Why doesn’t the Catholic Church emphasize reading the Bible?

Full Question

Why doesn’t the Catholic Church emphasize reading the Bible?


Yours is a common misconception. Catholics meditate on Scripture at every Mass. The readings and responsorial Psalm during the Liturgy of the Word are taken directly from the Bible.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

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. (CCC 133)

The Church even grants indulgences for reading the Bible. The Handbook of Indulgences explains, “A partial indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who read Sacred Scripture with the veneration due God’s word and as a form of spiritual reading. The indulgence will be a plenary one when such reading is for at least one-half hour” (p. 80).


  1. donna Reply

    Indulgences are not in Scripture..they are a man-made idea of the Catholic Church. I was a RC for 49 years and when I finally read what the Bible says vs. What the RC church taught I was shocked. I made peace with God through Jesus Christ and became a true Christian. If it is not in Scripture it is heresy. I pray for those in the RC church that they hear truth and repent.

    1. lenos ruzurururu Reply

      specifically can u briefly say abt e wrong teaching of

    2. Benjamin Hona Reply

      Could you cite from the bible if it is not in the bible it is heresy. Verse please!

      1. Nan Callinan Reply

        2 Peter 2:1-22
        But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;

        1. Woodrow Reply

          This passage from II Peter does not contain the statement “If a teaching is not in the Bible, then it’s heresy”, nor does it contain anything resembling that statement.

        2. Richard Reply

          Was this verse from 2 Peter supposed to somehow show that if something isn’t in the Bible, then it’s heresy? I see the term “destructive heresies” used in this passage, but I don’t think the mere use of the word “heresy” communicates the whole idea that if something isn’t in Scripture, then it’s heresy. To try and say that this verse communicates such, when it’s just not there, is simply wishful thinking, or rather more likely reflective of a sort of “reverse exegesis” by which one first has an idea that they want Scripture to say, then goes hunting for a verse or passage which in some way uses language vaguely related to the idea they want Scripture to say. To apply such a process of trying to get Scripture to say what we want it to is dangerous. By doing so, we risk creating “destructive heresies” of our own.

          1. emmayche

            Also please keep in mind that, when Peter wrote this particular letter, “Scripture” was the Jewish Scriptures; there was NO Christian Bible at the time, and not until the Canon of Scripture was defined – by the Catholic Churches in Ecumenical Council – in the 400’s.

        3. Mary76 Reply

          The devil can quote scripture for his purposes.

    3. Steve Reply

      I agree Donna! My wife and I are “recovering” Catholics and like you have seen where the Catholic teachings are WRONG!

      1. Tony Reply

        If you read the book Rome sweet Home by Scott Hahn you will think differently about saying that the teaching of the Catholic are wrong !!

      2. Mary Reply

        (Y) I came out of the RC and the ? pre-vatican 2 where they still speak latin. 😛 I’ve learned sooo much in the past 35 yrs or so. I am now close to being what you would call a Messianic Jew. Always striving to find more truth. May Yahweh bless you with all that HE is. Amen

        1. CP Reply

          https://www.biblegateway.com highly recommended because you can cross reference dozens of translations.
          PS the Gospels were written AFTER Christ died and rose again. He didn’t hire a scribe to write down his words as he said them. How you life your life as a Christian should ALWAYS be based on the core teaching of Jesus Christ. Love one another as I have loved you, and Love your neighbour as yourself. If you are not doing this it doesn matter what bible you use cause you are not obeying Christ primary teaching.

      3. Mary76 Reply

        So many people answering this do not acknowlededge what is said here about the Church and the Bible The Church has four readings from the Bible, which is more than I ever have encountered from any other church. Then there are prayers that are directly from Scripture or a part of Scripture (Glory to God in the highest….) which are developed more thoroughly. Even the hymns are sometimes exclusively scriptural.The responses here are from many ex-Catholics who are sore about something and don’t know what they are talking about. And emmayche, yes, you are right. There was no Christian Scripture in the 1st century AD.

        As for prayers for the dead, this is from the book of Maccabees. Works over grace is from the letter of St, James. Interesting that the Protestant Scripture edited out the books that did not agree with their ideas. But in fact the doctrine of salvation by works is also in Matthew–I was hungry and you gave me food….since when does St. Paul get priority over Jesus? This always baffles me. As for recovering Catholics, do you mean to tell me that everyone born before the 16th century will go to hell? What kind of god do you worthip?

        1. John Hallman Reply

          Mary, if you go to most sound Christian Bible-based churches, you will get an in-depth teaching from the Bible (not just a few minutes of reading) for anywhere from 30-90 minutes. If you can locate a highly trained Biblical pastor, you will understand the context, the derivation of the words in the text, how they are used in the rest of the Bible (the Bible is consistent) and what it means. I would encourage you to do so, as your eyes will be opened to the Word of God. God bless.

    4. Woodrow Reply

      Donna, I’m very glad you came to a living faith in Jesus Christ! I regret you left the Church, however, as my experience brought me into the Catholic Church. I was raised as a Baptist, and accepted Christ as my Savior at the age of 4 years old. After being exposed to many, many different denominations and finding no agreement among them on any doctrinal point, I began earnestly seeking truth. Eventually, after studying as much as I could about every denomination I encountered, I started reading Church History and the writings of the Early Church and the Church Fathers. To my surprise, not only did I find that the earliest Christians were Catholics, but Catholic explanations of the Bible made more sense than Baptist and other Protestant interpretations! Since I could give no reasonable account as to why neither my doctrine as a Baptist nor the doctrines of any of the groups I studied matched what the Apostles passed on to the Early Church, I had no other choice but to become a member of the Catholic Church. I was received into the Church in 2004 at the age of 30, and have found that I understand the Bible better now than I ever have before. I would encourage you to continue to compare your both your church’s teachings and the Catholic Church’s teachings with Scripture, and find honest and knowledgeable sources on both sides of this issue whom you can discuss your comparisons with. (Based on my own experiences, I urge you to be wary of whom you speak to about these things. I have found Baptist and other ministers who misrepresent the Catholic Church’s actual teachings, usually out of ignorance, but sometimes intentionally so, and I have found Catholic priests and scholars who have misrepresented non-Catholic teachings, usually out of ignorance, but sometimes intentionally so. Always ask for source documents when someone is telling you what another person or group believes. Indeed, it is always best to learn what another group or individual believes by personally speaking with or reading materials by them than relying on second-hand information. A teacher at the Baptist junior high school I attended gave me a great deal of inaccurate information about Lutherans, Catholics, and Pentecostals, and I was saddened to realize that this teacher cared so little for the truth that he did not verify his facts before presenting them to my class.)

      As a side issue: I cannot agree with your statement “If it is not in Scripture it is heresy”, primarily because the books of the Bible are nowhere listed in Scripture, but also because the Bible itself does not teach sola Scriptura.

      1. MisterBig Bear Reply

        Dealing with your last statement first, we must ask are you reading one of the new Bible translations that the RC church approves of? Isaiah 8:20, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is *no light in them.” That’s as about Sola Scriptura as you can get. God’s word first and foremost. Anything else might be interesting, but if it conflicts with the word, forget it. As this post is in the section regarding the RC church and emphasizing reading the Bible. Why haven’t you asked yourself what has brought about the change from a church that killed Christians for reading the Bible to one that is quite happy for a person to read it now? Has the church changed its principles in this area, or do the modern Bibles now contain enough RC doctrine that they have no problem with it? We know that the church hasn’t changed. As late as John Paul and Benedict, we had encyclicals coming out that promoted punishments sounding like death for those who did not conform to RC church dogma. I and other have recorded these messages, so please don’t tell me they do not exist. So it may also come to you as a surprise that the earliest Christians were not part of the Catholic church as you imply. Indeed the apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 foretold of the rise of the church you now claim is part of the earliest Christians . Why did you not heed that warning? That falling away which began in earnest in the middle part of the third century under Constantine, never reached its rise to power until 538AD. This seems to fall far short of the earliest Christians, don’t you think? Believe me the text in Thessalonians is just the start of the biblical prophecies regarding the movement that would fall away from biblical truth and put tradition above the Bible. Why did you not see that? The other possibility is that you are a ghost writer pretending to be a Protestant who has “come home” as the last few popes have put it. Which is it? Either way, I hope you now do some serious study.

        1. Woodrow Reply

          “The other possibility is that you are a ghost writer pretending to be a Protestant who has “come home" as the last few popes have put it.” I’m not sure how to begin addressing cynicism and paranoia on this level, so I won’t, except to say that I was raised as a Fundamental, Independent, King-James-Only, cessationist, First-Degree Separationist, pre-millennial, pre-tribulational, dispensational Baptist.

          “we must ask” Who is we? You and who else?

          “are you reading one of the new Bible translations that the RC church approves of?” Since no textual variants in the biblical manuscripts alter any doctrine, this concern is hardly relevant, but I was raised on the KJV, and, though I’m no longer a KJ-Only-ist, I still use it for Scripture reading and study.

          Isaiah 8:12 does not establish sola Scriptura. Indeed, can you use this text or any other text(s) in Scripture to determine which books are God-breathed Scripture? That is, can you show me anywhere in the Bible that lists the books that are God-breathed Scripture or show me where the Bible provides a list of criteria you can subject a writing to in order to determine whether or not it’s God-breathed Scripture?

          “Why haven’t you asked yourself what has brought about the change from a church that killed Christians for reading the Bible to one that is quite happy for a person to read it now?” Who did the Church kill for reading the Bible? Can you name anyone? I would like evidence to support your claim. (Although, even if it turns out that the Church never killed anyone for reading the Bible, it must be admitted that the Church has been both directly and indirectly the cause of thousands of deaths through, at least, the Inquisitions. I say directly and indirectly because most executions were sentenced and carried out by the State (and Church and State were mixed in mediaeval Europe), but the Office of the Inquistion itself performed some executions. This is shameful, and I regret that it ever happened and am glad that the Church has acknowledged that it sinned in doing this.)

          About II Thessalonians 2: there’s a verse later in that chapter which I wonder if you’ve ever contemplated? Verse 15: “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” Interesting, isn’t it, that Paul tells the Thessalonians to obey the oral traditions he gave them, as well as the written traditions he gave them.

          “As late as John Paul and Benedict, we had encyclicals coming out that promoted punishments sounding like death for those who did not conform to RC church dogma. I and other have recorded these messages, so please don’t tell me they do not exist.” [sic] What you write here rather confuses me. Encyclicals are published and freely available on the internet, so what do you mean “I and other have recorded them”? [sic] What encyclicals and what paragraphs of those encyclicals promote “punishments sounding like death for those who did not conform to RC church dogma”?

          “That falling away which began in earnest in the middle part of the third century under Constantine, never reached its rise to power until 538AD. This seems to fall far short of the earliest Christians, don’t you think?” Can you please explain your thoughts better here? I don’t quite follow you.

      2. Marian Giorlando Cullen Reply

        Excellent response, woodrow. Excellent.

        1. Woodrow Reply

          Thank you. I hope MisterBig Bear carefully considers my questions, and I really would like him to explain what that “falling away” statement means. May God bring him into His Church, and may He have mercy on me, a sinner.

      3. francis mcanarney Reply

        Woodrow, I am a Cradle Catholic and am 60 years old. Great job of doing your research and finding the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is the only church that can trace its roots back 2000 years to the death of Jesus Christ. You ought to read “The Faith of Millions”

        1. Woodrow Reply

          Thank you, May God receive the glory. I’ll look into that book.

      4. servant_runner Reply

        Woodrow! Wow!

          1. zeny

            Thank you so much Woodrow for speaking in behalf of the Catholic faithfuls. I hope others will be enlightened too.

      5. Rosario Pranada Ballecer Reply

        I love this post. Actually, by birth I am a Catholic but after my thirty-six years of existence I was decieved and convervted to Reformed Baptist for almost twelve years, but thank God just recently this January 2015 by God’s amazing grace I returned to my old home and embracing again Catholic teachings- The Holy Catholic Apostolic Church founded by truth with our Lord Jesus Christ.

    5. No apologies here. Reply

      Roman Catholics are not bashing whatever denomination that you belong to, so why do you feel it necessary to bash my faith? Does it make you feel better? That’s not very Christian now is it? By the way Catholics are true Christians.

      1. Prince Reply

        The early Christians were not RC, get your facts straight. It was when the emperor of Rome accepted Christ that he highjaced the church and it became RC.

        1. Luigi Vigliotti Reply

          You’re kidding right? What planet do live on? The early Church was Catholic. I’m so sick of these false assertions. Do your homework before making such absurd statements. The so called RC apostasy seems curiously absent from history but I can trace your false man made Protestantism! Stop trolling Catholic sites pretending to speak truth.

        2. alex Reply

          prince,are you a bible scholar,historian,theologian ? i would only listen to you,if you are in that category!

        3. MarMay Reply

          Prince??????? There is only ONE Prince and his name is Jesus Christ! It seems that YOU need to get your facts straight about the early Christians in relation to Roman Catholicism. If I needed someone to tell me about my heart, I’d go to a cardiologist and not a podiatrist…so unless you yourself are a true Roman Catholic in full communion and understanding of the Teachings of Jesus Christ through the ONE Church that He Himself founded, you have no business trying to preach in its behalf!

          1. Helen

            Ah, there is only ONE Holy Father, and his name is God Almighty.

        4. Bob England Reply

          Can you back any of that up? Where are the facts?

      2. Marilyn (in Ohio) Reply

        I must jump in here. Begging your pardon, isn’t your very last sentence inadvertently bashing other Christian faiths? My Christian faith is based on the Bible only – belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God, that He died to save me, that He is Lord & Savior. We attend a Baptist church, very Bible oriented. My husband was raised in the Catholic church, Catholic school – told me how they were told not to read the Bible on their own, that the priest would tell them anything they needed to know. My husband converted almost 30 years ago.
        I digress. I’m so sorry that you believe in the church dogma rather than basing your beliefs on the Word of God (unaltered, I might add). “True Christians” as you put it, are the people who put their faith & trust in Jesus Christ. God bless you.

        1. Nate Reply

          Your faith isn’t based on the Bible only. You have “faith” in the Bible and there is nothing in that Bible saying that just because something isn’t mentioned specifically in the Bible it is a false teaching.

          1. Marilyn (in Ohio)

            I never said that. My point was that my faith comes from the Bible, God’s word. I believe that it is God-breathed (inspired by God). I believe that His word is in infallible (the pope’s word is not infallible). It is my guide for living. It shows me God’s comfort, strength, love, patience, promises. It tells me that by accepting Jesus Christ as my savior, confessing my sins (not to a priest) & inviting the Holy Spirit into my heart, I will spend eternity in Heaven with Him. Good works are important, but they will not save me. I think humans as a whole live their lives going against His word (yes, me included) – that’s why we need to ask Him directly for his forgiveness. That’s why we all need to read the Bible for ourselves, to think for ourselves. Jesus is my faith, not my “religion”. No religion is going to get you to Heaven. To me, much of Catholicism is based on Old Testament rituals. The Old Testament rules, regulations & laws had to be to show God their righteousness & obedience (some were not so good at this!). The Ten Commandments still stands, the stories of the saints, if you will, still stand. Things in the Old point to what is to take place in the New. In the New, Jesus came to change the rituals & laws to offer redemption through Him, not ritual, not good works, not gold & bronze palaces, not riches – just Him.

          2. iam_ladyrara

            🙂 🙂 🙂

        2. Bob England Reply

          Your husband’s personal experience which he remembers from his days in Catholic school is not Church doctrine. The attempted argument is invalid. He’s not an expert on Catholicism simply because he went to a Catholic school, and he’s not the word of authority. It’s his own personal interpretation of events, and his own understanding of Catholicism that you may criticize based on that criteria, and nothing else. If you’re criticizing the Church then your faith cannot be based in the Bible only, but it is based on your own personal interpretation of the Bible. The reason for this is that the Bible upholds Church authority in numerous places. Bible only is a far more recent phenomenon, and the current understanding of it is largely American. As for the “unaltered” comment, it was the Protestants who removed books from the Bible, and had he been allowed to continue, Luther would have sliced and diced the New Testament as well. Beyond that, where did the Church “alter” the Bible, since the suggestion, I might add, is implicit in your statement?

          1. Marilyn (in Ohio)

            Oh boy, this is getting out of hand. My husband may not be an expert on Catholicism, but he lived it! Many of his large family still live it (many have turned away). I have been to many masses myself. No that doesn’t make me an expert either. I can only assume that you are the only true expert – how wonderful! I have leafed through a Catholic version of the Bible (no, I didn’t study it). From what I could see, there are many added “notations” I guess I will call them. Words that the Catholic church has inserted. I can’t say what they all were, but I do know no one is to add or subtract from His word. All the references to Martin Luther – of course the Catholic church is going to make him out to be the bad guy, no matter what he did or didn’t do (I will be reading up on him). He became a “cursed Protestant”. I guess what it boils down to is that I like to think & figure things out for myself, not be told by someone on the other side of the world what I’m supposed to think & do. I’m not tied to church dogma, I’m free to love Christ one on one. I would never pray to Mary (I know, I know – you don’t “pray” to her. Why do you ask her to intercede for you to Christ? That is praying to her, in my book) I look upon Mary as a woman set apart, To be admired for her unfailing faithfulness to God, but she was an ordinary person whom God chose to be a vessel. She had other children, she was not without sin (none of us are without sin, Jesus is the one & only). She worshiped her son as Savior. I do believe the Catholic church & other Christians (yes, I AM a Christian) are in sync on moral issues. I don’t disagree with everything concerning your church, but it makes me sad that many become so comfortable with the ritual that nothing deeper seems to be sought. I think we have to agree to disagree!

          2. Bob England

            It won’t let me reply to you, but I can reply to this. I would have agreed to disagree, except for the manner of the argument and the fact that you maintained it. You initially replied to someone who said “By the way Catholics are true Christians,” by asserting that such a statement is “bashing other Christian faiths” when that couldn’t be further from the truth. The statement was inclusive, not exclusive, and says nothing at all about any other denomination. One might be led to believe that since you’re on a Catholic apologetics website, and jumping to false accusations and the same tired, refuted arguments against Catholicism so fast, that your main purpose here is to argue, since you’re not Catholic. So far, that seems to be about right. Furthermore, your initial argument, at least the one that I replied to, is based solely on testimony of one man who was reporting the pastoral concerns of one priest, assuming that it was even said that he shouldn’t read the Bible without guidance. There is no explanation from the priest, who is not here to defend himself. There is also substantial, written teaching that suggests that we are to read the Scriptures. Think what you want of indulgences, but I have Bibles from that era, and earlier, that offer indulgences for reading the Bible, as is stated on this page, and that extol the virtues of reading the Scriptures, and they include letters from Popes, even from the 19th century, suggesting the same. There is exhortation after exhortation for those who are capable to faithfully read the Sacred Scriptures. What happens in various churches when someone starts creating discord with strange new ideas? I know many churches will eventually ask that person to leave.

            That said, there is a legitimate pastoral concern for a pastor who has a young man in his flock who is reading the Bible without guidance. The fruit of such activity can be witnessed by the thousands upon thousands of atheists on Youtube who left the Christian faith after reading the Bible. See TektonTV, a Christian apologist (not Catholic) on Youtube who has hundreds of videos answering some of the bizarre claims of the atheists there. The truth is, by your standard, you have no reason whatsoever to question any interpretation that I arrive at, because by doing so you’re attempting to provide guidance.

            I’m also sorry you object to the notes in the Catholic Bible, but that is not changing the text. It is the inclusion of an explanation, or explanations, and it is a form of guidance, but nobody is preventing Catholics from buying a bare bones KJV, ESV, etc and reading it. And Protestant Evangelicals are not immune to the use of study notes in a Bible. A quick trip to Family Christian should be all you need to find a good evangelical study Bible with similar notes. The Geneva Bible that came over with the Pilgrims was filled with notes. There’s the ESV Study Bible, the NIV study BIble, an HCSB Study Bible, The MacArthur Study Bible, Scofield notes, etc. They may have one for your own flavor of Christianity, and there is book after book lining the store’s shelves explaining passages and offering guidance to the faithful who shop there.

            As for that “curse”, the one you’re talking about comes straight out of Galatians (1:8), and it is largely aimed at teachers (among the few who could actually read back then) and this would have been true whenever they had been said by any ecclesiastical authority in the past (Bibles were handwritten until the printing press, and would have taken a dedicated scribe a good year to reproduce, making them extremely valuable and out of the reach of the common man). They lead people astray, which is probably why St Paul said it in the first place.

            You have free will to have it your way, just as Adam and Eve had free will. Their way brought plenty of trouble, but they knew better and nobody could tell Eve anything. My Way, by Frank Sinatra, is all about doing your own thing without apology. That’s your right. Nobody is stopping you. I’m just pointing out the flaws in your accusations.

            Catholics do pray to Mary. Prayer is a petition, a request. We believe what the Bible states, that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.Lk 20:38, and so we believe that Mary is alive. To call her an “ordinary person” is somewhat insulting, really. She is the gate that God chose to enter this world Ez 44:2. The Ezekiel passage is just a gate for the Ark (which is so holy that it may not be touched by the wrong hands), and yet God became flesh, born of a woman, born under the Law. The new Adam born of the new Eve. She has been immortalized in Sacred Scripture as the one through whom the Lord entered creation. That’s not a mere vessel or an ordinary person by any stretch of the imagination, especially considering the intimacy of it all. Furthermore, the Bible states that she is the “mother of my Lord” Lk 1:43, and this proclamation by Elizabeth demonstrates reverence and awe.

            Nowhere, does the Bible say that she had other children. This is a glaring omission. Not a single verse, despite the multitude of verses declaring this or that woman with this or that son or daughter. It only says that Jesus had brothers and sisters, and it seems more likely that those brothers had different mothers. There are three unique “Mary”‘s identified in Jn19:25, one of whom, not the Blessed Virgin, is identified as the mother of at least 3 of Jesus’ “brothers”. It’s not so cut and dry as you would like it. It’s quite Catholic to believe that Mary worships her son, even though she has received the honor of being the greatest among creation (ie, not a goddess). Even the saints with the most devotion to the Blessed Virgin will be quick to agree that there is a huge difference between her and her Divine Son, but she is as close to him as a part of creation can be.

            And if you think comfort with ritual led me to go down the road of seeking the answers to these questions for my own self, especially when there are perfectly beautiful Anglican liturgies; a Methodist liturgy which is so similar to our own; Presbyterians who have the Book of Common Prayer; Eastern Orthodox who have a liturgy that is wonderfully hypnotic and pleasing to the mind and heart; then you’re sorely mistaken. I can have all the ritual I want without being Catholic. Heck, every Baptist and Congregational style worship service I have been to seems the same, with introductory music, some introductory prayers, more music, a sermon followed by a prayer, a collection, more music, exit followed by chit chat at the pot luck. One might mistake it for ritual. No, it was the challenge posed by a KJV only fundamentalist group that started me on this road, and as I studied, almost joining their group, I found their arguments to be unconvincing. That was 19 years ago.

          3. Marilyn (in Ohio)

            Bob, you make a very eloquent argument, very well spoken. As you stated, we are all given free will, the gift of choice. You are free to choose your way of worship, as I am mine. I think it’s pretty cool that we have the freedom to even be able to discuss things like this. I know I don’t have all the answers, however I’m sure you don’t either. Only God knows what is truly in our hearts, whether it’s Christ-centered or religion-centered. We aren’t going to change each other’s opinion or beliefs. I really do believe that God never meant for everything to be so complicated, but mere humans have surely messed it up! BTW, I don’t remember who has kept bringing up the name of Martin Luther, but I’ve done a little reading, not in-depth study, but enought for me to think he did the right thing. Not everything mind you – he was pretty anti-semitic, which I’m sure he will answer for, but he did see the Catholic church becoming power & riches oriented. It stands to reason the Catholic church would abhor him as he had the nerve to go against Pope Leo 1 (?). Not approving of taking monies from the not very wealthy to build a gold & bronze filled structure to house a religious leader was the right thing to do. Look at the evangelical so-called giants (NOT Billy Graham) that rake in money, promising things that they can’t possibly fulfill, so that they can live a high lifestyle. Wrong on so many levels – living off the poor, so to speak, for their own self-engrandizment. Pope Leo ( & the ones to follow) are just as guilty (maybe not Francis, not sure yet). I think probably we all should self-examine our own spiritual hearts to make sure the state of their health. I’m not sure that I can continue with the discussions – I seem to butting my head against brick walls & I can’t continue to bloody my brain with futile arguements (maybe discussions would be a better word). No hard feelings or thoughts – wishing you God’s blessings.

      3. Linda Reply

        No sorry Catholics are not true Christians. I was raised a Catholic and I learned a long time ago that when you think you are the only true Christian something is wrong. Only God can judge us but I did learn the Catholic Church only wants you to believe what they believe and if you really read the Bible and learn it you will find alot that was taught was not true according to the Bible. I have learned all Religions are man made and you have to read the Bible and really learn it to understand what is the truth. Any religion that would hide the fact that priests were molesting children to me is so wrong. Not only the priest who did it but the higher ups who hid it.

        Even today the Catholic Church is caving into today’s society.

    6. DC Elmore Reply

      Donna, I’m sorry you have such bad feelings. You are wrong.

      1. Marilyn (in Ohio) Reply

        Donna is quite correct!

    7. Brian Reply

      How can you reconcile what books have been intentionally left out of the Bible? Often, these were left at the whim of rulers for their own gain.

    8. Norma Jordan Del M Reply

      where in the bible does it says that you have to find everything in the bible? non-catholics always used bible like a weapon to destroy Catholics…so how can you explain this John 21:25 ,how can you explain St.Paul, sa 2 Thessalonians 2: 15….”So then, our friends (brothers), stand firm and hold on to those truths which we taught you, both in our preaching (sacred tradition) and in our letter (Sacred Scriptures)……catholic comes from the Greek
      katholikos, the combination of two words: kata- concerning, and holos- whole.
      Thus, concerning the whole. According to the Oxford Dictionary of English
      Etymology, the word catholic comes from a Greek word meaning “regarding the
      whole," or more simply, “universal" or “general." Universal comes from two
      Greek words: uni- one, and vertere- turning. In other words, a “one turning",
      “revolving around one," or “turned into one". 1
      The word church comes from
      the Greek ecclesia which means “those called out," as in those summoned out of
      the world at large to form a distinct society. So the Catholic Church is made up
      of those called out and gathered into the universal visible society founded by
      Christ. as He said in Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore, and make
      disciples of all nations (all nations, all things, all days. Catholic, we say, means ‘universal.’ ), baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the
      Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have
      commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age" Jesus used the word church twice in the gospels, both in Matthew. He said, “I
      will build my Church" (Mt 16:18). He didn’t say churches as though he were
      building a subdivision; nor did he imply it would be an invisible church made
      up of competing groups. He was going to build a visible, recognizable church.
      And in Matthew 18:17 Jesus said that if one brother offends another they were
      to take it to “the Church". Notice the article “the" referring to a specific entity.
      Not “churches" but one visible, recognizable church that can be expected to
      have a recognizable leadership with universal authority. Since the earliest centuries Christians have confessed that
      the Church is “one, holy, catholic and apostolic." One because there is only one,
      visible, organic, and unified Church; holy because she is called out of the world
      to be the Bride of Christ, righteous and sanctified; catholic because she is
      universal, unified, and covers the whole world; apostolic because Christ founded
      her (Mt. 16:18) through his apostles, and the apostles’ authority are carried on
      through the bishops. Through the centuries, this creed has been the statement
      of the Church. Christians need to stand confident and obedient in heart of
      the Catholic Church. She has been our faithful Mother, steadfastly carrying out
      the mandate of Jesus Christ for 2,000 years. Jesus requires us to listen to His
      Church, the Church to which he gave the authority to bind and to loose (Mt
      16:19; 18:17)—the Catholic Church, which is the pillar and foundation of the
      truth (1 Tim 3:15).
      you said , you once was a Catholic, sad to say you left the true church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ.

    9. alex Reply

      donna,you were not catechized or you were poorly catechized,because if you were,you will defend the cc with your life.me too,i strayed for a while in an evangelical church,born again christian thing.but they teach you the wrong gospel and they only teach hatred towards the cc.i returned to the cc,after finding out that jesus christ established the church,whilst the rests are just by human.no wonder,hundreds of former anti catholic pastors,bible scholars,missionaries ,many of them brainwashed the uncatechized catholics to leave their church and despise her,have now converted to the church,they used to label as mary worshippers,unbiblical,idolators all those MISCONCEPTIONS about the CC.they finally find the truth .google converts to the cc and you will be amazed with result,as those who converted,majority of them are born again chirstians,including pastors.,google ex catholics,you will disheartened to know that those who left are uneducated,has no knowldege or fair knowledge of scriptures and uncatechized,just like me ,when i left the cc for a while.my sister who left as well and became born again christian,is now agnostic!

    10. George McHenry Reply

      Actually, all that the Catholic Church teaches is based in Scripture: teachings; liturgy; prayer; etc. — all have their basis in the Bible.

      Perhaps you would benefit from actually reading the Bible, rather than making silly comments such as “…..and became a true Christian.”

      As to the notion of “Scripture Alone,” one must ask “Where did Scriptures come from?” The answer of course is that they were writings inspired by the Holy Spirit and gathered by the Church! Which Church? The Catholic Church!

      I pray that you will one day repent, turn your life back to Christ and return to the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. You are missing the most precious gift of all — the Holy Eucharist — which is clearly explained in John 6. The Bread of Life Discourses are the clear exposition of the Eucharist — unless of course, you believe (as do many protestants and evangelicals) that all of the Sacred Scriptures must be taken literally, except of course for John 6 (which doesn’t fit the protestant paradigm).

    11. MarMay Reply

      No where in the Bible will you find that we should go by the “Bible Alone”. The Bible goes hand-in-hand with Sacred Tradition (2 Thessalonians 2:15). It’s too bad you left the Church that Jesus Christ Himself founded because of something you did not fully understand, and I do not take kindly to anyone attacking what you call “RC”. When you attack the Roman Catholic Church, you attack OUR Savior who founded it Himself and promised that no evil will prevail against it. I will pray for YOU to come to understand the Truth and repent because you are sitting on the fence of heresy.

    12. Thomas Hocker Reply

      ME TWO. I learned mostly from the objectivity of the bible itself= Gods word. This is how I became a Christian.

    13. Barbara Ward Reply

      I pretty much experienced the same thing in my life Donna. I stopped going to church for many years because I didn’t agree with the RC church teachings but hesitated to go to another denomination because had been taught when a child that it was a sin to enter any church other than RC church. Don’t know what they teach nowadays, but I have attended a Bible preaching/teaching Baptist church for the last ten years or so and have learned more in that time than all the other years combined attending Catholic church and catechism classes. RC church was and I am assuming still is a works-based religion. There is nothing we can do to earn our way to salvation except knowing and accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

      1. Bob England Reply

        Barbara. Be careful that you’re not turning your salvation into your own work by making it dependent upon your knowing and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The Catholic Church teaches that this is by grace alone (Eph 2). It’s a gift. The faith itself is a grace. The desire for works is a grace. It’s all grace. The desire to want to know Jesus as Lord and Savior is a grace. That knowledge and acceptance is a grace. The only thing you have of your own is free will, and that’s also a grace. Grace is gift. You will find this teaching in the Catechism of Trent (hundreds of years ago, probably older than you), and in the current Catechism, several Church documents, etc. As for “faith alone”, the only place you’ll find that in the entire Bible is in James, where it says, “not by faith alone”.

        1. Marilyn (in Ohio) Reply

          Bob, I must have my say on this one. It is by God’s grace alone that we are saved by FAITH in Christ Jesus. I’m going to do some research on this……I think you might be wrong. Get back to you later.

          1. Bob England

            Marilyn. You can check the CCC online. You’re looking for the section on Grace, Justification and Merit. Nothing there is understood by itself, but always with the other parts, so when you get to the merit part, you have to go back to the grace part, and recognize that everything comes from God, and all we have is the assent of free will, and the desire to give that assent, which is also given to us. You can find the CCC at the USCCB website Here: http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/epub/index.cfm

            and the specific section here: http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/epub/OEBPS/34-chapter15.xhtml#article42

            I made a point of saying what I said, because there will be some things there that will make you want to recoil and say.. “No. No. It’s still works based. See here, here and here.” – I already know which parts. I truly believe the Catholic position to be less works based than the Protestant evangelical position since it’s not reliant on pushing someone to conversion, but by allowing grace to work. Infants do nothing whatsoever to merit the gift of Baptism and the anointing of the Holy Spirit that they receive at that time.

        2. Mary Reply

          There are very good arguments for the Catholic Church here, and I hear your earnest. But, can you defend the holding up of Mary, and repetitive prayers to her, and praying to the saints? To intercede for you. And believing on visions of Mary. MARY MARY MARY!!! And references to “our poor baby Jesus”. Jesus is no baby! and he isn’t to be pitied. And he does not NEED our help. Perhaps these “church” are the people. not the building. not the wealth, not the worshiping of a pope. but the Holy Spirit that is dwelling among those who follow Jesus.

          1. Bob England

            Thank you. Yes. Jesus is eternal. Not in the order you asked. I’ll get the easier ones out of the way first.

            1) He came into creation as a vulnerable child, and his childhood is part of the narrative in the Gospel account. We celebrate every aspect of who he is.

            2) I don’t know where we were supposed to pity Jesus. He said to “weep not for me but for your children.” This pitying of Jesus is something I haven’t encountered so I can’t say anything about it.

            3) The Church is people, but the Church is also a visible organization with appointed teachers. That’s readily clear in the Book of Acts. The office of apostleship is a continuing office that needs to be filled by a successor, one chosen by and from the Church leadership – Acts 1. The example of people trying to usurp the authority of the apostles, trying to cast out demons in Jesus’ name, only to end up running home naked. The first council and the discussions of matters of faith among Church leadership. It’s found elsewhere, too. Paul rightly points out that some are apostles, teachers, etc.

            4) The Pope is not God. I repeat. The Pope is not God. The Pope has been given guidance. Jesus made a promise that he would send the Holy Spirit to guide them. It’s hard to believe that everyone who falls under the banner of “Christian” has been given this guidance because we have so much schism. What Jesus did do was breathe onto the Apostles, giving them the Holy Spirit, and granting them the power to forgive sins and to retain sins. They were actually told that if they retained the sins of another person, they were retained. He also changed the name of Simon bar Jonah to Rock. He actually called him Rock, and he gave him, singled out, the power to bind and loose. This would fall under the concept of delegation of authority. It’s not that the Pope as a person is infallible or sinless, but in his position as Pope, in a very limited context, is considered infallible. In fact, during the first Vatican Council, where Papal infallibility was declared as dogma, they argued strongly against certain papal actions as falling under the banner of infallibility, because there were some less than infallible papal behaviors and thoughts in the past, thus defining it so narrowly that it is hardly ever an issue. This papal infallibility is not a man-centered thing, but based in the trust that Jesus kept his word. The infallibility ultimately belongs to God. The Pope is a vicar, and a vicar has authority, but he’s ultimately acting on behalf of the one who is above him.

            5) Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant. The Ark was so sacred that it was kept behind an extremely thick veil. She’s also the new Eve. You can see this in the fact that Jesus is the new Adam. John sets this up in the first chapter. In the beginning… and the next day, and the next day, and the next day, and on the 3rd day (equals 7 days) there was a wedding feast at Cana, and the new Eve (forgive my artistic license) came to the new Adam and said “They have run out of wine” – In the earliest church this was always seen in the context of Eve tempting Adam. Eve was taken from a man, but we have creation anew. The new Adam is born of a woman. She’s not God. She’s part of creation, but elevated above the rest of creation.

            6) Mary is also depicted in Revelation 11:19-12:6 (also considered a depiction of Israel) and she is the mother of the Church, of the Body of Christ, of all Christians.

            7) Jesus says not to use vain repetition. Vain has a couple of meanings. One is narcissistic, proud. The other is that the prayers are valueless. It cannot be a prohibition on the repetition of prayers, because Jesus himself repeats a prayer in the garden of Gethsemane (Mk 14).

            8) Prayers to Mary and the Saint: We believe in the Communion of saints, and as part of that we believe in the Church Militant, the Church Suffering and the Church Triumphant. We believe that everyone in this Communion of saints is alive and is part of one of those three parts of the Church. Church militant is here on earth. That’s us. Church suffering is those who are being purified for their entry into heaven. Church Triumphant are those who are in heaven now, and those are declared saints (meaning in this context that there is a degree of certainty that they are in heaven) and they are therefore righteous, either because of their piety, or because of miracles associated with prayers to them. We believe that they can pray to intercede for us, since the prayer of the righteous availeth much. We see in the book of 2nd Maccabees, which isn’t going to be in many American Protestant Bibles because it was considerably cheaper to print free Bibles without them, that Jeremiah (at that time he was already dead) prayed fervently for Israel. We also see in that example that there is some interaction between the living and the dead (Jeremiah obviously not being dead, since he was praying). Because we believe that Mary is the most righteous among all in creation, and that she was protected by her Son from original sin, that her prayers are especially efficacious.

            Was that everything? I did that off the top of my head, so I may have missed something. If so, it’s not intentional.

        3. Barbara Ward Reply

          Bob England: I have read and read again what I commented and your reply to me. I can’t see what it was I said that causes your reply. Where did I say or infer that I thought my salvation was of my own works. All our deeds are like filthy rags to God. We are nothing apart from Him and must live a Spirit filled life. I understand God’s grace is a gift. It is God giving us what we don’t deserve. His mercy is God not giving us the punishments we deserve. His grace and mercy are new to us each day. Once we come to the saving grace of God we want to do good deeds. We are no longer a slave to sin and death.

          1. Barbara Ward

            I am always amazed at how far away from the original topic these forums go with comments. The original thought was whether the RCC encouraged or discouraged personal Bible study. My original reply was that all my years as a member of my local Catholic church, they discouraged any personal Bible study. This was some 40+ years ago. Whether it was only this particular church or the entire Church as a group I don’t have any way of knowing.

          2. Bob England

            Hello, Barbara. I am also impressed by how far a conversation can move from the original topic. In fact, it happened in the very first reply by Donna (to whom you replied in agreement), who was quick to tell the story of her former Catholic days, the tale of her history of ignorance as a poor, lost unsaved Catholic and her final conversion to true Christianity, which in this case is a uniquely American form of evangelicalism.

            To answer your point specifically, you criticized Catholicism as being “works-based” and then you said (I believe aptly so since it’s so true of American Evangelical Christianity), that “There is nothing we can do to earn our way to salvation except knowing and accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.”

            Very well stated. So Baptists earn their salvation by using the organ which controls all bodily functions, the brain, to acknowledge Jesus and accept him. So this is what we must do. And if I don’t do it? Well, if we don’t do this work of knowing and accepting, then presumably we are left unsaved and we burn. If we do this one thing, then we are saved. That’s a “work”. Is there no such thing as mental work?

            Catholic dogma is that we have free will, which allows for this assent, but that our will is guided by the Light of Christ, the light of faith (a gift we receive, which we are pre-disposed to receive – also a gift), the light of reason (Jesus is the Logos). “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (not reading) and “By grace you are saved, through faith, and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works so no one may boast”. These are Catholic dogma.

            So basically, we don’t earn anything through faith. We don’t turn it into a mental exercise. It is given to us, or it is not, and our most laborious work, should we choose to accept it, is to reject the faith. The desire to give assent is already a gift (grace). A few replies up are links to Catholic teaching documents (not unlike the many Protestant teaching documents, sermons and books, but more official) which explain Catholic teaching on grace, justification and merit. It is completely free online, as are exhortations to read teh Bible, and a Catholic version of the Bible is also freely available online (there’s no prohibition against reading your ESV, KJV, NASB, HCSB, NKJV, etc). It’s not the elementary school understanding imparted on kids who are too disinterested to pay attention and who carry it into adulthood. It’s for adults who need to improve upon their 8th grade understanding of the Catholic faith and grow with it as their ability to grasp more difficult concepts increases.

          3. Barbara Ward

            I agree with what you are saying completely and the Baptist church (at least the one I go to) teaches that as well. Apparently I used a poor choice of words or wording to convey my message. Again, the original topic was why the Catholic church (in the past) discouraged individual Bible reading and study. And I was simply agreeing with Donna that I experienced that as well when I was a child in catechism classes.

    14. servant_runner Reply

      can you then explain this passage: “Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.” John 21:25

    15. Paulo Reply

      MATTHEW 16:17-19
      “And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18″I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19″I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”…

      this will help you to understand indulgences… which is not made by catholic church..

    16. Leo Reply

      And where is it in the bible that you can use mobile phone, browse through the internet, watch television, listen to radio, use the computer and drive cars. Since these can’t be found in the bible, does it mean it is sinful using them?

    17. Donald Montero Reply

      Donna, Donna I propose to you simply two (2) explanations regarding “indulgences” by the Holy Catholic Church. First, as a Catholc I believe when Jesus gave the Apostle Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven and then when on to tell Peter whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosen in heaven leaves me to believe Jesus himself gave Peter all this authority to do what must be done. Secondly, Donna, the Bible as we know it today did not come into exsistence untill almost 200-250 years after Jesus ascended to the Father having instructed the Apostles to go out to all the world. What was missing? They did not have a Bible! The Apostles relied on word of mouth which became known as “traditions” which the Apostle Paul did instruct the faithful to hold fast unto. Let me ask you a bona-fide question: where in the Bible does it say the Bible is the only source for teaching and instruction?

      1. Mike Hartigan Reply

        The Bible endorses itself over and over again as the only authority the body of believers (aka the Church) can place all hope in. The Bible teaches that we hold to traditions, yes. Just so long as those traditions do not contradict scripture. Some traditions are generally widely accepted, though they may not found in the Bible, such as Peter died crucified upside down. In addition, apart from John, all the other disciples died violent deaths. Again, this isn’t found in the Bible but through the many centuries it is widely regarded as true. However, many traditions promoted have no basis in the faith whatsoever. This includes but is not limited to: venerating and praying TO the saints suggesting that they are mediators between God and man. This is a blatantly false teaching as the Bible clearly assures us that, “there is but one mediator between God and man, that is the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5)”.
        In order to know what the truth is there must be one reliable source to consult. It can’t be the Bible and traditions together. It can only be one or the other. The Bible is that source.
        What also makes the Bible so unique is that one third of the Bible is prophetic. And so far the Bible’s track record for prophetic accuracy is 100%. There are relatively few prophecies yet to be fulfilled and if the Bible has been precise and reliable up to this point, there is no reason to think the remaining events to occur can’t or won’t happen. No other ‘holy’ book from any other religion can make this claim.
        Lastly, Jesus imparted His authority to all God’s children (Luke 10:19, 20). And not just to a select few (God is not a respecter of persons. Acts 10:34).
        How do we know this? The Bible tells us and so we take it, like any other truth, on faith and watch how it works itself out in our lives.

    18. Diane Hovinga Reply

      I am Catholic and at our church there are always Bible studies going on! Some are about the Old Testament, some are about the New Testament other than the Gospels and some are about the Gospels themselves! We are far from ignorant about Scripture!

  2. marty Reply

    Best way to de-convert someonebis to have them read the horror that the biblebis

    1. seve Reply

      horror that the bible is ????

  3. Romeo Agtarap Reply

    That’s why we catholics MUST NEVER BE LATE IN THE MASS(Liturgy of the Word) Readings(Old and New) and Psalms. AND PAY ATTENTION , NO TEXTING during Mass, No wonder some catholics are easy prey to other denominations due to bible “issue.”

  4. David C Kelder Reply

    Historically, the leaders of the Catholic church took the position that the masses could not understand the scriptures. They were free to read them BUT had to rely on the hierarchy of the church to interpret what the scriptures meant. Then along came Martin Luther.

    1. Suzanne Graf Slupesky Beck Reply

      Yes, and that was a sad day. Instead of fixing the problems that no one argued were in the Church, he ‘divorced’ it and the rest is the ugly mess of history.

      1. MarMay Reply

        I was about to echo your reply, Suzanne Graf!!! Sadly, modern-day Protestantism is sooooo far-removed from what Martin Luther intended…I guess he didn’t see the chaos coming!! Heck, you and I can get together for an afternoon tea and start our own church called “The Christian Church of the Saturday Afternoon Tea” so that we can pick and choose what we want and reject anything else that Jesus Christ taught in the ONE, TRUE Church that He Himself established and promised that NO EVIL (and many there have been) will prevail against it! I say, if you truly believe in Jesus Christ, why would you want to go to another church that was founded by mere men? Surely, they must be flawed as well, or they wouldn’t be splitting and multiplying while Jesus’ Church has remained constant for over 2000 years!!!

      2. Susan Hiller Reply

        Wrong. Luther wanted to reform the Church, not leave it. The Roman Church excommunicated him for advocating Scripture above Tradition. The Medieval RC was about raw, naked power, not abut saving souls! And it still is. I was Catholic, so I know of which I speak. Read David H ts book “A Woman Rides the Beast”.

  5. Murungi Reply

    I think the OP was meaning encourage the parishioners to read the Bible for themselves, outside of services. My grandmother did this of her own accord, and when her parish priest found out, he advised her to stop. She didn’t, and it was always a point of contention. She felt a person should know Scripture for themself, and not just take someone else’s word about what the Bible says.

    1. Woodrow Reply

      Your grandmother was right! The Second Vatican Council’s “Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation” says in paragraph 25: “The sacred synod also earnestly and especially urges all the Christian faithful, especially Religious, to learn by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures the “excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:8). “For ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” Therefore, they should gladly put themselves in touch with the sacred text itself, whether it be through the liturgy, rich in the divine word, or through devotional reading, or through instructions suitable for the purpose and other aids which, in our time, with approval and active support of the shepherds of the Church, are commendably spread everywhere. And let them remember that prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that God and man may talk together; for “we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine saying.”

  6. sue Reply

    The “official” answer is a bunch of hooey. I went th catholic school for 12 years and was never encouraged to read the bible. The mass is 95% ritual and 5% readings & priestly interpretation. It wasn’t until my 40’s that I started to read the bible & began a personal relationship with God & Jesus.

  7. David Victor Furman Reply

    Philosophically, the RC church has always been more closely oriented towards so-called traditions than scripture. Christ’s criticism of the Jews is quite applicable to the orientation of the RC church. Mark 7:6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​“‘This people honors me with their lips, ​​​​​​​but their heart is far from me; ​​​ 7 ​​​​​​​​in vain do they worship me, ​​​​​​​teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ​​​ 8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men."