Since my previous posting was on the Bible, perhaps I will continue to share a little more about the same…
Many people, especially evangelical ‘Christians’ have been led to believe that the Roman Catholic traditions and doctrines are opposed to, and contradicted by, the very letter of God’s written Word; the Bible.
Apparently, these Christians believe that Rome embraces and propagates dogmas and traditions which could not stand a moment’s examination if exposed to the Holy Scriptures. Admittedly, there have been various other ‘invented’ stories of old, about Rome’s prohibition of the reading of the Bible and other attitudes toward the Holy Scriptures.
Why this negative perception against the Roman Catholic Church, the very church founded by Jesus Christ?
Why such ‘ganged-up’ negative Christian perception against the very Church, whose liturgy has been obediently biblical in every way, than any other ‘Christian’ evangelical churches anywhere around the world today?
Sources have it that the Protestant’s initial account of the pre-Reformation Catholicism has been largely a falsification of history.
It is important for everyone to remember that, until the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Bible was the only edition since, obviously, there was no other major Christian denomination till then.
The simple truth, according to Rev Henry Grey Graham, is that the Catholic Church has...
“… been the parent, the author and maker, under God, of the Bible; that she has guarded it and defended it all through the ages, and preserved it from error or destruction; that she has ever held it in highest veneration and esteem, and has grounded her doctrines upon it; that she alone has the right to call it her book; that she alone possesses the true Bible and the whole Bible, and that copies of the Scriptures existing outside of her pale are partly incorrect and partly defective, and that whatever in them is true, is true because derived from her who alone possesses the Book in its fullness and its truth.
If they were Catholics, they would love God’s Holy Word more and more; they would understand it better; they would adore the Divine Providence that took such a wise and sure means of preserving and perpetuating it; and they would profoundly admire the Catholic Church for her ceaseless vigilance, untiring zeal and unswerving fidelity to the commission entrusted to her by Almighty God.”
Very simply, the rest of Christendom owes to the Roman Catholic Church, their ‘connection’ to the Bible. The Bible was not printed in any language till about 1,500 years after the birth of Jesus Christ!
A German named John Gooseflesh or better known as Johann Gutenberg only discovered the art of printing somewhere in the 15th century.
Before that, the Testaments and the Gospels would mostly be read from the handwritten or hand-copying manuscript of monks or friars. This was how people before the 15th century became familiar with Christianity.
So much for the commonly misunderstood absurd fallacy that the Bible and the Bible alone can save the souls of mankind; the so-called doctrine of sola scriptura! Our loving and merciful God surely cannot be indifferent to the countless souls for first 1,500 years?
Thus, the Church and Faith existed way before the Bible – many became Christians by hearing the truth of God from the lips of Christ’s missionaries – the living teaching tradition of the Catholic Church.
It is also a fact in history that the Council of Carthage (387AD), mainly through the influence of St Augustine, through her Popes, settled on the precise Canon or Collection of New Testament Scriptures as we have them in Bibles now.
Together with the Old Testament, the Bible, as it stands today, is composed of 73 separate books. For the next couple of centuries, even if the Church had given a copy of the bible to every Catholic, it would have done little good because the vast majority of the world was illiterate. Besides, the cost of printing would have been tremendous.
It is a absurd for people to step in, 1,500 years after the Catholic Church had had possession of the Bible and to pretend that it is theirs and that they alone know what the meaning of it is and that Scripture alone, without the voice of the Catholic Church explaining them, are intended by God to be the sole guide and rule of faith.
Why, some Christian groups did not even appropriate the whole of the Catholic books; casting out some (seven books) from ‘their’ collection.
Today, one can find countless versions of the Bible in bookshops. Everone seem to fancy translating a copy of their own. Getting a bible these days can be a daunting task for the uninitiated.
Whilst the King James Version of the bible cannot be faulted for the beauty of its language and majesty of its expression, it contains an incomplete version of the Hebrew Scriptures and is sometimes difficult to understand.
Catholics generally use translation of the Scriptures if it bears the Nihil Obstat (Latin for “nothing hinders”) certifying that it contains nothing contrary to faith or morals and the final Imprimatur (Latin for ‘let it be printed’) of a Catholic Bishop.
Catholics prefers the New American Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible and the New Revised Standard Version, although the older and more beautiful expressed Jerusalem Bible, Douay Rheims and Revised Standard Version is also used. To appreciate the entire lyrical beauty of the Psalms, try reading the Grail Version.
It is not surprising today that more and more evangelical multi-million dollars mega christian ‘churches’ are mushrooming all over the place; consequence of the audacity of humanity to change, by a stroke of a pen, whatever doctrines that are not ‘applicable’ and adapting new ones to suit a particular community.
‘Individual’ interpretation of scripture continues to mutilate and disfigure the Word of God for their own convenience – these new churches being run more like a business economic entities nowadays - membership into such churches replicate entrance-screening for some exclusive social clubs and parishioners (people who are actually hungry for God) milked of their wealth under the disguised name of ‘tithing’.
Catholics, as declared by the Second Vatican Council, “venerates” the Scripture – extending many visible signs of this reverence for the Word of God, especially in the liturgy.
These have been adopted for ages, as the Church sees Scriptures as a very special gift of God’s revelation to His people.
Catholics “…know that were it not for the Church, there would be no Bible, for it was the Church that sifted through the many books claiming divine inspiration and came up with the books that now serve as the definitive canon of works regarded as divinely inspired and worthy of incorporation into what is now considered the Bible.” (Father Peter M.J. Stravinkas, The Catholic Answer Book)
Hence, the only Church that is traceable back to the apostles and Jesus Christ, over the course of her long history, has nothing to be ashamed of in her treatment of the Bible, but deserves the praise and thanks of all Christians for so zealously and fearlessly protecting it from corruption and contempt.
The Roman Catholic Church remains the largest church in the world today. Although the Church has its imperfections, at its heart is the endless stream of God’s mercy and forgiveness.
In the 16th century, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine wrote, “The one and true Church is the community of men brought together by the profession of the same Christian faith and conjoined in the communion of the same sacraments, under the government of the legitimate pastors and especially the one vicar of Christ on earth, the Roman pontiff.”
The Second Vatican Council describes sacred Tradition (the handing on of God’s Word by the successors of the apostles) and sacred Scripture, entrusted to the Catholic Church, as being “like a mirror, in which the Church, during its pilgrim journey on earth, contemplates God.”
For all these treasures, including the gift of the real presence and many more rich traditions, I am simply humbled that God has gifted me the heritage of the Catholic faith!
For the rest out there who wish to come home to discover the real truth and beauty of the Catholic Church, check with either a genuine online Catholic source or your local Catholic Church...
The late Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said that, “There are not even 100 people in this country who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they think the Catholic Church to be.”