Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
No. There are various Catholic societies for the diffusion of the Holy Gospels in the vernacular, such as the Society of St. Jerome, approved by the Church. Pope Pius X. granted special blessings to those who would read Scripture daily and recommend others to do so. But it is essential that the teachings of the living Church be kept in mind as a key to the true sense of the Bible.
He did not condemn the doctrine that it is good to read Scripture. He condemned the theory that it is necessary to do so in order to attain Christian knowledge. Christ's method was to establish a teaching Church, it being necessary to be taught by that Church. He did not order the Apostles to multiply and scatter copies of the Scriptures. If the reading of Scripture were necessary to salvation, what of the immense number of Christians through all the centuries prior to the invention of printing, when it was impossible to transcribe by hand sufficient copies for the multitudes? Could Christ make the possibility of His religion dependent upon the invention of the printing machine? And did He intend His religon to remain forever impossible as far as the illiterate are concerned? It is absurd to say that His religion essentially depends upon a printed book. The Pope wisely condemned the proposition that the reading of Scripture is necessary to all. Every reasonable man would condemn so unreasonable a proposition.
He may read the correct Word of God in those translations which are approved by the Church. He is forbidden to read the Protestant versions in which there are many mistranslations, and in which the text is often distorted to suit the enemies of the Catholic Church. But then, distorted texts are no longer the Word of God.
Even granted a correct version, thousands of people have been harmed by the reading of Scripture, thinking themselves capable of interpreting it aright. The Pharisees read Scripture, yet managed to use, or misuse, quotations from the Bible as an argument against Christ, just as men to-day quote Scripture as an argument against the true Church of Christ, the Catholic Church.
Some do. Some do not. All are free to do so, but it is not absolutely necessary that they should give themselves to the private reading of Scripture.
Catholics are quite free to possess and read approved versions of the Bible. As you cannot have searched every Catholic home in the country I can but wonder at your credulity in thinking that Catholics do not have Bibles in their homes.
The doctrines of the Bible are taught to her people by the Catholic Church more faithfully than by any other Church. The Gospel is read to them, and explained every Sunday morning at Mass, and far more people are there to hear it than you will find in the Protestant Churches. Some Catholics do not read the Bible privately very much, but they know the doctrines taught by the Bible more clearly than any other people on earth. Non-Catholic Bible-readers may know many texts of Scripture, but they know very little doctrine. A Catholic may be at a loss when you quote some particular text, but he knows clearly what must be done to save one's soul—the true conditions required for this being simply unknown to hosts of non-Catholic Bible-readers.