Bible, Use of the

In the Catholic Church it is threefold, doctrinal, liturgical, and pietistic. Its doctrinal use grows out of the official teaching of the Church as incorporated in the decrees of the Council of Trent and the Vatican Council, which states that the Sacred Scriptures, together with Apostolic tradition, constitute the twofold fount of Divine revelation. Thus it is that Catholic theologians and preachers have ever considered the inspired Bible a treasure house from which to draw for proof and sanction of the Church's teaching in doctrinal and moral matters. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that the roots of dogmatic, moral, and ascetical theology are deeply grounded in the Sacred Scriptures. In liturgy the Catholic Church, like the Jewish Church before it (Deuteronomy 31; 2 Paralipomenon 29; Luke 4), has given Sacred Scripture, in both its Old and New Testament portions a most prominent place. The earliest accounts of the Eucharist Mass describe the reading of selections from both Testaments; and the official public prayers of the Catholic Church today, found in the Roman Missal and Breviary, are composed largely of biblical passages. Its use pietistically is a complement to its doctrinal and liturgic usages. From time immemorJal the Catholic Church has always directed her preachers, in their devotional sermons and the direction of souls, to draw heavily on the Sacred Scriptures, and the prayers which the Church has approved for the piety and sanctification of the faithful, are composed largely of scriptural passages. Also, the Church supplements these uses of the Bible by recommending that it be read in private as a means of personal sanctification. It was with this in mind that Pope Leo XIII, on 13 December 1898, granted an indulgence of 300 days to those reading the Gospel for 15 minutes a day and a plenary indulgence to those reading it every day for a month, with the usual conditions of confession, communion, and prayer for the pope.

New Catholic Dictionary

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