Joe Biden wanted to take an oath on a particular bible: a Bible from Douai, present in his family for one hundred and twenty-seven years. It is named after the city in northern France in which it was made. The Douai library (North) also has an original version. The 3,000 pages were printed between 1582 and 1610, it is the first Catholic bible written in English. “They had to assemble each lead character by hand”, specifies Jean Vilbas, curator of the library.
During the Renaissance, English Catholics were persecuted in their kingdom. They then cross the Channel and go into exile on the continent, in Douai. “It was a city where there was already a particular influence, because there was the university”, enlightens Marie Delecambre, president of the William Allen association. The cardinal then decides to create an English seminary to train priests “who could return to England and preach the good word”. Joe Biden is only the second Catholic American president in history, after John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who in 1961 was also sworn in on a Bible from Douai.
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