Did the first vatican council have really uneducated priest and parishners?

I ask this because so many times I’ve heard former catholics on yahoo answers or pastors write that they were taught they didn’t need to read the Bible or the priest todl them they shouldnt because they wouldn’t understand it. I’ve heard some say that they were taught the only way jesus can hear our prayers is if we pray through Mary and ask for intercession. I’ve also heard some Sedevacantist say this as well. Yahoo answers is kinda like Dantes Inferno abandon all hope. It seems to be full of radical fubdamentalist nut jobs Protestant and Catholic alike. I have heard so many reasons why people left or think the Church is evil and usually there in their 50’s 60’s or older so they had to have grown up in the first vatican council or with parents who did. I watched a speaker once who talked about an excorcist that didn’t know scripture and wasn’t well versed in the Bible. Can’t rmember his name but he went from being catholic to seventh day adventist and I didn’t watch all of his video but he said some concerning things. I’m 26 so I’m glad I didn’t because I don’t think I would get much out of Latin Mass and fish on friday. Where are all these claims coming from?

I’m nearly 60 and my mother told me that they were not encouraged to (privately) read the bible when she was a girl…Nor forbidden mind you…but not encouraged either. As students they were told that the Church had already defined what was necessary - based on Scripture and Tradition - and so there was really no need for them to study the bible independently.
Of course - as ever - they were exposed to Scripture at every mass.
This is the extent of my personal knowledge of the matter.

I read in a history on Catholicism that in the post reformation period the Church assumed a sort of “siege mentality” and this may account for some of these things. Remember that in the "olden days’ (Pre Vat II…:D), Catholics really did not associate with protestants much. Catholics (and protestants too) tended to keep to themselves.
Under such a siege mentality, it would be natural for priests and various teachers of the faithful to discourage independent bible study since this was one of the mainstays of protestantism - - and frankly the bible IS a rather confusing volume.

Finally - as to the matter of uneducated priests and parishioners. This has varied over the centuries. Of course there has always a fairly large number of “uneducated” parishioners - the percentage of which will vary - and there were times when even the parish priests were rather poorly formed in the faith.

So - in answer to your general question - Yes there is some truth in the things you have heard. However - generally speaking - such broad accusations might sound rather damning, but they do not stand up well to close scrutiny in their particulars.


The church has changed in positive ways. True; reading the Bible was discouraged - now it is encouraged. True; a personal walk with Jesus was not encouraged - now it is. In Catholic School Catechism class the nuns answers to many questions were " because Mother Church says so." , when asked where can we find that in the Bible we were chastised.

At 66 years of age I love the Mass more as English is my language. I do not eat meat on Friday, although now another penance is acceptable, but a penance is still required; I do this because I love Jesus and His sacrifice was so much greater than anything I could do in a lifetime.

I believe in the Holy Catholic Church and I am grateful for Pope Francis.

You’re actually thinking of the second Vat council, which took place in the 1960’s. Many changes were implemented, new ways of the Church expressing the faith were introduced. All very good stuff, all very controversial to some.

The council convened during a time when western societies were in a sort of foment already. Many people left the Church at the time because they were already drawn to experimenting with anti-authoritarianism. Others left, usually later, because of abuses which took place as a result of some in leadership roles-as well as the general laity-perceiving the changes as a license to implement their own-usually liberal-ideas. We’ve only recently begun, IMO, to be able to better understand and put into place the wisdom which came out of that council, guided by the Holy Spirit.

Research for yourself, reading the council documents as well as the Catechism that came out of it. Additionally various works of all the popes who presided after the council shed invaluable light on the Church’s positions.

Ya, what happened?

The sacraments, devotions, virtues, commandments, were emphasized for catholics.

The bible wasn’t because the average joe catholic didn’t have discussions with average joe protestant about faith. So there were few bible to bible clashes. There was a wall of separation at that time which has subsequently come down like the Berlin wall. Catholics were unprepared for the onslaught of the bible. Their own bible killed them. It just sort of crept up and took catholics by surprise, and left them with no defense to the cherry picking of their own bible.

Colleges were just beginning to become necessary and they also allowed people of different faiths to mix it up. Some college profs weren’t all that religious as well and had a real effect on the weak. There was none or very little apolegetics taught at that time to catholics. The emphasis was on practising and living the faith, not defending it.

And if we want to prevent further hemorages, we must get apolegetics to our young. And make sure they know who Jesus Christ is and the truth of church history. And all along the way to help them develope a close love and connection to Jesus.

And that is a tall order beginning with the education of the parents.

My pastor keeps reminding us that many of the Church’s teachings aren’t in the Bible, or at least not in black and white. For example, the Holy Trinity, the heart of Christian doctrine is not in the Bible. Furthermore, very little is really written about Christ, relatively speaking, and almost all of it is of his last 3 years. So there seem to be a lot of gaps to fill; I think a lot of these gaps were basically spread by word of mouth in the first few centuries but their spirit has been preserved in Church documents and the liturgy. It is to be remembered that the Bible wasn’t fully completed until the 2nd century so it must have been more than scripture that spread Christianity in the 1st century. According to PBS, St. Paul already found a significant number of Christians when he arrived in Rome. How they became Christian is still not fully known.

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