Monday, August 26, 2013

God's Timing - It Can't Be Beat

It was a busy weekend.  My mother came home from the hospital Friday afternoon after having a total knee replacement Monday.  Needless to say, she was in a great deal of pain.  The weekend before her surgery my brother and I dismantled her bed frame (her bed sat super high), so that she would be able to make her way on and off her mattress and box springs easier.  We also moved a chair in her room so that she would be able to navigate with her walker.

Now all that moving and rearranging before her surgery, and a day and a half of helping her get in and out of bed; and it wasn't until Saturday night - with the air conditioner on the fritz - that I stepped on something.  I was moving a pillow, so I had to go back a minute later to examine what it was.  When I bent down I could barely believe my eyes - mom's wedding ring that she had lost a month before!

I remember coming to her house the afternoon after she realized it was missing.  She, my dad, and sister had combed the house
searching for it.  Had it come off her hand when she met a friend for lunch?  Could it be in the car?  "Shane, what Saint do I ask to pray for me?  Is it St. Anthony?  I think I remember people publishing 'thank you's' to St. Anthony in the paper."  I told her that she was right, St. Anthony of Padua was the guy she should ask to pray.  I printed off a novena prayer to St. Anthony and left it with her.  It also inspired me to go home and read the biography of St. Anthony I had acquired a month before at a book fair.  (What an amazing Saint to learn about!)  Mom and I asked St. Anthony to join us in praying for the rings return ... but a month came and went without the Lord granting our request.  And honestly, that was fine.  I have come to believe that when God says, "No," or "Not yet," He always does so out of love for us.

Then Saturday night he gave my family a very graphic demonstration of how true this is.  I say this because the ring wasn't found when my brother and I took the bed apart and stripped all of the bedding a week before.  No, it wasn't found until my mother was lying in her bedroom, in the worst pain of her life!  When she slipped the ring back onto her finger she howled with joy - the most joyful she had been all week. That was the moment God wanted that ring returned to her; it was just lying there on the floor, at the corner of the bed, waiting for me to step on it!  How did it get there?  Where did it fall from?  Not a clue.  What I do know is that God's timing is absolutely perfect ... and that St. Anthony is quite a prayer partner.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My Friend, the DOOMSDAY PREPPER

I went to Mass with a good friend this past Sunday.  In the middle of the Gospel reading he leaned over to me and and whispered, "DOOMSDAY PREPPERS."  My buddy has talked about this National Geographic Channel show for months and never misses a new episode.  What reminded him of it in Mass?  Jesus' words:  
"Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.  You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come." (Lk 12:39-40)
Now I'm always on the lookout for new ways to relate the Faith to pop culture, so after Mass I asked him point-blank, "So if Doomsday was looming, what would a 'prepper' tell me I had to do to survive it?"  And without batting an eye he answered, "You need to stock up on water, find a sustainable food source, shelter (hopefully bomb proof), and then you need to stock up on weapons and ammo."  Sounded pretty thorough to me!

As I listened, I was like, "Yeah - that's exactly what we need to do to survive Judgment Day."  Everything he listed has a corollary in the spiritual life; and if we prepare ourselves in this way, then we will be ready to meet the Lord when He comes - cosmically or individually.
  • Stock up on water?  In Scripture the Holy Spirit is frequently spoken of as Living Water.  The Spirit flows from Jesus' Heart as from a spring (Jn.7:37-39), "whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. (Jn 4:14).
  • A sustainable food source?  The Eucharist is always available to us.  And it just isn't any food.  It is, in the words of the Our Father, epi-ousios, “super-substantial” bread (CCC 2837).  It is Christ Jesus Himself! 
  • Shelter?  A bomb-proof shelter?  The Church.  Not only is she the "household of God, the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15), but Jesus has guaranteed that nothing can destroy her - "I tell you, you are Peter (Rock), and on this Rock I will build My Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it" (Mt 16:17)!
  • Weapons and ammo?  God's Word is the sword cutting with which we confront the deceptions and temptations of the Enemy (Eph 6:17; Heb 4:12); and Prayer calls forth the power of Almighty God to both strengthen us for the fight and to tear down enemy strongholds (2 Cor 10:4).  And to quote Sts. Padre Pio and Josemaria Escriva, "The Rosary is the 'weapon' for these times;" "The holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you'll be amazed at the results."
You can argue the merits of being a Doomsday Prepper, but only a fool will argue the merits of being a Judgment Day Prepper.  "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ" (2 Cor 5:10).

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Everyone Loves a Secret ...

Look at today's first reading (Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C), because it speaks to our situation today:
The night of the Passover was known beforehand to our fathers, that, with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith, they might have courage.
Your people awaited the salvation of the just and the destruction of their foes.
For when you punished our adversaries, in this you glorified us whom you had summoned.
For in secret the holy children of the good were offering sacrifice and putting into effect with one accord the divine institution, 
That your holy ones should share alike the same good things and dangers, having previously sung the praises of the fathers. (Wisdom 18:6-9)
The world keeps moving forward, pursuing many an agenda at odds with God's will.  But when we celebrate the Eucharist - a divine institution, ignored by the majority - we are bringing the grace of salvation into the world.  All grace, all supernatural life, flows from Christ's Passover - His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension - and the Eucharist represents it to us, calling down the Father's power (Rom1:4, 8:11; Jn 6:54-57; 1 Cor 5:7-8, 11:23-32).


Like Israel in Egypt, we celebrate the Passover Sacrifice, as the harsh world outside goes its way, blissfully unaware of the judgment being courted.  The one great difference is that we have been charged with going out and continuing to invite others to join us at the Sacrificial Feast (Mt 22:1-7)!  We don't want to keep this Feast a secret, and more importantly, God doesn't want us to keep it a secret!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Are There Mistakes in the Bible?


As a Catholic who wants to think with the Church, I have to answer "no."  That is not to say that I read the Bible as a fundamentalist.  I most certainly do not!  So how do I approach the Bible as a Catholic?  Well, stay with me for a bit; and I will do my best to explain.

At Vatican II, in its Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum in Latin, the Catholic Church reiterated its ancient conviction that Scripture, as God’s written word, could not be at odds with reality, could not deceive:

Since, therefore, all that the inspired authors, or sacred writers, affirm should be affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Sacred Scripture, firmly, faithfully and without error, teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the sacred Scriptures. Thus, “all Scripture is inspired by God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Tim.3:16)” (DV,11). [1]

Although not employed by Dei Verbum, the term “inerrancy” came into vogue in the nineteenth century to denote Scripture’s freedom from error.

In discussions of Dei Verbum’s teaching on inerrancy, the portion I have italicized is the common citation. As we can see though, this omits the first clause of a very dense, complex sentence, “Since, therefore, all that the inspired authors, or sacred writers, affirm should be affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge…” The same thought is continued by 2 Timothy 3:16, “all Scripture is inspired by God.” Because all of Scripture was produced under the action of the Holy Spirit, for the sake of our salvation, it must be acknowledged as teaching the truth “firmly, faithfully and without error.” The Church is not subscribing to fundamentalism, taking every word at face-value; but it is saying that once we take account of literary genres and figurative language, whatever Scripture does in fact affirm is without error.

Admittedly, there are many gifted Catholic scripture scholars and churchmen who do not present Dei Verbum in the manner I have. Rather than a reaffirmation of the Church’s historic faith in the inerrancy of Scripture, they see it positing a limitation. The widely used New Jerome Biblical Commentary, in its article “Church Pronouncements,” says:

On inerrancy Vatican II made an important qualification as our italics indicate: “The Books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching firmly, faithfully, and without error that truth which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the sake of our salvation” (3:11)…Thus, it is proper to take the clause as specifying: Scriptural teaching is truth without error to the extent that it conforms to the salvific purpose of God. Decisions about that purpose involves an a posteriori approach in the church, paying attention to literary forms and historical conditions.”[2]

Robert Gnuse, associate professor of Old Testament at Loyola University in New Orleans, in his work The Authority of the Bible, devoted less than half a page to the issue, concluding that the Church has clearly rejected a position of “total inerrancy”:

Several revisions during the Second Vatican Council between 1962 and 1964 transformed [Dei Verbum] from a narrow statement to a more open definition, which could admit the truth of salvation was without error while the written words need not be…The final statement read, “…we must profess of the books of Scripture that they teach with certainty, with fidelity and without error the truth which God wanted recorded in the sacred writings for the sake of our salvation.”
Thus, the Roman Catholic Church has rejected several views in the last two centuries: subsequent approval by the Church or the Spirit, negative assistance by the Spirit, verbal dictation, inspiration of ideas, inspiration of faith and morals, and total inerrancy.[3]

Avery Dulles, now Avery Cardinal Dulles, writing in 1980, surveyed the landscape as follows:

The Council makes the rather ambiguous statement that “the books of Scripture” teach “firmly, faithfully, and without error that truth which God wanted to put into the sacred writings for the sake of our salvation” (DV 11). While some commentators interpret this sentence as excluding all error from the Bible, it may be read as asserting that, while there may be erroneous statements here or there, they are corrected elsewhere or do not affect the meaning of the whole. Further, the Council’s statement might seem to allow for errors in matters without importance for our salvation…In Roman Catholicism, many prominent theologians still assert inerrancy, but only in a very qualified manner. Norbert Lohfink, for example, has maintained that the unity of the Bible demands that each individual statement be interpreted in terms of the whole, so that it no longer bears the meaning which it would have if read in isolation. Thus an erroneous statement in one or another of the books of Scripture does not compromise the inerrancy of the Bible. Other Catholic theologians, as we have seen, insist only on the “salvific truth” of Scripture, and are willing to admit scientific and historical errors. Oswald Loretz,[4] on the other hand, holds that the Bible is true in the Hebrew sense of being reliable and faithful, but not in the Greek scientific sense, which would demand conformity between statements and the facts they refer to.[5]

The “salvific truth” of Scripture, often spoken of as matters of faith and morals, seems to place the same truth restrictions on Scripture that have been recognized in papal infallibility.[6] Fr. Raymond Brown, however, sees an even more extensive limit to inerrancy:

In the last hundred years we have moved from an understanding wherein inspiration guaranteed that the Bible was totally inerrant to an understanding wherein inerrancy is limited to the Bible’s teaching of “that truth which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the sake of our salvation.” In this long journey of thought the concept of inerrancy was not rejected but was seriously modified to fit the evidence of biblical criticism which showed that the Bible was not inerrant in questions of science, of history, and even of time-conditioned religious beliefs.[7]

Brown’s statement serves as an example of the slippery slope we begin down when limiting the inerrancy, and I would say, as a result, the authority of Scripture. As Augustine of Hippo wrote so many centuries ago, “…if we once admit in that supreme monument of authority, [the Scriptures], even one polite lie, no shred of those books will remain. Whenever anyone finds anything therein that is difficult to practice or hard to believe, he will refer to this most pernicious precedent and explain it as the idea or practice of a lying author.”[8]  We can see the fruit of setting such a limit to Scripture’s teaching being borne out today in debates among the faithful of the Catholic and a host of other Christian communities: Is Jesus truly the only way to the Father (John 14:6; Acts 4:12), or is that simply time-conditioned religious language, the profession of a small sect trying to establish its identity against its parent Judaism and pagan mystery rites? Shouldn’t we Christians living in a pluralistic society recognize other faiths as equally valid, and equally valuable, paths to God? Many Christians today question whether homosexual acts are truly a violation of God’s design for humanity (Romans 1:24-27); or again, is that simply the time-conditioned belief of an earlier, less tolerant age? Before I go too far a field let me stop and ask: Did Vatican II really open this Pandora’s box?

Much more accomplished theologians than myself maintain that it did not, that what we are dealing with is a false interpretation of Dei Verbum. We will proceed to look at a number of reasons for reaching such a conclusion. The first of which, as we have already seen, is context.

After all, isn’t one of the cardinal rules of exegesis to look at a statement within its immediate context? Cutting off the first half of a sentence is an odd way to do that. Notice how different the sense is when it is included, “Since, therefore, all that the inspired authors, or sacred writers, affirm should be affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Sacred Scripture, firmly, faithfully and without error, teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the sacred Scriptures.”[9]

Obviously I am working from an English translation of the text. Did the original Latin text convey a different meaning? Augustin Cardinal Bea, co-chair of the commission responsible for Dei Verbum did not see one. He wrote:
…the phrasing we now have does not admit of any such interpretation [limiting inerrancy], because the idea of salvation is not directly linked with the noun “truth” but with the verbal expression “wanted put into the sacred writings;” in other words, the phrase in which the text speaks of salvation explains God’s purpose in causing the Scriptures to be written, and not the nature of the truth enshrined therein.[10] 
It is wise to take Cardinal Bea as our teacher here.[11] He was in a singular position to speak on the text of Dei Verbum. Not only was he co-chair, but he had also served as Director of the Pontifical Biblical Institute for nineteen years prior to the Council. As such, his reputation concerning Scripture was not that of a hardened conservative. He was widely regarded as the principal architect behind the “magna carta” of Catholic biblical studies, Pope Pius XII’s Divino Afflante Spiritu.[12]
 

Bea saw no limit being set to inerrancy in Dei Verbum’s statement. Recognizing the difficulty that had arisen among some interpreters, he explained the development of the statement in earlier versions:
An earler schema (the third in succession) said that the sacred books teach “truth without error”. The following schema, the fourth, inspired by the words of St. Augustine, added the adjective “saving,” so that the text asserted that the Scriptures taught “firmly, faithfully, wholly and without error the saving truth.” In the voting which followed one hundred and eighty-four council fathers asked for the word “saving” to be removed, because they feared it might lead to misunderstandings, as if the inerrancy of Scripture referred only to matters of faith and morality, whereas there might be error in the treatment of other matters. The Holy Father [Paul VI], to a certain extent sharing this anxiety, decided to ask the Commission to consider whether it would not be better to omit the adjective, as it might lead to some misunderstanding. After a long and wearisome debate, with much discussion and several ballots, the present text was accepted, the adjective “saving” being omitted: “the truth which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the sake of our salvation.”

Bea goes on to explain that limiting inerrancy had not been part of the theological commission’s agenda:
…even at the stage of the discussion, when the Conciliar Theological Commission put forward the term “the saving truth,” it explained that by this expression it did not mean to restrict inerrancy to matters of faith and morals. In order to show that this had not been its intention, it explained that the text spoke of “truth” in the singular, not of “truths,” as if it had wished to discriminate between those which are necessary for salvation and others which are not. Moreover, in spite of this prudent explanation the word “saving” was finally eliminated from the text and replaced with another expression, in order to prevent any possibility of implying that the inerrancy was restricted.

…all those (and in the first place the Pope himself) who had been anxious to prevent the possible misunderstanding that might have arisen from the expression “the saving truth” have instead accepted the present form, which means they consider that this does not present the same danger of misunderstanding.[13]

The Pope and the council fathers were obviously mistaken. Providentially, however, the Conciliar Theological Commisson attached a footnote to the statement on inerrancy, referencing portions of two recent papal encyclicals on Scripture, Leo XIII’s Providentissimus Deus(1893) and Pius XII’s Divino Afflante Spiritu (1943).[14] This footnote, which none of the “limited inerrancy “theologians and exegetes I have read make mention of, should end all debate on the matter. Dei Verbum is to be understood as consistent with previous magisterial teaching:
Providentissimus Deus (Enchirdion Biblicum, 121)
There can never, indeed, be any real discrepancy between the theologian and the physicist…If dissension should arise between them, here is the rule…laid down by St. Augustine, for the theologian, “Whatever they can really demonstrate to be true of physical nature, we must show to be capable of reconciliation with our Scriptures, and whatever they assert in their treatises that is contrary to these Scriptures of ours, that is to the Catholic Faith, we must either prove it as well as we can to be entirely false, or at all events we must, without the smallest hesitation, believe it to be so…the [sacred writers] did not seek to penetrate the secrets of nature but rather described and dealt with things in more or less figurative language, or in terms that were commonly used at the time and that in many instances are in daily use at this day, even by the most eminent men of science…God, speaking to men, signified in the way men could understand and were accustomed to.[15]
           
Providentissimus Deus (Enchiridion Biblicum, 124)
…But it is absolutely wrong and forbidden either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture or to admit that the sacred writer has erred. For the system of those who, in order to rid themselves of these difficulties, do not hesitate to concede that divine inspiration regards the things of faith and morals and nothing beyond, because (as they wrongly think) in a question of the truth or falsehood of a passage, we should consider not so much what God has said as the reason and purpose that he had in mind in saying it – this system cannot be tolerated.[16]

Providentissimus Deus (Enchiridion Biblicum, 126-127)
Hence, because the Holy Spirit employed men as his instruments, we cannot therefore say that it was these inspired instruments who, perchance, have fallen into error, and not the primary author…It follows that 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…[17]

Divino Afflante Spiritus (Enchiridion Biblicum, 539)
The first and greatest care of Leo XIII was to set forth the teaching on the truth of the sacred Books and to defend it from attack. Hence with grave words did he proclaim that there is no error whatsoever if the sacred writer, speaking of things of the physical order, “went by what sensibly appeared,” as [St. Thomas Aquinas] says, speaking either in “figurative language or terms that were commonly used at the time and in many instances are in daily use at this day, even among the most eminent men of science.”
…divine inspiration “not only is essentially incompatible with error but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and as necessarily as it is impossible that God himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true. This is the ancient and constant faith of the Church.”[18]

Yes, the “official,” and ancient, faith of the Catholic Church is that Scripture is, in the words of Dei Verbum, “without error.”

But do not make the mistake of concluding that we Catholics are to read the Bible as fundamentalists either.  With great wisdom, Dei Verbum, turns immediately from these truths to matters of interpretation. Knowing by faith that Scripture is free from error doesn’t erase difficulties in the text, apparent contradictions, etc. Faith does not magically bridge the miles and centuries between us and the biblical writers. These texts, “inspired by God and committed to writing once and for all time,”[19] forever tie us to our ancestors in the ancient Middle East. We need to:

…carefully search out the meaning which the sacred author really had in mind, that meaning which God had thought well to manifest through the medium of their words…attention must be paid to literary forms for the fact is that truth is differently presented and expressed in the various types of historical writing, in prophetical and poetical texts,” and in other forms of literary expression. Hence the exegete must look for that meaning which the sacred writer, in a determined situation and given the circumstances of his time and culture, intended to express and did in fact express, through the medium of a contemporary literary form...due attention must be paid both to the customary and characteristic patterns of perception, speech and narrative which prevailed at the age of the sacred writer, and to conventions which the people of his time followed in their dealings with one another (DV, 12).[20]

We need to make an important distinction: we do not want to be literalist, but we do want to arrive at what has traditionally been called Scripture’s literal sense. Dei Verbum speaks to us of the literal sense; it is “the meaning which the sacred authors really had in mind, that meaning which God thought well to manifest” through the literary forms and devices (and yes, even figurative language) we find in Scripture. To arrive at this meaning the Church, while recognizing its limits, endorses the use of the historical-critical method.[21] The historical-critical method uses scientific criteria to establish the original form of the text, sources used in its composition, its literary genre, and modifications the text likely underwent before reaching its final, fixed form.



Scripture contains a variety of literary forms (genres) and devices; and these have to be taken into account if we are to understand what the sacred writers, what God, wanted to express and teach us. Examples of these forms are: historical narrative (Ex.14:21- 22,29); historical myth, or the communication of historical truth via the use of symbols (Genesis 1-11); poetry and hymns (Psalm 137:7-9); prophecy (Malachi, Amos); apocalyptic (Isaiah 13:10; Matt.24:29; Book of Revelation); pastoral instruction (Titus, 1&2 Timothy); and edifying fiction (Tobit, Judith). An example of a literary device would be anthropomorphisms, ascribing human characteristics to the Lord (Dt.11:12; Ex.13:3).



Recognizing this great variety of expression rules out fundamentalism, taking each word literally, at face-value. That is not the way we moderns express ourselves either; our daily speech is peppered with idioms and our television filled with everything from news reports and documentaries to soap operas. Knowing the form of expression is absolutely essential to knowing what its producers want us to take from it.



Does Scripture contain errors? – NO, NOT WHEN INTERPRETED CORRECTLY.



[1]Flannery, Austin, Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, (Northport, New York: Costello Publishing Company, 1992), p.757. Italics added


[2] Brown, Raymond E. and Collins, Thomas Aquinas, “Church Pronouncements” in The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, Ed. R.E. Brown, J.A. Fitzmeyer, and R. E. Murphy, p.1169 (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990).


[3] Gnuse, Robert. The Authority of the Bible: Theories of Inspiration, Revelation and the Canon of Scripture. (New York: Paulist, 1985), p.12.


[4] Loretz’s position is ably corrected by the work of our Protestant brother, Robert Nicole. After providing a thorough treatment of the OT’s use of “emet” and the Septuagint and the NT’s use of “aletheia,” he concludes by saying, “The biblical view of truth (‘emet-aletheia) is that it is like a rope with several intertwined strands. It will not do to isolate the strands and deal with them separately, although they may be distinguished just as various lines in a telephone cable may be distinguished by color. The full Bible concept of truth involves factuality, faithfulness, and completeness. Those who have stressed one of these features in order to downgrade either or both of the others are falling short of the biblical pattern. Notably those who have stressed faithfulness, as if conformity to fact did not matter, are failing grievously to give proper attention to what constitutes probably a majority of the passages in which the word truth is used.”
Nicole, Roger, “The Biblical Concept of Truth” in Ed. Carson, D.A. and Woodbridge, John D., Scripture and Truth (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1992), p.296.

[5] Dulles, Avery, “Scripture: Recent Protestant and Catholic Views” in Theology Today 37:1 (1980): 7-26, p.20.


[6] Scott Hahn, professor of Scripture and Theologyat the Franciscan University of Steubenville, points out the differences between infallibility and inspiration. First, infallibility is a “negative gift.” The Holy Spirit prevents the pope, when acting as the Successor of Peter, from teaching error in matters of faith and morals. The words the pope speaks are his own, arrived at, hopefully, through intense study and reflection. His words may not be as clear as we would like, but they are free of error; at a later point he or another pontiff may add greater precision to the pronouncement. Inspiration, on the other hand, is a positive gift. They are the words of not only the human author but of the Holy Spirit Himself. They are free from error because they have come forth from God, the basis of all reality, Who can neither deceive or be deceived.
Hahn, Scott, Can You Trust the Bible? The Inerrancy of Scripture in Catholic Teaching, Audio cassette (West Covina, California: St. Joseph Communications, 1990).

[7] Brown, Raymond E. The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus (New York: Paulist Press, 1973), pp.8-9, italics added.  Quoted in Harrison, Brian W, “The Truth and Salvific Purpose of Sacred Scripture According To Dei Verbum, Article 11,” Living Tradition (59) July, 1995, p.6.


[8] Jurgens, William A. The Faith of the Early Fathers, Volume 3.(Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1970), p.2.


[9] Flannery, Austin, Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, (Northport, New York: Costello Publishing Company, 1992), p.757. Italics added. 


[10] Bea, Augustin Cardinal, The Word of God and Mankind (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1967), pp.190-191.


[11] Hahn, Scott, Can You Trust the Bible? The Inerrancy of Scripture in Catholic Teaching, Audio cassette (West Covina, California: St. Joseph Communications, 1990).


[12] Schmidt, Stjepan, Augustin Bea: The Cardinal of Unity. (New York: New City Press, 1992) pp.106-109.


[13] Bea, Augustin Cardinal The Word of God and Mankind (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1967), pp.190-191.


[14] Allow Pope John Paul II to place these works in context for us, “Providentissimus Deus [1893] appeared in a period marked by vicious polemics against the Church’s faith. Liberal exegesis gave important support to these polemics, for it made us of all the scientific resources, from textual criticism to geology, including philology, literary criticism, history of relgions, archaeology and other disciplines besides…[Providentissimus Deus] invites Catholic exegetes to acquire genuine scientific expertise so that they may surpass their adversaries in their own field…On the other hand, Divino Afflante Spiritu [1943] was published shortly after an entirely different polemic arose, particularly in Italy, against the scientific study of the Bible. An anonymous pamphlet was widely circulated to warn against what it described as ‘a very serious danger for the Church and souls: the critic-scientific system in the study and interpretation of Sacred Scripture, its disastrous deviations and aberrations’…despite the great differences in the difficulties they had to face, the two Encyclicals are in complete agreement at the deepest level. Both of them reject a split between the human and the divine, between scientific research and respect for the faith, between the literal sense and the spiritual sense. They, thus appear to be in perfect harmony with the mystery of the incarnation.” Taken from “The relevance of Providentissimus Deus and Divino Afflante Spiritu,” in The Church and the Bible, Ed. Murphy, Dennis J. (Theological Publications in India, 2001), pp.676-678.


[15]Bechard, Dean P (Ed.), The Scripture Documents: An Anthology of Official Catholic Teachings (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 2002). pp.53-54.


[16] Ibid, p.55.


[17] Ibid, P.56.


[18] Ibid, pp.116-117.


[19] Flannery, Austin, Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, (Northport, New York: Costello Publishing Company, 1992), p.762.


[20] Ibid, pp.757-758.



[21] It does this implicitly in Dei Verbum and Pope Pius XII’s Divino Afflante Spiritu, and then explicitly in the Pontifical Biblical Commission’s 1994, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church.