It was a little over year ago while skimming through the books at Borders that I came across The New Catholic Answer Bible (Wichita: Fireside Catholic Publishing, 2005). Similar to someone impulsively looking at dogs and cats on pet adoption day, I couldn’t resist, and took it home with me. It wasn’t until I did a few web searches that I was able to figure out exactly who put this thing together. It’s a collaboration between Dr. Paul Thigpen, editor of The Catholic Answer magazine, My Daily Catholic Bible (Our Sunday Visitor) and Dave Armstrong (a self-proclaimed Catholic apologist).
Recently, Mr. Armstrong took a strong dislike to my blog entry, “We Have Apostolic Tradition”- The Unofficial Catholic Apologist Commentary #9. In that entry, I pointed out that the Bible contributions of Thigpen and Armstrong don’t seem to match up to the commentary notes of The New Catholic Answer Bible. Armstrong has finally let us know why. He refers to them as “…the notoriously liberal notes for the NAB…”. Armstrong says,
“As we have come to sadly expect, the know-nothing anti-Catholic crowd (being dense as they always are about Catholic topics) would rather cite heterodox, liberal dissidents than orthodox popes and orthodox Catholic commentaries. That fits in nicely with their slanderous agenda. But the truth is far different.”
When one visits the homepage for The New Catholic Answer Bible, we’re told the following:
“Fireside is proud to introduce The New Catholic Answer Bible- New American Bible-Ideal for:RCIA – Religious Education -Confirmation -Bible Study- Youth Ministry -High Schools & Universities. Benefits: -Provides for a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith -Presents inquiring questions for class discussion -Teaches the roots, tradition and rituals of the faith Translation-“
That’s very impressive, is it not? After reading this, one is given the assurance of a quality book of factual information. Indeed, you’ll be getting the best Catholic answers, right at your fingertips, along with the biblical text. You’ll’ have study Bible guiding you toward “a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith.” Just think of the possibilities… a Catholic could walk into any Protestant Bible study with The New Catholic Answer Bible, and be ready to defend the one true church. You could use this Bible in high schools and universities, to learn and defend the Catholic faith! The back cover boldly states, “The New Catholic Answer Bible is your faith’s foundation in Holy Scripture and Catechesis.”
The commentary notes though used by the Thigpen / Armstrong New Catholic Answer Bible are, according to DA “the notoriously liberal notes for the NAB,” written by “heterodox, liberal dissidents.” That is… not very comforting. Are we to assume the “answers” given in the NCAB commentary notes are not intended by Armstrong and Thigpen to be correct answers? I suggest they rename this book, “The New Catholic Right and Wrong Answer Bible. Armstrong and Thigpen should also explain why the reference material for the NAB was given the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur: “The Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur are official declarations that a book or pamphlet is free from doctrinal or moral error.” Perhaps those granting it don’t have the same criteria used by Dave to determine “heterodox, liberal dissidents.” In fact, the declaration goes on to say, “No implication is contained therein that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur agree with the content, opinions or statements expressed.” Now that’s the beauty of being Rome- you can affirm and deny so as to cover all bases.
Of course, Mr. Armstrong included his usual kindness. I’m part of the “know-nothing anti-Catholic crowd (being dense as they always are about Catholic topics).” I put forth my “usual clueless ignorance.” He says I’m “spewing idiotic nonsense.” “Pointing out simple facts because an anti-Catholic imbecile desperate for attention from our ranks can’t get them right to save his life is neither “debate” nor “dialogue” (as if that even needs to be pointed out). I suggest that this nitwit (with — of all things — a philosophy degree yet!!) pull out the closest dictionary to get up to speed on definitions.” Yes, the kindness of Catholic apologists, topped off with the charge, “Lying (especially about brothers in Christ), is a very serious sin, and bearing false witness is forbidden in the Ten Commandments.”
Speaking of lying, a while back, someone asked Dave, “Dave, New challenge for you. James Swan posted an article on 3-3-09 where he argues 2 Macc 12 is not a clear reference to Purgatory. You might enjoy refuting his comments, especially because he cites you by name and says you’re wrong.” Dave responded,
Thanks for the info, but I no longer waste time debating anti-Catholic sophists. When I did do so, for 12 years, almost all of them ran every time they faced an opposing argument. For the few who managed to not run, it was all sophistry and obscurantism. That is most unimpressive and irksome, so I have given up. I continue to make my own arguments but I don’t bother with theirs anymore, because they never defend them when challenged. One has to understand how to rationally, properly assert and defend arguments. I don’t have time for that. I want to dialogue with people who have some semblance of intellectual confidence in their positions.
But then, to make it all “Christian” Mr. Armstrong turns the other cheek and states, “Pray for this self-deluded person and all like him. They are in a very bad spiritual state, to keep doing these things. There’s always hope, and they are fellow Christians, but they need much prayer. Ask the Blessed Virgin Mary in particular, to intercede on their behalf, and apply Lenten penances to their souls.” Such is the world of conservative orthodox Catholic apologists like Dave Armstrong. How would Dave’s prayer go? Based on Dave’s comments, I’ve put together a prayer. Perhaps it could be something like, “Dear Mary, please help this clueless, ignorant, dense, know-nothing, slanderer, nit wit, anti-Catholic imbecile desperate for attention, liar, and spewer of idiotic nonsense stop quoting the notoriously liberal notes (with the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur) for the NAB. Help him to see (and embrace), the true Catholic faith found in those sections of our Answer Bible that agree with what we deem correct by orthodox scholars and Catholic commentaries.