Why isn't Bible reading and Bible study stressed more for Catholics?

Regretfully, many Catholics like me were not raised with love and appreciation for reading the Bible. In my own home we didn't read the Bible, and in grade school I had only a cursory exposure to the sacred Book. When I went to Mass, the Scriptures were read in Latin, and I followed along with a book that had an English translation.

In the 1940s Pope Pius XII opened the Bible to study by Catholic scholars in a new way. He asked them not always to interpret the Bible literally. He wanted them to ask some very basic questions as they read God's word: who wrote what, under what circumstances, when, where, and why? He thought that scientific inquiry into the cultural background of the Bible would help to plumb the depths of the Bible's true meaning.

This opened a floodgate of interest among Catholics in the study of the Bible. Twenty years later, when the Catholic bishops from all over the world met in Rome for what is called the Second Vatican Council, they put a new stress on individual reading of the Bible and group study.

With the Mass now in English, the readings for daily and Sunday Masses were organized so that over three year cycles, Catholics can hear most of the Bible read at Mass. Priests were called on to preach each Sunday on the Scriptures and to offer at daily Mass a homily based on the Scripture readings.

When I was in the seminary, I studied the books of the Hebrew Bible and then read the New Testament many, many times. In my last years of seminary, I had four years of intense Bible study.

Today a Catholic parish that doesn't have a Bible study group is more and more an exception.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I must say that bible reading was not really given that much of importance in Catholic.

Well, I think it's time to change it. That's something I admire about other denominations. Every Catholic must be really be encouraged to read the bible. Not "everything" was written in the bible, that's why we have canon laws..etc... But everything written there was allowed by God to be written. Not reading it is a loss to Christians, including us Catholics.

I try to change my self, and try to influence the people around me.. By this attitude, through God's grace, a day will come, bible reading will already be part of the life of most Catholics.