Do Catholics Really Read the Bible?

It is a well-worn shibboleth that Catholics do not read the Bible. Unlike those studious Protestants, Catholics through the centuries were thought to leave all that Scripture stuff to the priests and nuns.

Like any other shibboleth, this one turns out to be largely untrue. Any serious Catholic, and a good many not-so-serious Catholics, know that the Bible is the foundation of our belief and practice.

For starters, over the course of our three-year liturgical cycle, a regular Mass attender will hear readings covering pretty much the entire Bible. Our childhoods are replete with Old Testament stories about the Garden of Eden, Cain and Abel, the Tower of Babel, Noah’s Ark, Jonah and the Big Fish, David and Goliath, etc. And the life, Passion, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth are central to our understanding of our faith.

While it may be true that Catholics tend not to memorize set passages to win debates, we do value and revere Sacred Scripture. For us, it is as much about understanding how to live as it is knowing what to believe.

For almost 80 years, we at Novalis have published, under one name or another, Living with Christ. Its focus is, of course, the daily Eucharist, but it cannot be separated from Scripture. In fact, thousands of readers go to its pages daily to read that day’s Mass selections and reflect on them or pray over them.

Understanding the importance of Scripture, we decided about a year ago to begin publishing a series of booklets called Getting to Know…. Each one focuses on a single book of the Bible, or selection of letters, such as the Epistles of Paul. We wanted to create something that would be a simple, unintimidating introduction to the Bible for a new generation that may not have had the more intensive religious upbringing of previous generations.

Fr. Scott Lewis, SJ, a Scripture scholar at Regis College in Toronto, generously agreed to write the New Testament series and is giving the second annual Living with Christ lecture Nov. 26. His accessible writing has already proven highly popular among our readers.

Our goal is to ensure the Catholic families of today and tomorrow embrace this fundamental source of revelation and inspiration so that their own lives will be enriched and their faith lives become more fulfilling.

-Joseph Sinasac, Publishing Director

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