Friday, September 26, 2008

Catholics Don't Believe the Bible: Who Knew?

I grew up in a sincerely non-Catholic part of the country, and so I learned quite a great deal about the Whore of Babylon (I see it's the Queen of Whores now): how Catholics worship Mary, and are generally pretty ignorant. At best.

Nothing new there. There's a long tradition in America, from the early colonies through Maria Monk and Thomas Nast, to quite a few contemporary churches, that are convinced that Catholics aren't, well, American.

(I know: Maria Monk's best-seller1 was set in Canada, where it was very popular, but her description of the horrors of a nunnery sold like hotcakes in the United States. And isn't doing badly now, commercially.2 )

(From Thomas Nast Portfolio, Ohio State University, used without permission.)
Look out! Here come the Catholics!

Growing up in a place like that, going to a non-Catholic church, it's a little surprising that I decided to become a Catholic myself. How that happened is another story, one that'll probably come out bit by by bit as this blog progresses.

This post is about some of the things people know, that just aren't so. I think it may help show how, ah, interesting it can be, being a Catholic citizen in America. I'm not complaining: this situation keeps me aware of what I believe, and why.

This may help you find your way around:


The Catholic Church Doesn't Believe in the Bible, Right?

Wrong. Flat wrong. I refer a great deal to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, because it's a good reference. That doesn't mean I don't believe the Bible. The Catechism itself is dripping with Biblical quotes and references.

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Catholics Aren't Allowed to Read the Bible, Right?


"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.' "
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 133)

I've read the Bible twice, cover to cover. No bragging: just following orders.

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1The official title is "The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk, as Exhibited in a Narrative of Her Sufferings During a Residence of Five Years as a Novice and Two Years as a Black Nun, in the Hotel Dieu Nunnery in Montreal," but the book is usually called "The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk," for obvious reasons. People seem to have liked their titles long, back then.

2 I checked, and there are quite a few affordable reprints at, including one published in 2003, and another in 2007. Their sales rank was 1,478,318 and 1,405,186 in Books: Which isn't too bad, considering the size of Amazon's catalog.

More, at "Who Knew? Assertions, Assumptions and Assorted Weirdness from All Over"

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.