Catholic school and scriptural literacy

Forgive me if you misinterpret this. I know a teacher who was raised in catholic school and later converted to the CoC. His testimony is interesting as I am considering Catholicism. He stated that he had never seen a bible or heard the whole gospel while in catholic school. He states that the only time who saw it was when there were marriages or funerals and his parents would document it. Later in life when he became CoC he called his mother telling her he had been re-baptized. She was confused and after he explained his conversion she started using profanity and vulgar language angry that her son left the church. This is not an internet story I personally heard it. What I was wondering is why did the supposed events in his testimony occur. I have heard anti-Catholics say that they don’t teach the gospel in Catholic school is that true-I am not trying to start a fight but with regards to people leaving the church often being taught in catholic school. Why also did when his mother heard of his conversion she used profanity and was angry? Can you explain why such an account is possible.

Hi Rock -

You never went back to the Thread you started on the Papacy - not even to merely thank Randy for the time to post information for you - even if you did not want to comment on the information in detail …

I am beginning to wonder again about your posts and question how you can say you are considering the Church … but in the spirit of welcoming the inquirer … let me try …

First - my mother used to say - for every person [be they a doctor, lawyer, dishwasher, or ditch digger] who graduated in the top 10 percent of their class there is one who graduated in the bottom 10 percent … and you can’t tell which is which by the shiny framed certificate hanging on the wall …

So - your friend is not accurate to say he never heard the gospel at a Catholic School … I am sure the requirements of the school included at least one School Mass per week [during the school day] where a reading from the Gospels is always given and discussed, explained, opened up in the homily. Also - in addition - as a practicing catholic family Mass every Sunday.

I will point out that whether a catholic youth attends public school or catholic school they are catechized - religious education, catechism classes or CCD - by any name - during these sessions I am sure the Gospels were taught along with other aspects of the Christian faith - I have taught religious education. Though to allow himself to be re-baptized is evidence that he failed to grasp important aspects of the faith.

Now - poor understanding of the Scriptures and the Christian faith abounds in every faith tradition - Catholic, Baptist and even in the Church of Christ *. Just as there are are people in every faith tradition who live and breath the scriptures and love Christ with their whole hearts.

Funny anecdote: Once a friend had attended a protestant church with a friend and they came to Mass the next week extolling the use of scriptures they experienced there … they even said - why everyone brings a bible to church and “they opened to the passages that the preacher talked about - why can’t we Catholics be more like them - we never hear the scriptures” … Me … :confused:

I said - gee we hear lots of scripture at church and as a former protestant [Church of Christ. Assembly of God, Methodist, Baptist and several ‘Bible’ churches] the amount of pure scripture heard during the Mass and other liturgies and the prayers of the Church is amazing … when I said this they asked me how I thought that - I said what do you think we hear at Mass with the 1st Reading, Psalm, 2nd Reading and the Gospel - not to mention just about every other part of the Mass - that’s all Scripture - the Bible

They looked at me confused and said “that’s not the Bible - that’s the Missal” Me … :eek: …

So let me repeat - Mother and Son …** remember** “for every person who graduated in the top 10 percent of their class there is one who graduated in the bottom 10 percent”*

Do you know any former Protestants who had experiences or knew others who had experiences which caused them doubt becoming catholic. Do you think anyone raised to see the Vatican as the great harlot and taught that in Sunday school is going to put that away easily. Check every post I have typed if you find any evidence of pot stirring or covert proselytization than you haven’t looked very far(I’m speaking tongue in cheek). I have no hidden agenda. For one I would get banned which to me isn’t worth signing up and then throwing it away. I came on this forum for one reason solely to inquire about the Catholic Church and to have my doubts as well as things I had been taught about you, catholics, the magisterium etc… Removed, none else. If you check every post you fill find I do my very best to show respect to other posters as well keep civil. I do know of people that come here just to proselytize or say Catholics are worshipping Satan or whatever-know they are getting banned and go back to wherever else and boast about it. That doesn’t interest me. If I were like that I wouldn’t have signed up rather I would be doing what they do in RL. If you still doubt ask yourself this-if I had any hidden agenda say to proselytize why would I state almost in every thread I start that I am considering Catholicism?! Don’t you think I would start different threads or say different things? I am disgusted by the whole idea of Internet activism whether it be for political, social, religious or otherwise it makes the activist look foolish and just uncouth. I am here for the reason I stated that and that alone for this thread I simply wanted a doubt addressed. I am thankful you responded. Now please be nice one day I may going to confession beside you!

It would help your posts to use paragraph notation - you know spit them up a little to make them easier to read …

Yes - to your first question above - I came into the Church from faith tradition and family that were very Anti-Catholic … I had a great uncle that held the highest position possible in the Masonic Lodge - my grandmother was Eastern Star … I live in a state where anti-Catholicism is alive and well to this very day …

I answered your post here … as to how your friend could say he never learned the scriptures in Catholic School … that maybe his perception of reality - but it is not possible …

Also - you do understand that Catholic Schools teach Arithmetic/Mathematics, English/Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Music, PE, Art, Spanish … all the subjects one finds in public schools in addition to Religion - and that non-Catholics send their children to Catholic Schools for the academics … I had a Muslim friend who sent his children to a local parish school … he desired the best education for his children :thumbsup:

Because Catholics are sinners too, they are imperfect, and some are worse than others.

I don’t know how he missed hearing the whole Gospel. Catholics hear quite a lot of the Bible by way of the readings at Mass. Those who attend daily Mass eventually hear most of the Bible. Those who attend only Sunday Mass still get quite a lot of it.

See this Q&A:
from USCCB - Questions about the Scriptures used during Mass
I went to Catholic schools from K to 12, and daily Mass was part of the program at least some of those years. Some students listen better than others. I think I became fairly familiar with Scripture by high school graduation, and more familiar since then via self-study and various Bible study groups hosted by Catholic parishes.

I’ve never heard of a Catholic school that did not have one period of catechesis. That’s not the same thing as Bible study. The Catechism is based on Catholic doctrine, which would include all of Scripture. But Catholics don’t teach “chapter and verse.” A lot of Catholics know things that are Scripturally-based, but have no idea what actual passage it comes from (and they might not even be aware that the teaching is based in Scripture).

It’s kinda like when people quote Shakespeare without knowing that’s what they’re doing. People will say, “It’s Greek to me” without realizing this is a line from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (the actual line is, “But, for my own part, it was Greek to me.”) Or, “he wears his heart on his sleeve” (adapted from Othello). “Parting is such sweet sorrow” is straight from Romeo and Juliet.

Catholics know more Scripture than they probably realize. 80% of the Catholic Mass comes straight from Scripture (not including any announcements at the end). But the Church does not emphasize citations. These are normally found in the footnotes of catechisms, which few people follow up on.

And this may be applicable:
“The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”
from The Merchant of Venice

Indeed. This is the short and the long of it.


I was a born and brought Methodist until I converted to the Catholic Church. Best thing that every happened to me. That was in 1992 and I have have never had a day’s regret or any doubts. My faith is stronger than ever.

I cannot comment on his individual circumstances, but I am a teacher in a Catholic primary school in the UK. His experience bears absolutely no relationship to what goes on in the school I teach in, or any other Catholic school I have been in. Scripture is at the core of religious education in a Catholic school, and the school ethos of a Catholic schools is based on the Gospel.

We don’t make the children memorise lines from the Gospel and we don’t expect them to remember exact chapter and verse, but that is not the point of the Gospel anyway. We teach it the Gospel and they know it. RE is the major subject in a Catholic school and pervades all areas of learning. As far as specific time allocation, English and Maths do get slightly more specific subject time (only slightly) but when assemblies, Masses, etc are taken into account RE ends up with more actual time. There is also the expectation that RE is brought into other subject areas where applicable. RE should be present in all subjects (which as a teacher is challenging to do sometimes).

Any school that behaved as the school you speak of would fail their diocesan inspection dismally and the management and governors of that school would be replaced.

Well of course she’s going to be angry (and yes many people sometimes do swear when they’re angry, even Protestants do that sometimes). And for him to be re-baptised is an insult to the Church. “We believe in one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins…”. To be re-baptised is to publicly state that your original Baptism was not a valid Christian Baptism. There is no such thing as ‘re-baptism’, either a Baptism is valid or it is not. By getting ‘re-baptised’ he is in effect saying that his mother, and all other Catholics, are not in fact baptised Christians.

That is too bad.

Well, it is easy to understand how a parent could be upset by such a revelation sprung on them over the phone.


Why is the sky blue? I mean, really, there is no answer for this. It is likely a combination of many things.

A family that did not practice the faith in their home as they should.

A fuzzy memory on the part of the story-teller. My kids in religious ed will “swear” they never heard of XYZ word, teaching, bible story, etc, and yet I know it’s not true because I personally taught that particular lesson to them in a prior year… They are not being deceitful, they honestly don’t remember being taught a particular thing. So, I would not rely on the memory of a person who says the “never” learned anything about the bible in Catholic school because that is just false on its face.

The Catholic school they went to perhaps was not the best school it could be.

These are all possible contributing factors, there may be others and certainly none of these particular guesses may be the case for that person. So really-- we don’t know and we would simply be guessing if we asserted anything.

Well, anti-Catholics have an agenda and likely also did not actually attend a Catholic school… so how would they know? If there is a Catholic school locally, why don’t you go visit it and inquire as to their religious curriculum?

Because she’s human. I don’t understand your question.


The only converts I know who have left the faith are ones who converted for the wrong reason-- for example to marry a Catholic and appease family pressures instead of because they actually believed in Church teaching. I have seen a few of those leave the faith after a divorce or even while still married b/c they married a basically non-practicing Catholic and got tired of being the one trying to get the family to Mass… so they went back to their old church. Very sad.

I converted 27 years ago and never looked back. I have no doubt at all that the Catholic faith is the fullness of truth.

It is difficult to overcome all kinds of irrational bigotry learned in childhood. It takes effort but it can be done.

“Why also did when his mother heard of his conversion she used profanity and was angry?”

I guess for the same reason Peter swore he did not know Jesus 3 times, and Judas betrayed Jesus and committed suicide. These were two disciples picked by Jesus. How do we explain that?

“He stated that he had never seen a bible”

To be saved, you never have to see one. Billy Grahm himself said this.
Holiness is not in the bible but in the heart.

May God our Father give you grace and peace.

And Jesus was clearly angry when dealing with the money-changers in the Temple. He may not have sworn, but he overthrew their tables.

The Catholic (Christian) faith is based on Apostolic Tradition. Some of that Apostolic Tradition was committed to writing to form the books of the New Testament of the Bible. However, as long as a person has access to that Apostolic Tradition in some form, it is not absolutely necessary for him to have personal access to a Bible in order to become a good and holy Christian. Literacy in general and Bible literacy in particular are very good things but any notion that they are necessary for salvation is wrong.

Prior to the invention of the printing press some 500 or so years ago, only the very rich could afford to own a Bible. Your average Christian didn’t own a Bible; your average Christian classroom, if any existed at the time, didn’t have a Bible. Even the average Christian community probably considered itself very blessed if there was one Bible among them for the public reading of Scripture at Sunday church services. So, Catholics have a very, very long history of teaching the Christian faith, in their homes and in their classrooms, without ready access to a Bible. The notion that Catholics need to change their accustomed method of instructing people in the Christian faith, simply because ready access to a Bible is now possible, is absurd.

The Catholic Church for its part officially encourages its members to read the Bible and under certain circumstances even offers them spiritual rewards (indulgences) for doing so.

It was unfortunate that the mother lost control and used profanity when she learned of her son’s apostasy from the Catholic Church, founded by Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind. Though her profanity-laced outburst was sinful, at least venially sinful, it was probably motivated by her love for her son and concern for his salvation. She probably took her son’s rejection of the Catholic Church as a rejection of Jesus Christ himself, at least in some sense, and rightly so. After all, Jesus said to the first leaders of his Catholic Church, “He who hears you hears me and he who rejects you rejects me.” (Luke 10:16) And, the author of Hebrews said, “Obey your [Catholic Church] leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you.” (Hebrews 13:17)

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