I went to a Catholic school where everyone went to daily Mass. As the priest read the appointed Scriptures in Latin, we did our best to follow the English translation in the Saint Joseph Daily Missal.

Back then, we did not read the Bible in class or at home, since the Second Vatican Council’s Dei verbum, the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, had not yet been written. We were at the end of a long period during which the church hesitated to make Scripture available to the faithful in their own language for fear they might misinterpret what they read.

But we did talk about the stories we heard in the readings at Mass, stories retold to us in the textbook Salvation History. We knew about Abraham and saw illustrations of poor Isaac all bound up on the altar of sacrifice. We knew about Babel and about the ark, too, and we sang the Grail translation of the psalms. We knew what happened at Cana and why Jesus was a better than ideal party guest. We knew what made the good Samaritan good and the difference between the wise and foolish maidens. Such a knowledge of...

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About the Author

William C. Graham, a priest of the diocese of Duluth in Minnesota, directs the Braegelman Program in Catholic Studies at the College of St. Scholastica. His most recent book is A Catholic Handbook: Essentials for the 21st Century (Paulist).