Skip to comments.Pope asks Catholics to read Bible, recall history of Godís saving love
Posted on 12/12/2012 1:23:46 PM PST by Alex Murphy
VATICAN CITY (CNS) Urging Catholics to pick up the Bible and read it during the Year of Faith, Pope Benedict XVI said the Scriptures recount the story of Gods love for humanity and the steps he took throughout history to save all men and women.
That which enlightens and gives full meaning to the history of the world and of the human person began to shine in the grotto of Bethlehem. It is the mystery we soon will contemplate at Christmas: our salvation in Jesus Christ, the pope said Dec. 12 during his weekly general audience.
A 100-member delegation from the Mexican state of Michoacan was among the 4,500 visitors and pilgrims at the audience; artists and craftspeople in the state created the Nativity scene already decorating the stage of the audience hall. With the audience being held on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Michoacan delegates and others waved banners with the famous image.
Also present were cardinals, bishops, priests and laypeople from North, South and Central America who were celebrating the Guadalupe feast day during in a Vatican congress marking the 15th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops for America.
Pope Benedict said the word advent, which means coming or presence, in ancient times was used to refer to the official visit of the king or emperor to a certain province.
For us Christians, Advent indicates a wonderful and moving reality: God himself has crossed the threshold of heaven, the pope said. With the birth of Christ, he is the king who came down to visit this poor province, which is earth, and gave us the gift of his visit, assuming our flesh, becoming human like us.
From the creation of the world to Noah and the flood, from the call of Abraham to the giving of the law on Mount Sinai, the Bible is the story of how God repeatedly has acted in history to demonstrate his presence, his love for humanity and his desire to save all men and women, Pope Benedict said.
Advent calls us to recall the history of his presence and always remember that God did not cut himself off from the world, he isnt absent and he does not abandon us, but he comes to meet us in the different ways, which we must learn to discern, the pope said.
And we, with our faith, hope and charity, are called each day to recognize and give witness to his presence in a world that is often superficial and distracted, he said.
The role of Christians today, he said, is to make sure that the light that lit up the manger in Bethlehem shines through their lives.
....From the creation of the world to Noah and the flood, from the call of Abraham to the giving of the law on Mount Sinai, the Bible is the story of how God repeatedly has acted in history to demonstrate his presence, his love for humanity and his desire to save all men and women, Pope Benedict said.
...while fewer believers know much about the Bible, one-third of Americans continue to believe that it is literally true, something organizers of the Synod on the Word of God called a dangerous form of fundamentalism that is winning more and more adherents even among Catholics. Such literalism, the synods preparatory document said, demands an unshakable adherence to rigid doctrinal points of view and imposes, as the only source of teaching for Christian life and salvation, a reading of the Bible which rejects all questioning and any kind of critical research....
....The flip side of this embarrassment is the presumption among many Catholics that they get the Bible at Mass, along with everything else they need for their spiritual lives. The postconciliar revolution in liturgy greatly expanded the readings, with a three-year cycle in the vernacular that for the first time included Old Testament passages. Given that exposure, many think they do not need anything else. As Mr. McMahon put it, The majority still say you go to Mass, you get your ticket punched, and thats it for the week.
-- from the thread A Literate Church: The state of Catholic Bible study today
You forgot to add “just don’t believe it.” /sarc
Case in point: this thread...
Avoid Intellectual Suicide: Do Not Interpret the Bible Like a Fundamentalist
The Catholic Press is just loaded with breaking stories. Like: “Pope Praises Evangelization.”
Of course, since no "scientist" will challenge anything outside the first eleven chapters of Genesis, this is a big secret to them. Shhhhh.
The very fact that this is newsworthy shows that the Catholic Church doesn’t normally put an emphasis on the Bible.
Quite amazing when you consider for how many centuries Catholics were actively discouraged from reading the Bible. (you’re not smart enough, you need the clergy to interpret it for you, etc.)
Well . . . it is true that Catholicism pre-existed the printing press while Protestantism didn't. However . . . Judaism also pre-existed the printing press (by much more) and nevertheless it was a mitzvah for every male Israelite not only to study Torah, but to write a Torah scroll.
First full disclosure: I am an Orthodox Christian, and thus do not credit the claim of those in communion with the Pope of Rome to catholicity. I will thus, following the Fathers at the time of the Latin schism from the Church refer to them as Latins, rather than Catholics. Also as an Orthodox Christian, I regard the Latins as holding a variety of heretical beliefs, notably an erroneous view of the procession of the Holy Spirit, a defective conception of grace highlighted by their notion of purgatory, and an erroneous view of the structure of the Church.
Now that you know where I am coming from: I am tired of hearing the calumny against the Latins that they discouraged the reading of Scripture. The Latins preserved literacy and familiarity with the Scriptures when literacy collapsed in Western Europe as a result of the suppression of trade in papyrus due to the Muslim conquest of Egypt and the predations of Muslim pirates in the Mediterranean. Visigothic Spain and Merovingian France were literate societies just as much as the Roman Empire was (both before and after the retirement of the last Western Augustus to a villa near Naples in 476). Until papermaking was imported from Asia, the vast cost of having a complete copy of the Bible on parchment prevented general circulation of the Scriptures, not any policy of the Latin church to confine their availability to the clergy.
It is true, and unfortunate, that until the 1960’s the Latin church retained Latin as its liturgical language, rather than using a “language understanded of the people” as we Orthodox generally have (the differences between koine and demotic Greek or Church Slavonic and Russian are about analogous to the difference between Chaucer’s English and modern English — you can make it out with a bit of work, but it’s not like learning a new language). However, the Latins encouraged the learning of Latin, and not just by clerics, by running schools where Latin was among the subjects taught from the days when it was still a living language down to the present.
Zionist Conspirator, do you believe in the parting of the Red Sea (a scientific impossibility), the Ten Plagues (the chance of all ten happening at the right time make them another scientific impossibility), the parting of the river Jordan at flood stage (scientific impossibility anybody?), the sun stopping at Joshua’s command (a what? don’t tell me, another scientific impossibility!)? Do you believe that Elijah called fire from heaven at Mount Carmel (cough, cough)? I hope your answer is that yes, you believe all of the above. So what is so “impossible” about the virgin birth, resurrection, multiplication of loaves and fishes and walking on water?
Thank you ... I suspect that you will find, however, that facts gain no hearing amongst those determined to hate, mock, and ridicule.
I recently attended a Bible study related to Advent offered by my parish and was really impressed at how many people showed up, packing the room, and were very much knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the nativity narratives we discussed. The priest was more than gung-ho, too. It would be great if Protestants and Catholics alike simply decided to aspire to draw closer every day to Christ and cut back on the impulse to sneer, especially during a season of preparation like Advent.
I can only tell you of my experience. I was in school at the time of the second Vatican Council. Growing up in Spain, a Catholic, attending Catholic school... my only exposure to the Bible was the weekly readings at Mass. So I got all excited at the idea of getting a Bible in Spanish and reading it from one end to the other. It wasn't easy, but I managed to get one of the first Bibles in Spanish that was for sale in Madrid! Next day I took it to school, so happy, I couldn't wait to show it to the nun who was my homeroom teacher! She looked at it, asked how did I get it, and took it away from me! It was weeks before my mom was able to get my Bible back, with a stern admonition that I was not supposed to read it! It is not a calumny, it happened to ME, and it shocked me so that so many years later I still remember. And I still have that Bible.
As a Protestant, I say good for the Pope. Everyone should read the Bible IMHO.
Your statement is incredibly ignorant. It’s newsworthy because it was one thing gleaned by the twit reporter from an entire Wednesday audience statement read by the pope. He reads one to a live audience every Wednesday and there are reporters who write articles about every single one of them. Here is what the pope actually said:
Below is a translation of the Holy Fathers catechesis:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
in the last catechesis I spoke of Gods revelation as His communicating of Himself and His loving plan. This Revelation of God is inserted into human time and history: a history that becomes the arena where we see what God does for humanity. God comes to us in the things we know best and can verify most easily, the things of our everyday life, apart from which we cannot understand ourselves(John Paul II, Enc. Fides et Ratio, 12).
The Evangelist Mark reports, clearly and synthetically, the initial moments of Jesus preaching: This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand (Mark 1:15). What illuminates and gives full meaning to the history of the world and man begins to shine in the cave of Bethlehem; it is the mystery that we will soon contemplate at Christmas: Salvation which is realized in Jesus Christ. In Jesus of Nazareth, God shows his face and asks man to decide to recognize and follow Him. Gods revealing Himself in history in order to enter into a relationship of loving dialogue with man, gives new meaning to the entire human journey. History is not just a succession of centuries, years, days, but it is the time of a presence that gifts it full meaning and opens it up to a solid hope.
Where can we read the stages of this revelation of God? Sacred Scripture is the best place to discover the events of this journey, and I once again invite everyone, in this Year of Faith, to take up the Bible more often and meditate on it and pay more attention to the readings in Sunday Mass, all of which is valuable nourishment for our faith.
Reading the Old Testament we see how Gods intervention in the history of the people he has chosen and with whom he establishes a covenant are not actions that pass and are forgotten, but become memory, constituting the history of salvation kept alive in the consciousness of the people of Israel through the celebration of the salvific events. Thus, in the Book of Exodus, the Lord tells Moses to celebrate the great moment of liberation from slavery in Egypt, the Passover, with these words: This day will be a day of remembrance for you, which your future generations will celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD; you will celebrate it as a statute forever(12:14). For all the people of Israel remembering what God has done becomes a sort of permanent imperative so much so that the passage of time is marked by the living memory of past events so that day by day they form the new history and remain present. In the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses spoke to the people, saying, be on your guard and be very careful not to forget the things your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your heart as long as you live, but make them known to your children and to your childrens children(4.9). And so he says to us: Be careful not to forget the things that God has done for us. Faith is fuelled by the discovery and the memory of the God who is always faithful, who guides history and is the sure and stable foundation on which to build their lives. The Magnificat, which the Virgin Mary raies to God, is one of the highest examples of the history of salvation. Mary praises Gods merciful action within the concrete journey of His people, fidelity to the covenant promises made to Abraham and his seed, and all of this is living memory of the Divine presence that never fails (cf. Luke 1:46-55 ).
For Israel, the Exodus is the central historical event in which God reveals his powerful action. God frees the Israelites from slavery in Egypt so that they can return to the Promised Land and worship Him as the one true God. Israel does not start out to be a people like other people, to have a national independence, but to serve God in worship and in life, to create a place where God is present and adored in the world and man is obedient to Him, and of course not only for them but in the midst of other peoples. And the celebration of this event is a way of making Him present and actual, because Gods work is never lacking. He is faithful to his plan of liberation and continues to pursue it, so that man can recognize and serve his Lord and respond with faith and love to His actions.
God thus reveals Himself not only in the primordial act of creation, but entering in our history, in the history of a small nation that was neither the largest nor the strongest. And this revelation of God culminates in Jesus Christ: God, the Logos, the creative Word which is the origin of the world, became incarnate in Jesus and showed the true face of God. Jesus fulfils every promise, Gods history with humanity culminates in him. When we read the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, as told by St. Luke, we clearly see how the person of Christ illuminates the Old Testament, the whole history of salvation and shows the great unified design of the two Testaments. In fact, Jesus explains to the two lost and disappointed travellers that He is the fulfilment of every promise: Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures (24:27). The Evangelist describes the exclamation of the two disciples after recognizing that their companion was the Lord: Then they said to each other, Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us ( 32).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes the stages of Divine Revelation synthetically showing its development (cf. nn. 54-64): God invited man from the beginning to intimate communion with Him and even when man disobeyed Him and lost His friendship, God never abandoned him to the power of death, but again and again offered a covenant to man ( Roman Missal, Euc. Prayer IV). The Catechism retraces the path of Gods journey with man from His alliance with Noah after the flood, to His call to Abraham to leave his land become father to a multitude of nations. God formed Israel as His people, through the event of the Exodus, the Covenant of Sinai and the gift, through Moses, of the Law to be recognized and served as the one true and living God. With the prophets, God leads his people in the hope of salvation, through the second Isaiah we know of the second exodus, the return from exile in Babylon, the promised land, the re-establishment of the people and at the same time many remain dispersed and so begins the universality of this faith. In the end they are no longer waiting for just a king, David, a son of David, but the son of man, the salvation of all peoples, intercultural encounters take place first with Babylon and Syria, and then also with the Greek multitude. Thus we see how Gods journey is growing, becoming more open to the mystery of Christ, King of the universe. Finally, in Christ the Revelation in its fullness is realized, Gods loving plan in which He becomes one of us.
I have reflected on remembering the action of God in human history, to show the stages of this great plan of love demonstrated in the Old and New Testament: one plan of salvation addressed to all humanity, progressively revealed and realized by the power of God This is crucial for our journey of faith. We are in the liturgical season of Advent which prepares us for Christmas. As we all know, the word Advent means coming, presence, and once upon a time indicated the arrival of the king or emperor to a particular province. For us Christians it possesses a truly wonderful and stirring meaning : God has left His Heaven and come down to earth for man; forged an alliance with him coming into the history of a people, He is the king who came down to this poor province that is the earth, and gifted us with His visit, taking on human flesh and becoming man like us. Advent invites us to follow the path of this presence and reminds us again and again that God is not removed from the world, He is not absent, we were not left to ourselves, but He comes to us in different ways, which we need to learn to discern. And we, with our faith, our hope and our charity, are called every day to see and bear witness to this presence, in an often superficial and distracted world, to reflect in our lives the light that illuminated the cave of Bethlehem!
I offer a cordial welcome to the newly professed Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity. My greeting also goes to the group of visitors from Oklahoma Wesleyan University. Finally, a thought for the young, the sick and newlyweds. Today we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and Star of the New Evangelization. Dear young people, learn to love and hope at the school of Mary, dear sick people, the Blessed Virgin is comfort and companionship in your suffering and you, dear newlyweds, entrust to the Mother of Jesus, your marital journey. Upon all pilgrims present at todays Audience I invoke Gods blessings of joy and peace.
Sorry No offense. I do not claim to know if true. But I find that hard to believe. If it is true there is more to the story. Not allowed to read bible but read in mass. Hmmm. As Paul Harvey would say now the rest of the story?
"So I got all excited at the idea of getting a Bible in Spanish and reading it from one end to the other. It wasn't easy, but I managed to get one of the first Bibles in Spanish that was for sale in Madrid!"
What? Then the nun refused. Something does not fit. How can a person get a first bible in Spanish in Madrid in the Vatican two council era. Early 1960's? A Spanish speaking country. A well known city.
This Bible was non catholic? No Apocryphal books is what you mean?
There has to be more to the story?
My statement is entirely accurate. The Catholic church doesn’t encourage its members to study the Bible. As long as you’re a good Catholic and know the names of the saints, make the sign of the cross, pray the rosary, give your money and attend church every week etc...
You’re not going to convince me otherwise.
Let me be clearer. Yes, it happened in Spain and I was in elementary school. I had heard on tv that a certain bookstore was going to be getting the first shipment of Catholic Bibles printed in Spanish, up until then everything a laic person could put his/her hands on was in Latin. There was a lot of excitement, it wasn’t only me, but with my birthday coming I refused to ask for any other present. Eventually my mom gave in and we camped outside the bookstore the night before the release and I got my Bible. Poor mom, I put her through some uncomfortable times! Like when I wanted to watch the movie Jesus Christ Superstar when it opened in Madrid, and there had been trouble in other European cities around that movie, but again, it was a birthday present, LOL!
I don’t know what hit the nun so bad, other than what I had already heard in class, that “we were not able to interpret it, we needed a priest to do so”. Whether the poor sister did it out of ignorance, or concern for my spiritual well-being I do not know. All I know is that she reacted like I had an atomic bomb! I wonder if a Koran would have got half the reaction!! Eventually she returned it to my mom, with detailed explanations about my not reading it. What was I supposed to do with it? Put it on display? Of course I read it, and eventually it became normal to own and read a Bible. But that event took place right after the translation of the Catholic Bible into vernacular languages was approved, and it caused an uproar with an old nun! I still have it, although I prefer to read the New King James, in English (I gave up Catholicism and am now a Southern Baptist). But that Bible, on a shelf in my office, brings back lots of memories.
If there’s more to the story, I do not remember. I’ve told you all I can recall!
“My statement is entirely accurate.”
No, it is completely inaccurate.
“The Catholic church doesnt encourage its members to study the Bible.”
Yes, it does: the pope just did - hence, this very thread disproves your claim. Did that even occur to you? The CCC encourages it. The indulgence attached to daily study of scripture does.
“As long as youre a good Catholic and know the names of the saints, make the sign of the cross, pray the rosary, give your money and attend church every week etc...”
Your ignorance is incredible.
“Youre not going to convince me otherwise.”
Those who deliberately choose to be ignorant rarely are convinced no matter how the facts stand against them.
Catechism of the Catholic Church:
133 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.
The simple fact is an ignorant person who only cares about being ignorant wouldn’t know that there are afforts around the world to encourage Catholics to read the Bible: Example: http://berem.svetopismo.si/
Oh my, well if the RCC encourages Catholics to read the Bible, why haven’t they?
Probably because then they’d realize all the flaws in their own doctrine when put to the test of scripture.
“Oh my, well if the RCC encourages Catholics to read the Bible, why havent they?”
Why don’t Protestants read the Bible? Most of the Protestants I’ve met are incredibly ignorant about the Bible. At least two former Protestant ministers I’ve met have complained to me about how Biblically ignorant Protestants are. The simple answer is some Catholics read the Bible. Some don’t. Some Protestants read the Bible. Some don’t. Catholics here at FR tend to read the Bible quite often. As always people do not always do what they are encouraged to do - no matter how beneficial it is for them.
Just last night I and a friend (who is a former Protestant pastor) were discussing a Bible class we want at a parish in the near future. We know dozens will attend. Should be hundreds, but we’ll happily take the dozens if they are the ones who show up. We’re going to study the Song of Songs. I just finished another Bible class at another parish this past Tuesday night. That same parish will have a 7 week long course on the Gospels in the spring, and a short 7 week course on the Old Testament next year (along with classes on the letters of St. Paul and a 3 week course on Acts of the Apostles). What I really want - and will get eventually - is a 4 year course where every single verse of the Bible is gone over in class. I’m the one who will have to find the funding, get the approval, publish the plan, etc. It will happen.
The funniest Catholic Bible class story I was ever involved with was when a friend of mine was teaching a Bible study class at a very liberal parish. She was really struggling to get people to show up. I told her I would show up the last night (I could at least give her moral support). When I arrived I was surprised to see there were exactly three students - all Protestants - including a Protestant minister. They loved the class and came away with a much greater appreciation of the Catholic faith and Catholic teachings on the Bible (which the Protestant minister went on to use). For that reason alone it was still worth it.
“Probably because then theyd realize all the flaws in their own doctrine when put to the test of scripture.”
No. There are no flaws to realize. And if that were the case, then that would have to explain why millions of Protestants don’t read the Bible either.
Ok. consider it mere anecdote, then, that my Catholic Bible study has met for 5 years, read and pondered various books of the actual Bible, and this year we are reading the Wisdom Literature.
Also, at our parish there are and have been ongoing studies of Genesis, the Gospels, etc. This weekend is our Advent Gospel Narrative retreat.
Every week in the bulletin the recommended Bible readings for the week are listed. Not sure how many people read them, but the fact that they are there means doing it is welcome, not discouraged.
Thank you, sir, and I heartily concur: Everyone should read the Bible. All 73 books of it. ;'}
Even IF it's a 100% uninspired work of fiction, totally apocryphal, Tobit is a wonderful love story ... well worth the time spent to read it.
Even IF it's pure man-made uninspired history, I Maccabees is a whacking good political/military historical novel ... well worth the time spent to read it.
As for the books we all agree on ... daily Scripture reading will always be profitable.
This is “newsworthy” only to the incredibly obtuse.
133 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.112
You're entitled to your own ignorant opinion but not your own facts, madame.
Written by St. Jerome in the 4th century.
Why don't you post something that constitutes official church teaching (rather than hearsay or innuendo) -- from any era -- to back up this charge?
Martin Luther, toward the end of his life, admitted that people knew the Scriptures better under the Popes than they did after Catholicism was removed from the scene.
But it's fine bait.