Lay Catholics are frequently characterized by their lack of first hand Bible reading and knowledge. As a Born Again Orthodox Roman Catholic with a large familiarity with Bible verses from my previous traditions of Christianity, I can say that this characterization is rightly deserved. Over the course of time, devout Catholics will hear almost the entirety of the Bible through the Liturgy of the Word, but might crack their Bible once in a lifetime, if at all. Whereas Protestants routinely tote their Bible to service, Catholics never. At my own confirmation, one of the seven readings from scripture happened to be Isaiah 55, the whole chapter, which I can recite from memory (KJV). Now this sort of ability was normative in my previous spiritual life of Bible churches. Catholics with the same ability would be regarded as oddities if not scholars of the Church. But there is no official reason for this lack– on the contrary and to the surprise of many non-Catholic Christians—the Church encourages individual Bible reading and study.
I just finished reading an encyclical called Spiritus Paraclitus by Pope Benedict XV (this is XV and not the most recent XVI) issued on September 15, 1920. This encyclical came on an auspicious anniversary, the 1500th anniversary of the death of St. Jerome who fervently translated Holy Scriptures from a number of ancient languages and sources to produce the Latin Vulgate Bible, the principle Bible translation for the Church for almost as many centuries.
The encyclical recounts the life of St. Jerome, the Great Doctor, and his zeal for Scripture and the Church. It urges readers to also cultivate a similar love and practice of regular Bible reading. Following are separate quotes of St. Jerome extracted from this promulgation:
We have got, then, to read Holy Scripture assiduously; we have got to meditate on the Law of God day and night so that, as expert money-changers, we may be able to detect false coin from true.
Every day she should give you a definite account of her Bible-reading . . .For her the Bible must take the place of silks and jewels . . . Let her learn the Psalter first, and find her recreation in its songs; let her learn from Solomon’s Proverbs the way of life, from Ecclesiastes how to trample on the world. In Job she will find an example of patient virtue. Thence let her pass to the Gospels; they should always be in her hands. She should steep herself in the Acts and the Epistles. And when she has enriched her soul with these treasures she should commit to memory the Prophets, the Heptateuch, Kings and Chronicles, Esdras and Esther: then she can learn the Canticle of Canticles without any fear.
Read assiduously and learn as much as you can. Let sleep find you holding your Bible, and when your head nods let it be resting on the sacred page.
I will tell you another thing about her, though evil-disposed people may cavil at it: she determined to learn Hebrew, a language which I myself, with immense labor and toil from my youth upwards, have only partly learned, and which I even now dare not cease studying lest it should quit me. But Paula learned it, and so well that she could chant the Psalms in Hebrew, and could speak it, too, without any trace of a Latin accent. We can see the same thing even now in her daughter Eustochium.
Finally, Benedict XV himself exhorts: “Hence, as far as in us lies, we, Venerable Brethren, shall, with St. Jerome as our guide, never desist from urging the faithful to read daily the Gospels, the Acts and the Epistles, so as to gather thence food for their souls.”
Finally and in my humble opinion, if Catholics are going to be influential in the conversion of other Christians, they better know the Bible and what the Catholic Church teaches about it.
 I still bring mine to Mass albeit as an app on my Android table which also has Laudate, a Catholic app. I found only one occasion to “turn to our Bible” when the handout had the wrong verses printed.
 An encyclical is a letter circulated to the Bishops. I think of the epistles of the New Testament which were similarly circulated to the churches of the first century.
 As a brief aside, let me just say that the time scale of the Catholic Church is staggering. I know the silver anniversary is 25 years, the golden anniversary is 50 years and the diamond anniversary is 75 years but what substance commemorates 1500 years? No wonder they had the Gregorian calendar commissioned since only the Catholic Church has been around long enough to notice the procession of error inherent in the Julian system.