Sandro Magister reports on a remarkable collaboration between the Italian Bishops Conference and the newspaper, La Repubblica, perhaps the leading "secularist" voice on the Italian scene.He writes:

In a few days, the daily "la Repubblica" and the weekly "L'espresso" will offer to the Italian public, in hundreds of thousands of copies and at a reasonable price, the entire Christian Bible, in a new translation edited by the bishops' conference (CEI), accompanied by extensive notes and illustrated with artistic masterpieces from all time periods.The work will be published in three volumes: the first with the Pentateuch and the historical books; the second with the wisdom books and the prophets; the third with the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the letters, and Revelation.The initiative is all the more unusual in that "la Repubblica" and "L'espresso" are the leading publications for secular opinion in Italy, and are often critical of the Catholic Church and the Christian faith itself.But this does not change the fact that, by offering the three volumes to the public, the two newspapers are presenting the Bible as "a book to have, to read, and to live," and moreover with the "guarantee of authority" of the Church's official translation.The three volumes are introduced by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa and president of the CEI, and by Giuseppe Betori, archbishop of Florence and coordinator of the illustrious scholars who produced the new translation, which took almost twenty years. A famous saying of Gregory the Great is cited on the jacket flap: "The divine words grow with him who reads them."

On his website Magister includes some of the introductory material to the volumes, which include Benedict XVI's intervention during the Synod of Bishops held in Rome in October on "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church." I had providentially been present at the Synod the day the Pope made his only formal intervention, and reported briefly on the Synod in the Christmas Issue of Commonweal.

Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is a longtime Commonweal contributor.

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