Catholics should not read the Bible?


#1

A lady on one of my chat boards wrote this:
"Do you use the Christian Bible in your church? Just wondering, because when I was Catholic, the church was “based” on the Bible, but didn’t really want us reading from it, “they” wanted to preach to us, so that we would not misinterpret! This is an “old-fashoined” teaching that still exists in many cath. churches, that’s why the services were all in Latin! It was taught that “lay” people (non-clergy) couldn’t interpret the Bible without being heretic. From what I’ve heard, most cath. churches have changed from this old format with “vatican II”…

I responded back that this was sadly a misunderstanding about the Church. I’m really not sure where to look up about this topic if she respondes back. Can you shed some light on this topic for me. Thank you.
Lora


#2

We use the Bible at every Mass with one or two readings, Psalms and a reading form the Gospels.

Also, the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

133
The Church “forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful . . . to learn ‘the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ,’ by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. ‘Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.’”


#3

A lady on one of my chat boards wrote this:
"Do you use the Christian Bible in your church? Just wondering, because when I was Catholic, the church was “based” on the Bible, but didn’t really want us reading from it, “they” wanted to preach to us, so that we would not misinterpret! This is an “old-fashoined” teaching that still exists in many cath. churches, that’s why the services were all in Latin! It was taught that “lay” people (non-clergy) couldn’t interpret the Bible without being heretic. From what I’ve heard, most cath. churches have changed from this old format with “vatican II”…

This is absolutley not why the Masses were, and many still are, in Latin. Latin was the universal language used by the Church. Latin was also used because of the fact that many Catholics gather who do not speak the same language and we can all attend Mass together. There is no such thing as a Hispanic Church, Asian Church etc…we can all be together praising God. Also, just as a husband and wife who are lovers have a “special” language you know, special names etc for each other, so the Church has a “special” language when she lifts her voice to God, her Lover.

I would also point out as the other poster already has that the Catechism expressly tells us to read the Scriptures. Encyclicals have been printed on this topic as well. Nowhere has the Catholic Church said that we cannot interpret the Scriptures…that is still required since the Church has not dogmatically spoke on every topic! But, when we interpret, we are to keep within the Church’s teachings. Why? Because Christ promised that the gates of hell would not prevail and She is the pillar and foundation of all Truth.


#4

Thank you both so much. One thing she mentions in her response was that the church has changed her teachings since Vatican 2. Where can I go to show her that the church has always wanted us to read the Bible. The quote from St. Jerome is a great one. Any others?
Thanks
Lora


#5

[quote=mamatomany]A lady on one of my chat boards wrote this:
"Do you use the Christian Bible in your church? Just wondering, because when I was Catholic, the church was “based” on the Bible, but didn’t really want us reading from it, “they” wanted to preach to us, so that we would not misinterpret! This is an “old-fashoined” teaching that still exists in many cath. churches, that’s why the services were all in Latin! It was taught that “lay” people (non-clergy) couldn’t interpret the Bible without being heretic. From what I’ve heard, most cath. churches have changed from this old format with “vatican II”…

I responded back that this was sadly a misunderstanding about the Church. I’m really not sure where to look up about this topic if she respondes back. Can you shed some light on this topic for me. Thank you.
Lora
[/quote]

I know a Catholic woman who says the same thing. Sounds horrible at first, but then when I think of what some of my protestant schoolmates used the bible for (prooftexting anti-Catholic scripture), it ain’t so bad.


#6

All the great saints, lay and clergy alike, were deep into Scripture. The problem lies in people taking it upon themselves to formulate doctrine and dogma from their own opinions based on what they think they understand of this Bible passage or that. But, there is absolutely nothing wrong with reading the Bible for one’s own spiritual growth and devotion and that of others.


#7

[quote=mamatomany]"Do you use the Christian Bible in your church? Just wondering, because when I was Catholic, the church was “based” on the Bible, but didn’t really want us reading from it, “they” wanted to preach to us, so that we would not misinterpret! This is an “old-fashoined” teaching that still exists in many cath. churches, that’s why the services were all in Latin! It was taught that “lay” people (non-clergy) couldn’t interpret the Bible without being heretic. From what I’ve heard, most cath. churches have changed from this old format with “vatican II”…

I responded back that this was sadly a misunderstanding about the Church. I’m really not sure where to look up about this topic if she respondes back. Can you shed some light on this topic for me. Thank you.
Lora
[/quote]

Nonsense!!

Back in the 1940s, we ahd Bible Study in Catholic schools, with little brown books containing the sections we were studying. Every Catholic home had a copy of the Douay-Rheims Bible.

And when the Mass was in Latin, the scripture readings were in the vernacular.


#8

**Catholics are the only denomination who are required and instructed to follow Gods WHOLE Word in the BIBLE both OT and NT. **

Sara


#9

when I was growing up Catholic, I was taught that we were not to read the Bible on our own, because we might misinterpret it. We had a Bible, but we were only to read the Gospels, and reread what the Sunday readings had been and further reflect on the homily that had been given on them.

Then, in high school, (we did each have a Bible and read together in religion class) I forgot my Bible at school, and picked up the home Bible, I was shocked that in the front there was an indulgence given for reading the Bible!

So clearly, it was not church teaching, but some local misunderstanding, that we were not to read the Bible, because here was the Vatican, urging us to read.

At that point, I began to read the Bible in earnest.

Perhaps the earlier belief I had was given to me in elementary school, they might actually have told us not to read the Bible on our own as children, because we might misinterpret, and certainly there is much a child would not understand.

cheddar


#10

Many homes in the old days and some nowdays had a large family Bible which mostly would just sit there as it was too big and not handy to read often. There is a story that circulates in my wifes family (I have heard it from several different family members of their family, each time they complain about the Church), about a priest and one of their relatives who just bought one of these large decorated Bibles and who brought it to the priest. The priest said to her that it was no good to read and to put it up on a stand so it can be seen. They use this as common knowledge that the Church doesn’t encourage Bible reading.

In my family we were encouraged to read the Bible, we just had some lax catechesis so my brother was the only one who really read it. My other brothers and I rarely did anything like that and what is interesting is my brother who did read the Bible eventually went on to join a seminary while we kinda fell away from the Church.

God Bless
Scylla


#11

The claim that Catholics are not allowed to read the Bible is a Protestant canard, and is partially fueled by English politics.

The first Bible in English was the Wycliffe Bible, not a very good translation, and full of Wycliffe’s own political ideas. It was widely read in 14th Century England, and formed the ideological basis of the Peasant Rebellion of 1382. Among the leaders of the rebellion were Saxon priests (the Church, as the rest of the country was Norman in high positions, Saxons in low ones.)

After the rebellion was put down, the Wycliffe Bible was banned in England. It continued to be read, and the political movement that arose, Lolardry, was so radical that even Oliver Cromwell had to reject them.


#12

[quote=mamatomany]A lady on one of my chat boards wrote this:
"Do you use the Christian Bible in your church? …

Lora
[/quote]

You should have responded " Why yes we do. And i recomend that you should start doing so too, instead of reading that book written for that crazed homosexual king that you all seem to think was the “new messanger” of God".


#13

[quote=mamatomany]A lady on one of my chat boards wrote this:
"Do you use the Christian Bible in your church? Just wondering, because when I was Catholic, the church was “based” on the Bible, but didn’t really want us reading from it, “they” wanted to preach to us, so that we would not misinterpret! This is an “old-fashoined” teaching that still exists in many cath. churches, that’s why the services were all in Latin! It was taught that “lay” people (non-clergy) couldn’t interpret the Bible without being heretic. From what I’ve heard, most cath. churches have changed from this old format with “vatican II”…

I responded back that this was sadly a misunderstanding about the Church. I’m really not sure where to look up about this topic if she respondes back. Can you shed some light on this topic for me. Thank you.
Lora
[/quote]

Look what happend to Protestanism with everyone interpreting the Bible for themselves. Over 20,000 denominations who can’t agree with each other.


#14

[quote=Sirach14]Look what happend to Protestanism with everyone interpreting the Bible for themselves. Over 20,000 denominations who can’t agree with each other.
[/quote]

There’s a big difference between reading and studying the Bible on the one hand, and making your own interpretations in the face of the Magisterium on the other. (Especially by people who don’t speak the original languages, understand the world as it was then, and so on.)

Catholicism has always encouraged reading and studying, but also been protective of Christ’s message by correcting errors in interpretation.


#15

I’ve got a bible copyright 1958 which has the indulgence for reading it printed on the 5th? page :D.


#16

Catholics definitely shouldn’t read the Bible. Then they might actually start believing in Catholicism.


#17

[quote=mamatomany]Thank you both so much. One thing she mentions in her response was that the church has changed her teachings since Vatican 2. Where can I go to show her that the church has always wanted us to read the Bible. The quote from St. Jerome is a great one. Any others?
Thanks
Lora
[/quote]

I recommend you (and your friend) visit my web-page, Catholic Scripture Study. Not only will you find information about how the Church has always recommended Scripture reading, but you will find numerous CATHOLIC resources to help Catholics get started doing so. See the link below.


#18

[quote=mamatomany]Thank you both so much. One thing she mentions in her response was that the church has changed her teachings since Vatican 2. Where can I go to show her that the church has always wanted us to read the Bible. The quote from St. Jerome is a great one. Any others?
Thanks
Lora
[/quote]

Good topic!

Fidelis has some great info for you there at the linked site I’m sure. Let me recommend checking out Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical “Providentissimus Deus.” He was a late 18th Century Pope, clearly before V2. This Encyclical was promulgated Nov. 1893.

Let’s see, here’s a good quote from paragraph 2:
The solicitude of the Apostolic office naturally urges, and even compels us, not only to desire that this grand source of Catholic revelation should be made safely and abundantly accessible to the flock of Jesus Christ, but also not to suffer any attempt to defile or corrupt it, either on the part of those who impiously and openly assail the Scriptures, or of those who are led astray into fallacious and imprudent novelties.
[size=2]
Now, that encyclical is more on hermeneutic matters, but there’s enough in there to cast doubt on your chat poster’s statements.
[/size]
Also, at times when the church forbade people from reading Scriptures in certain places in different eras, there were reasons for it. From a Protestant viewpoint, those reasons should make sense, but oftentimes people don’t understand. From a Catholic viewpoint, the reasons make perfect sense. The Church is to guard the flock from error, and a source of error is bad translations of Scripture, which wouldn’t be such an issue unless the people were known to be reading the Bible already anyways.


#19

[quote=vern humphrey]The first Bible in English was the Wycliffe Bible, not a very good translation, and full of Wycliffe’s own political ideas. It was widely read in 14th Century England, and formed the ideological basis of the Peasant Rebellion of 1382. Among the leaders of the rebellion were Saxon priests (the Church, as the rest of the country was Norman in high positions, Saxons in low ones.)

[/quote]

Actually, the Wycliffe Bible was not the first English translation: catholic.com/thisrock/2002/0212fea3.asp Another great source to read is Graham’s Where We Got the Bible, which has a chapter on vernacular versions of the Bible in English before Wycliffe. Incidentally, for those who claim that the Bible was locked away from Catholics. it is interesting to point out that before the reformers, not only were Bibles available to the masses, but sumptuary laws were passed to “encourage” people to buy them, so intent was the church to get into the people’s hands.

Anyway, the next time someone makes the claim that the church forbid Catholics from reading the Bible, put the burdon of proof on that person. Ask for any church decree, council decision, or papal encyclical, etc. that states that Catholics are forbidden to read the Bible in general (as opposed to a specific heritical version).


#20

Went to Catholic schools pre-Vatican II, and we had Bible readings each day in 7th and 8th grades.


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