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Bible can only be understood with the Church, Pope tells scholars (CATHOLIC CAUCUS)
CNA ^ | 4/23/2009

Posted on 04/23/2009 3:35:50 PM PDT by markomalley

On Thursday morning, Pope Benedict addressed representatives of the Pontifical Biblical Commission following their plenary assembly and said that a correct understanding of Scripture does not come from "the individualistic illusion that biblical texts can be better understood outside the community of believers" but rather rises from the Tradition of the Church.

"Inspiration and truth in the Bible," the theme of the Pontifical Biblical Commission’s plenary assembly, is one that touches on a topic that biblical scholars have vigorously debated during the last century. Much of biblical scholarship, Catholic and non-Catholic, has developed into an academic study separated from the living memory of the Church.

This morning the Pope received thirty representatives of the Pontifical Biblical Commission who just held their full assembly, under the leadership of Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Benedict XVI began by underlining the importance of the chosen theme, which "concerns not only believers, but the Church herself, because the Church's life and mission necessarily rest upon the Word of God … ."

Recalling that the Constitution 'Dei Verbum' (The Word of God) affirmed that God is the author of the Bible, and that in Sacred Scripture God speaks to mankind in a human manner, the Holy Father laid out the three criteria that the Second Vatican Council prescribed for correctly interpreting Scripture.

"For a correct interpretation of Scripture we must, then, carefully examine what the hagiographers really sought to say and what God was pleased to reveal with their words," he explained.

First, "Sacred Scripture is one by virtue of the unity of God's plan, of which Jesus Christ is the center and the heart."

Second, "Scripture must be read in the context of the living Tradition of the entire Church. ... In her Tradition the Church carries the living memory of the Word of God, and it is the Holy Spirit Who provides her with the interpretation thereof in accordance with its spiritual meaning.

"The third criterion concerns the need to pay attention to the analogy of the faith; that is, to the cohesion of the individual truths of faith, both with one another and with the overall plan of Revelation and the fullness of the divine economy enclosed in that plan."

The task of scholars, the Holy Father said, "is to contribute, following the above-mentioned principles, to a more profound interpretation and exposition of the meaning of Sacred Scripture."

Pope Benedict, himself an academic, also warned Catholic biblical scholars that the study of Sacred Scripture cannot be reduced to a purely academic exercise but must involve a perception of "the Word of God in these texts."

"The interpretation of Sacred Scriptures cannot be a merely an individual academic undertaking, but must always be compared with, inserted into, and authenticated by the living Tradition of the Church.

"This norm is essential in order to ensure a correct and reciprocal exchange between exegesis and Church Magisterium," the Pope stated.

But the Holy Father went further, offering a corrective reminder to biblical scholars, saying, "Catholic exegetes do not nourish the individualistic illusion that biblical texts can be better understood outside the community of believers. The opposite is true, because these texts were not given to individual scholars 'to satisfy their curiosity or to provide them with material for study and research'. The texts inspired by God were entrusted to the community of believers, to the Church of Christ, to nourish the faith and to guide the life of charity."

The Pontiff also summarized the Church's understanding of Scripture and Tradition.

"Sacred Scripture is the Word of God in that it is written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Tradition, on the other hand, integrally transmits the Word of God as entrusted by Christ the Lord and by the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and their successors so that they, illuminated by the Spirit of truth, could faithfully conserve, explain and spread it through their preaching."

Benedict XVI closed his address to the commission by emphasizing the need to harmonize the Magisterium and academic scholarship. "Only within the ecclesial context can Sacred Scripture be understood as the authentic Word of God which is guide, norm and rule for the life of the Church and the spiritual development of believers. This means rejecting all interpretations that are subjective or limited to mere analysis [and hence] incapable of accepting the global meaning which, over the course of the centuries, has guided the Tradition of the entire people of God."


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Theology
KEYWORDS: bible; bxvi; catholic
Please note: this is a Catholic Caucus thread (per RM rules of engagement)
1 posted on 04/23/2009 3:35:50 PM PDT by markomalley
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To: markomalley

Some non-Catholics are going to be foaming at the mouth to post after reading the title. Caucus thread, too bad.


2 posted on 04/23/2009 3:42:59 PM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture)
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To: steve86

What prevents anyone from posting the same article in a non-caucus thread and saying what they want about it?


3 posted on 04/23/2009 3:44:59 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Secret Agent Man

Probably nothing, just as nothing prevents us from NOT reading THAT thread.


4 posted on 04/23/2009 3:47:28 PM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture)
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: JudgemAll

7 posted on 04/23/2009 5:22:31 PM PDT by Tax-chick (O hai. Do I need you for something right now?)
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To: markomalley

**Benedict XVI began by underlining the importance of the chosen theme, which “concerns not only believers, but the Church herself, because the Church’s life and mission necessarily rest upon the Word of God … .” **

Shocker to some! But not to us!


8 posted on 04/23/2009 5:26:07 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Secret Agent Man
What prevents anyone from posting the same article in a non-caucus thread and saying what they want about it?

It would be locked as a duplicate post.

9 posted on 04/23/2009 7:19:30 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler ("Mr. President, I support you but not your mission. I'm showing my patriotism through dissent.")
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To: All; Secret Agent Man
This Religion Forum thread is tagged "Catholic Caucus."

If you are not Catholic, do not post on this thread.

Also, because this is a caucus - do not compare beliefs or speak in behalf of any other belief. If you do, the caucus may be broken, because the other believers would then have an interest in speaking for themselves.

Finally, if you are not Catholic and wish to discuss the subject on an "open" thread - then find a similar article and post it as "open" in the Religion Forum. But do not post the same article.

10 posted on 04/23/2009 8:29:09 PM PDT by Religion Moderator
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: delacoert; Religion Moderator
By all of that you merely affirm that the magistrate is capable of being affected both from within and without.

My comment makes no sense now that prior post has been deleted. Please feel free to delete my posts from this thread. :(

12 posted on 04/23/2009 8:35:28 PM PDT by delacoert (imperat animus corpori, et paretur statim; imperat animus sibi, et resistitur -- Augustini)
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To: Salvation
Shocker to some! But not to us!
13 posted on 04/23/2009 9:02:14 PM PDT by delacoert (imperat animus corpori, et paretur statim; imperat animus sibi, et resistitur -- Augustini)
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To: markomalley

I think this does not exclude a more personal meaning, additional meaning, as for example in Lectio Divina. However, this would not be, and certainly not be taught as, the Church’s interpretation.


14 posted on 04/23/2009 11:36:46 PM PDT by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: markomalley
I am going to respectfully, but vehemently disagree with the Pope on this one.

I have a Bible, a brain and prayer. NO ONE aside from Jesus Christ himself needs to come between me and God.

15 posted on 04/23/2009 11:50:20 PM PDT by Centurion2000 (We either Free America ourselves, or it is midnight for humanity for a thousand years.)
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To: Centurion2000
I am going to respectfully, but vehemently disagree with the Pope on this one.

I have a Bible, a brain and prayer. NO ONE aside from Jesus Christ himself needs to come between me and God.

I don't think that this is what the article is saying.

16 posted on 04/24/2009 2:41:58 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: markomalley
I love this Pope -- I was there for Holy Week this year and in the crowd on Wednesday and for the grande masses. It was fantastic being in the crowd shouting out Pere Beneditto!

About this matter, he is absolutely right -- the scriptures were given by God and we as an individual can only understand a small part of the hugeness that is God, but we can, as a group, as a community, understand a larger part of the vastness that is the divinity.
17 posted on 04/24/2009 4:10:45 AM PDT by Cronos (Ceterum censeo, Mecca et Medina delenda est)
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To: Centurion2000

No one mortal will come between you and God. The article says that WE (not “I”) have the Bible, a collective brain and collective prayer. To come together as a family and understand the vastness of the divinity together is what the article says we need to do — to understand it IN the Church, not to listen to some priest without bothering to understand it on our own. Even the priest is just a mortal and would welcome our joy in learning together.


18 posted on 04/24/2009 4:25:04 AM PDT by Cronos (Ceterum censeo, Mecca et Medina delenda est)
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To: Centurion2000
I have a Bible, a brain and prayer. NO ONE aside from Jesus Christ himself needs to come between me and God.

Nobody is trying to come between you and God.

This idea holds water only if you view the Church as an obstacle on the road to heaven, rather than an assistance. The Church exists, not to deprive of us of the truth or to hide it from us, but rather to safeguard it and transmit it untainted to our children.

The Church is not the government which wants to take your money and curtail your freedoms. The Church is a father.......a mother........someone wiser than you who wants to preserve you from danger and guide you along the safe path rather than allow you to wander down blind alleys which unguided and left to our own devices, we often do.

19 posted on 04/24/2009 6:43:37 AM PDT by marshmallow ("A country which kills its own children has no future" -Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
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To: marshmallow
Nobody is trying to come between you and God.

This idea holds water only if you view the Church as an obstacle on the road to heaven, rather than an assistance. The Church exists, not to deprive of us of the truth or to hide it from us, but rather to safeguard it and transmit it untainted to our children.

The Church is not the government which wants to take your money and curtail your freedoms. The Church is a father.......a mother........someone wiser than you who wants to preserve you from danger and guide you along the safe path rather than allow you to wander down blind alleys which unguided and left to our own devices, we often do.

*********************

Beautifully said.

20 posted on 04/24/2009 7:01:46 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: steve86

I AM a baptized Catholic you know.


21 posted on 04/24/2009 7:28:52 AM PDT by T Minus Four (Ashes on the head are for mourning the dead; my God lives, Hallelujia!!)
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To: Centurion2000

Error of individual interpretation of scripture is what comes between you and God.


22 posted on 04/24/2009 8:40:14 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: markomalley
Also:

all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost; and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true. This is the ancient and unchanging faith of the Church, solemnly defined in the Councils of Florence and of Trent, and finally confirmed and more expressly formulated by the Council of the Vatican.

[...]

those who maintain that an error is possible in any genuine passage of the sacred writings, either pervert the Catholic notion of inspiration, or make God the author of such error.

[...]

In order that all these endeavours and exertions may really prove advantageous to the cause of the Bible, let scholars keep steadfastly to the principles which We have in this Letter laid down. Let them loyally hold that God, the Creator and Ruler of all things, is also the Author of the Scriptures - and that therefore nothing can be proved either by physical science or archaeology which can really contradict the Scriptures. If, then, apparent contradiction be met with, every effort should be made to remove it. Judicious theologians and commentators should be consulted as to what is the true or most probable meaning of the passage in discussion, and the hostile arguments should be carefully weighed. Even if the difficulty is after all not cleared up and the discrepancy seems to remain, the contest must not be abandoned; truth cannot contradict truth, and we may be sure that some mistake has been made either in the interpretation of the sacred words, or in the polemical discussion itself; and if no such mistake can be detected, we must then suspend judgment for the time being. There have been objections without number perseveringly directed against the Scripture for many a long year, which have been proved to be futile and are now never heard of; and not unfrequently interpretations have been placed on certain passages of Scripture (not belonging to the rule of faith or morals) which have been rectified by more careful investigations. As time goes on, mistaken views die and disappear; but "truth remaineth and groweth stronger for ever and ever."(61) Wherefore, as no one should be so presumptuous as to think that he understands the whole of the Scripture, in which St. Augustine himself confessed that there was more that he did not know, than that he knew,(62) so, if he should come upon anything that seems incapable of solution, he must take to heart the cautious rule of the same holy Doctor: "It is better even to be oppressed by unknown but useful signs, than to interpret them uselessly and thus to throw off the yoke only to be caught in the trap of error. "

Leo XIII on the inerrancy of scripture (from Providentissimus Deus) [ecum.]

24 posted on 04/24/2009 8:51:31 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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