Jesuit Father Dennis J. McCarthy was one of the great Catholic Old Testament scholars of the twentieth century. He enjoyed a long career at the Biblicum, and published widely, making important contributions especially on the topic of biblical covenants. Dr. Scott Hahn is deeply indebted to McCarthy, as a scan of the author's index to Hahn's tome Kinship by Covenant will show. McCarthy has a great quote on the task of the biblical exegete that I like to share with my friends:
But the primary object of literary study is the text, its primary tools a knowledge of words and phrases and a feel for their use. A first call then: let us read the text for what it is with all the wit and skill we can bring to it. This sounds very simple, but it is not. Normally, the Biblist does not read the text. He breaks it up and reads parts. He tears out its sources. He does not explain the significance of the so-called “plague stories” in Exodus. He merely explains what the Yahwist writer or the Priestly writers thought about plagues. But it is the narrative as it stands which interests the Church or the men of culture concerned with the world’s classics. This also should be the Biblist’s interest in so far as he is concerned with explaining the Bible. [From D. J. McCarthy, “God as Prisoner of Our Own Choosing: Critical-Historical Study of the Bible,” in Historicism and Faith (ed. P. L. Williams; Scranton, PA: SCS, 1980) 40.]
For what it's worth, I think McCarthy is right. And restricting Old Testament catechesis to a study of Wellhausenian source criticism, which is actually done in some places, is, I think, not the way to go. What does everyone else think?