BY A STAFF REPORTER
THE growing interest of the Catholic Church in Bible translation and the wider field of production and distribution was referred to by Dr. John Watson, overseas general secretary, at the annual general meeting of the British and Foreign Bible Society on Wednesday.
He said that a small group of Bible Society leaders met an equally small group of Catholic leaders and scholars in Rome last January to consider whether there were not certain things we could do together better than we could by doing them apart.
Co-operation with Catholics was not something they had only now begun to think about. Already in 17 languages across the world Catholics were using translations produced by the Pible Societies. Moreover, there were some 20 other translation projects of the Bible Societies in which Catholic scholars were now working with Protestants.
"What encourages me about this growing co-operation among all the Churches is the hope that together we shall do our job better, for, with the rapid growth of the world's population, our task becomes more unmanageable and more urgent."
Dr. Watson said the society needed £250,000 as working capital to keep production and stocks turning. But contributions were not keeping pace with the demand. "Last year we received from the churches in this country £399,822 against £452,420 in 1965."
A record 93 million scriptures were distributed by Bible Societies throughout the world last year, he said, compared with 76 million for the previous year. The British society's share of this was 20 million.
"When it is remembered, however, that in counting the number of books circulated a whole Bible still counts one as against a portion, or even a selection, and when it is remembered th a our society produced 50 per cent of all whole Bibles circulated, you will see the measure of our achieve
"Last year also showed success in the sphere of scripture translation and revision," said Dr. Watson. "Again the world figure for the number of languages into which some part of the scriptures has now been put is 1,280, an increase of 30 over 1965. Our society's contribution to the global figure over the years now stands at 877 languages."