Do Catholic priests ever say to read the Bible? Part II

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Taufgesinnter, Sep 21, 2006.

  1. Taufgesinnter

    Taufgesinnter
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    Rachel originally posted this message to start a thread now closed for exceeding the page limit:

    A while back I was talking to one of my Catholic friends about church and all. She mentioned that at her church (its a big one too) she doesn't see anyone ever carry their bibles to church. She also said she's never heard her Priest say you should read and/or study the Bible for themselves. I've heard that many times that Catholics don't carry their bibles or even read them at home. I know some have to, I hope? I'm sure some have to have that desire to learn about God?

    Do any Catholic Priests out there tell their flock they should read/study their Bibles or is this everywhere that they don't??

    She mentioned that her sister gave her something nice and she put it on her fridge, she said about God loving the world. I said do you mean John 3:16 For God so loved the world......
    She said yes that's it! I was so shocked she didn't know that was in the Bible and she also asked me if the ten commandments were in the Bible! She's completely ignorant of what's in there. I was just completely stunned let me tell you!! I told her how important it was for us to read the bible for ourselves and can and will help so much in life when you get the Word of God in you. But really, I don't think she takes it that seriously but I'm sure she might if her Priest said it.

    This is just so sad! :( Do Catholics learn anything about God in church or what? :confused:

    I would really appreciate some responses from Catholics here about this too.

    Thank you!
    God Bless,
    Rachel [​IMG]
     
  2. Taufgesinnter

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    Depending upon your POV, I'm Catholic

    Depending on the point of view, I'm Catholic. I belong to the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church founded at Jerusalem on Pentecost, called the Catholic Church by Bishop Ignatius of Rome circa A.D. 107. Depending on your point of view, the Roman Catholic Church separated from us in (conventional date) 1054, and we are still the Catholic Church and they are not. Or, depending on your point of view, they are still the Catholic Church and we should stick to being called the Orthodox Church. Take your pick. I'm posting because so many people, esp. Protestants, consider us six of one and half a dozen of the other. So I write as an Orthodox layman, yet addressing the question Rachel posed on the original thread.

    At our church, hardly anyone ever carries their Bible with them to Vespers (Saturday evening prayers), Matins (Sunday morning prayers), or Divine Liturgy (the Sunday morning Eucharistic and preaching service). Why? Because every Scripture passage used in those services is already supplied to them in church. If it's part of the regular weekly service, it's in the Liturgy Book everyone can follow along in during the service--recommended if one isn't familiar with the service because the congregation is constantly singing or chanting some response to the priest or deacon or joining the choir in singing a prayer.

    Also, except for the Book of Revelation, all the books of the Bible are read aloud to the congregation on a scheduled basis, a few verses at a time, so that a full circuit is completed every three years.

    Not only that, but the Sunday sermon is based on either the preceding reading that morning from the Gospels or that from the Epistles (both are read). The verses read and which will be the topic of the sermon are printed in full in the worship service bulletin, as are any special hymns to be sung, and important announcements. For those who prefer, there are "pew" Bibles around the room.

    Our priest told us during catechumen classes that we should buy pocket-sized NTs to carry with us at all times in case we would need them at any given moment.

    Our bulletins often carry on the back the message to remember to read our Bibles daily.

    Of course, we are supposed to bring Bibles with us (almost any version except the NRSV) to the Wednesday evening Bible study. And the parish bookstore sells The Orthodox Study Bible at a discount.

    That reminds me, as part of our twice-daily prayers, we always have an assigned set of verses for the day to read and a psalm. We've also been asked, including the time for those prayers, to study the Bible, for a total of 45-90 minutes a day.

    Our official Sunday school curricula include a number of year-long Bible studies as well. The middle school class this year is studying Matthew.

    This is just the view from the pew (so to speak) of a typical, I hope, Orthodox Catholic parish.

    Regards,
    Tauf
     
    #2 Taufgesinnter, Sep 21, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2006
  3. Snitzelhoff

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    Just out of curiosity, why not the NRSV? It strikes me as a fairly solid translation, and often even contains the Apocrypha (for the inclusion of which Orthodox is currently arguing in another thread...). Just curious.

    Michael
     
  4. orthodox

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    Some interesting assumptions here. I rarely see protestants taking their bibles to church unless there is a bible study to take place. Some protestant traditions hold bible study prior to the service. Most don't.

    Also, having been a protestant for over a decade experiencing most brands of it, I'd be hard pressed to actually remember any occasion when I was told bluntly "go home and study the bible".

    I could also tell some anecdotes about some very poorly informed protestants.

    I could sum it all up by asking "This is just so sad! Do Protestants learn anything about God in church or what?". But I won't say that.
     
  5. Taufgesinnter

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    Bishop Tikhon's Pastoral Letter on the NRSV

    http://www.holy-trinity.org/liturgics/tikhon.nrsv.html

    It is not suitable for liturgical use because of some of the changes it made to the RSV text, and could be doctrinally misleading due to those same alterations.
     
  6. stan the man

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    In sections 131-133 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church you find this: Hence "access to Sacred Scripture ought to be open wide to the Christian faithful."...Therefore, the study of the sacred page should be the very soul of sacred theology...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."

    I do not think it could be any clearer than this. The Church is telling Catholics "Read your Bibles."
     
  7. DHK

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    It appears that you rarely look, or look in the wrong places.
    Would you like to document your sources since you are Orthodox.
    Then what kind of Protestant church were you in. It wasn't evangelical was it? Only a liberal church would have that type of attitude.
    There are dozens on this board that can tell of their experiences in the RCC. I am one of them.
    But you did say it. And it was unwarranted. You haven't learned much since you have come here have you? You don't want to learn. You want to use this as a platform to teach your own doctrine. It will stop. If you don't have the willingness to civily debate an issue, but only to propagate your own heresies then you do that somewhere else. Don't do it here.

    I was a Catholic for 20 years. I never saw anyone ever carry a Bible--Never; not once. I don't know of any Catholic family ever owning one. We didn't and my parents are still devout Catholics. Their knowledge comes from what they hear from the priest at church, and what they are taught there. The Bible isn't all that important to them, as it is not important to most Catholics. When I got saved I was Biblically illiterate, just as almost every Catholic is when I talk to them meeting them in door to door evangelism.

    BTW, everyone of our members own a Bible, take it to church with them, and study it at home as well. In the Catholic Church, in 20 years, I never heard a clear presentation of the gospel even one time.
    DHK
     
  8. Jack Matthews

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    At the Christian school my boys attend, the winner of the scripture memory award in the high school for the past three years, and likely this year, is Catholic. He has a sister coming into ninth grade who has been the winner of it on her grade level for three years. Apparently, some Catholic families do read and study the Bible.

    I'm one of the few people at my church who actually carries a Bible to church, mainly because I use my study Bible to teach. Each Sunday school class has copies of the scripture, for the purpose of having the same version for people to study, and we have pew Bibles so that the seekers and guests who come to worship and are not familiar with the arrangement of the scripture can find it on the page number. I wouldn't think observing how many people went into the church with a Bible would be an effective way of judging the Biblical quality of the congregation.

    I've only been to a Catholic mass once, and if I recall, there was both an Old Testament reading and a New Testament reading during the service. The priest specified which particular passages were being used in his sermon. I did not detect anything in his comments that I, as a Baptist, would have found disagreeable and he was a very good speaker, not exactly what I expected to find. The service was contemporary, with a praise band, singing a lot of familiar choruses and songs, with the liturgy, or mass, woven into and around all of that.
     
  9. Jim1999

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    Some people like to knock any church other than their own, including the RCC and the United Church of Canada, the most liberal church on earth.

    I have heard priests tell his people to get into the Bible and learn the truth. It was the liberal United Church that printed a whole series of study books to be used by United Church people to understand the Bible,,,albeit a liberal approach, but still a read the Bible exhortation.

    More and more, as my ministry came to a conclusion, I saw fewer Bibles showing up in the pews at regular services,,,and that was the most evangelical Baptist group in Canada.

    We should stop generalizing. Much of what is said is just not true. One sitting in Toronto cannot possible know what is going on in Tamworth.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  10. Darron Steele

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    From Dei Verbum Chapter 6 section 25

    Likewise, the holy synod forcefully and specifically exhorts all the christian faithful, especially who live the religious life, to learn the "surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ" (Phil 3:8) by frequent reading of the divine scriptures.

    --Flannery, Austin. Vatican Council II: Consitutions, Decrees, Declarations. Northport, New York: Costello Publishing Company, 1996. Capitalization format his -- "christian" is lower case.
     
  11. DHK

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    Perhaps the better question to be asked would be: Did the declarations made in the documents of Vatican II change the doctrinal position of the RCC in its position to the Bible?
    The answer is no.
    During the Dark Ages, and centuries gone by the RCC was able to get away with burning bibles, toruturing and murdering Christians, the various Inquisitions and Crusades, (some of which were against Bible believing Christians), etc.

    Times have changed. Murder is against the law. The Catholic Church can't go and just take people "out" like Bloody Mary of Tudor did in England as a zealot for the Pope. Neither can the Church of England simply lock up people like John Bunyan because he won't accept their licence, their permission to allow him to preach. The Church of Englaind would rather him to languish in jail for 11 or 12 years. Persecution and death for believers was common.
    Today it is too difficult for the RCC to start another Inquisition in America. So instead they, as the decree from Vatican II quoted by Darren above states, encourage their members to read the Bible. The catch?
    It is a Biblical principle called sola scriptura, which the RCC will have nothing to do with. Yes they say, go ahead and read the Bible--but only the priest, only the magesterium has the power to interpret it for you In effect the Bible still is out of the hands of the common person, just in a more "civil" way. Read your Bible, but remeber you can't understand it. Only the priest can do that.
    There is no sola scriptura in the RCC. They are dead set against it. They don't want their members to study the Scriptures on their own and come to their own conclusions as the Bereans did in Acts 17:11.

    Just as they took the Bibles away from the people in Tyndales day (physically); they do so today, by not allowing them to study it without interference.
    DHK
     
  12. Darron Steele

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    DHK: The question of the thread was whether or not Catholics were ever in words encouraged to read the Bible. I believe they are.

    Whether the authorities actually mean that is another matter.
     
  13. DHK

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    In 20 years as a Catholic I was never encouraged to read my Bible, purchase a Bible, never given a Bible, never even saw a Bible. I was encouraged to study out of "my catechism," and other Catholic literature. That is what happened when I was a Catholic. Mind you that was when the Mass was all in Latin, much of which I can remember to this day.
    DHK
     
  14. stan the man

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    It has been commented that Catholics weren’t allowed to read the Bible.
    I would like to explore this comment.

    The Bible was on scrolls and parchments during the early centuries of Christianity. No one had a "Bible". Even into the Middle Ages, each Bible was written by hand. Most people were, at best, only functionally literate. That is partially why they used stand glass windows and art to tell the Bible story. The printing press was not invented until 1436 by Johann Gutenberg. So prior to 1436, the idea of everybody having a Bible was out of the question, even if they could read.

    After the invention of the press, prior to Luther's Bible being published in German, there had been over 20 versions of the whole Bible translated into the various German dialects (High and Low) by Catholics. Similarly, there were several vernacular versions of the Bible published in other languages both before and after the Reformation. The Church did condemn certain vernacular translations because of what it felt were bad translations and anti-Catholic notes. (vernacular means native to a region or country)

    The Catholic Douay-Rheims version of the whole Bible in English was translated from the Latin Vulgate. It was completed in 1610, one year before the King James Version was published. The New Testament had been published in 1582 and was one of the sources used by the KJV translators. The Old Testament was completed in 1610.

    The Latin Vulgate was always available to anyone who wanted to read it without restriction. Some people have said that it would only have been usable by people who read Latin. But in the 16th Century there were no public schools and literacy was not that common, especially among the peasants. Those people who could read had been well educated and could read Latin.

    Some comment that:
    The Church still had its readings and services in the dead language of Latin ...The Church fought to keep the Bible in Latin even though it could not be understood by most people of the time.

    Latin was far from a dead language. It was the language of theology and science (the language of all educated peoples throughout Europe and beyond) well into the 17th and 18th Centuries. For example, when Isaac Newton published his works on physics, he published them in Latin so that all of Europe could read them. The same was true of all other scientific and scholarly advances.

    The reason that the Protestant reformers used vernacular languages was because a) most educated people did not take the reformers seriously and b) they used the masses to get power for their movement. The pamphlets published by Luther and Calvin were filled with all manner of crude and dirty language, and this was done to capture the imagination of the common man and to create popular uprising against the social establishment.

    The Bible could very much be understood by people with the intelligence and ability to understand its theological content -- most of whom spoke Latin. Most common people of the time, however, could understand neither the language nor the content ...and most common people are still clueless about the content of the Bible today ...which is why Protestants supply "ministers" to interpret it for them.

    We should also remember that the Jews had always kept their Bible in the Hebrew until the 19th Century. The Greek versions of the Jewish Bible made in ancient times had been co-opted by the Christians so the Jews basically abandoned them. Any Jew who wanted the read the Bible was expected to make the effort to learn Hebrew.

    Some people have accused the Catholics of burning people for reading the Bible.
    To comment on that we must be careful not to project modern, American sensibilities (in regard to freedom and justice) into the context of medieval history. In the Middle Ages and before 1776, there was simply no such thing as separation of Church and State ---not in Catholic countries OR in Protestant countries. If Catholics "burned people for reading the Bible," then the Protestants burned people for praying in Latin or hearing the Catholic Mass (something they unquestionably did in England, Geneva, and Scandinavia, etc.). At this time in history, heresy was also a secular crime; and the powers of a particular country treated it as such ... Despite the "spin" that some people put on the Catholic position, the Catholic Church was never opposed people reading the Bible. What it opposed was people reading interpretations the Bible apart from the teaching authority of the Church, which would lead to the kinds of problems we have today with 30,000 denominations interpreting Scripture differently. The Bible itself warns against this. (2 Peter 1:20). With the invention of printing, there was a communications explosion, and one suddenly saw lots of people making very poor and heretical translations of the Bible and popularizing them throughout Christendom...The Church tried to stop this.

    The common people of the middle ages had no intellectual defense with which they could make a reasonable judgment about the Truth. They were almost as vulnerable to the heresies that were sweeping through their communities as a person standing in front of a gun today. Except a lot more than their lives was at stake, their eternal lives were in jeopardy. Today, if someone went out into the street and started shooting people, we wouldn't say, "let him go ahead and do it, people can protect themselves...its there own fault if they are shot to death." The Church was very worried that people who were influenced by these heresies were going to spend eternity in hell. No one was punished for simply believing a heresy. The crime was teaching it, and leading others astray. The Church felt it was their job to protect the souls of the innocent.

    Some people accuse the Catholic Church of "Chaining Bibles".
    The Church DID chain Bibles in the Middle Ages; and for the same reason that the Telephone Company chains its directories to the booth -- to prevent people from STEALING them. You must remember that each Bible had to be copied by hand and that it took the lifetime of a monk to do this. According to standards today, each one of these Bibles would probably be worth $20,000. Records have been compiled which show that there were 5,000 chained books in 11 Protestant and 2 Catholic libraries. The Reformers, likewise, chained their Bibles in their churches for at least 300 years. Therefore, Catholics were not alone in chaining Bibles.
     
    #14 stan the man, Sep 23, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2006
  15. DHK

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    What brought about this situation? Education, much of it, was through the Bible. The Dark Ages came as a result of the Catholics keeping the Bible away from the people. The Jews were very educated. We see that in the time of Paul. Paul requested Timothy for him to bring the books, the parchments to him. During the Roman era, even the slaves knew how to read. Education was made a priority by Alexander the Great who preceded the Romans.
    There was no excuse for the Dark Ages except for the Catholics who kept the Bible, the source of the people's education, out of the hands of the common people.
    DHK
     
  16. stan the man

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    DHK posts says that he was encouraged to study out of the catechism, and other Catholic literature.

    If I walk into any Evangelical book store I will find abundant commentaries on the Bible. Every Evangelical seminary has hundreds of books that are studies to support the students on the interpretation of Sacred Scripture. Every denomination has statements about how it interprets Scripture. The Catechism is a synopsis of the Catholic faith. Its primary source is Scripture. Its other sources are the history and writings of the very first Christians (which we call the Church Fathers) the liturgy, and the Church's teaching authority which is called the Magisterium. If you want to know what the Church teaches about anything from abortion to the Trinity, you will find it in the Catechism. The Catechism in no way replaces Scripture. It is dependent on Scripture
     
  17. DHK

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    This type of thing was never done by Baptists.
     
  18. DHK

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    Tyndale's Martyrdom
    But when God's work for Tyndale was completed, God took Tyndale out of this life; and God gave his faithful servant the privilege of leaving this life through a martyr's death. A worthless no-good by the name of Henry Philips thought to ingratiate himself with the authorities of the church and perhaps win fame and fortune by trapping Tyndale. He was successful. He posed as a friend, established a close relationship of trust with Tyndale, wormed his way into the home of Poyntz (with whom Tyndale was staying in Antwerp -- although Poyntz never really trusted Philips) and, when Poyntz was out of town, persuaded Tyndale to go with him for a walk. Leading Tyndale down a dark alley, he pushed the reformer into the grasp of some scoundrels no less evil than Philips, who hidden by a carefully prepared plan, seized him and turned him over to the authorities.
    Tyndale was imprisoned in the castle of Vilvorde near Brussels. Here he lived for one year and 135 days without heat or light from candles or lamps, without sufficient clothing to keep him warm or food to sustain his weak frame, without friends and books. His only visitors were tormenters who bombarded him incessantly with demands that he recant. While Poyntz and friends in England did everything in their power to secure his release, the Romish authorities, thirsty for his blood, were not about to let their quarry go now that they had him in their grasp.
    He was tried, defrocked and sentenced to death. In the early dawn death was administered. He was bound to a stake, an iron chain was fastened around his neck, a hemp noose was placed at his throat and brush was heaped about him. The executioner, with all his might, snapped down on the noose and within seconds Tyndale was strangled. His limp body was then burned as the pile of brush was lit. His last words were: "Lord, open the king of England's eyes." With that he fell asleep.

    http://www.prca.org/books/portraits/tyndale.htm
     
  19. Melanie

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    But Protestants certainly did....where are all the beautiful hand copied Bibles with jewelled and lovingly decorated covers and pages......ripped apart for those jewels etc by rapacious greedy people in the name of anti Catholicism
     
  20. Eliyahu

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    The Infallible Roman Catholic changes the policy from time to time to suite the times and environments.

    In 1229 they banned reading Bible ( Actually even before they banned it from time to time locally). This continued until 1962 Vatican Council II.

    http://www.biblelight.net/banned.htm

    http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/romedestroyed.htm


    Let's see the reality.
    I know some RC's are reading Bible often, but even in such case the depth of their study is far from the spiritual depth of the true Born Again Christian believers.
    I have one relative who was a Catholic. He once visited my home and said "We Catholics read Bible a lot as well, though many Protestants misunderstand and say that we don't read the Bible" Then he agreed to participate in our family Bible study at my home.
    When I started with Isaiah, he couldn't find it out and was looking for it in the New Testament. Then we went over to Colossians, then he was looking for it in the Old Testament. Thereafter we read Hebrews, then he was looking for it in the Old Testament. When we read 1 Timothy, he looked at my face. We helped him to locate the Bible verses and the study lasted over 2 hours. At the end he confessed he learned a lot about the Bible, the meaning of Crucifixion, why Jesus Christ is so important, incomparable to Mary, Redemption and salvation, and said " In this hour I studied a lot more than what I have learned at the Catholic church during the past 30 years and read Bible verses more than what I read since my youth at Catholic church"
    After he returned home, he took the baseball bet and destroyed all the statues of Holy Mother Mary and that of Jesus completely and powdered them.

    If we discuss some of the issues face to face, the actual life will be exposed and we can easily confirm that Born again Protestant Christians devote much more time to reading Bible than the Roman Catholics do, and they try to apply the Bible teachings to their lives.

    I know many Protestants do not read the Bible either. I was like them.
    I wanted to read the Bible while I was attending a Methodist church, before I was born again, but failed again and again.
    So, I never finished even 4 gospels attending the church for 6 years. But on the day when I was born again, I read the Bible thru the night, rolling around inside the room out of joy. Since then my life was changed.

    This might be a little off the topic, but there is an interesting article by Harry Truman. Please read it.

    http://www.thebibletruth.org/RomanCat.htm
     
    #20 Eliyahu, Sep 24, 2006
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2006

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