Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Did the Pope Ban the Bible

Q: Are Catholics allowed to read the Bible? When I went to my friend’s Baptist church, everyone brought his or her own Bible. I’ve never seen a Catholic carrying the Bible. My friend says that’s because the pope won’t let us.

A: I don’t want to sound negative or anything, but your friend is wrong. Yes, we’re allowed to read the Bible, I read the Bible all the time. I have a Bible sitting here right next to me. Also the popes throughout the past two thousand years have always tried to encourage people to read the Bible, not the other way around. I’m in an apologetics group, and we read stuff out of the Bible like every five minutes. There are hundreds of Catholic Bible studies out there, and we read tons of stuff from the Bible at every Catholic Mass. The disciples, the very people who wrote the New Testament, were also the first priests of the Catholic Church, and the apostle Peter the first pope.

Many people accuse the Catholic Church of chaining bibles to big stones and not allowing them to read them, this is not true, the Catholic Church did chain up bibles but that’s because that was before the printing press and books were extremely expensive. They were chained so they wouldn’t be stolen and could be used by all Catholics (Rev. Henry G. Graham, Where We Got the Bible [TAN Books, 2004], pp. 58-59). I found a lot of interesting reading on this topic in the Radio Replies series [TAN Books]. Check out Volume I, pp. 118ff and Volume II, pp 116ff.

Sadly, unlike our Protestant brothers and sisters, many Catholics read hardly any of the Bible outside of Mass, or none of it at all, but that doesn’t mean that you have to follow their example.