. The Catholics who remained in the country faced a particular danger to their faith from English versions of the Bible which altered the true meaning of the Scriptures. To meet this danger there was urgent need of a more faithful, a Catholic, version. This need was met by the "Rheims and Douay Version." It was so called because the New Testament was printed at Rheims in 1582, and the Old Testament at Douay in 1609-10. It was the work of exiled English priests and educators, the chief of whom was Dr. Gregory Martin.
The Rheims-Douay remained the standard English version for Catholic use until near the time of the American Revolution. By this time the language had passed through many of those changes which are natural to all living tongues. It was Bishop Challoner, Vicar Apostolic of the London District, who saw the pressing need of an English version of the Bible more in keeping with the time. In spite of his heavy pastoral labors, he produced a new version of . . .