Catechism over the Bible?

My father (who is quite anti-Catholic)…(I was raised Bible believing non-denominational Christian and came Home 11 years ago to Mother Catholic Church.)…my father said that he ccould show me in the Baltimore Catechism (I am assuming he meant “Baltimore” because he actually said “St. Louis Catechism”) where it states that if the Bible and the Catechism contradict one another, the Catechism takes precedence. Can anyone confirm this for me (yes or no)?? I have looked as much as I can and cannot confirm this to be true. Can anyone tell me if there is any such leading thing in the Catechism?? thank you.


If by Catechism, you’re referring to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, this one is easy.

The CCC (Post vatican 2) did not exist when the Baltimore Catechism(Pre vatican 2) was produced. So how could the Baltimore Catechism compare the CCC to the bible?


Having a solid background in Baltimore Catechism (never heard of St. Louis) The answer is simple, because the Bible contradicts itself! The Bible is a translation of what people ment, there are several places where the Bible makes obvious contradictions. I can’t think of them now, having never seriously read the Bible…(I am trying to though)

Any contradictions are only “apparent”, not real.

i believe one may be the feeding of the 5000 in which there are apparent contradictions, but not real ones.

Right, NO contradictions, just context that must always be accounted for and translations that are incomplete in their thought or in social appreciation.

The Bible contradiction issue is almost always a weak argument by persons with poor studies on the subject. They may study the contradiction issue but do not study the text as a whole; missing the context and personality of the document.



If by Catechism, you’re referring to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, this one is easy.

The CCC (Post vatican 2) did not exist when the Baltimore Catechism(Pre vatican 2) was produced. So how could the Baltimore Catechism compare the CCC to the bible?


I think sjput was referring to a comparison of the Baltimore Catechism to the Bible.

I don’t remember enough of the Baltimore Catechism, but you can read at least part of it here:
I doubt if it ever had any “authority” from Rome like the Catechism of the Catholic Church which we have now.
In part four of the BC is this: “Do not be satisfied with the little you learn of Him in the [this] Catechism”

The Baltimore Catechism was a series of four textbooks for learning the faith, primarily for elementary school children.

[ web site]No. 1 for First Communion classes.
No. 2 for Confirmation classes.
No. 3 for two years’ course for Post-Confirmation classes.
No. 4 for Teachers and Teachers’ Training classes.

**Cathechism of the Catholic Church

The Magisterium of the Church

85** “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.” This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

86 “Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith.”


Any appearance of contradiction in the Sacred Literature is only through a **misunderstanding ** of the writings. That is why the Church decided in the first centuries after Christ which writings were Divinely Inspired and which were not. From that decision it follows that any apparent contradictions are caused by a lack of understanding of the seemingly conflicting passages. Only the Church through its infallible magisterium can resolve the apparent conflict, because there can be no real conflict in the Word of God.

When reading Holy Scripture, it is most wise to reach back as far as practicable to the original writings chosen by the Church in those first centuries. The best we have is the **Latin Vulgate ** which in English would be the **Douay-Rheims ** translation of the Vulgate. Many other versions are either attempts to restate the passages in more modern and simple language or are perverted versions to match some schismatic revolt. This often introduces subtle errors in the first case or deliberate errors in the latter…

Catechisms do not have the guarantee of Divine Inspiration. It is hoped that the most accepted ones, especially in their revisions, have the least mistakes, and those mistakes to be the most benign. I personally read the Catechism of the Council of Trent and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In my early school days I learned from the Baltimore Catechism which covers the imporatant basics, but is not as detailed as the above references. This is not to say that Catechisms should be avoided; the opposite is true. Any one or all three of the Catechisms mentioned above have been reviewed carefully by orthodox authorities in the Church and should be read and re-read by every Catholic to learn the Truths of their Faith.

Reading the Bible should not entail searches for errors, because if one is reading an authentic translation, there are no errors. Once again, what **may seem to be ** a contradiction is an error in translation or, more likely, a misunderstanding by the reader. For a Catholic, it is not allowed to interpret any passages that have been defined by the Church in a manner opposed to that definition. It is also **extremely dangerous ** for one’s soul to interpret undefined passages in a manner that opposes long-standing traditional beliefs.

I think that you can safely assume that the Baltimore Catechism says no such thing. I have gone over the #2 and #3 fairly thuroughly. For one thing though in Question 23 of the #3, it clearly states that the Sacred Scriptures are the very Word of God, and were written under the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

If I were you, I would get a copy, look through it, and ask your dad to do the same. Once that statement can’t be found, maybe he will come to understand some of what he “knows” about the Catholic church is not true. Not to mention the fact it will get him to read information on the Catholic church even if all he is doing is trying to show why the Catholic church is in error!:smiley:

God Bless

I believe what he may be referring to is if there seems to be a conflict between the Catechism (Baltimore at that time) and the Scriptures It is the Scriptures that are probably being misread or misinterpreted. Many times people will misread the Scriptures and come to a conclusion that is in conflict with the teaching of the Catholic Church. Usually it’s called “Protestantism”.

Bro. Rich wrote: " Many times people will misread the Scriptures and come to a conclusion that is in conflict with the teaching of the Catholic Church. Usually it’s called “Protestantism”."

Heh heh, good one, Bro! I’m gonna have to remember that one! :slight_smile:

As a faithful Catholic I strongly believe there are errors and mistranslations in the Bible. St. Augustine admits the possibility of faulty manuscripts and incorrect translations. These are numerous small errors such as “wear sandals” and “don’t wear sandals”. The Church admits the last 11 verses of Mark were written by a later scribe. Many, many people on this very forum think that the NAB version is incorrect in numerous ways. I believe there are serious mistranslations in todays Bible. One example…“lead us not into temptation” has been change to…“put us not to the test”. The original “lead us not into temptation” was a huge theological error because God does not tempt us nor lead us into temptation. There are more errors like this in todays Bible.

Haven’t heard of the St. Louis Catechism, but my Baltimore (the low level one) doesn’t have it.

The warning can be taken to have a real meaning, even if we can’t find it in a catechism. I’ve met people who take a verse like Mat6:7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.”, and then they decide that what their parents taught them was all wrong and that they cannot pray the rosary because it repeats the hail mary prayer. Then it helps to take your catechism over the bible.

I am not saying the catechism contradicts the bible! Just that it is easy to misunderstand a verse of the bible and then get all confused and worried. Just follow the catechism, and go ask someone with more training if stumped by the bible. I suspect that is all that is meant. After all, otherwise anyone who reads the bible could get tied up in a knot over kosher food laws, etc.

Ask him to show you the verse.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit