Do we Catholics give equal authority to the church and the Bible?
Well, the Church put together the Bible (determined which books are Scripture), is in charge of safeguarding the Bible, and is in charge of interpreting Sacred Scripture.
What do you mean by “the church”? Are you speaking of the teaching Magisterium or Sacred Tradition, or something else?
It’s hard to answer your question without understanding what you mean by “equal authority”?
Where I am going with this is the Bible (on it’s own) has no authority. A book is not capable of being infallible (incapable of making mistakes or being wrong). Only the person reading the Bible can interpret it’s meaning and make an authoritative decision of what is important to know and what Jesus expects of His disciples. That interpretation of said Bible verses either being correct or wrong.
The better way to look at the connection between the Church (oral tradition/teaching Magesterium) and the Bible is you can’t have one without the other.
Here’s a good article on the subject.
Hope this helps,
From Dei Verbum 10 (cf. Catechism 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.
Note, the Church defines “Word of God” as including both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Those two together make up the deposit of faith. The magisterium (i.e. the teaching office of the Church) serves and authentically interprets that Revelation, but is not equal to or above that Revelation.
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