Don’t Catholic Beliefs Oppose Scripture?

Q. But Catholics believe things that are un-Scriptural. We can’t believe things that oppose scripture.

A. I agree. Nothing the Catholic Church teaches opposes anything in Scripture.

Our beliefs only oppose the Protestant INTERPRETATION of Scripture. That is different than opposing Scripture itself.

But then, this is exactly why there has to be some way to determine which interpretation is accurate. Since the writings, contained in the Bible, are very voluminous all kinds of interpretations are possible, as evidenced by +40,000 Protestant sects. But, there is NO final authority in all of Protestantism that is able to infallibly define what any scripture in particular means or what must be believed. And everything in the Bible MUST be interpreted/understood to create doctrine. It doesn’t explain itself in every instance.

In order to clarify how interpretations of words alone can vary without underlying background or history for those words, take this one seemingly simple sentence.

I never said I stole the money.

The meaning of this sentence seems simple enough. But I can show you how it can actually be interpreted in several different ways. All using the same words. Italics
is for emphasis.

I never said I stole the money.

Meaning: I didn’t say that, someone else did….

I never said I stole the money.

Meaning: I wrote it, used sign language, implied it etc.

I never said I stole the money.

Meaning: I said someone else stole the money.

I never said I stole the money.

Meaning: I embezzled it, I lost it, the accounts didn’t balance etc.

I never said I stole the money.

Meaning: I stole something else.

These are perhaps, other interpretations possible with these words. Obviously the Bible doesn’t use emphasis as I have done. But a similar problem occurs because in Hebrew this sentence would be


So someone has to decide where one word ends and another begins…..for millions of sentences in the OT. What is a tremendous help to translators is the Greek Septuagint, the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek by the Jewish scholars, according to the Traditional readings of these scriptures in Judaism.

Also, there was no punctuation in the Greek and punctuation can change the meaning of a sentence by grouping words into a phrase that otherwise might be read differently.

For instance, in my Protestant RSV I have:

Luke 23:43: And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

The comma placement indicates that the thief would go to Paradise on Friday, the day of his death, thus seeming to provide Protestant evidence to discount the Doctrine of Purgatory.

But, if the comma is moved it could be:

Luke 23:43: “Truly, I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise.”

In this sentence, with the comma moved, Jesus is not saying when the man will enter Paradise, He is simply emphasizing what He is saying TODAY—on this day. Which aligns better with the fact that we know Jesus did not go to Paradise/Heaven on Friday b/c He tells Mary Magdalene on Sunday morning that He hasn’t ascended to the Father yet. So, presumably, neither has the Good Thief.

So, since the Bible cannot interpret itself it must be interpreted. And there must be a final authority able to determine: Yes, this interpretation aligns with the FAITH. or No, that interpretation does not align with the Faith. If every man interprets scripture according to “what is right in his own eyes” there can be no unity.


11 Responses to Don’t Catholic Beliefs Oppose Scripture?

  1. cantueso says:

    The problem is that with warnings of this kind the Catholic church discourages reading the Book. I live in Spain, and I have never met anyone who has made a try.

    In fact, on Catholic websites I have never read anything but warnings of that kind.

  2. Saiya says:

    Usually when the Bible makes a statement, it uses multiple scriptures to back up what it is saying.
    Possibly today is relative to the consciousness of the person. The bible makes multiple references to death as ‘sleep’. When a person sleeps, they are not aware of time. So perhaps they die, they black out and wake up when it is time for them to be judged. For all they know, a second or a millennium could have passed without their knowledge.
    Also, one of the major themes in the bible is resurrection, but if everyone is in heaven, hell, or purgatory, the who will there be left to resurrect?

    • bfhu says:

      Everyone will need to have their bodies resurrected. Only their souls will go directly to judgement, Heaven, with a probable stop in Purgatory, or Hell. The resurrection refers to a bodily resurrection.

  3. Saiya says:

    Another thing- we know that Jesus was not in heaven that day or the next for he remained in the tomb. Is Jesus therefore a liar?

  4. bfhu says:

    Only His body was in the tomb.

  5. Nan says:

    roselady, Jack Chick distorts Truth. It’s perfectly normal for a religious to stay in the monastery and only visit home for dire emergencies, if then. When you give your life to God, you leave many other things behind.

  6. Saiya says:

    The bible uses the word soul 1600 times, yet never once uses immortal soul. In Ecclesiastes 12:7 the bible says the body returns to dust and the spirit to God (spirit referring to the spirit as in the spirit which God breathed into Adam in Genesis (Job 27:3)), yet never mentions the soul returning to God or going anywhere immediately after death for that matter. In fact, in Ecclesiastes 9:5 the bible says “but the dead know nothing”, so how can the dead Know they are in purgatory, heaven, or hell?

  7. Saiya says:

    In reply to bfhu, where did Jesus go after death? If Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins (by taking our sins on himself), and the wages of sin is death Romans 6:23, then aren’t you saying that Jesus went to hell?

  8. Nan says:

    He did, but only for three days and to release the just who had died before him, such as Adam and Eve and others who figure in the Old Testament. He came to atone for the sins of the world; those who came before, those who lived concurrently with his incarnation as man and those, like us, who came along later.

  9. frank carter says:

    Paradise/Heaven on Friday b/c He tells Mary Magdalene on Sunday morning that He hasn’t ascended to the Father yet. So, presumably, neither has the Good Thief.

    Q: how in god’s name do you know that for a fact, were you there? that the good thief did not go to heaven that same day?
    Can-not God be in all different places at the same time? or does he has to follow man’s rules? purgatory came into existence of the catholic church after the 12 century….
    Out off the blue Our parish priest told us in mass that most of us are headed for purgatory. I really felt getting up in front of the congregation and telling him what the use of coming to mass and doing our best since the church knows where we are headed.

    St Francis took his followers to a certain church where the Bishop gave a thousand year indulgence from purgatory for just visiting this certain church.
    St Frances asked the Bishop if he could waved the indulgence and let his people just go straight to heaven?
    So, what about it, does the church has the power to wave off indulgence? if so, why would she like to see us suffer, ain’t been here bad enough, why prolong the suffering…the protestants are always jumping down in church that are all going to heaven and we Catholics hand in hand, singing that most of us are headed to purgatory heaven?…no wonder so many people are atheist?

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