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3 Myths about the Catholic Church and the Bible

A few things to remember before we begin:

The Church is so old it saw different eras in history, so the criticism that the Catholic Church prevented people from owning a bible is ahistorical and untrue. The Church went through times when owning the Bible was so expensive because each had to be copied by hand!

She saw through this and the fact most people were uneducated and could not read. At the time, the Church would lock copies to prevent theft but kept sharing the knowledge of Scripture with all. So now that people can own bibles thanks to the invention of print, they’re using present times to judge things that happened centuries ago. Here are the common myths:

Myth 1: Chained bibles:

People started spreading the lie that the Church chained bibles to keep them from people. The truth is, those bibles were so expensive like we said above, they were being protected from theft. They were highly sought-after items that many people wanted to steal and sell them. Just as the Church locks the tabernacle today to prevent theft of precious items used in worship. 

Myth 2: Church discouraged Bible reading:

Another similar claim was that the Church discouraged personal bible readings to keep people from knowing the truth. The assumption of this was, the Catholic Church was lying to many. Isn’t this claim the stupidest thing you’ve heard today? But, yes, people actually believe this and spread this lie. The question is: What exactly has happened in the Church since everyone started owning bibles? Granted there have been a few people who have left the Church but many more have converted because of the Scriptures. Intellectuals like Scott Hahn, whose study of scripture brought him closer and closer with each passing chapter, is proof that this claim is meaningless. If any organization wanted to keep something secret and went through great lengths to do it, it NEEDS to be something so explosive it would rock the very foundations of said organization. For instance, if the Pope were secretly married with children. This would be incredibly scandalous, right? And the Church would be rocked to its core if such a matter was true and became public knowledge. So, after reading the bible cover to cover, what is the big secret? The truth that Jesus is the Son of God? or that Peter was appointed Prince of the Apostles? That God gave the Apostles power to forgive sins? So? What’s new?

Myth 3: The Church banned translations of the Bible:

Another lie is that the Church banned several early translations of the Bible because they exposed “the truth”. This claim always makes me laugh and remember the tone of conspiracy theorists. The Church did ban some translations, again, not because they contained truths but because of many errors contained therein. Many of these publications steered far away from original copies of Scripture and even carried translators’ personal beliefs. Bring the Bible of Jehova’s witnesses today and see John Chapter 1, changed entirely to mean Jesus is not God but “a god.”

Conclusion:

It is very easy to come up with a conspiracy theory, so easy to play on the weakness of people. Many people have a problem believing that any big organization or country or the likes have anything good as a goal. So many people believe that anything that big is necessarily evil and treat them with hostility or suspicion. However, when you look closer to see if there’s any evidence behind popular theories, you don’t find any rational basis for those lies. The Church, over the years, has encouraged the reading of Scripture. Many Saints and Church Fathers have written extensively on the subject.

We have picked out a few below:

“Flee to the Church, and be brought up in her bosom, and be nourished with the Lord’s Scriptures.”

-Irenaeus, 2nd Century.” Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”

-St. Jerome, 5th Century.

“The church of believers is great, and its bosom most ample; it embraces the fullness of the two Testaments.”

-Ephraem, 4th Century.

“If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.”

-St. Augustine, 4th Century.

“Holy Scripture is a stream in which the elephant may swim and the lamb may wade.”

-Pope St. Gregory, 6th Century.

“Easy access to Sacred Scripture should be provided for all the Christian faithful.”

Vatican II, Dei Verbum, 20th Century.

3 Myths about the Catholic Church and the Bible

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