Vulgate ‘She’ instead of ‘He’ for hundreds of years

22 April 2003
Dr G. Pell, Catholic Archbishop of Sydney
276 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Your Grace,
   When I heard that the Catholic Church had altered the Bible, I felt hurt. I was told about this scripture verse, and remembered the statues and pictures I see of the Blessed Virgin Mary with her foot on a serpent's neck:
   I looked at Genesis 3:15:
15. I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. 1
   In the Anglican Authorised (King James) Version the verse is:
15. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 2
   This explanation given by a Catholic bible translator (approved by the Church) Monsignor Knox, 1954, in his footnote relating to the verse, is:
1 For 'she' and 'her' the Septuagint Greek has 'he' and 'his'; the Hebrew text also, as it has come down to us, gives 'he', or perhaps 'it'. But most manuscripts of the Latin version have 'she', which plainly gives a better balance to the sentence. . . . 3
   I understand that the change from the original languages to the Latin, from "he" to "she" and from "his" to "her," was made before or around the time of the arranger of the Latin Vulgate Version, St Jerome (340-420 A.D.), a Doctor of the Church. [NOTE: The writer later announced he had no evidence as to whether Jerome made the change. NOTE ENDS.] It is also recorded that the Vulgate was declared authentic by the Council of Trent (1545-63). Even so, the Council ordered a revision and correction of the Vulgate's "currently corrupt editions. This revision is the usual Latin Bible of the contemporary Roman Catholic Church (q.v.) A modern reworking of it has been under way since 1907." 4
   A translation direct from Hebrew, made in 1927, had "it" and "its". The Good News Bible 1976 used the inclusive term "their" to represent the "offspring." The New World Translation, revised 1984, used "he/him," and the inter-Church Jerusalem Bible, including the one with the Catholic imprimatur, did not use "she/her."
   However, it is a fact that in the most-used [by Catholics] English translation, the Rheims-Douai Version, the false words "she/her" were official and were being printed right up to the mid-20th century (in spite of the "revision" and "reworking" mentioned above), and possibly are still being printed.
   Question 1: Why did the Catholic Church use the false words "she/her" for more than 1500 years?
   Question 2: What benefit would it have been to the Church leaders to do this?
   Question 3: Why are images illustrating this falsehood published in books and venerated in churches?
   Question 4: How could such falsity even begin, let alone continue for 1500 years, considering the Church's doctrines of the sole way to salvation, magisterium, and infallibility?
   Question 5: Has this error been ordered to be removed?
   Question 6: Are there other frauds or forgeries to be removed from the Scriptures? Please would you publicly explain all this.
                Yours faithfully,   [Name supplied]      
CathApbSydney ScriptFraudHer 22Apr03.doc (Word 2000)

1 Holy Bible, Douay Version, 1956 (orig. N.T. 1582, O.T. 1609), Catholic Truth Society, London, O.T. p 4
2 Holy Bible, Authorised Version (King James) 1958 (orig. 1611), British & Foreign Bible Society, London, p 7
3 The Holy Bible, School Edition, Knox Version, 1957, Burns & Oates, Macmillan & Co Ltd, London, O.T. p 3
4 Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, 1979, Funk & Wagnalls, New York, Vol 24, p 382 a.
Please read Dr Pell's reply, and the replies of others

[Bible product of tradition, No falsification whether masculine or feminine pronoun is used: Dr Pell]

[Coat of arms]
Polding Centre
133 Liverpool Street
Sydney NSW 2000

7th May 2003.
[Name, address]

Dear [name supplied],
   Thank you for your letter of 22nd April 2003 concerning some of the finer points of the translation of the scriptures.
   I think it is important to be clear that the bible is the product of tradition, specifically the tradition established by the early Christian church which continues today in the teachings of the Catholic Church. It is within this tradition that the vagaries of scriptural translation must be understood.
   In my mind the clear question is whether any falsification of God's word results from errors in translations. In the particular example set out in your letter I do not think it is of great significance whether the masculine or feminine pronoun is used. The crucial point is that the meaning is preserved and faithfully rendered, namely that the enmity between Satan and the human race was there from the beginning and continues through the generations unappeased.
   I hope these few thoughts are helpful and with every good wish,

Yours sincerely,
+ George Pell

[Latin feminine explains reversal of Hebrew: Pope's rep.]
        [Coat of arms]
PO Box 3633
Manuka  ACT  2603

25 August 2003

Dear [Name supplied]

        I received your letter of 17th instant.
        In Latin, "stirps" is feminine. This explains the concordance. But you may consult your parish priest on the matter.
        With kind regards, I remain

                        Sincerely yours
                        Archbishop Francesco Canalini
                        Apostolic Nuncio
[Name, address]

[Unable to add anything, always been ‘her’: Parish Priest]
Tel: (08) 9447 6225
Tel: (08) 9246 2692

September 19, 2003

[Name and address supplied]

Dear [Name supplied]
In reply to your letters, I apologise for not answering your letter of 28 August.
   When I saw the research you had done on this subject, I doubted whether I would be able to add any further to the subject.
   Having now seen what the Apostolic Nuncio had to say, my position is confirmed. With the resources available to me, I am unable to add anything.
   I have always understood the conflict was between the serpent and 'her' or 'woman'.
Yours sincerely,
Fr Vincent Conroy
Parish Priest

[It was only early translations that were wrong: Archbishop]
St Mary's Cathedral
17 Victoria Square, Perth
Western Australia 6000
[Coat of arms]    _____________________________________________________________________________
Telephone (08) 9223 1350
Facsimile (08) 9221 1716
22 September 2003
[Name, address]
Dear [Name]

In reply to your question about Genesis 3:15, it would seem that early English translations opted for "she" rather than "he" because of the pronoun referring to "seed" has to be feminine. Many Catholic spiritual writers presumed the "she" was Mary, Mother of Jesus.
   However it now appears that all scripture scholars accept that Genesis is referring to the seed of the woman, which is ultimately Jesus, the Messiah. It makes sense that Jesus Christ would be the one to crush the head of the serpent.
   The error is not in the original text, only in early translations.

With best wishes,
Yours sincerely in Jesus Christ
Most Rev B.J.Hickey
Archbishop of Perth

   [COMMENT: Archbishop Pell's reply is deplorable because Rome teaches that (1) The Scriptures were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and have God as their author (so are not just a "product of tradition"), (2) It is wrong to deceive people, and (3) The Catholic Church has Divine authority to distinguish male and female rights and responsibilities in all sexual, marriage, procreation, and clergy matters. The Church claims it is the arbiter of "Natural Law." Why then is it happy to confuse "he's" and "she's" by deception?
   The Papal Nuncio's reply to a similar letter sent on 17 Aug 2003 was also unacceptable. The critic replied on August 28: "Regarding the Latin, the original of Genesis was in Hebrew, not Latin." He went on to repeat Monsignor Ronald Knox's footnote, and then wrote "The very fact that he wrote 'most manuscripts of the Latin' shows that SOME manuscripts of the Latin had preserved the correct original meaning, and did not contain the novelty."
   The critic then quoted Gerhard von Rad (originally in German 1956), 1966 English edition, pages 89 to 90, in which he disagrees with the early Church's exegesis that this was a prophecy of the Messiah, generally expected to be a "he."
   The critic averred that this showed that the early Church was working from the original Hebrew plus the Greek Septuagint translation, and possibly honest Latin translations. He repeated the question about what benefit was it to make the change, and added a question, "When and where was the false translation made?"
   (This question was asked because the correspondent remembered that one scripture forgery had been made around the year 800 (see below). Also, after the invention of printing Pope Sixtus V issued an edition (the Sixtine bible) of the Latin Vulgate in 1590. It was withdrawn and suppressed two years later by Pope Clement VIII, supposedly for the inaccuracy of its printing. This Pope issued Latin Vulgate editions in 1592, 1593 and 1598 (the Clementine bibles), differing from Pope Sixtus's edition in about 3000 places.
   The writer does not know if Pope Clement was removing errors, or putting errors into the bibles he caused to be printed and distributed. That was why the writer was not then sure that it was Jerome who made the change of "he" to "she", as he had claimed in paragraph 5.)
   No reply had been received by Feb 10, 2006.
   (Note: As the Papal Nuncio had written, the Latin word "stirps" is feminine. It means a plant's stem or trunk, or humans' offspring or family, or foundation, origin. As stated above, the gender of a Latin word cannot change the meaning of any document in Hebrew, let alone one hundreds of years earlier. In fact, no matter what language we translate for the word "seed," it cannot change the pronoun "he" into the pronoun "she."
   But the word stirps does not seem to be in the 3rd chapter of Genesis. The complainant discovered this on February 3, 2004, and sent a letter that night. As expected, no answer has been received by February 10, 2006, not even after a photocopy was sent after a change of Papal Nuncios. Ab omni peccato, libera nos, Domine. From every sin, deliver us, Lord. )
   On 22 April a letter similar to the one to Dr Pell was sent to the Vatican. Two follow-up letters have been sent to Dr Pell to help him see why changing the meanings of Scripture was wrong, but no answers to these had been received by February 10, 2006.
   Acting partly on the advice of the Papal Nuncio, on August 28, 2003, similar letters were sent to the correspondent's parish clergyman and to the Catholic Archbishop of Perth, and follow-up letters giving the Papal Nuncio's reply on 16 Sep 03.
   The local clergyman replied by a letter (see above) dated September 19, 2003, which like the others does not answer the six questions. His last sentence suggests that he is comfortable that he had always understood it to be the incorrect "she".
   The Perth Archbishop's answer was received on 23 September, saying that the error was not in the original text, but only in early translations. The inquirer doesn't know how many centuries the heresy has been taught! And the Perth archbishop is probably not even right about the Messiah, as the scholar von Rad explains above. Perth Archbishop Hickey is quite wrong when he says "it would seem that early English translations opted for 'she' rather than 'he'." A closer look at the correspondent's quotation of Ronald Knox's bible footnote quoted in the first letter would have shown this: it was "most manuscripts of the Latin version" where the error had been inserted, not in the (we hope) later English translations. But, observe, not ALL the Latin manuscripts had the heresy, so a prudent Church would have checked back to the original language, the Hebrew, and probably compared it with the Septuagint Greek.
   In summary, none of the answers could give confidence in them having "Divine guidance," nor in them being outraged or even slightly concerned that the crime of forgery had been committed, and that millions of people had been deceived. None of the answers mentioned the incorrect statues, pictures, and sermons of Mary crushing the serpent's head, nor its use in proving new dogmas!
   On October 16 2003 the five recipients were sent a circular letter, addressed to the Vatican's official newspaper Osservatore Romano and put on the internet at , headed "Transgender Scriptures!" and containing a potted version of each of the four answers received. An enclosure was of pages 2 to 3 of a webpage "Spurious changes to the Bible," , by Faith Clarity Campaign , (sighted Oct 16 2003). This discussed the Trinity support verse 1 John 5:7, pointing out that it was forged in Latin around the year 800, and deceived Western scholars so badly that it had been used as a proof text by St Thomas Aquinas in a book finished in 1264. The letter also gave Bruce M. Metzger's "Other familiar passages that don't belong in the Bible."
   Although an e-mail went to Osservatore Romano giving the Internet address at which the letter could be accessed on-line, and the newspaper plus the other five recipients were sent the letter by post, none have answered by February 10, 2006. To quote the Good Book, "Who hath believed our report?" (John 12:38, Romans 10:16)

   Been "he" and "his" for 50 years in a U.S. RC version! On November 8 2003 the inquirer saw another RC bible, the 1953 Confraternity, which uses a United States translation for a large part of the Hebrew Scriptures, from Genesis to Ruth. (see below)
   God's punishment to the serpent is there at Genesis 3:15, with the correct words "he" and "his". More importantly, there's a footnote carefully stating that the "seed" is Jesus, the Messiah. (This is probably incorrect too, if Gerhard von Rad and other scholars are to be believed. And, why not ask what a rabbi thinks!)
   The official description is: The Holy Bible; Catholic Action Edition, Copyright 1953 by Catholic Books Inc, Goodwill Publishers, Gastonia, North Carolina, United States of America. Nihil Obstat by Bernard L. Rosswog, OSB, STD, Censor Librorum; and Imprimatur of + Vincent G. Taylor, OSB, DD, LLD, Abbot-Ordinary, Diocese of Belmont Abbey Nullius.
   So, a fair question is, why didn't the Catholic archbishops who received the enquiry letter find time to check the Confraternity Bible, or to peruse a reference book by an expert or the internet, instead of just dashing off incorrect defences of what they perceived to be the status quo? The Church scholars have known all along that "he" is really "he", not "she"! Why don't the ordinary "teaching leaders" disseminate the truth?
   DETAILS from the Internet about: Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Translation, 1953. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: "The editors have incorporated in this new edition of the Holy Bible the better translations which modern Bible scholarship has put at their disposal. The Old Testament, in prose paragraph format, is the venerable Douay Version , with the exception of the first eight books (Genesis to Ruth), translated by members of the Catholic Biblical Association of America under the patronage of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. In addition, the Book of Psalms is a new English translation from the new Latin version approved by Pope Pius XII. The New Testament is the newly revised version of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.
"Abbreviation CCDT; Released: 1953; Contents: Old Testament, Apocrypha, New Testament; Source Used: J. C. Wilfert Company (1953); Location: Rockwall County Public Library, Rockwall, Texas." -- . COMMENT ENDS.]

• Among attempts to inform the RC Church about past defacements of the Scriptures, on April 22, 2003 a letter was sent to the Catholic Voice, PO Box 3089, Canberra ACT 2601. This short letter contrasted the RC Douay and the Church of England Authorised Version's translations of Genesis 3:15, and quoted a footnote of the RC-approved Knox translation which says that "he/his" is what the Hebrew original meant, and what the ancient Greek translation called the Septuagint meant. No answer was received up to Feb 10, 2006.
• Another attempt to get the RC Church to admit that its Vulgate Latin and Douay English translations are in error was made on March 12, 2004, by letters to the Catholic Enquiry Centre in NSW, Australia, plus a kind of "Catholic Answer" through The Record in Perth, and The Catholic Leader in Brisbane. This letter contrasted the Genesis 3:15 translations in two RC-approved translations, the Douay "she/her" and the New Jerusalem "it/its". (Although this particular letter did not say so, the writer contends that the correct words are "he/his", following the Hebrew original.)
   Also the letter contrasted those two translations of 1 John 5:6-8, which has the word Christ becoming Spirit, and the verse "Three who give testimony in heaven ..." vanishes. The latter forged insertion, allegedly done around 800 AD, unfortunately also found its way into the Church of England bible of 1611. Close readers of those verses will notice that the words "in earth" had also been included in the old translations; modern translations don't have those words.
   The writer would be surprised if any reply is received. Since the correspondence began on 22 April 2003 the RC Church has had ample time to adopt the correct Jesus-like attitude. (No reply yet: Aug 26, 2010.)
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First letter written 22 April 2003, copied from the Microsoft® Word 2000© original with Microsoft® WordPad© on 02 July 2003, to WWW 08 Jul 03, Dr Pell's reply displayed in full on 18 Aug 03, Papal Nuncio's reply displayed 6 Sep 03, Fr Conroy's reply displayed 22 Sep 03, Archbishop Hickey's reply later displayed, last spellchecked with Ms Word on 19 Jan 04, last modified on 26 Aug 2010
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