Q — My wife realized that my Bible is not Catholic when I could not locate the Book of Sirach in it. What is a good Catholic Bible, with a contemporary translation from Greek? (My ultimate preference would be a Catholic Bible with the Old Testament translated from Hebrew and the New Testament from the Greek — if such a thing exists.) (Albany, Oregon)

A — There are several translations of the sacred Scriptures that have been approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for devotional use and study by Catholics; any translation that bears an imprimatur may be used for those purposes.

But your best bet, I would think, is the 1986 edition of the New American Bible; that is the only translation approved for liturgical use at Masses in the United States, and so the wording would be familiar to you.

In his 1943 encyclical on Scripture study, “Divino Afflante Spiritu,” Pope Pius XII wrote: “Ought we to explain the original text which, having been written by the inspired author himself, has more authority and greater weight than any even the very best translation, whether ancient or modern.”

The New American Bible follows that prescript: Composed over a period of 25 years by some 50 biblical scholars, it uses the original and oldest available texts of the sacred books — Hebrew for the Old Testament, Greek for the New Testament.



Q —
I know that for some years the Vatican has been studying the cause for sainthood of the French priest Leon Dehon. Will Pope Francis canonize him in spite of that priest’s anti-Semitic writings? (Tigard, Oregon)

A — Father Dehon, who died in 1925, was the founder of the priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In 1997, he was declared venerable by the Vatican. His beatification had been scheduled for April 24, 2005, but that ceremony was postponed because Pope John Paul II had died just three weeks earlier.

When Pope Benedict XVI was elected, he suspended the beatification process and set up a commission to conduct further studies of Father Dehon’s writings. Concern had been expressed — particularly by the archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger — about the priest’s anti-Semitic rhetoric. (In his 1898 “Social Catechism,” Father Dehon wrote that Jewish people “willingly favor all the enemies of the church.”)

Soon after Pope Benedict ordered the hold, Father Dehon’s own religious order’s publication Il Regno acknowledged in an editorial that Father Dehon’s writings had at times reflected the “widespread prejudices of the Catholic Church of the 19th century” regarding Jewish people.

In 2015, in off-the-cuff remarks while meeting in Rome with priests of Father Dehon’s congregation, Pope Francis made reference to “the almost-blessed Dehon.” Since that time, I have seen no further information on Father Dehon’s cause for sainthood — which makes me think the matter is still on hold.

Speaking to an Italian journal in 2015, Father Jose Carlos Brinon, a Spanish priest who had been charged with promulgating Father Dehon’s cause, said: “Of course I would like to see Leon Dehon beatified, but not at the cost of our friendship with the Jewish people.”