Wednesday, October 19, 2016

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1)  How can I use the Early Church Fathers and martyrs to help my Fundamentalist sister understand the truth of the Catholic Faith?

2)  I understood that St. Ignatius was a disciple of St. John the Apostle but you just said he was a disciple of St. Peter. Where did you get this information?

3)  Can you recommend books or sources so I can read the writings of St. Ignatius and the other Church Fathers?

4)  How can I encourage my Protestant friend to be more interested in Church history?

5)  Were the Church Fathers anti-semitic?

6)  Why are some of the early writings dismissed as heresy? Who decided which of the writings were in line with Church teaching?

7)  Which of the Fathers are the most significant?


It is sometimes mistakenly charged that Catholics are not allowed to read the Bible for themselves and that the Catholic Church has dogmatically defined about every verse — and forces its interpretation down everyone’s throat. This is very far from the truth. In fact, the Catholic Church has never come up with a list of verses that it has specifically defined, and those she has are very few indeed.

Bible.jpgI had always wondered what Bible verses had  been definitively defined by the Catholic Church. I knew there were only a small number, but had never seen a “complete list.”

So the other day someone from Catholic Scripture Study International asked me what verses had  been dogmatically defined, so I posted the question on my Message Board. Some of the great folks there did some research and found three lists which basically agree.

But I have concluded there is no “official” list. Over the course of time, while defining doctrine, combating heresy, etc. the Church has taken a stand on certain biblical verses and said, “The truth is thus and so, and this verse addresses the truth of this issue. And to refute the heresy or define the truth, we teach that this or that verse definitely means thus and so.”

Bible2.bmpIt is not as though the Church came up with a definitive list to shove down anyone’s throat. Rather, in the process of teaching and defining doctrine the Church has definitively taught that we can be sure certain verses mean certain things.

But, in light of much nonsense charged against the Church, the list contains very few verses, and to make such a list one must glean them from Councils and decrees. If the Church was as overbearing and authority-hungry as some would claim, we could expect the Church to dogmatically define every verse and be knocking on our doors to enforce our compliance. How foolish and far from the truth this is.

To see the lists click here — and if you find further information on this, please let me know.