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Kevin Terry wrote:

Mike,

You mentioned needing to spend more time reading Scripture. This is a complaint I have heard about a lot Catholics. In fact, my Dad's friend was talking to me about it on Saturday. He said,

Oh, you're going to become Catholic. You don't even have to have a Bible to be Catholic.

Then he went on to say that many Catholics never even read the Bible, and the only Scripture they ever hear is at Mass.

  • Is there any truth behind this, because this isn't the first time I have heard this?

Later,

K.T.

  { Do you have to have a Bible to become a Catholic and are the only Scriptures you hear, at Mass? }

Mike replied:

Hi Kevin,

You said:

Your Dad's friend said:

Oh you're going to become Catholic. You don't even have to have a Bible to be Catholic.

Then he went on to say that many Catholics never even read the Bible, and the only Scripture they hear is at Mass.

  • Is there any truth behind this, because this isn't the first time I have heard this?

Your Dad's friend is correct. You don't have to have a Bible to be Catholic, but you should have one on you. I do, a New Testament pocket version, and though you should read it regularly, it is not necessary.

Unlike the Catholic faith, when you base a whole faith solely on a particular set of interpretations from the Holy Scriptures, that Holy Bible and those passages end up being the foundation of the faith. The problem is the Scriptures tell us, the Church, not the Bible, is the pillar and foundation of Truth. Read 1 Timothy 3:15.

15 But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.

1 Timothy 3:15

  • How often do Catholics hear the Holy Scriptures each Sunday?

Each Sunday we hear from the Scriptures four times:

  1. once from the Old Testament
  2. once from the New Testament epistles
  3. once from the Psalms, and
  4. once from the Gospels.
  • How many Protestant denominations do you know that have four distinct readings from the Scriptures each Sunday?

The Catholic who meets his Sunday obligation of Sunday Mass on a regular basis, will have heard most of the complete Bible in three years. So a cradle Catholic, who has always attended Sunday Mass, will have heard most of the Bible almost 12 times by the age of 42.

  • 42 — 7 years (age of reason) = 35 years divided by 3 is almost 12.

The Catholic who attends daily Mass on a regular basis will have heard most of the complete Bible in two years. So a cradle Catholic who has always attended daily Mass will have heard most of the Bible almost 18 times over by the age of 42.

  • 42 — 7 years (age of reason) = 35 years divided by 2 is almost 18.

In the Church we have many callings and many people serving in different vocations. No matter what vocation, knowledge of the Holy Scriptures is important for faith-sharing conversations.

St. Jerome tells us ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.

Following Church Teachings and living a sacramental life is the key to being a fulfilled Catholic Christian and all Catholic Christians are called to share the Gospel with others, one way or another. That said, some are called to the evangelical or apologetic vocation on a much higher level. Those who have this calling will be far less effective without a solid knowledge of the Holy Scriptures.

Whether you have a higher calling in Catholic evangelization or not, it's important for all Catholic Christians to remember the Bible is a Catholic book that was written, by Catholics and their ancestors, for Catholics, for use in the Catholic Mass. The Table of Contents of every Bible was decided by Catholic bishops with the guidance of the Holy Spirit in 382 A.D. at the Council of Rome. Before 382 A.D., no Christian knew what books made up the Bible.

I hope this answers your question.

Mike

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