Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ

If you don’t know the Bible, you don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ. So says the Catechism (§133) and Vatican II (Dei Verbum 25). This is why 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” (CCC §133 again). This is why the Church says “Access to Sacred Scripture ought to be open wide to the Christian faithful” (§131/DV 22).

Some folks claim that the opposite is true, because the Church forbid Catholics to read Protestant translations of the Bible during the Reformation. But the problem was not with the Bible. Protestant Bibles were translated with Protestant assumptions, and included Protestant commentary/marginalia. The Church was concerned to protect the faithful from being deceived by Protestant errors. That Bible translations were perfectly acceptable when properly authorized is obvious in light of the fact that the Douay-Rheims translation was published before the King James Version (the Douay NT was published in 1582, and the OT in 1609). And that’s just one example; see the simply enormous list of translations on this page for more. Even the Council of Trent specifically ordered that the Bible be printed “in the most correct manner possible” (Fourth Session). So the myth that the Church hates or fears the Bible is just that: a myth, and a pernicious one.

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Posted in Catechism, Council of Trent, Scripture, Vatican II

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