"Understanding the Scriptures Chapter 01: What is the Bible"My reading list's a little tight, but I hope to get back to this online resource. It looks interesting.
Introduction to Sacred Scripture, Theology 2300/3300, Father Samuel Medley, SOLT, via Scribd.com
Our Lady of Corpus Christi
Spring Semester 2010
"This chapter discusses how Catholics read the Bible: in the context of Sacred Tradition and the teaching authority of the Magisterium."
Catholics, the Bible, and Good SenseIf the idea of Catholics reading the Bible - not only being allowed to, but encouraged to read and study the Bible - seems odd, you've been listening to the wrong folks.
As a Catholic, I'm encouraged and expected to read the Bible. What distinguishes Catholicism from the American 'Bible-believing' churches is that we openly rely on more than just the Bible.
Yes, the Bible is vital. It's the word of God: inspired writing.
It's also a collection of letters, census reports, a detective story, and quit a lot else: all written long before the warrior bands of Europe got organized and started building contemporary Western civilization.
'God's Gonna Get You?'I've heard some pretty weird 'Bible truths' asserted by someone who relied on the Bible alone - with an apparently unconscious assist from the speaker's subculture and psychological quirks.
With occasionally-colorful results. That may be what led an America pastor to inform his son that "because he cussed his father, God could kill his wife and family."1
Then there was televangelist Pat "blame the Haitians" Robertson's latest exhibition of foot-in-mouth. (see "Haiti: Voodoo, Pat Robertson, and the Catholic Church (January 16, 2010))
No wonder Christians and Christianity as a whole have a sort of PR problem these days. (see "Tony Alamo, 'Those Evangelists,' and Labels" (November 13, 2009))
Catholics have acted badly, too. Unless you've been off the planet for the last decade or so, you've heard of the pedophile priest trouble?
If the Magesterium Didn't Exist, it Would be Necessary to Invent ItNot all Protestant churches - and not even all evangelical groups - really operate on a "the Bible, my subconscious, and pastor Bob" approach to beliefs. I've written about this before.
"Listening to people from 'Bible-believing' churches describe how they relied on the Bible alone, I learned that many of those churches have a more-or-less formal custom of having some of the more senior members talk over scripture from time to time, and decide what it says.If all that doesn't sound particularly "Biblical," I'm not surprised. You'll have to make up your own mind about what's real and what isn't.
"I'm not being disrespectful with that description: just trying to describe the process briefly. It's a pretty good system, and can filter out the crazier ideas before they get presented as 'Bible truths.'
"The Catholic church relies on the Bible, and can't change what it's been given. But we're not left to decide for ourselves what the census reports, songs, and accounts mean. We rely on the Bible, the Magisterium, and Tradition.
"Here's how the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops puts it:
"There's more, in the Catechism: 95, 113, 174, and 126, for starters...."
- "BIBLE: Sacred Scripture: the books which contain the truth of God's Revelation and were composed by human authors inspired by the Holy Spirit (105). The Bible contains both the forty-six books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament (120). See Old Testament; New Testament."
- "MAGISTERIUM: The living, teaching office of the Church, whose task it is to give as authentic interpretation of the word of God, whether in its written form (Sacred Scripture), or in the form of Tradition. The Magisterium ensures the Church's fidelity to the teaching of the Apostles in matters of faith and morals (85, 890, 2033)."
- "TRADITION: The living transmission of the message of the Gospel in the Church. The oral preaching of the Apostles, and the written message of salvation under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Bible), are conserved and handed on as the deposit of faith through the apostolic succession in the Church. Both the living Tradition and the written Scriptures have their common source in the revelation of God in Jesus Christ (75-82). The theological, liturgical, disciplinary, and devotional traditions of the local churches both contain and can be distinguished from this apostolic Tradition (83)."
(October 2, 2008)
Me? I grew up in a virulently anti-Catholic part of the country. My efforts to discover exactly how evil and wretched the Catholic Church and those Catholics were resulted in my converting to Catholicism.
But that's another story. (January 12, 2010, November 24, 2009, September 19, 2009, April 5, 2009, for starters)
- "Beach Killer Joseph Burges: A Case of Horribly Warped Christianity"
(July 24, 2009)
- "'Cafeteria Catholics' and a Diverse Church"
(June 8, 2009)
- "The Roman Catholic Church isn't a Democracy"
(February 19, 2009)
- "Catholics Not Allowed to Read Bible!! Catholic Church Banned Bible Ownership!!"
(January 27, 2009)
- "The Catholic Church: Authoritarian, Which Isn't Necessarily a Bad Thing"
(October 2, 2008)
- "The Bible-Believing Catholic Church"
(October 2, 2008)
- "Catholics Don't Believe the Bible: Who Knew?"
(September 26, 2008)
A tip of the hat to FrSamuelMedley, on Twitter, for the heads-up on that online resource.
1Unhappily, this sort of belief isn't all that unusual, in some branches of Christianity:
"Alcoa pastor's son accuses him of pulling gun during argument at church"Well, as the Bible-thumping set like to say, "hallelujah!"
TheDailyTimes.com (Blount County, Tennessee) (January 28. 2010)
"The 32-year-old son of a well-known Alcoa pastor has taken out an order of protection against his father, claiming the man threatened him with a gun during an argument over the younger man's lack of church attendance.
"The order of protection filed Monday by Michael Louis Colquitt, 32, Grayson Drive, Alcoa, stems from a Friday incident Colquitt reported to Alcoa police Sunday...."
"...The pastor denied threatening his son's wife and family, but said he told the 32-year-old that 'because he cussed his father, God could kill his wife and family.'..."