2: How Catholics Read the Bible


A correct reading of the Bible is, for Cardinal Bernardin, an important responsibility and pleasure for Catholics, who are called to accept the fullness of the message that they find in the Scriptures and incorporate it into their daily life. Considering that both on the street and in the workplace, it is not difficult to encounter fundamentalist Christians arguing on Biblical interpretations and underlining how past Catholics had a reputation for ignoring the biblical books, The Cardinal helps to resolve confusions and motivate reading of the Scriptures, offering several valid points. Questions are also raised about some Catholic beliefs and actions that are not explicitly found in the Scriptures. Cardinal Bernardin underlines the fact that the authors of the Bible should be understood in terms of their relationship with the teaching authority of the Church, which was founded prior to me development of the biblical books, also called the New Testament.

Furthermore, the Cardinal adds that the apostles, in their teaching and preaching, handed down oral traditions about the life of Jesus and His message to the world. He also casts light on the fact that Catholics esteem Scripture as part of their tradition and consider the Bible as a source of divine revelation.

In addition to that we must look for an authentic interpretation of Scripture by asking how the community of believers understood biblical texts through the centuries. In this context it is very important to recognize the interpretation of the apostolic generation and the fidelity evident in its apostolic teaching, which was a point reiterated by the Second Vatican Council.

Cardinal Bernardin analyzes not only the differences between the Catholic Bible and those of other religious sects, but also the meanings of the different interpretations. The Archbishop of Chicago concludes, underlining that regular use of the Bible is a point of departure for guidance and nourishment.