To me it seems the bible is irrelevant to the Catholic faith in as much as the catechism of the Catholic Church is the rule of faith not the bible. According to you the bible didn’t exist until 400 years after Jesus. So there were no NT scriptures to play a role in the foundation of the church. How could there be. Though I believe there certainly was NT scriptures at that time.
The Catholic Church views itself as the guardian of apostolic teaching (Tradition) and the authorized interpreter of the bible. It is such because Jesus is the head of the Church. The catechism is the crystallization of these teachings and interpretations, put into a single source for the convenience of the people. The ultimate source of the teachings in the catechism is, of course, apostolic preaching and scripture interpretation.
The Church always had scripture, from the time it was written. What is meant when it is said that the bible didn’t exist until 400 years after Jesus is that it wasn’t until the late late 300’s that a generally accepted list of which writings were inspired and which weren’t (ie a canon) came to be. Some writings were considered scripture that eventually were left out, and some were included in the canon that some considered not to be inspired. It was Church councils that decided the matter.
As a former cradle Catholic we were never encouraged to read or study the bible “that was a Protestant thing” it was always the catechism as the rule of faith. Sure there were bible verses smattered around here and there but never the central focus of the faith in a doctrinal matter. You just focused on the CCC.
This is a contemporary failing of the catechesis and also of RCIA. The scriptural basis of the catechism and doctrines is neglected. I see this as a situation based in history; way back, when nobody could read and nobody had copies of scripture anyway, it was the job of the Church to read scripture, not the people’s job. The job of the Church was to teach its understandings to the people. In any event, the people did have knowledge of scripture even if they couldn’t read, because they had the scriptures read to them in church, as a group together, and then the scripture reading explained in the sermon.
The real problem I see is when Catholics read the bible and have questions on church teaching and scripture. They inquire with their priest and are dismissed and referred back to the CCC with no real answer.
That is too bad. A lazy ignorant priest perhaps, or inertia of the Church. Inertia in that way back, when there were no printed bibles in every motel room, when the people didn’t have bibles to read on their own and come up with questions, the priests didn’t have to know how to back up doctrines from scripture. Today’s priests haven’t kept up with the times. It’s too bad, because now there are cheap bibles everywhere and we in the U.S. live in an ambient Protestant culture, where the bible is assumed to be the source of doctrine for the individual.
Incidentally the ECF’s are used to support church teaching and are authoritative as much as they agree with church doctrine. Is that not cherry picking in its purest form?
You think so? The point of quoting the ECF’s is to show that a teaching existed back then. Of course to do that you have to cherry pick.
Personally I don’t see it as a power issue at all. It is the liberty to live out your faith in Christ as Paul laid out in Galatians 5.
A cynic might say it is the desire to guide one’s own steps
Yes we certainly have differing opinions based on what we value as the real authority for truth and faith for the life of the believer.
Yes, I think these differing opinions are the crux of the matter. They are the real difference in mindset of the Protestant and Catholic. Authority.
The Protestant starts with scripture and derives church. The Catholic starts with church and derives scripture.
This is an important distinction. I don’t think many Catholics understand this, but it’s vital that they should. Because, for Catholics the Church exists first, is the first authority, and faith is put first into the Church, and it is only since the Church teaches that certain writings are inspired, that Catholics therefore believe the scriptures. That is what is meant by derive scripture.
The Protestant starts with scripture, puts his faith in scripture, and from reading scripture derives doctrine and assembles like minded people together and they form a church. Church is therefore secondary to scripture, that is, comes after.
For a Catholic, Jesus established His Church, then the apostles and evangelists preached and established congregations. Hence, the Church and congregations existed first, prior to the writing of Christian scriptures. The existence of Church did not depend upon reading and interpreting scripture, but upon the preaching and activity of the apostles. The gospel of the Church also did not depend upon the scriptures, because the Christian scriptures were not written yet.
However, members of the Church did write, and they wrote to and for members of the Church. This means Christian scripture was written to those who were already Christians. Here is a key point then: to properly understand scripture, one has to be a Christian to begin with! This is what Peter meant when he said, “There are things in the writings of Paul that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable wrest to their own destruction, as they do the rest of the scriptures.”
The “ignorant” are those ignorant of the Christian gospel as preached by the apostles and evangelists.
That is the situation as I see it.