Confused over modern-day Bible application

Hi Catholic Answers!

First post and new to the forum, so apologies if I have missed any of the posting rules, correct any mistakes I make and I will revise my post accordingly.

A little about me: I have been brought up a Catholic, but with a brother studying Biology at Oxford (now weeks from graduation), I have questioned belief that was ingrained into me. I’m 19, male, and have 3 A grades at A-Level (for those outside the UK, this is the typical qualification type before entrance to university). I have a place secured at university to study Politics.

My question is: I struggle to understand how the teachings in the Bible are applied today - it appears as though selected teachings are applied, and others are entirely overlooked. Many of these ignored teachings are seen to be archaic, outdated and out of step with modern society, such as Leviticus 20:9, but **why is this outlook on Bible teaching not applied across the board? Why is one teaching more outdated than another? Why do we take heed of anti-homosexual Bible rhetoric, but not others? ** Please help!

Thanks

The Moral Law is unchanging (though it is revealed in greater fullness as time progresses). The earthly punishments may change as is fitting to the place where the society is at that time, but the basic moral law behind it does not.

For example, in the verse you cited, it says that those who dishonor their parents will be put to death. It may be that the putting to death part is not something that we should do these days, but the fact that one should honor their father and mother has not and will not change.

So no actual teaching is outdated at all. But some details of the ceremonial law or specific punitive things may no longer apply. I recommend reading the CCC.

Interpretation of certain Old Testament passages can get tricky, especially when taken out of context.

When Christ came, he fulfilled the Law and many of the Old Testament laws passed away. But not all of them. The Ten Commandments are still today (as they always have been) the benchmark of all morality.

The nice thing for us as Catholics is that we believe Jesus entrusted the deposit of faith to the Apostles and their successors (our present day bishops). He promised He would send them the Holy Spirit who would guide them into all truth. And He promised the gates of hell would never prevail over that Church.

When it comes to faith and morals, we know the Church will not get it wrong. So we look with confidence to the teaching of the bishops in union with the Pope regarding these issues. This is the short answer.

For the long answer, we would have to take a closer look at the biblical passages you are referring to and do a more complete exegesis of those passages. I know I read plenty of articles in my college courses that attempted to place the biblical prohibition against same sex activity and the biblical prohibition with eating pork on the same level. That is bad theology, though.

Nothing about Catholicism is anti-homosexual. If you would like to see how Scriptures applies to our daily lives then I would suggest reading the Catechism. Then you’ll get the full picture. What applies from Scriptures as well as what has been revealed by Christ through His One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The Bible is “not” the do all end all. Going with the Bible alone, you’ll never have a full picture of what it means to be Christian or to live an authentic life. Not by a long shot. If you are able to get your hands on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, I’d start there. There are also different Bibles with commentary. Just make sure to find one with both an Impramptur and a Nihil Obstat (as having both signifies the Church reviewed everything and says there is nothing counter to our beliefs stated in said book). I hope that could help you with a start.

I would also suggest reading some encyclicals from our Popes. One of my favorites is Humanae Vitae. Theology of the Body is another good one.

Those are just a few examples. The Deposit of the Faith is near endless in our Church. One could study every day of their lives and by the time they died from old age, they would barely put a dent in the sizable wealth of knowledge acquired by countless Saints over the centuries. Good luck!

So when the Pope does not allow the use of contraception, allowing the the prevalence of AIDs to increase astronomically in Africa, and does not condone abortion despite regularly occurring circumstances of pregnancy through rape, you have total confidence in that? In all honesty, I truly think the mantra and ethos of the Catholic church as an institution is damaging and harmful more than it is constructive and helpful.

Maybe you should do a little more research before making such sweeping condemnations of the Catholic Church. Especially since the Catholic Church is THE leading force in fighting against aids, providing care for those already inflicted, etc. Also you may very well want to look at the Uganada model. It is a tested and proven fact that education promoting abstinence decreases aids as it decreases in people having sex. Abstinence is proven to be more effective than contraception (which increases sexual activity and aids transmission). Speaking of africa, people there are still mostly genuine. They aren’t selfish and shallow and petty like us westerners, in our so called “civilized” societies. Try teaching abstinence in a public school in america and see what happens. The liberals will come screaming out of the woodwork calling that a failed policy and demanding kids learn about sex in elementary/primary school and have access to contraception in middle school and high school. Americans are such petty creatures (the majority of us anyways). No one is perfect, but come on. How far we have fallen as a society and as a people.

As SaintFrancis333 said, I would encourage you to do a bit more research.

We do well to presume good will on the part of even those we disagree with. Do you really imagine that our Pope and bishops are sitting around making arbitrary rules and ignoring all consequences? Take a closer look at what the actual teachings are and why they are taught. You owe it to yourself as a Catholic to be informed on the issues so as not to issue knee-jerk condemnations in line with the secular ethos.

The premise that condoms will magically reduce the occurrence of AIDS is a common and also wrong. The Church teaches absitnence before marriage and monogamy after. That is the only way to reduce the occurrence of AIDS to pretty much zero.

Chastity is far more effective then contraception at preventing the spread of AIDS. And I am absolutely confident in the teaching that it’s wrong to murder an innocent child regardless of whether or not the father is a rapist.

Please help!

Thanks

The Church is not “anti-homosexual”. The Church is, in fact, very supportive of people with same-sex attraction by wanting to help their souls get to heaven rather then telling them to sacrifice their relationship with God for the sake of some temporary pleasure.

The Moral Law of God is applied across the board…through** Scripture**, Sacred Traditions and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church… Part Three of Catechism… provided for your perusal (forgive the length)…but it is provided to give you a snapshot…of the Church’s Comprehensive Covering of Morality.

Pax Christi

1691-2557 PART THREE - LIFE IN CHRIST
1699-2051 SECTION ONE: MAN’S VOCATION: LIFE IN THE SPIRIT
1700-1876 [CHAPTER ONE: THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON
1701-1715 ARTICLE 1: MAN: THE IMAGE OF GOD**
1710-1715 IN BRIEF
1716-1729 ARTICLE 2: OUR VOCATION TO BEATITUDE
1716-1717 I. The Beatitudes
1718-1719 II. The Desire for Happiness
1720-1724 III. Christian Beatitude
1725-1729 IN BRIEF
1730-1748 ARTICLE 3: MAN’S FREEDOM
1731-1738 I. Freedom and Responsibility
1739-1742 II. Human Freedom in the Economy of Salvation
1743-1748 IN BRIEF
1749-1761 ARTICLE 4: THE MORALITY OF HUMAN ACTS
1750-1754 I. The Sources of Morality
1755-1756 II. Good Acts and Evil Acts
1757-1761 IN BRIEF
1762-1775 ARTICLE 5: THE MORALITY OF THE PASSIONS
1763-1766 I. Passions
1767-1770 II. Passions and Moral Life
1771-1775 IN BRIEF
1776-1802 ARTICLE 6: MORAL CONSCIENCE
1777-1782 I. The Judgement of Conscience
1783-1785 II. The Formation of Conscience
1786-1789 III. To Choose in Accord with Conscience
1790-1794 IV. Erroneous Judgement
1795-1802 IN BRIEF
1803-1845 ARTICLE 7: THE VIRTUES
1804-1811 I. The Human Virtues
1812-1829 II. The Theological Virtues
1830-1832 III. The Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit
1833-1845 IN BRIEF
1846-1876 ARTICLE 8: SIN
1846-1848 I. Mercy and Sin
1849-1851 II. The Definition of Sin
1852-1853 III. The Different Kinds of Sins
1854-1864 IV. The Gravity of Sin: Mortal and Venial Sin
1865-1869 V. The Proliferation of Sin
1870-1876 IN BRIEF]
1877-1948 CHAPTER TWO: THE HUMAN COMMUNITY
1878-1896 ARTICLE 1: THE PERSON AND SOCIETY
1878-1885 I. The Communal Character of the Human Vocation
1886-1889 II. Conversion and Society
1890-1896 IN BRIEF
1897-1927 ARTICLE 2: PARTICIPATION IN SOCIAL LIFE
1897-1904 I. Authority
1905-1912 II. The Common Good
1913-1917 III. Responsibility and Participation
1918-1927 IN BRIEF
1928-1948 ARTICLE 3: SOCIAL JUSTICE
1929-1933 I. Respect for the Human Person
1934-1938 II. Equality and Differences among Men
1939-1942 III. Human Solidarity
1943-1948 IN BRIEF
1949-2051 CHAPTER THREE: GOD’S SALVATION: LAW AND GRACE
1950-1986 ARTICLE 1: THE MORAL LAW
1954-1960 I. The Natural Moral Law
1961-1964 II. The Old Law
1965-1974 III. The New Law or the Law of the Gospel
1975-1986 IN BRIEF
1987-2029 ARTICLE 2: GRACE AND JUSTIFICATION
1987-1995 I. Justification
1996-2005 II. Grace
2006-2011 III. Merit
2012-2016 IV. Christian Holiness
2017-2029 IN BRIEF
2030-2051 ARTICLE 3: THE CHURCH, MOTHER AND TEACHER
2032-2040 I. Moral Life and the Magisterium of the Church
2041-2043 II. The Precepts of the Church
2044-2046 III. Moral Life and Missionary Witness
2047-2051 IN BRIEF
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS CHART
2052-2557 SECTION TWO: THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
2075-2082 IN BRIEF
2083-2195 CHAPTER ONE: "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOU GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND"
2084-2141 ARTICLE 1: THE FIRST COMMANDMENT
2084-2094 I. “You Shall Worship the Lord Your God and Him Only Shall You Serve”
2095-2109 II. “Him Only Shall You Serve”
2110-2128 III. “You Shall Have No Other Gods before Me”
2129-2132 IV. “You Shall Not Make for Yourself a Graven Image”
2133-2141 IN BRIEF
2142-2167 ARTICLE 2: THE SECOND COMMANDMENT
2142-2149 I. The Name of the Lord Is Holy
2150-2155 II. Taking the Name of the Lord in Vain
2156-2159 III. The Christian Name
2160-2167 IN BRIEF
2168-2195 ARTICLE 3: THE THIRD COMMANDMENT
2168-2173 I. The Sabbath Day
2174-2188 II. The Lord’s Day
2189-2195 IN BRIEF
2196-2257 CHAPTER TWO: "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF
2179-2257 ARTICLE 4: THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT
2201-2206 I. The Family in God’s Plan
2207-2213 II. The Family and Society
2214-2231 III. The Duties of Family and the Kingdom
2232-2233 IV. The Family and the Kingdom
2234-2246 V. The Authorities in Civil Society
2247-2257 IN BRIEF
2258-2330 ARTICLE 5: THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT
2259-2283 I. Respect for Human Life
2284-2301 II. Respect for the Dignity of Persons
2302-2317 III. Safeguarding Peace
2318-2330 IN BRIEF
2331-2400 ARTICLE 6: THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT
2331-2336 I. “Male and Female He Created Them . . .”
2337-2359 II. The Vocation to Chastity
2360-2379 III. The Love of Husband and Wife
2380-2391 IV. Offenses against the Dignity of Marriage
2392-2400 IN BRIEF
2401-2463 ARTICLE 7: THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT
2402-2406 I. The Universal Destination and the Private Ownership of Goods
2407-2418 II. Respect for Persons and Their Goods
2419-2425 III. The Social Doctrine of the Church
2426-2436 IV. Economic Activity and Social Justice
2437-2442 V. Justice and Solidarity among Nations
2443-2449 VI. Love for the Poor
2450-2463 IN BRIEF
2464-2513 ARTICLE 8: THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT
2465-2470 I. Living in the Truth
2471-2474 II. To Bear Witness to the Truth
2475-2487 III. Offenses against Truth
2488-2492 IV. Respect for the Truth
2493-2499 V. The Use of the Social Communications Media
2500-2503 VI. Truth, Beauty, and Sacred Art
2504-2513 IN BRIEF
2514-2533 ARTICLE 9: THE NINTH COMMANDMENT
2517-2519 I. Purification of the Heart
2520-2527 II. The Battle for Purity
2528-2533 IN BRIEF
2534-2557 ARTICLE 10: THE TENTH COMMANDMENT
2535-2540 I. The Disorder of Covetous Desires
2541-2543 II. The Desires of the Spirit
2544-2547 III. Poverty of Heart
2548-2550 IV. “I Want to See God”
2551-2557 IN BRIEF

The leading force AGAINST AIDs!? Unbelievable. The spread of AIDs to tens of millions in Africa can in large part be attributed to the refusal of the Catholic church to condone contraception. And if they are the leaders in the fight, then they bloody well should be, after exacerbating the problem to this outrageous extent.

The Church is not “anti-homosexual”. The Church is, in fact, very supportive of people with same-sex attraction by wanting to help their souls get to heaven rather then telling them to sacrifice their relationship with God for the sake of some temporary pleasure.

I find this offensive that you try to twist negative mantra into postive thinking - it’s not supportive to try to change them. Supportive is actually allowing their relationship to happen, not ‘saving their souls’. That’s supportive of saving their soul, not homosexual relations. Do not try and fool me. The Pope was very clear on his message that homosexuality is not acceptable.

The premise that condoms will magically reduce the occurrence of AIDS is a common and also wrong. The Church teaches absitnence before marriage and monogamy after. That is the only way to reduce the occurrence of AIDS to pretty much zero.

OF COURSE abstinence is the best way - IN THEORY. The evidence shows that this has not helped, especially when there are AIDs sufferers that wish to have intercourse - who are you to deny them that right? Who are you to dictate that, when he has intercourse, he risks impregnating his partner with a child who will be born with AIDs? But why would you prevent the use of a highly, highly effective method of contraception/STD control? Condom use IS effective, you cannot deny it.

contraception (which increases sexual activity and aids transmission

And are you really so ignorant that you think condoms actually increase AIDs transmission? Are you living under a rock!?!?!? Unbelievable. Read a ****ing science textbook.

Homosexual activity is not acceptable. And the Pope said this because he wants the souls of people with SSA to go to heaven.

And I’m not twisting anything. The Church’s only mandate from the day God established it has been to get souls into heaven. That’s its only reason for existing.

Abstinence isn’t helping because it isn’t being practiced. This is because it is not getting taught. To make matters worse, people in these countries are being given the empty promise of contraception ignoring the fact that condoms can break and that the pores in the latex are large enough to allow the HIV virus to pass through.

I’m not concerned about telling those with AIDS that they can’t have intercourse with people who are not infected… Isn’t that common sense?

Sex isn’t only about pleasure… if it was then we would all have pleasure buttons instead of specialized reproductive organs. The sexual act must be open to the possibility of life because that is what it was designed for.

Consider this, for example. Wearing a condom is similar to a person putting a plastic bag in his mouth to catch the pieces of food as he eats. Say this person wanted to enjoy the culinary pleasure of eating but didn’t want to deal with the consequences of gaining weight… Well, this would be logically equivalent to bulimia, which is a disorder (you won’t find a health professional who will say otherwise). The only difference between bulimia and contraception is that bulimia causes a person to have a disordered relationship with food, whereas contraception causes a person to have a disordered relationship with the person that they are having sex with. This is why 40% of babies born in America today are coming home to households where there is no father present.

Your monikor is “pursuing truth”

First post and new to the forum, so apologies if I have missed any of the posting rules, correct any mistakes I make and I will revise my post accordingly.

Your introduction above invites correction of mistakes so you can revise your postings.

My question is: I struggle to understand how the teachings in the Bible are applied today - it appears as though selected teachings are applied, and others are entirely overlooked.

You struggle with Bible teachings so the first point of correction is that the Church is based on the Bible alone. It is based on the Bible and Tradition and the teachings of the Church in summary are found in the Catechism.

I truly think the mantra and ethos of the Catholic church as an institution is damaging and harmful more than it is constructive and helpful.

Now, in consideration that you asked for correction in your OP and correction of mistakes to revise your postings…let me assist you.

You are wrong about the teaching of the Church and what you truly think needs correction.

Please repost what it is you want to ask in pursuit of the truth so as to be able to aid your struggle to understand. Please trust that I will do all I can to assist you.:slight_smile:

Here again you struggle and as you asked you need correction. Do you have a question that would aid this struggle?

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