reg_logo_320Why Study the Bible” and interview with Steve Ray and Edward Sri

Posted by Joseph Pronechen on Sunday Sep 25th, 2016 at 8:22 AM
Experts Urge Catholics to Explore Scripture

Mary Kee knows the benefits of Bible study groups, which she has participated in for upwards of 20 years, usually at her home parish of St. Theresa Church in the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn.

She says she began to study the Bible “to better understand the Scripture passages, the readings at Sunday Mass and the daily readings, and to enhance my understanding of the faith.”

Stephen Ray, author, speaker, writer-producer-host of the DVD series The Footprints of God: The Story of Salvation From Abraham to Augustine and EWTN guest, agrees: “St. Jerome said back in the third century, ‘Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.’ You can’t say it any simpler.”

Screen Shot 2016-10-01 at 5.27.21 AM“It’s the word of God,” Ray emphasized.

He finds it ironic that people often travel the world looking for apparitions and seeking the words of God, “and right on our table, gathering dust, is the Bible. We’re trying to hear God’s word today, and what’s sitting on the table is the inspired and infallible word of God.”

Edward Sri, professor of theology at the Augustine Institute and author of The Bible Compass: A Catholic’s Guide to Navigating the Scriptures (Ascension Press), points out that all Catholics need to see sacred Scripture isn’t just a bunch of stories from a long time ago or ancient text with proverbial wisdom. “These are the inspired words of God — God speaking to each one of us through the sacred Scriptures,” he explained.

No Foreign Idea

Why might people shy away from reading and studying the Bible? Ray believes that many Catholics think that Protestants have claimed the Bible for themselves.

“In reality,” Ray ( explained, “it’s one of the most important things that we do. This is our book. We’re the ones who wrote it and translated it. It’s our heirloom.” It should be “read in our family,” he added.

Screen Shot 2016-10-01 at 5.27.11 AM Multiple Bible Studies for all at Catholic Scripture Study International

St. Jerome, whose feast day is Sept. 30, helped see to that. A doctor of the Church, he translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, the Vulgate.

The Church makes sure that the Bible is not foreign to the faithful.

All Catholics going to church on Sundays “are exposed to so much of the Bible,” Sri ( said. “It’s like being part of a junior Bible study. A Catholic just showing up at Mass is exposed to the great breadth of Scripture.”

“At the same time, we should take time outside the liturgy to read the sacred Scriptures and see them as not just offering abstract theological principles, but see that this is God speaking to us today.”

He emphasizes that when God spoke to the Israelites at Mount Sinai and he gave them the Ten Commandments, “before they were ever put on the tablets of stone, he spoke the words on Mount Sinai to all the people, not just to Moses. All the people heard.”

“But look at the ‘Thou shall’ and ‘Thou shalt not,’” he added. “It was in the second person singular. Not in the plural ‘you’ all. … It was a personal word.”

“He might be telling me a story, but if I’m prayerfully reading the sacred Scriptures, I would sense there is something in this for me in my life today,” he continued. “There’s something God wants to show me in this word written centuries ago. These words written down continue to have life today and speak to my mind and heart today.”

The Bible for All

Don’t be intimidated by the Bible, Ray emphasized: The Bible is written for ordinary people as well as for scholars.

For the whole article, click here.

For a great Bible Study program for individuals and groups, for novices and veterans, click here.


The Catholic Case for Voting Trump

by Steve Ray on October 1, 2016

The Catholic Case for Voting TrumpThe Catholic Case for Voting Trump

by | Sep 30, 2016

In just over one month our nation heads to the polls with perhaps the starkest choice for President that there has ever been. First, Catholics are called to actively form their consciences in the truths of natural law and the wisdom of the Magisterial teachings of the Catholic Church. Second, Catholics are called to vote, as a matter of moral and civic duty, in accordance with a well-formed conscience.

Choose the Greater Good

Some Catholics defend voting for one of the major party candidates because he or she is “the lesser of the two evils.”  The problem with this approach is that choosing the lesser of the two evils is not truly a Catholic perspective. We must never choose evil of any quantity. The ends never justify the means. We are always called to choose the good, so it is true that a choice between evil and evil is no choice at all. But is this really the reality we are facing as voters?

wP1RRqwlSome Catholics believe the two major Presidential candidates are so incredibly evil that one cannot in good conscience vote for either. But are Clinton and Trump devoid of all goodness? I would hope that even the most ardent supporter of one could look at the other candidate and their platform and find something good therein. It is as silly to argue that these two human beings are perfectly evil as it is to argue that they are perfectly good.

Rather than asking who is more evil, the truly Catholic approach is to enter into the opposite perspective of seeking who is more good. Rather than voting for the lesser of the two evils, we can and should be voting for the greater of the two goods. To do this we must look carefully at their different platforms and positions in order to reasonably consider the two very different outcomes of each candidate being elected. With those different outcomes in mind, we must then ask who is best for the nation and vote for the greatest good.

Abortion is the Greatest Moral Evil of Our Time

p-hillary-clinton-meme1-1000x-730x531A rightly formed Catholic conscience understands that we are not single issue voters, we care and have a stake in just about every issue you can think of, but we are voters who assign varying degrees of importance to each issue and there is no issue of greater weight in our time than the legalized killing of innocent unborn children known as abortion. This position is clear, unwavering, and essential for a well-formed Catholic conscience. Human life is sacred and every right we have is based on the right to life.

For the whole article, click here.

Please pass this along to friends, family, Facebook, etc.  The differences are “day and night” and I hope as Catholics we rise to the occasion.


Unanimous Consent of the Fathers

By Steve Ray

The Unanimous Consent of the Fathers (unanimem consensum Patrum) refers to the morally unanimous teaching of the Church Fathers on certain doctrines as revealed by God and interpretations of Scripture as received by the universal Church. The individual Fathers are not personally infallible, and a discrepancy by a few patristic witnesses does not harm the collective patristic testimony.

The word “unanimous” comes from two Latin words: únus, one + animus, mind. “Consent” in Latin means agreement, accord, and harmony; being of the same mind or opinion. Where the Fathers speak in harmony, with one mind overall—not necessarily each and every one agreeing on every detail but by consensus and general agreement—we have “unanimous consent”. The teachings of the Fathers provide us with an authentic witness to the apostolic tradition.

St. Irenaeus (ad c. 130–c. 200) writes of the “tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome’ (Against Heresies, III, 3, 2), and the “tradition which originates from the apostles [and] which is preserved by means of the successions of presbyters in the Churches” (Ibid., III, 2, 2) which “does thus exist in the Church, and is permanent among us” (Ibid., III, 5, 1). Unanimous consent develops from the understanding of apostolic teaching preserved in the Church with the Fathers as its authentic witness.

St. Vincent of Lerins, explains the Church’s teaching: “In the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and in the strictest sense “Catholic,” which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally. This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity itself we adhere to the consentient definitions and determinations of all, or at the least of almost all priests and doctors” (Commonitory 2). Notice that St. Vincent mentions “almost all priests and doctors”.

The phrase Unanimous Consent of the Fathers had a specific application as used at the Council of Trent (Fourth Session), and reiterated at the First Vatican Council (Dogmatic Decrees of the Vatican Council, chap. 2). The Council Fathers specifically applied the phrase to the interpretation of Scripture. Biblical and theological confusion was rampant in the wake of the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther stated “There are almost as many sects and beliefs as there are heads; this one will not admit Baptism; that one rejects the Sacrament of the altar; another places another world between the present one and the day of judgment; some teach that Jesus Christ is not God.  There is not an individual, however clownish he may be, who does not claim to be inspired by the Holy Ghost, and who does not put forth as prophecies his ravings and dreams.”

The Council Fathers at Trent (1554–63) affirmed the ancient custom that the proper understanding of Scripture was that which was held by the Fathers of the Church to bring order out of the enveloping chaos. Opposition to the Church’s teaching is exemplified by William Webster (The Church of Rome at the Bar of History [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1995]) who misrepresents the Council Fathers by redefining and misapplying “unanimous consent”.

First in redefining, he implies that unanimous consent means each Father must have held the same fully developed traditions and taught them clearly in the same terms as used later in the Church Councils. This is a false understanding of the phrase and even in American law unanimous consent “does not always mean that every one present voted for the proposition, but it may, and generally does, mean, when a [verbal] vote is taken, that no one voted in the negative” (Black’s Law Dictionary). Second he misapplies the term, not to the interpretation of Scripture, as the Council Fathers intended, but to tradition. His assertions are not true, but using a skewed definition and application of “unanimous consent”, he uses selective patristic passages as proof-texts for his analysis of the Fathers.

As an example, individual Fathers may explain “the Rock” in Matthew 16 as Jesus, Peter, Peter’s confession or Peter’s faith. Even the Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to the “Rock” of Matthew 16 as Peter in one place (CCC 552) and his faith (CCC 424) in another. Matthew 16 can be applied in many ways to refute false teachings and to instruct the faithful without emphasizing the literal, historical interpretation of Peter as the Rock upon which the Church has been built his Church. Webster and others emphasize various patristic applications of a biblical passage as “proof” of non-unanimous consent.

Discussing certain variations in the interpretations of the Fathers, Pope Leo XIII (The Study of Holy Scripture, from the encyclical Providentissimus Deus, Nov., 1893) writes, “Because the defense of Holy Scripture must be carried on vigorously, all the opinions which the individual Fathers or the recent interpreters have set forth in explaining it need not be maintained equally. For they, in interpreting passages where physical matters are concerned have made judgments according to the opinions of the age, and thus not always according to truth, so that they have made statements which today are not approved. Therefore, we must carefully discern what they hand down which really pertains to faith or is intimately connected with it, and what they hand down with unanimous consent; for ‘in those matters which are not under the obligation of faith, the saints were free to have different opinions, just as we are,’ according to the opinion of St. Thomas.”


Referred works:

St. Irenaeus’ quote: Ante-Nicene Fathers. Roberts and Donaldson, Eerdmans, 1985, vol. 1, p. 415, 417).

St. Vincent’s quote: Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd series, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, Eerdmans, 1980, vol. 11, p. 132.

Luther quote: (Leslie Rumble, Bible Quizzes to a Street Preacher [Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1976], 22).

William Webster’s quote: (William Webster, 31).

Black’s Law Dictionary: Black’s Law Dictionary, Henry Campbell Black, St. Paul, MN: West Publ. Co., 1979, p. 1366.

Pope Leo XIII quote: Henry Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma [London: B. Herder Book Co., 1954], 491-492).



Cardinal Burke is Right: Islam does not Worship the same God as Christians do

September 27, 2016

Cardinal Burke: ‘Highly questionable’ to say Islam worships Christian God and is therefore peaceful ROME, Italy, August 30, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — It is “highly questionable” to say Catholics and Muslims worship the same God and Islam is a religion of peace, Cardinal Raymond Burke said on a call with reporters Monday. Burke, an American, is […]

Read the full article →

Final Day: Camels, Floating Dead Sea, Comments and Farewells

September 26, 2016

Adventurous last day! Israel Museum, feet in Jordan River, Jericho, Qumran, floating in Dead Sea, riding camels – Farewells and final comments. Final pilgrimage homily here.   Fun Farewells and Comments

Read the full article →

What Does “Water and Spirit” Mean?

September 26, 2016

Since we are at the VERY place where Jesus was baptized in water and the Spirit came down, I thought I would share this post again. A while ago a Protestant friend tried to prove that Born Again by “water and Spirit” did not mean baptism. Here is one paragraph that he sent me: In John, chapter […]

Read the full article →

4:00 AM Wake Up for Via Dolorosa, Mass at Calvary and Visit to the Tomb on Sunday Morning – and much more

September 25, 2016

4:00 AM wake-up?? Are you crazy?? Yes, crazy like a fox — and everyone thanked us later. What an amazing morning walking the Via Dolorosa arriving at Calvary for Mass and then an entrance into the Tomb on Sunday morning. We came back the to the Notre Dame for breakfast and then off to the […]

Read the full article →

Great Pictures, Charts and Info on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

September 25, 2016

Since we are having Mass in the Holy Sepulchre early this morning I wanted to share these many beautiful and helpful picture, diagrams, charts and more about the Holy Sepulchre. See all this wealth of information written and visual. For me this is the most holy and important spot in the Universe. It is where […]

Read the full article →

Mass at Gethsemane, Mt. of Olives, Upper Room and more

September 24, 2016

Lots of tears at the powerful Mass at Gethsemane. For the homily, click here. The Our Father in multiple languages on Mount of Olives. Steve’s “Story of Salvation History” before going to the Upper Room and more. Steve’s talk at Gethsemane:

Read the full article →

Was Jesus Really Born at THAT Place in Bethlehem?

September 24, 2016

Today we are having Mass at Gethsemane on the western slope of the Mount of Olives. How do we know this is really Gethsemane? And tomorrow we have Mass at Calvary in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Really? How do we know? Yesterday we venerated the place Jesus was born in Bethlehem and had Mass in the […]

Read the full article →

Bethlehem All Day: Nativity, Mass in a Cave, Passover Lamb and Dancing!

September 23, 2016

Great day in Bethlehem! Enjoy! For the homily in Bethlehem’s caves, click here.

Read the full article →

I Choose the Narrow Gate; Wanna Join Me?

September 23, 2016

Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13–14)

Read the full article →

Boating on Galilee, the Eucharist and Capernaum, Up to Jerusalem, Meeting with Bishop

September 22, 2016

Enjoy today’s adventures! Boat ride on Galilee, viewing ancient 1st century boat, Mass in Capernaum where Jesus said, “Eat My Flesh”, eating St. Peter’s fish. Steve’s conversion story on the drive to Jerusalem, arrival at the Catholic Notre Dame Hotel, meeting with the Bishop of Jerusalem, great dinner and bed…ready for Bethlehem tomorrow.

Read the full article →

Have Kids? Know Kids? Do They Know about the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy?

September 22, 2016

It is not always easy to pass the Faith on to the next generation and we can use all the help we can get. Ken Davidson has produced a lot of things to share with our kids. He has a new product in his Holy Heroes that will help kids understand and practice the Works […]

Read the full article →

Beatitudes, “You are Peter”, Multiplication of Loaves, Primacy of Peter, Magdala and an Over the Top Dinner

September 21, 2016

To much to say. You will just have to watch the videos. Too much for 15 minute YouTube limitations so we did two 10 minute videos. Enjoy! For Fr. Xavier’s homily at Beatitudes, click here. Part I Part II

Read the full article →

Understanding St. Matthew and his Gospel

September 21, 2016

Since it is the Feast Day of St. Matthew, let’s learn a lot about him. Matthew: Understanding the Tax Collector and his Gospel By Steve Ray If looks could kill, he’d be dead. The Jews glared at Levi as he counted his coins. Tax collectors in Israel had great wealth and were considered renegades and […]

Read the full article →