Fr Sean Finnegan, over at Valle Adurni, has a post today about the apparent disinclination of Catholics to know their Bible – and it reminded me of a comment of Ronnie Knox’s that when he asked, in a Presbytery, for a Bible from which to verify the text for his sermon, it usually took twenty minutes to produce one, with the dust being blown off it as it was brought into the room !
In his post, Father discusses the crucial fact that Catholic Truth is at the very heart of the Scriptures – a fact of which, it has to be said, many Catholics appear to be unaware : and which harks back to a comment which I have myself made more than once, namely that in recent years it would appear that catechetics in the Catholic Church, at least in Great Britain, has been superficial, and has largely ignored the fontes of the faith.
When I found myself, as a young teenager, in the Catholic end of the Church of England, I was provided with a splendid small volume entitled ‘The King’s Highway’, which was originally issued in 1924 (and apparently translated into Japanese and Swahili !), and which has recently been reissued.
‘The King’s Highway’ describes itself on the title page as ‘A Simple Statement of Catholic Belief and Duty’; and whilst it is Catholicism from an Anglican viewpoint, my belief is that there is little or nothing about it with which a Catholic theologian would quibble, except for the (few) things which it leaves out.
What distinguishes it, though, is the fact that it makes the fullest possible use of Holy Scripture to prove the statements it contains : to give a single example, the first two (short) pages on Baptism & Confirmation contain ten references to Scripture, as well as one to the Nicene Creed.
I appreciate that the Catechism of the Catholic Church provides a huge selection of citations, both of Scripture and of the Fathers; but CCC is not exactly ‘reading’ – more a work of reference. ‘The King’s Highway’ is specifically designed to be read; and if you read it, and check the citations as you go, you end up not only with a reasonable knowledge of the Faith, but also with a better-than-average knowledge of its scriptural basis.
Is it time, I wonder, for some sound Catholic write to update this book to meet the needs of Catholics in today’s world ?