ROMANISM AND THE BIBLE
Tract Club of America
Gentlemen: The "Romanism in the Light of the Bible" booklet you circulate, which was reprinted from The Sunday School Times, is a page after page declaration of ignorance and bigotry that it would take many thousands of words to answer in detail. The author, Rev. Stephen E. Slocum, Ph.D., who knows so much that is not so about the Bible in relation to the Catholic Church, is like the character depicted by Graciano to Antonio in the Merchant of Venice, who "dressed in an opinion of wisdom, gravity, and profound conceit," boasted "I am Sir Oracle, and when I open my lips let no dog bark."
The first paragraph, in this 40 page booklet, contains one of many of his cocksure assertions that warrant the above opinion of the author of your anti-Catholic publication. In it, he declares:---"The miracle of the Bible is that it came down to us complete and intact through twenty centuries or more, untouched by time ... The New Testament (like the Old Testament) has not been altered or abridged since it was written nineteen centuries ago."
The historic fact is that the New Testament part of the Bible dates back only about fifteen, and not twenty, centuries. The Christians of the early centuries did not have a New Testament Bible to guide them in their spiritual judgments. They had what Catholics have ever had as their primary rule of faith, the Church Christ commanded to be heard (St. Matt. 18:17), the Catholic Church. The books in the New Testament, and not the New Testament, "were written nineteen centuries ago." They were formed into a canon of inspired Scripture by the Catholic Church in the Council of Carthage in the Year 397 A.D. It were well, in the interest of intellectual exactness, to realize that canons of Scripture are not written, rather are they formed of selected writings.
The acceptance of the 27 book library of inspired New Testament writings by Protestants seems an indirect acknowledgment of the authority of the Catholic Church, the maker of that canon of New Testament Scripture. This is further evidenced, in my opinion, by the fact that no Protestant church ever included any of the books rejected by the Catholic Church Council of Carthage in its New Testament. Here is a list of 16 rejected Gospels and Epistles, used in churches during the first centuries of the Christian era, that were rejected by the Council of Carthage: The Gospel of St. Thomas; the Gospel according to the Hebrews; the Gospel of St. James; the Apocalypse of St. Peter; St. Paul's Epistle to the Laodiceans; the Epistle of St. Barnabas; the Epistle of St. Bartholomew; the Epistle of the Shepherd of Hermans; the Epistle of St. Clement; the Epistle of St. Polycarp; the Epistle of St. Philip; the Acts of Pilate; the Acts of Paul; the Acts of Thecla; the Apostolic Constitutions; and the Doctrine of the Twelve Apostles.
The profession of love of the inspired writings in the New Testament, on the part of your ministerial Sir Oracle, ought to cause him to love the Catholic Church, the Maker of the New Testament, instead of barking at her. A calm, unbiased, historical investigation would prove to him, and to his fellow-Protestants, that the Bible "came down (to us) complete and intact," as he said, because the Catholic Church safeguarded its contents, aye its very existence during the centuries before any of the hundreds of Protestant denominations came into existence.
True is it, that the Catholic Church did warn her children against the use of Protestant Bibles; though they were not told to go so far as not "to touch them with a finger." It was love of the Bible that prompted the Catholic Church to safeguard her children against counterfeit editions as strenuously as the State safeguards citizens against counterfeit currency.
Here is a list of some of the Protestant Bibles I found to have been classified by my Church as counterfeit; Bibles that Protestant churches ceased to use, sometimes after circulating them for centuries: Breeches Bible; Bug Bible; Coverdale Bible; Cranmer's Bible; He Bible; Murderers Bible; Pearl Bible; She Bible; Travener's Bible; Treacle Bible; Tyndale Bible; Vinegar Bible; Whig Bible; and Whittenham's Bible.
The popular King James Bible, called the "Authorized Version," that was considered by the Catholic Church to be a counterfeit production upon its appearance during the first quarter of the 17th century, was found to have so many thousand errors, that Thomas Ward was prompted to write "An Errata of the Protestant Bible; or the Truth of English Translations Examined," in which the errors were enumerated.
The above matter is only a part of the evidence that proves the declaration of the author of your booklet, that "the New Testament has not been altered or abridged," to apply to the Catholic Bible, and not to Protestant Bibles, thanks to the insistence of the Catholic Church upon maintaining the integrity of Bible texts.
I venture to say, as a lay student of things Christian, that no Protestant church ever honored the Bible as highly as does the Catholic Church. She has a standing Commission the purpose of which is to guard the authenticity and integrity of Holy Scripture. No sincere Protestant, aware of the doctrinal, liturgical and pietistic status of the Bible in the Catholic Church, would bark at her who gave the Bible to the world, as does your Sir Oracle in his "Romanism in the Light of the Bible."
Doctrinally, there is no wavering whatsoever in the Catholic Church; her interpretations of biblical texts are clear-cut, unchanging, universal, and binding upon all of her children. Such a thing as priests proclaiming contradictory interpretations of biblical texts, as are uttered in Protestant pulpits, is as foreign to the Catholic Church as is the advocacy of blasphemy, immorality, or treason.
Prayerfully, David Goldstein
June 5, 1954