Tag Archives: Pontifical Biblical Commission

How Catholics use Scripture: Pope Francis talks on inspiration and truth in the Bible

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Yesterday, the Holy Father met with the members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission (PBC) led by German Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The theme the PBC’s annual plenary assembly was “Inspiration and Truth in the Bible.” On the personal and parish level, this theme is revisited year-in and year-out. Catholics (and the Orthodox) have a particular way of praying, reading, studying and living the sacred Scripture that is very different from the Protestant ecclesial communities: from WITHIN the context of the living community of faith, i.e., the Liturgy.

Pope Francis paid close attention to this year’s work of the PBC by saying it “affects not only the individual believer but the whole Church, for the Church’s life and mission are founded on the Word of God, which is the soul of theology as well as the inspiration of all of Christian existence.”

He noted that in Dei Verbum the emphasis of what the nature of Scripture is, how the Church interprets Scripture, what is conserved by the Church, and by whose authority is at work. I  think one of the “money quotes” is when Francis reminded us that “The interpretation of Sacred Scriptures cannot be just an individual academic effort, but must always be compared to, inserted within, and authenticated by the living tradition of the Church.” 

The point we Catholics have to come to understand and to work on is that we are a biblically based religion, like none other, established by Jesus Christ, and preaching Him since 33 AD. We can’t get away from the Scriptures and that’s why bible study AND lectio divina are crucial every day. The Scriptures are testimony of how God works and humanity responds to God’s invitation.

Here is the Pope’s text:

I am pleased to welcome you at the end of your annual Plenary Assembly. I thank the President, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, for his greeting and summary of the topic that has been the subject of careful consideration in the course of your work. You have gathered again to study a very important topic: the inspiration and truth of the Bible. It is a matter that affects not only the individual believer, but the whole Church, for the life and mission of the Church is founded on the Word of God, which is the soul of theology and the inspiration of all Christian life .

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Pope tells Biblical Commission –and Church– not to reduce Bible to mere human genius

The Pontifical Biblical Commission is a group of theologians and scriptural scholars who help the Pope and the teaching mission of the Church exploring particular questions and concerns about the nature and reality of divine revelation and Christian life. The PBC is meeting this week in Rome led by Cardinal William J. Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; the theme is “Inspiration and Truth of the Bible.” Interesting. Did we forget that the sacred Scriptures were inspired by the Holy Spirit? One way of figuring out why something is important to the Pope or to sacred Magisterium is to be aware of the work done by these commissions. So, yes, there seems to be skepticism among the faithful that the Scriptures are revealed by God through the agency of human language. Recall, however, this is not the first time in salvation history that the Church has had to deal with this question: think of the various heresies from the early Church, the Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment periods and even with the extreme use of the historical critical method of Scripture study. His Holiness reminds not only the professionally trained scholars but all of us that there can be in no way a reduction in how we interpret the Bible.

Here are the key points of what Benedict said to the PBC:

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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