A group of Catholic women in Britain are supporting an online petition that asks the Church of England and Wales to reverse the decision to use the “gender-exclusive” English Standard Version of the Bible instead of the Jerusalem Bible translation at mass, The Christian Post reports.
“In choosing this translation over the inclusive Catholic version of the New Jerusalem Bible, the Bishops have chosen to exclude at least 50% of the ecclesial community,” reads the petition to Cardinal Vincent Nichols (Archbishop of Westminster and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
“Their choice of Bible translation can but speak of an attitude that continues to judge women second class citizens in the Church,” it adds. “Language shapes thoughts and attitudes, and the impact of rendering Holy Scripture in this way is to deny the inclusion of female disciples of Jesus, not only in the language of the liturgy, but in the good news of salvation.”
More than 350 people had signed the petition as of Monday morning.
The woman who started the petition, Bridget Kennedy, said there is an importance to the woman’s role in the Bible.
“It was a woman Jesus commissioned first Apostle of the Resurrection. It was the stories of the women of faith that Jesus heard the men repeating as they made their way together to Emmaus. The Bishops might have taken their lead from Jesus.”
When the change to ESV was first announced in Scotland, Sarah Parvis, senior lecturer in Patristics at the University of Edinburgh, said the decision isolated women.
“They really need to consider more carefully the pastoral impact of continuing to prevent Catholic women from recognizing themselves as referred to in the words of Scripture in this way,” Parvis said at the time, according to The Tablet. “The U.S. evangelical Protestant provenance of the ESV translation is also a concern.”
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.