Pope Benedict: Bible Cannot Be Taken Literally

Please see paragraph #9 for a compilation of papal statements on biblical inerrancy.

The traditional teaching of the Catholic Church on biblical inerrancy is clear.  Witness:  a) Providentissimus Deus of Pope Leo XIII (1893):  “There has arisen, to the great detriment of religion, an inept method, dignified by the name of ‘higher criticism,’ which pretends to judge of the origin, integrity, and authority of each book from internal indications alone.  . . .  it will only give rise to disagreement and dissention, those sure notes of error which the critics in question so plentifully exhibit in their own persons; and seeing that most of them are tainted with false philosophy and rationalism, it must lead to the elimination from the sacred writings of all prophecy and miracles, and of everything else that is outside the natural order” (EB 119, RSS, pp. 20-214).  b) Pascendi Dominici gregis of Pope St. Pius X (1907): “Some Modernists, devoted to historical studies, seem to be greatly afraid of being taken for philosophers.  …  And yet the truth is that their history and their criticism are saturated with their philosophy, and that their historical-critical conclusions are the natural fruit of their philosophical principles5.  c) Spiritus Paraclitus of Pope Benedict XV (1920):  “Consequently, it is not to the point to suggest that the Holy Spirit used men as his instruments for writing, and that, therefore, while no error is referable to the primary Author, it may well be due to the inspired authors themselves” (EB 452).  . . .  “We warmly commend, of course, those who, with the assistance of critical methods, seek to discover new ways of explaining the difficulties in Holy Scripture, whether for their own guidance or to help others, but we remind them that they will only come to miserable grief if they neglect our predecessor’s injunctions and overstep the limits set by the Fathers” (EB 453, RSS, pp. 50-51).  d) Divino afflante Spiritu of Pope Pius XII (1943):  “It is absolutely wrong and forbidden ‘either to narrow inspiration to certain passages of Holy Scripture, or to admit that the sacred writer has erred,’ since divine inspiration ‘not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes it 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 constant faith of the Church.’  This teaching, which Our Predecessor Leo XIII set forth with such solemnity, We also proclaim with Our authority and We urge all to adhere to it religiously” (EB 539, RSS, p. 82).  e) Divino afflante Spiritu of Pope Pius XII (1943): “For, as the substantial Word of God became like men in all things, ‘except sin,’ so the words of God, expressed in human language, are made like to human speech in every respect, except error” (EB 559, RSS, p. 98).  f) Divino afflante Spiritu of Pope Pius XII (1943): “(E)ven today serious problems greatly exercise the minds of Catholic exegetes.  . . . .  [The Catholic commentator] “may attempt to find a satisfactory solution which will be in full accord with the doctrine of the Church, in particular with the traditional teaching regarding the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture, and which will at the same time satisfy the indubitable conclusion of the profane sciences” (EB 563-564, RSS, p. 101).  g) Humani generis of Pope Pius XII (1950): “For some go so far as to pervert the sense of the Vatican Council’s definition that God is the author of Holy Scripture, and they put forward again the opinion, already often condemned, which asserts that immunity from error extends only to those parts of the Bible that treat of God or of moral and religious matters.  They even wrongly speak of a human sense of the Scriptures, beneath which a divine sense, which they say is the only infallible meaning, lies hidden.  In interpreting Scripture, they will take no account of the analogy of faith and the Tradition of the Church.  . . .  ” (EB 612, RSS, p. 113).  The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1993):  “The inspired books teach the truth.  ‘Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of 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’” (CCC 107, quoting Dei Verbum 11).

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Re: Pope Benedict: Bible Cannot Be Taken Literally - by SouthpawLink - 11-20-2010, 08:12 AM

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