Translating the Sacred Scriptures does take quite a bit of study. There are many processes of the historical criticism to wade through, many processes of historical philology and historical linguistics to thoroughly understand, not to mention the semantics as understood by the speakers and inspired authors and listeners back in the day. There is that, but that’s not all.
There is also faith as distinct from theology, as distinct from our own assent to the faith (the most basic form of theology). We also call that theology faith, but that kind of faith, really just our theology and our assent to it, is not revealed. It is a human work. Theology is based on revealed data, but theology a human understanding of that which is revealed. Faith which is supernatural (that is, apart from our human assent that we also call faith but is different from the supernaturally infused virtue of faith), if that supernatural faith is enjoyed with supernatural charity and supernatural hope, well, it purifies much of the limitation we would otherwise put on our own theology, our own understanding of the faith. For then we have no fear of understanding the truth more fully, for we are in love, and love casts out such fear. Faith, then, frees reason to be applied to the data of revelation to come up with a more robust theology, and, therefore, a more robust and faithful, as it were, translation of the Scriptures.
If our hearts are full of hate and we are hopeless, darkly congratulating ourselves for knowing the faith, even what we think we have will be taken away. Our hearts and minds and souls will be full of the worst fear and we will not for second want to actually more robustly understand the faith by way of a faithful theology. We will not only settle for that which is lesser, but will insist on it with all cynicism and hatred for all those who would make an attempt to bring us closer to the truth. Damn them all we would say.
If Pope Francis would like to do something in good faith, why make ad hominem attacks against him as if he absolutely could do nothing except in bad faith? Why? Because those doing this have zero training in Biblical criticism. They have nothing else but ad hominem attacks. Damn the damn Pope, they say. We don’t like what he’s done with other things, so we damn him no matter what, even if he attacks Satan, promotes Eucharistic adoration and promotes prayer. Damn him anyway and always. He can never do anything right.
What are such people afraid of? Why such dark congratulations for themselves?
It reminds me of those non-Catholic fundamentalist Christians who hold that The King James Bible is inspired and is the only Bible ever to have existed, even while they ignore that there are almost uncountable versions and retranslations of the King James Bible itself.
Lord, have mercy on us all.
From Pius XII:
13. We also, by this Encyclical Letter, desire to insure that the work may not only proceed without interruption, but may also daily become more perfect and fruitful; and to that end We are specially intent on pointing out to all what yet remains to be done, with what spirit the Catholic exegete should undertake, at the present day, so great and noble a work, and to give new incentive and fresh courage to the laborers who toil so strenuously in the vineyard of the Lord.
14. The Fathers of the Church in their time, especially Augustine, warmly recommended to the Catholic scholar, who undertook the investigation and explanation of the Sacred Scriptures, the study of the ancient languages and recourse to the original texts. However, such was the state of letters in those times, that not many – and these few but imperfectly – knew the Hebrew language. In the middle ages, when Scholastic Theology was at the height of its vigor, the knowledge of even the Greek language had long since become so rare in the West, that even the greatest Doctors of that time, in their exposition of the Sacred Text, had recourse only to the Latin version, known as the Vulgate.
15. On the contrary in this our time, not only the Greek language, which since the humanistic renaissance has been, as it were, restored to new life, is familiar to almost all students of antiquity and letters, but the knowledge of Hebrew also and of their oriental languages has spread far and wide among literary men. Moreover there are now such abundant aids to the study of these languages that the biblical scholar, who by neglecting them would deprive himself of access to the original texts, could in no wise escape the stigma of levity and sloth. For it is the duty of the exegete to lay hold, so to speak, with the greatest care and reverence of the very least expressions which, under the inspiration of the Divine Spirit, have flowed from the pen of the sacred writer, so as to arrive at a deeper and fuller knowledge of his meaning.
16. Wherefore let him diligently apply himself so as to acquire daily a greater facility in biblical as well as in other oriental languages and to support his interpretation by the aids which all branches of philology supply. This indeed St. Jerome strove earnestly to achieve, as far as the science of his time permitted…
/// But today what we hear is that those who follow the venerable Pope’s directions are to be likewise condemned with bitter cynicism and fear…