The National Catholic Review
David Gibson
The state of Catholic Bible study today
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For more than 40 years, the Rev. Roger V. Karban of the Diocese of Belleville has loved the Scriptures, studying them deeply, preaching on them weekly and teaching about them in popular Bible study groups. So galvanized was Father Karban by the Second Vatican Council’s encouragement of Scripture study that he even started assigning Bible readings as penances, a practice he continues to this day. Yet for all of that hard work and the efforts by the wider church—continuing with the recent Synod of Bishops on the Word of God (Oct. 5-26)—Father Karban can still come across to Catholics like the fellow in the confessional who balked when Father Karban tried to hand out his usual Scripture-based penance.

“Father,” the man complained, “I used to be a Protestant, and I became a Catholic so I wouldn’t have to read that book!”

Alas, while much has changed since Vatican II, some traditions die hard. Chief among them appears to be the old saw that Catholics “don’t read the Bible”—a hoary Reformation-era aphorism, but one that too many Catholics themselves still accept. “I find a lot of people who are still brainwashed that Scripture is for Protestants—that we Catholics don’t need that at all,” Karban says.

Then again, Catholics can take some solace in two developments, one less praiseworthy than the other.

Biblical Illiteracy

On the downside, surveys show that Catholics are hardly alone in their struggle for biblical literacy. While American Christians proudly cite the Bible as their favorite book (93 percent own one, usually the King James version) and two-thirds see it as the source for answers to “all or most of life’s basic questions,” they actually do not know or understand much of what is written between the covers.

Only half of U.S. adults, for example, could name a single Gospel, and most do not know the name of the first book of the Bible. Even those sola scriptura Protestants who intimidate Catholics with chapter-and-verse recitations are not doing too well. According to a survey conducted in 2000, 60 percent of evangelicals said Jesus was born in Jerusalem, not that “little town of Bethlehem.” And despite all our bitter battles over posting the Ten Commandments, six in 10 Americans cannot name five of them, while half of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married. When a USA Today article on Stephen Prothero’s 2007 book, Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know—and Doesn’t, was titled, “Americans Get an ‘F’ in Religion,” the eminent historian of religion, Martin E. Marty, quipped that the newspaper could be guilty of grade inflation.

Moreover, while fewer believers know much about the Bible, one-third of Americans continue to believe that it is literally true, something organizers of the Synod on the Word of God called a dangerous form of fundamentalism that is “winning more and more adherents…even among Catholics.” Such literalism, the synod’s preparatory document said, “demands an unshakable adherence to rigid doctrinal points of view and imposes, as the only source of teaching for Christian life and salvation, a reading of the Bible which rejects all questioning and any kind of critical research.”

Positive Trends in Bible Study

Pointing to the deficiencies of other Christians is not a comfort to Catholic leaders or even a respectable defense in backyard arguments with Protestant neighbors. But on the positive side, Catholics can also point to several promising initiatives and trends.

One is the growing number of reliable and readable books that can provide an introduction to Scripture study and a counter-current in the sea of speculative material available. Works ranging from the widely praised book How Do Catholics Read the Bible? by Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., to Garry Wills’s series of primers (including What the Gospels Meant and What Paul Meant) to the recent Jesus of Nazareth, by Pope Benedict XVI, are just a few examples. Several educators have recommended the introduction to Jesus of Nazareth as a solid starting point for Scripture study. Scholars like Pheme Perkins (her Reading the New Testament: An Introduction remains a standard text) and Dianne Bergant, C.S.A. (People of the Covenant: An Invitation to the Old Testament, for example) bring both a woman’s perspective and deep research.

Moreover, the Internet is a portal to vast amounts of quality material, including lectures by Raymond E. Brown, S.S., one of the most respected and accessible Bible scholars of the past generation.

Yet the heart of good Bible study—defined as close reading that leads to a deeper and more mature spirituality—is the small group, and in that field the Little Rock Scripture Study series remains the leader. The Little Rock series began in 1974 as a modest program for Catholics in central Arkansas as a way, as the co-founder Abbot Jerome Kodell, O.S.B., put it, to help reawaken biblical studies and spirituality in the Catholic Church, “which had been subdued and muted for four hundred years as a result of polemics of the Reformation period.” In fact, equipping the relatively small Catholic community to interact better with the region’s dominant Bible-quoting Protestants was another spur to founding the program.

The response was overwhelming, and a decade later the program had gone national. Today, according to L.R.S.S. director Cackie Upchurch, the program has been used in more than 7,000 parishes in every U.S. diocese and in 55 countries around the world. Ms. Upchurch said there has been an encouraging spike in interest in their programs recently, owing to news of the pope’s book on Jesus along with an unexpectedly strong interest in the ongoing Pauline Year. The Synod on the Word of God may help, too, she added. The growing number of lay ministers is also key in developing programs like Bible study that appeal to parishioners. “Bible study should be at the center of what we do in our parishes,” Ms. Upchurch said.

Paradoxically, the scandal of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy may also have prompted some Catholics to explore the Bible in depth for the first time in their lives, because the crisis revealed not only tragic sins by the clergy, but also a lack of basic religious education among an American laity that thought it should know better. Since 2004, Voice of the Faithful, the lay reform group that sprang up in response to the scandal, has posted resources for Bible study on its Web site, including a guide for a seven-session study of the early church. The goal is not one-stop scholarship, but a first step on the path to developing small groups, said Donna B. Doucette, executive director of V.O.T.F.: “If your ambition is to increase the voice and responsibility of the laity, then your responsibility is to understand the church you are trying to reform. We never approached our religion as something we needed to study. We approached it as something we needed to experience.” Doucette said there has been “no great stampede” for the V.O.T.F. package, “but those who find it, like it.”

Some wonder whether, like Catholic social teaching, Scripture scholarship is becoming one of the church’s best-kept secrets. There is a good argument to be made that modern biblical scholarship, begun as a Protestant enterprise, has in the last half-century seen Catholic thinkers emerge as the most respected and readable Scripture scholars. Catholics who discover this trove respond enthusiastically. Father Karban recalled that he began his first parish Bible study in 1966 as a class on the coming reforms in liturgy; but as often happens, once participants started talking about the biblical roots of the Mass, no one wanted to stop. The liturgy class never started, but Father Karban still leads three Bible classes a week at a parish, a hospital and a high school—some 30 people on Sunday nights, several dozen regulars on Tuesday mornings and another 15 to 20 on Thursday evenings. He also teaches a popular weekly class at a local community college.

Barriers to the Bible

Given such obvious interest, what are the obstacles to a more biblically literate church? Lack of public awareness about good programs and their limited availability at the parish level are two. Another is the time crunch and multiplying distractions that impinge on every aspect of life. For example, Charles McMahon, a retired professor of physics at the University of Pennsylvania, says he has been engrossed in Bible study since he retired in 2001, learning largely through lectures by Father Brown on compact disc. But three years ago, when Mr. McMahon tried to organize a Bible study at the twinned parishes he attends in Philadelphia, just six people showed up, and only three or four—out of hundreds of families on the parish rolls—made it through the seven-week course. “Finding time to sit down and do serious reading is just too difficult,” Mr. McMahon said. “If this is going to be done, we’re going to have to teach kids in high school and college. The level of knowledge about the New Testament, the Old Testament and church history is about a millimeter deep. We’re incredibly ignorant—myself, everyone.”

That lack of expertise can also constrain those able to devote time to Bible study. Ironically, as the church has emphasized Bible study, many Catholics hate to admit that they have been attending church all their lives but do not know much about the Scriptures. Then when they do open the Bible, they often treat it like any other book, and start at the beginning, rather than with, say, the Gospels. Few get beyond the story of the flood early in the Book of Genesis and the tide of “begats” that follows. “When I was growing up as a Catholic we were really told not to read the Bible because we could not understand it, and that it was too complex for us to understand,” Ms. Upchurch said. “And while it’s true that there is a lot of complexity, the same human dimensions are always there. And we have tools to help us bridge the gap between the 21st century and the second century.”

The flip side of this embarrassment is the presumption among many Catholics that they “get” the Bible at Mass, along with everything else they need for their spiritual lives. The postconciliar revolution in liturgy greatly expanded the readings, with a three-year cycle in the vernacular that for the first time included Old Testament passages. Given that exposure, many think they do not need anything else. As Mr. McMahon put it, “The majority still say you go to Mass, you get your ticket punched, and that’s it for the week.”

Certainly, the Mass could be a more effective starting place for Bible study, and Father Karban and others in formation work echo the concern expressed at the Vatican synod that priests need to learn Scripture better so that they can deliver better, more “biblical” homilies. Father Karban cited a recent survey that found seminarians are actually getting less Scripture today than in the 1930s, when modern biblical study was just emerging. Indeed, Father Karban says some of his most devoted students are themselves priests who want to learn more. Many laypeople would likely second Father Karban’s point. “How many times do I need to hear about the mustard seed? I got it. It fell on fallow ground,” Fox television host Bill O’Reilly complains in his essay in a new collection of interviews by Kerry Kennedy, Being Catholic Now. “But every year I’ve got to listen to the guy tell me about the mustard seed. My 3-year-old’s got it. Okay, take it, apply it to what we’re doing, how we’re living.”

On the other hand, better homilies would still be a beginning, not the end of the journey. Deeper study provides the necessary context, and study groups should be led by a good facilitator who uses quality materials. Experts agree that a poorly led Bible study can be worse than none at all—a scavenger hunt for proof texts to support belief or win arguments rather than a search for faith and wisdom.

The Living Word of God

A final paradox is that the prospect of studying the Bible can induce anxiety among both lay believers and the hierarchy over where such exploration could lead. Studying the Bible can raise questions about church history and the tenets of faith. And too many leaders of study groups hesitate to engage or encourage such questions, because they fear either they do not have the answers or they will not be believed. Father Karban says that while he has never in 40 years known anyone whose beliefs have been undermined by Bible study, he still encounters those who think “that I’m going to come up with something that’s going to destroy their faith.”

Bible study may unsettle and even provoke. In a sense, the Bible is a dangerous book that grows more challenging with each reading. As Mark Twain said, “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”

Cackie Upchurch likes that quotation. The Bible is a source of comfort, yes, and it should give us courage. But, she added: “It should also disturb us. It should also stir us into action. And if it’s not doing those things, and if it’s just in our heads, then I do not think we’re doing justice to the living Word of God.... If you read this stuff and really believe it, you might have to change how you live.”

David Gibson is a freelance religion journalist and author ofThe Coming Catholic Church and The Rule of Benedict.

Comments

Jakki McDonald | 6/30/2009 - 1:57pm

As a protestant Christian very interested in Catholic Christianity, this article was especially revealing to me. I have never understood why Catholic Christians did not read the Bible and I am pleased to hear that more are looking into this Great Source.

Thank you for publishing such a timely piece.

Sues Krebs | 1/30/2009 - 6:39pm
Catholic are more likely to know the story in the bible than be able to find the passages themselves. We are a group of listeners. Unless you are a theologian as a catholic you may have less knowledge of chapter and verse. That is what a concordance is for and when we get stuck on a faith concept: that's what a biblical dictionary is for. Or the community study (for a variety of opinions and vantage-points)
Deacon Norm Carroll | 12/30/2008 - 3:16pm
I have been privileged for the last 12 years to have given 181 educative parish scripture missions. This effort grew from my realization of the woeful lack of biblical understanding among Catholics. Fundamentalism is also rampant among us. I agree heartily with David Gibson in this sad assessment of Catholics'ignoring the Word of God. We ought to recall the words of Jerome, "To ignore the Bible isto ignore the Christ. Each of us must give our best to correct this inadequacy. nbc10@bellsouth.net '
Catherine McKeen | 12/19/2008 - 3:48pm
I find the life and letters of St. Paul the best entree to the study of Scripture, even for the novice. In that effort, I've found one of the best guides to be the Teaching Company courses taught by Luke Timothy Johnson which are available on tape or video through most library systems. Paul's letters, along with the four Gospels, form the heart of what eventually became the orthodox canon. From Luke Johnson's course The Apostle Paul, one can go on to his Jesus and the Gospels. What I like about Johnson especially is his realism: he presents a believable picture of the struggles of the early Jesus communities as they tried to understand and articulate their faith in the context of the world in which they lived. Johnson does not avoid, for example, the controversies surrounding Paul in his own time or in later eras. But staying close to the documents themselves, Johnson shows Paul's insistance on the primacy of faith in the risen Jesus and empowerment in communities through belief in the presence of the Holy Spirit. To me, that's as good a place as any to begin a lifelong apprenticeship in Scripture.
ORE-LA | 12/19/2008 - 1:21pm
Since 1994 the challenge of advancing biblical literacy has been engaged in a profoundly dramatic way in Los Angeles, though the efforts of the Catholic Bible Institute (CBI). A collaborative venture of the Office of Religious Education at the Archdiocese and the Center for Religion and Spirituality at Loyola Marymount University, the CBI has prepared and resourced almost 1500 men and women for leadership in parish-based bible study. With the gifted contributions of respected scholars such as Larry Boadt CSP, Daniel Smith-Christopher, Patrick Mullen, Carol Dempsey OP, Dorothy Jonaitis OP, and others, the access to quality bible study experiences and resources has been growing year upon year. While the quality of bible-study resources has grown significantly over the years, I would also seek to highlight another essential if sometimes overlooked aspect of ongoing biblical literacy. The willingness of many hundreds of parish volunteer leaders of bible studies cannot be neglected as one of the great movements of the Spirit our local churches. In Los Angeles, these volunteers are trained and equipped to work with groups of adults, young adults and youth, who demonstrate an insatiable hunger for the scriptures. Worth special mention I would hold up the two women who were the driving force at the beginnings the Los Angeles Catholic Bible Institute back in 1994. No less than the great Fr. Raymond brown commented to them that what was happening in Los Angeles was the bets thing happening for scripture study in the country at that time. Thanks to their leadership, hundreds haev grown i their biblical literacy and countless others in parishes across the Southland have been engaged by the scriptures.
Edward Visel | 12/14/2008 - 6:59pm
I made it a year into high school before I realized just how little of the Bible I had actually read. I began a regular schedule of reading, and now seven years later, only a few books of the OT remain. This showed me just how ignorant of the Bible people really are. They usually know the major stories, but not much more, and have very rarely attempted to critically read the book. This is particularly disturbing, as lack of knowledge has been the basis of perhaps 90% of the religious denigration I have seen since. Where religion is concerned, people practically always follow the interpretations popular in the communities in which they live. Depending on the community, these interpretations can be better or worse informed, but usually the latter. At one of the best colleges in the country, I have heard innumerable misconstruings and flat out falsities propounded by both students and professors. While professors tend to be better informed and make more interpretive or doctrinal mistakes, all of the problems stem from a lack of knowledge of basic Christian theology, a lack that could be at least significantly reduced by reading the Bible. An atheist (to significantly oversimplify) friend asked one of his favorite professors what he should read over break. She told him to read the Bible, as it is such a foundational book for our society. She is a somewhat secular Jew that teaches on postmodern Jewish thought (Benjamin, Derrida). She's got a point: even if we would like to expand our perspective beyond purely Western though, we cannot neglect knowledge of ourselves. Even for the non-Christian, knowledge of Christian theology is necessary to understand our culture and history. Frankly, for anyone who wants to call themselves educated, at least a knowledge of the Gospels, Acts, Revelation, the Pentateuch, Job, and assorted epistles and OT books is _necessary_. Anything less leaves one open to wishy-washy arguments.
María | 12/13/2008 - 4:30pm
"biblical scholarship, begun as a Protestant enterprise..." Perhaps in the English-speaking world. Not elsewhere. Beware of parochialism, we're meant to be CATHOLIC, i.e. universal.
Joan Koenig | 12/7/2008 - 8:56pm
The Catholics at St. Egbert's Church in Morehead City, NC certainly DO read the Bible. We have three Scripture study groups meeting each week, two of which have been in constant session for nearly 20 years. Our "Lifelong Adult Ministry" sessions on Sunday mornings focus on the Scriptures for the day with time for Faith Sharing. In addition, there is an emphasis on the Living Word in our education classes for young people. Being the minority in an area rife with Fundamentalists, many of us feel the need to be prepared to keep up our end in the many discussions we have with friends and neighbors.
Sal Ferrara | 12/6/2008 - 8:27pm
For several years I had gone to daily mass at my parish church. Prior to the mass we read the Shorter Christian Prayer( Liturgy of the Hours) I was hooked. I had never realized the how meaningful the psalms are to our daily lives.For example the prophet Daniel's Canticle. I wish the litergist in our parish would adhere to the mass as given in the missals such as the Responsorial Psalms. They give emphasis to the reading of the mass when they are used. Our liturgist/Music Choral person uses her own Responsorial psalm which usually has nothing to do with the readings. I think we as Catholics should be reading the Old Testament as well as the gospels especially the pslams and wisdom.
Norman Costa | 12/5/2008 - 2:23pm
Ms. Gross, I am impressed with your pursuit of bible study, and envious of your skills and finding an interfaith community of interested students. I have a question for you, in particular; and I have a general question for anyone with more knowledge than I. First, I apologize if my question is overly intrusive or personal. So, here goes. How do you integrate the intellectual aspects of studying ancient literature, the enormous and difficult questions of morality (Lot, the men of Sodom, and his daughters; the mass murder of the priests of Baal after losing an immolation contest; the military conquest of Canaan), criticaly reflecting on one's personal faith, and informing oneself on how to live a good life? My general question, at the risk of betraying my ignorance, concerns the content and thrust of approved or authorized bible study programs for Catholics at the parish level. Is it possible for someone to describe one or more typical programs of study? I would be disappointed if they amounted to little more than "This is what the bible says, and this is how Catholics should understand and interpret the same." In years past I had some terrific theology and biblical professors at Iona College and Marist College. But college courses are not what I think of when I contemplate parish level bible study. Again, I may be betraying my own ignorance.
Jon D. Wilke | 12/5/2008 - 12:20pm
David, Biblical illiteracy is evident across all denominational and church lines. The statistics are staggering. To add to yours, in America, only 35% of "Bible readers" have ever read the entire New Testament. Here at our Audio Bible ministry, we found that 47% of pastors cited “lack of time” as the main reason more people don’t read the Bible. We came up with a Bible listening program called "You've Got The Time." In this campaign, participating churches distribute free Audio Bibles to every man, woman and child in their congregation. Congregations are then challenged to listen to their Audio Bibles for 28 minutes a day over a period of 40 days, thereby covering the entire New Testament. In the last 2 years alone, more than 12,000 churches have listened through the entire New Testament. Many Catholic parishes are listening, and we just finished a dramatized, word-for-word NAB version as well, which can be downloaded for free at www.FaithComesByHearing.com. I appreciate you addressing Scripture engagement in this article. Truth be told - all over the world there are people who are hungry for what we have (the Bible) - but have no access. They are either too poor to afford a Bible, or they can not, will not or prefer not to read.
Patricia Gross | 12/4/2008 - 2:00pm
As a Catholic who frequently takes part in text study with Jewish communities, I find it depressing how rare it is to find Catholics (priests or lay people) who make an effort to pay attention to scripture in the original languages. Because understanding Hebrew is so central to Jewish observance, when Jews are examining the week's Torah portion, they will be more likely to see the implications of the actual word choices. I only have a minimal knowledge of Hebrew and Greek, but I have found it immensely satisfying to look at a particular passage using one of the available tools that allow a reader to see what Hebrew or Greek words are being used. This was possible with lexicons in book form in the past, but it's now vastly easier with the many Bible software programs that are available. Two weeks ago, I went to a workshop on the use of a sophisticated Bible search program I've been using, and I was sad to find no other Catholics in attendance (the other approximately 30 participants all seemed to be evangelical Protestants). I'm not quarreling with those who just want to meditate on scripture without trying to know much more about it, but it would be wonderful if more Catholics could realize that their meditation would be based on something much deeper and richer if they put in the effort to to know more about the text.
Paul L Radcliffe | 12/3/2008 - 12:32pm
Fr. Karban is a poor example to lead your article. He has sown confusion and doubt in the Diocese of Belleville with his claims to scriptural expertise. Fr. Karban believes in sola scriptura, effectively. He mocks the authority of Rome and those who believe in it. For him, one either believes scripture or Rome, but can't believe both. Read his columns in the diocesan paper, The Messenger.
Bill Collier | 12/2/2008 - 10:47pm
A very good article. Our parish book club periodically intersperses our monthly book selections with books from the Bible. None of us feels qualified to lead in-depth Bible study, but there is much to learn just from reading a Gospel, for example, as a whole and as a work of literature. Some people are surprised to learn that there are no Nativity narratives in the Gospels of Mark and John, or that the author of Luke was also the author of the Acts of the Apostles. Knowing some basics about each of the evangelists' intended audiences also makes a particular Gospel more relevant and alive. We hear the Scriptures piecemeal at Mass; reading an entire Gospel and then thinking about it in relation to other canonical Gospels (e.g., the three synoptic Gospels) is a worthwhile experience even in the absence of exegesis or focused Bible study.
Letha C. Chamberlain | 12/2/2008 - 10:31pm
The Bible, approached with an attitude of over-analyzation, looses its freshness and spirit of adventure. I read it as bedtime material--then do my bedtime prayers. Remaining open and not-to-worried about understanding it in fullness, I then can let in God's light. It is the Holy Spirit Who does the work--not me. Then it is the most capitivating read known to humankind. Do not be concerned about "having to have it right." Do not have to have expensive and bothersome to obtain Bible studies... you CAN do this for yourself. It REALLY is NOT hard--but exciting!
Norman Costa | 12/2/2008 - 1:57pm
David, Well done article. Thanks. I don't think there can be any serious objection to your characterization of biblical literacy among Catholics. As a young man I spent two years in a monastery. During time for meditation and prayer I read Fulton Oursler's "The Greatest Book Ever Written," a narrative retelling of the literal stories of the Hebrew scripture. It was first published in 1951. I recommend it as a sensible beginning to understanding the overall history of the Jews, an introduction to the cast of characters (great and despicable), developing a feeling for times and places, and getting a fix on who was doing what to whom and when. Fulton Oursler saved me from the unrewarded agony of struggling with the arcane, the discontinuous story lines, and, sometimes, the mind numbing detail in the actual biblical text. Oursler made my subsequent reading of the biblical text less difficult and more rewarding. For the same reasons, I could never get through Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" in its original early English. A 'translation' into a synoptic, narrative style did quite well for me, thank you. Catholics, and others without a tradition of personal scripture reading, need a gentler introduction to bible study. Some of the recent television productions on the histories and stories of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures are pretty good. In particular, I recommend the series narrated by Richard Kiley and Jean Simmons. Abba Eban's book and TV series, "Heritage: Civilization and the Jews," is another way to introduce the bible and bible study to new comers. There is a difference between biblical scholarship and bible study. I've seen the unfortunate outcome of running parish bible study classes as if they were one and the same. Newly ordained priests, the most recently trained in biblical scholarship, start their bible study classes at the very beginning - Genesis. The first class starts with the Yahwehist tradition, the Eloist tradition, and the Deuteronomist tradition. If there is a second class of attendees, there will certainly not be a third. This is not bible study at a parish level. Finally, bible study does not have to be guided by approved, authorized, theological interpretation at every turn. For example, the book of James in the Christian testament is devoid of all theology, unlike Paul's writings, and is accessible to practically everyone. It helps, also, that it is the shortest text. Maybe that is why it is my favorite.
Andrew Russell | 12/2/2008 - 12:15pm
Perhaps Ms. Danielson could go to http://www.littlerockscripture.org/en/Default.aspx One can see that it is a ministry of the Diocese and published by a Catholic publisher. In addition to materials by Raymond Brown, Daniel Harrington, Pheme Perkins, and Diane Bergant, all Catholic Biblical Scholars, I would add materials by Donald Senior. It is not hard to find material that is faithful to the Magisterium. The problem is getting our parishioners to read it, and study / pray about it, as Mr. Gibson noted.
Victoria Martin (clergy abuse survivor) | 12/1/2008 - 6:12pm
When I was growing up, hardly anyone had a catholic bible in their homes. Why? Because we were, "spoon fed" everything they (meaning the church) thought we needed to know. Every Sunday we sat there and listened; and in this way, we all became too lazy to look things up on our own. Why look it up when someone will do it for you? It is my opinion that this is how the Roman Catholic Church has been able to constantly re-invent itself over the centuries. We were slaves to whatever was told to us and if we did not do as we were told, "PAY, PRAY AND OBEY" we were told that we wouldsuffer terribly for it. Now the church is excommunicating people right and left, thinking that the old fears and superstitions about hell and damnation will work. Well,now for one to be excommunicated from this Morally Bankrupt Faith Based Corporation (a.k.a.: The Roman Catholic Church), is an HONOR. The Hierarchy (what I call the Lowerarchy) know that people are on them. The dirty little secrets of greed, perversion, pedophilia, hedonism, purgery, theft, etc, are out; and things will never be the same for them again. The great French Author, Emille Zola once wrote, "Civilization will not attain to it's perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest". I hope I live to see that day.
Nancy Danielson | 12/1/2008 - 4:38pm
Great article, David. Regarding the interpretation of Holy Scripture,I am wondering if an official Seal of Approval would help those Bible study groups remain consistent with the teaching of the Magisterium. Are you aware of any such Bible study guides that are consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church?