Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Say YES to VBS (Vacation Bible School)

"Say Yes to VBS" - my 10 year-old daughter thinks that should be the motto for summer vacation. As you can tell by the artwork in the picture, she loves Catholic VBS.

There was a time when Vacation Bible School was almost exclusively for Protestant children. Not anymore.

It's still called Bible School, but Catholics have something Protestants don't have. Church Tradition. We have the Bible and Church Tradition.

Why is that important? It's important for a few reasons.

For starters, one cannot teach the Faith without Holy Scripture. But the canon of Scripture was not set for the first four centuries of the Church. That highlights the importance of Church Teaching. How could they go nearly 400 years without a set canon of Scripture? They had Church Teaching to keep the faith (and the faithful) united.

When I was a child - in Protestant VBS - I learned the song The B-I-B-L-E, which ends with "I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E." As Protestants, we based everything on the Bible. It's called Bible-only theology, or Sola Scriptura. As Catholics, we know the dangers of Sola Scriptura. We know how divisive that can be.

That is not to say that Catholics do not believe the Bible is sacred and necessary. Of course, the Bible is important. As Catholics, we know this (just think of the reverence we give to the Gospel Reading - standing, singing the Alleluia, crossing our forehead and lips and heart to remind ourselves that what we hear will remain in our mind, on our lips and in our heart). Yes, the Bible is very important to us.

But we know the importance of Church Teaching. We know that for about four hundred years, that's all there was. We know that the Catholic Church (with the help of the Holy Spirit) determined what would be in the B-I-B-L-E. And we know, without Church Teaching, taking the Bible alone actually leads to disunity - and the primacy of personal interpretation.

We know that this mistake leads to fracture and spiritual pride. We know this mistake has created over 33,000 different Protestant denominations that hold to many different interpretations of Scripture.

And so, Catholic Vacation Bible School emphasizes the Bible and Tradition. Early Church Fathers would be proud.
Say YES to Catholic VBS!



  1. Yes they would be SO proud! My kids aren't big enough to go yet, but when they are, they'll be going! I am excited that the Catholic Church offers this for the next generation of Catholics!! :)

  2. Awesome. I pray that you have a VBS leader that is as fantastic as the one we have at our parish. The children cannot wait to go and really don't want to leave when the time is up.

    God bless!