The New American Bible: making new amendments or eliminating traditional teachings

When I hear the word “booty,” I immediately think of pirates and gold. But according to the Huffington Post, some people would derive from it a sexual connotation. 

On March 9 — Ash Wednesday— The New American Bible, or the English-Language Catholic Bible, was released with changes. “Booty,” “Holocaust,” “virgin,” and “cereal” have been edited and replaced with “spoils of war,” “burned offerings,” “young woman,” and “grain,” respectively. “Holocaust” was changed in order to bring about a positive reference of giving offerings to God, and “cereal” was changed in order to indicate loads of wheat. “Virgin” was changed in order to elaborate the Hebrew word “almah.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has stated that the new translation allows for the Bible to be more precise, as “English is a living language” (retired auxiliary bishop of Milwaukee Richard Sklba, from The Blaze); they hope that the new words will give people a more modern understanding. John Kutsko from the Society of Biblical Literature told USA Today that the new version will be beneficial for today’s youth, stating that “young people are accustomed to change.”

But should there be changes to the Bible? It’s been 41 years since the original New American Bible was published, and many people may not approve of the change.  I, for one, don’t. If people are laughing at “booty” when context clues clearly tell them that it is referring to gold or riches, they are acting immature when they should be taking the book seriously. And if they don’t understand what context clues are, then they should just stick to a children’s Bible, which is less complex than a regular Bible. These new, modern, simple words give the implication that our vocabulary is not that robust. Also, if Bible experts keep making changes, then the influence of the Bible will be lost, because I can’t imagine anyone taking these simple words seriously. They seem to give the Bible more modern values, which are not as godly as they were in the past.

“Young woman” does not necessarily mean virgin, and if the youth know this, then they could take it to mean that having a baby in their teenage years is okay because it was in the Bible. I do not see a reason why “virgin” should be changed. After all, Christian doctrine says that Mary was a virgin when she conceived and gave birth to Jesus. If they take the word “virgin” out, it feels as though they are changing Christian teachings and taking away the miracle of the conception of Jesus. In my opinion, “virgin” fits better than “young woman,” anyway. 

Sure, we may be accustomed to change, but change is not always a good thing. However, I suppose if people read a different translation, then they would be reading words that work best for their own understanding and comfort, for not every translation uses the word “booty”or “cereal.” In fact, The New International and New King James versions do not use “booty” at all.  

I just prefer that they not change any part of the Bible, since, according to Christian beliefs, God does not change who he is or his love for us.