Tuesday, March 04, 2008

"Is Bible Reading Necessary for Salvation?—Undoubtedly the Divine Scriptures have been given to the whole Church and to all the children of the Church for their instruction. The Bible is certainly an ordinary and universal means of instruction, but at the same time there is no universal precept, either divine or apostolic, that all the faithful—every man, woman and child—should personally read the Bible. Heaven is open to illiterates. It is the doctrine of the Bible that matters, not knowledge of the letter. Those who teach religion—the pastors of the Church—should know the Book, but the faithful may, according to circumstances, know and live the faith which the Bible teaches without having spelled one sentence of its pages. Even in this present age of paper and of printing numberless Catholics live admirable and even sublime lives of faith, hope and charity without any direct reading of Holy Writ. They nourish their minds with the substance of the Bible through the liturgy of the Mass, through the mysteries of the Rosary, through the prayers which they know by heart. And through the sermons which they hear. Just as in countries which have an old traditional culture illiterate peasants can have an exquisite refinement of soul and manners, so also bookless peasants who have lived in the stream of Christian tradition can have all the grasp of faith and right living which are necessary for any, even the highest, degree of sanctity (cf. § 3i).

A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (London: Thomas Nelson, 1953), p. 11.

9 comments:

Carrie said...

One of my favorite series on my blog was "Catholic Quotes on the Bible". This book was one of the best.

Maybe I will "resurrect" some of those quotes over here.

BJ Buracker said...

James,

I'm confused. I assume that you disagree with this quote, otherwise you wouldn't post it. Does that mean that you think reading the Bible is necessary for salvation? I'm doubting that, but I don't get your point here. What do you disagree with here?

Thanks,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

kevin82 said...

I'm confused too. I'm a Protestant, but I don't find anything wrong with this statement. The preaching of the Word should be in accord with scripture, but the acceptance of this Word can certainly be had without the receiver having read scripture.

James Swan said...

Maybe I will "resurrect" some of those quotes over here.

Sure, that would be interesting.

Hidden One said...

I'm with BJ.

Chad Toney said...

I think most Evangelical Protestants could agree with this in principle, but it certainly goes against the practice and ethos of Protestantism (as exemplified by ministries like Wycliffe Bible Translators, the Gideons, etc).

I think that for them, Bible reading or exposition would approach, in RC terms, the normative and ordinary sacrament God uses to bring men to salvation.

So to question it's necessity might be fine in theory, for extraordinary cases (the illiterate, etc.), but anything further would be considered highly dangerous and suspect.

But feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!

BJ Buracker said...

James,

It sounds like there a bunch of us that don't get this post. If you have the time, would you mind shedding some light on what this post meant? I'd really like know.

Thanks,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

beowulf2k8 said...

I think the joke is here.

"Those who teach religion—the pastors of the Church—should know the Book, but the faithful may, according to circumstances, know and live the faith which the Bible teaches without having spelled one sentence of its pages."

Catholic priests don't know the Bible.

And here:

"They [the illiterate Catholics] nourish their minds with the substance of the Bible through the liturgy of the Mass, through the mysteries of the Rosary, through the prayers which they know by heart."

Mysteries of the rosary? Where's the mystery in running your hands over some beads? and what does it have to do with the Bible? Not a thing.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Catholic priests don't know the Bible.

And:

Mysteries of the rosary? Where's the mystery in running your hands over some beads? and what does it have to do with the Bible? Not a thing.

I'm afraid that these two remarks suggest that you are uninformed about that which you criticize.

Peace,

RdP