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Catholics Read The Scripture is a complete theological reference text designed to aid the lay study of Pope Benedict XVI’s Verbum Domini.

Humanity lives in an increasingly secular society. According to research, approximately 1.1 billion individuals worldwide identify as non-believers. Many others identify with Christianity but rarely pray, act on their faith, or read the Bible. 

Also, Catholics are often criticized for the way they approach the Bible. These criticisms usually come from two directions. From one direction, some Protestant Christians, who disagree with Catholic doctrine concerning tradition and with the Catholic approach to Scripture, charge the Church with neglecting Scripture. These charges come through scholarly debate and famous polemics (the latter often containing much false information). From another direction, the Church is sometimes criticized by people who suppose that Catholics approach the Scriptures with blind faith—unthinkingly and unquestioningly believing things that seem to contradict science and reason.  

The assessments mentioned above are discussed in Bramwell’s commentaries in Catholics Read The Scripture.  

Bramwell’s Catholics Read The Scripture

The book Catholics Read The Scripture by Bevil Bramwell opens by sharing the historical background of Pope Benedict’s document—a series of explorations of Scripture as the divine word, its application to the Catholic Church, and its applications in the wider world. Branwell acts as an apologist for the text, calling Verbum Domini a “sleeper” document that reverses a history of secularization in favor of a rediscovery of Scripture. He asserts that Catholics, and the Catholic Church, had been moving away from treating the Bible as central to all lives, leaving its study to specialists and the clergy.

This work is a commentary on Benedict XVI’s remarkable exhortation Verbum Domini -The Word of God. He explained: “In the word of God proclaimed and heard, and in the sacraments, Jesus says today, here and now, to each person: “I am yours.” This commentary unpacks the meaning of the scriptures for the community of faith so that everyone can meet the Divine Word. Benedict also shows the possible uses of the modern tools of explanation and their limitations when dealing with the word given by God to his Church.

Readers Thoughts

“Of the commentaries on Verbum Domini (VD) found here and there, this one is a must-read. The text of Benedict XVI is a beautiful unfolding of Dei Verbum (DV) and its development in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Bramwell’s commentary presents a reliable, balanced, theologically insightful, technically new, and incredibly readable guide through a profound text. The report carefully reviews the central concepts of each section, showing the Church’s teaching on Scripture to be more theological ideas; the Church’s understanding of the true nature of Scripture and its importance to every Catholic is presented in simple yet profound language that catechists, deacons and priests can readily understand. This book would be accessible to seniors in high school, undergraduate theology programs, diaconal training, and seminary curricula. – reviewed by sfmiletic.

“The book includes both interesting topics of discussion that draw clear lines between the focal text’s arguments and contemporary society (in discussing internet culture, Bramwell argues that “there is a close connection between human beings and the reality that has to be asserted again and again”) and references to thousand-year-old writings that are ably made to connect to the contemporary world (as with the impact of human migration on the Catholic Church).” – reviewed by Matt Benzing of Foreword Reviews.

Author’s Profile

Fr. Bevil Bramwell, OMI, comes from South Africa. He did his doctorate at Boston College and had five books to his credit, namely: Laity: Beautiful, Good and True – Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Theology of the Laity; The World of the Sacraments – The Catholic Theology of the Sacraments; Catholics read the Scriptures – Commentary of Benedict XVI’s Verbum Domini; John Paul II’s Ex Corde Ecclesiae – The Gift of Catholic Universities to the World; and The Catholic Priesthood – A 360 Degree View. He teaches Systematic Theology at Catholic Distance University.