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The Inerrancy of Scripture and the Second Vatican Council

by Mark Joseph Zia

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  • Description:
    In this essay Mark Joseph Zia discusses the Church's traditional teaching on biblical inerrancy as stated in Dei Verbum, showing there are no grounds for rejecting this doctrine or appealing to Vatican II for justification of such rejection.
  • Larger Work:
    Faith & Reason
  • Pages: 175 – 192
  • Publisher & Date:
    Christendom Educational Corporation, Front Royal, VA, Summer 2006

Introduction

It is December of 1965. The world eagerly waits to learn what the Second Vatican Council will authoritatively teach in Dei verbum, the Dogmatic Constitution concerning the Church's understanding of Divine Revelation. More than any other document, Dei verbum would tell the world where the Church stood on the nature, attributes and interpretation of the Bible. Far and wide the most intense discussion among the Council Fathers pertaining to the Bible centered upon the proper understanding of the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. Such a debate came at a time of increasing divisions in the Anglo-American world among the various Protestant churches which, to a great extent, centered upon the question of the Bible's infallibility and authority for the Christian life.

More than forty years have passed since the promulgation of Dei verbum. For the most part, the Second Vatican Council's teaching on the inerrancy of Scripture is as ambiguous and obscure now as it was in the 1960s. In this essay, I hope to demonstrate how the teaching regarding the doctrine of biblical inerrancy as set forth in Dei verbum is in complete continuity with the traditional understanding of this doctrine. Over and against certain still popular views that argue the Council signaled a turn away from of the Church's received understanding of biblical inerrancy, a historical reconstruction of the debate reveals how the Holy Spirit used Vatican II to invest the doctrine of the plenary inerrancy of scripture with the authority of an Ecumenical Council.

The Traditional Understanding of the Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy Prior to the Second Vatican Council

The traditional understanding of the doctrine of biblical inerrancy is perhaps most powerfully and clearly expressed by St. Augustine in one of his letters to St. Jerome:

For I confess to your Charity that I have learned to yield this respect and honour only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error. And if in these writings I am perplexed by anything which appears to me opposed to truth, I do not hesitate to suppose that either the MS. is faulty or the translator has not caught the meaning of what was said, or I myself have failed to understand it . . . I believe, my brother, that this is your own opinion as well as mine.1

The brilliant Augustine did not shirk from exhibiting humility when confronted with potential problems in his reading of Scripture; rather than ascribe deficiencies to the Scriptures, he acknowledged his human limitations when confronted with supernatural revelation.

In his great encyclical on biblical studies, Providentissimus Deus (1893), Pope Leo XIII cites these words of Augustine and adds that Augustine's insight was by no means singular, but it represented the consensus of the tradition: ". . . emphatically were all the Fathers and Doctors agreed that the divine writings, as left by the hagiographers, are free from all error . . ."2 Leo XIII re-asserted this teaching with fervor. Leo also stated in no uncertain terms the traditional teaching that the inerrancy of the Bible may not be restricted to matters of faith and morals, but rather is plenary in scope:

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 which He had in mind in saying it — this system cannot be tolerated.3

In addition, Leo draws attention to the weight of this teaching:

And so far is it from being possible that any error can coexist 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.4

A generation following this encyclical of Leo XIII, Pope Benedict XV also wrote an encyclical on biblical studies entitled Spiritus Paraclitus, to commemorate the fifteen-hundredth anniversary of the death of St. Jerome, whom the Church hails as the "Great Doctor" of Scripture.5 Lest one assume that Spiritus Paraciitus signaled a departure from earlier teaching, the continuity of Benedict XV's teaching in this encyclical with that of Pope Leo XIII is evident through the many instances whereby Benedict cites Leo, as well as in his closing exhortation to the bishops of the Church: "Urge upon all not merely to embrace under Jerome' guidance Catholic doctrine touching the inspiration of Scripture, but to hold fast to the principles laid down in the Encyclical Providentissimus Deus, and in this present Encyclical."6

Especially significant is the fact that Benedict XV's teaching on the plenary inerrancy of the Bible largely consists of direct, extended citations of what Leo XIII already taught in Providentissimus Deus.7 Upon further reflection on Leo's teaching, Benedict laments,

But although these words of our predecessor leave no room for doubt or dispute [regarding the plenary inerrancy of the Bible], it grieves us to find that not only men outside, but even children of the Catholic Church — nay, what is a peculiar sorrow to us, even clerics and professors of sacred learning — who in their own conceit either openly repudiate or at least attack in secret the Church's teaching on this point.8

Benedict reaffirmed that the scope of inerrancy may not be limited to the domain of faith and morals. For example, he asserted the following regarding matters of history:

Those, too, who hold that the historical portions of Scripture do not rest on the absolute truth of the facts but merely upon what they are pleased to term their relative truth, namely, what people then commonly thought, are — no less than are the aforementioned critics — out of harmony with the Church's teaching, which is endorsed by the testimony of Jerome and other Fathers.9

The final encyclical dedicated to biblical studies that was written prior to the Second Vatican Council was the much acclaimed Divino Afflante Spirtu, written by Pope Pius XII in 1943 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Providentissimus Deus. While it is true that Pius XII did much to encourage a critical study of the Bible within the appropriate boundaries, it is also true that his teaching is in complete continuity with that previously expressed by the Church's magisterium, as Pius XII indicates in the beginning of his encyclical:

Since then it is fitting that We should commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of this Encyclical Letter [Providentissimus Deus], which is considered the supreme guide in biblical studies, We, moved by that solicitude for sacred studies, which We manifested from the very beginning of Our Pontificate, have considered that this may most opportunely be done by ratifying and inculcating all that was wisely laid down by Our Predecessor and ordained by His Successors for the consolidating and perfecting of the work, and by pointing out what seems necessary in the present day, in order to incite ever more earnestly all those sons of the Church who devote themselves to these studies, to so necessary and so praiseworthy an enterprise.10

Specifically pertaining to the divine inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible, Pius XII reminds us of Leo's teaching on the plenary inspiration and plenary inerrancy of the Bible, and concludes, "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."11 Therefore from the earliest times through the period prior to the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church's teaching on the plenary inerrancy of the Bible has been both clear and constant.

The Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy Revisited at the Second Vatican Council

On October 2, 1964, Cardinal Franz König of Vienna spoke before the Council Fathers on behalf of all the German-speaking bishops' conferences, stating that the Bible does, in fact, contain errors of science, history and incorrectly-attributed quotations. He then proceeded to provide several examples of apparent contradictions and misinformation.12 Of König's intervention, Cardinal Alois Grillmeier writes,

His speech mentioned a few examples [of errors]: according to Mk 2:26 David had entered the house of God under the high priest Abiathar and eaten the bread of the Presence. In fact, however, according to 1 Sam 21:1 ff., it was not under Abiathar, but under his father Abimelech. In Matthew 27:9 we read that in the fate of Judas a prophecy of Jeremiah was fulfilled. In fact it is Zech 11:12 f. that is quoted. In Dan 1:1 we read that King Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem in the third year of King Jehoiakim, i.e. 607 B.C., but from the authentic chronicle of King Nebuchadnessar that has been discovered we know that the siege can only have taken place three years later."13

König felt that the traditional teaching regarding biblical inerrancy could not be maintained in the sight of these errors. In order to do justice both to the limitations of the Bible as he saw it and also to traditional teaching, he opted to modify the schema from, "Cum ergo omne id, quod auctor inspiratus seu hagiographus asserit retineri debeat assertum a Spiritu Sancto . . ." to "Cum ergo veritas — vel veritas Sacrae Scripturae — quam auctor inspiratus sive hagiographus asserere voluit retineri debeat asserta a Spiritu Sancto, inde Scripturae libri integri cum omnibus suis partibus veritatem fideliter integer inconcusse docere profitendi sunt."14 König's intention was not to limit the scope of inspiration, but to limit the scope of inerrancy from "everything" asserted by the inspired author to "the truth" or "the truth of Sacred Scripture," which he designated as teachings regarding faith and morals.

Several days after Cardinal König's intervention, Cardinal Meyer of Chicago, who was "known as a Scripture scholar whose deep thought and calm objectivity had greatly impressed the Council," expressed his displeasure at the relationship between inspiration and inerrancy as present in the schema. For Meyer, the schema "seemed to consider inspiration confined to 'the establishment of logical truths and to forming a series of propositions, leading to the conclusion that its whole value consists in the quality of inerrancy.'"15 His insights into the importance of inspiration apart from considerations of inerrancy were significant, as were the conclusions that he drew from his observations as recounted by his colleague Bishop Robert Tracy of Baton Rouge, Louisiana:

Any word, he said, including the Divine Word, performs three functions: (1) It represents something — a fact, object or thought; (2) It reveals the person speaking: his intimate feelings, desires, etc.; (3) It addresses another person from whom a reaction and a response are expected. Now, if we construct a definition of the Word of God, embracing these three ideas which have always permeated the life of the Church, the definition will have the following effects: (1) It will show that revealed truth in Scripture consists not in separate propositions, but in the central revelation of the heart of God; (2) Inspiration will be seen not negatively simply as "inerrancy," but as positively useful; (3) Inspiration and inerrancy will be more easily reconciled since we will be prepared to show how inspiration can be in harmony with human weakness and limitations, as Cardinal Köenig pointed out.16

Thus Meyer expressed his opinion that the negative term "inerrant" should not be employed in connection with inspiration in a way that overshadowed it, and that positive terminology should be sought through which some light might be shed on the relationship between the divine origin of revelation and the accommodated instrumentality of human frailty. Significantly, Meyer made reference to the human weakness and limitations of the sacred authors, but he never explicitly made the assertion that due to such weakness and limitation, error is present in the Scriptures. In other words, Cardinal Meyer's position arguably introduces the possibility that the examples of error as cited by König may be more examples of human limitations rather than human error, since logically limitations are not themselves errors, nor do they necessarily lead to error.

Additionally, Grillmeier notes, "In order to bring out still more clearly the salvation significance of inspired Scripture . . . the reference to 2 Tim 3:16-17 was added at the suggestion of a Council father."17 The father here unnamed by Grillmeier is Cardinal Meyer, who proposed that the following be added to the schema: "Non exprimemus consectarium inspirationis termino negativo inerrantiae, sed positive verbis apostoli Pauli: 'Omnis scriptura divinitus inspirata utilis est ad docendum, ad arguendum, ad corripiendum, ad erudiendum in iustitia: ut perfectus sit homo Dei, ad omne opus bonum instructus.'"18

Bishop John Whealon of Cleveland also became involved with the inerrancy debate. He affirmed on the one hand the complexity of problems involved, but opined that such problems could be further clarified and understood with the passage of time. To this end, Bishop Whealon concluded that there was no need to change the traditional doctrine of biblical inerrancy.19

Based on the suggestions set forth by König and others, the next draft retained the "Cum ergo omne id . . ." lest one mistakenly think that the scope of inspiration was being limited. But it appended the adjective salutarem to veritatem, apparently giving approval to König's stance of limiting inerrancy to matters of faith and morals, namely, to saving truths (veritatem salutarem). Regarding this proposal, Rynne observed,

Of the 324 Iuxta modum votes on Chapter III, about 200 dealt with the expression veritatem salutarem. 184 of these wanted to eliminate the word salutarem; 76 wanted to substitute other wording because the present language seemed to restrict the inerrancy of Scripture to matters of faith and morals. Others approved the expression, but wanted it more fully explained in a note, with references to St. Augustine (De Gen. ad litt. 2, 9) and papal documents.20

It became evident that the Council fathers did not agree with the manner in which König proposed to strike a balance between the limitations of the Bible and its inerrant portions. They clearly wanted to maintain the full inerrancy of the Bible, but in a non-Fundamentalist way that would take into consideration the literal sense of the passage as communicating the intention of the inspired author.21 As Grillmeier has stated:

The first difficulty [in employing the phrase "saving truth"] was not long in coming: if it was only and exclusively the veritas salutaris that was intended as the material object of inerrancy, then the veritates profanae are simply placed outside this truth. Would this not mean that the Council was coming close to an interpretation of the extent of inspiration that had been rejected in the nineteenth century, namely as being limited to doctrines of faith and morals? It was in this way that a solution had been attempted to the problem of inerrancy, which at that time had been so pressing. The vote of 22 September 1965 showed, in the modi submitted, that the fathers feared this false interpretation of the veritas salutaris. Hence a large number of fathers suggested . . . cutting out "salutaris" and speaking now of "truth."22

As could be expected, the Theological Commission that reviewed these modi concluded, "the truth of salvation' (veritas salutaris) restricts inerrancy to statements on faith and morals (res fidei et morum) and is thus contrary to the documents of the teaching office."23 Grillmeier recounts that once the conciliar commissions and sub-commission that were charged with the schema received this statement by the Theological Commission, they decided to decline its suggestion. Pressures mounting, Pope Paul VI was asked to intervene, which he did, and while not imposing his will, strongly suggested that the expression veritas salutaris be reconsidered because,

it is a question of doctrine not yet commonly taught in biblical theology, and because it does not seem that the formula has been sufficiently discussed in the aula, and finally in the judgment of competent persons, because this formula is not without the risk of misinterpretation. It seems premature for the Council to pronounce on a problem that is so delicate. The Fathers are perhaps not in a position to judge of its importance or whether it could be misinterpreted.24

Significantly, not only did the Council ultimately heed Pope Paul VI's request, but they also voted to cite both Providentissimus Deus and Divino afflante Spiritu in footnote 5 of this text, and as we have seen, both of these encyclicals clearly and forcefully reiterated the plenary inerrancy of the Scriptures. The definitive text which followed is:

Cum ergo omne id, quod auctores inspirati seu hagiographi asserunt, retineri debeat assertum a Spiritu Sancto, inde Scripturae libri veritatem, quam Deus nostrae salutis causa Litteris sacris consignari voluit, firmiter, fideliter et sine errore docere profitendi sunt.

The Austin Flannery translation, adopted as authoritative in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, reads:

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.25

That the Scriptures were written for our salvation is grounded in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: "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." This teaching, reproof, correction, and training is tropological, pointing towards the completion of the person in holiness through the agency of the Holy Spirit, culminating in God's plan of the salvation of the human person.

In reading this final and approved formulation of the Council's teaching on the relationship between biblical inspiration and inerrancy, it becomes clear that the phrase "for the sake of our salvation" is descriptive of the activity of God, and not a restrictive clause meant to limit the scope of inerrancy of the Bible. In other words, the clause "for the sake of our salvation," which replaces "saving truth" as present in the earlier draft, does not refer back to "truth," but rather refers back to the purpose of God's divine plan. As we have seen, this fact is further borne out by the references to previous magisterial teaching about the plenary inerrancy of the Bible in the footnote to this passage, as well as the mindset of the Council as manifested in the vote of September 22, 1965.

Yet there are not a few theologians who have interpreted this situation differently and maintain that Vatican II changed the Church's position on inerrancy, falsely claiming that only matters of faith and morals can claim inerrancy. Representative of this position is an article in the prestigious New Jerome Biblical Commentary, coauthored by the late Raymond Brown and Thomas Aquinas Collins:

On inerrancy Vatican II made an important qualification as our own 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." Some have tried to interpret the italicized phrase to cover everything the human author expressed; but pre-voting debates show an awareness of errors in the Bible. 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 purposes of God."26

In response, we simply point out that Brown and Collins' misunderstanding of this passage is due to their reliance on prevoting debates, which were overruled by the actual vote in favor of plenary inerrancy.

Elsewhere, Brown writes,

It is falsely claimed that there has been no change towards the Bible in Catholic Church thought because Pius XII and Vatican II paid homage to documents issued by Leo XIII, Pius X and Benedict XV and therefore clearly meant to reinforce the teaching of their predecessors. What really was going on was an attempt gracefully to retain what was salvageable from the past and to move in a new direction with as little friction as possible."27

Addressing Brown's opinion that the teaching of Vatican II was more innovative than continuous with past magisterial teaching, the late American Catholic scholar and priest William Most has argued:

But the most decisive proof of what Vatican II really meant in the sentence under consideration is this: Pope Pius XII in his great Encyclical, Divino Afflante Spiritu (1943), had quoted the words of Vatican I saying that God Himself is the chief author of Scripture, and commented that the words of Vatican I were "a solemn definition." Of course Vatican II would not contradict a solemn definition! That would be heresy. And no matter on what level Vatican II was teaching at this point, it could not possibly teach heresy.28

Not all scholars accept Most's argument, since a number of them see no difficulty with future magisterial decisions concerning doctrine contradicting prior doctrinal definitions. Additionally, as Raymond Brown suggests, could not one argue that although the authoritative individuals cited in footnote 5 of Dei verbum 11 had a clear reputation for teaching the plenary inerrancy of Scripture, the footnote invoked not their particular authority in defending the inerrancy of Scripture, but rather represented a general way of acknowledging their contribution to this question without intending to affirm their teachings? In order to respond to this question, we must turn to the exact texts being referenced, and in doing so, it will become evident whether such texts directly or indirectly bear upon the issue of biblical inerrancy. These texts to which we shall turn include Providentissimus Deus 121, 124, 126-127 and Divino afflante Spiritu 539 (all numbers as found in the Enchiridion Biblicum).

When we take a look at these actual passages as found in the Enchirdion Biblicum, it is by no coincidence that they are the very ones that strongly teach the plenary inerrancy (and inspiration) of the Bible. For example, Providentissimus Deus (EB 126-127) includes this statement: "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."29 Additionally, Divino afflante Spiritu (EB 539) states, "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.'"30 Moreover, footnote 5 not only appeals to the aforementioned papal encyclicals, but also to St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and the Council of Trent, all of who bear witness to the consistent understanding of plenary biblical inerrancy down through the centuries. Clearly and without a doubt the intention of the footnote is to illustrate that the Council's teaching has made previous and consistent Catholic teaching on the inerrancy of Scripture its own. We can even go a step further and argue that the Council could not do otherwise, since there is more than sufficient evidence to conclude that the Church's teaching on the inerrancy of the Bible is an expression of the infallible teaching office of the ordinary magisterium, indicating that this truth is part of the deposit of faith and therefore is not reformable.

It will suffice to end our considerations with the assessment of the German Cardinal Augustin Bea, who took part in these discussions at the Second Vatican Council:

In fact, we declare in general that there is no limit set to this inerrancy, and that it applies to all that the inspired writer, and therefore all that the Holy Spirit by his means, affirms . . . If therefore the Council had wished to introduce here [into DV 11] a new conception different from that presented in these recent documents of the supreme teaching authority, which reflects the beliefs of the early fathers, it would have had to state this clear and explicitly. Let us now ask whether there may be any indications to suggest such a restricted interpretation of inerrancy. The answer is decidedly negative. There is not the slightest sign of any such indication. On the contrary, everything points against a restrictive interpretation.31

Concluding Reflections

Too often one hears the objection that whereas the sphere of faith and morals is clearly related to our salvation, a seemingly tangential domain such as history cannot possibly have a bearing upon our salvation, and therefore historical matters must lie outside of the scope of Biblical inerrancy. Yet it is helpful to reflect upon the following passage as found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

'Theology' refers to the mystery of God's inmost life within the Blessed Trinity and 'economy' to all the works by which God reveals himself and communicates his life. Through the oikonomia the theologia is revealed to us; but conversely, the theologia illuminates the whole oikonomia" (236).

One exhibits a bit of naiveté in thinking that there are clear lines of demarcation in the Bible denoting when the statements of history end and those of doctrine begin. We must recall that the supernatural truths of Christianity which we profess under the aegis of faith are by their nature inaccessible to human reason on its own power, but have been revealed to us by God through Divine Revelation, a revelation that unfolded gradually and truly within history. Therefore we must escape from the danger of completely passing over the oikonomia in order to fixate our attention on the timeless theologia. The Second Vatican Council's articulation of this point is evident in Dei verbum §2: "This plan of revelation is realized by deeds and words having an inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them."

The pivotal events of the Christian faith, such as the Incarnation of Jesus and his Resurrection from the dead, are historical events. Like all the events of biblical history, they would be unknowable to us if we alleged that the sphere of history is not necessary for us to understand and advance along the road of salvation with the help of divine grace. Indeed all the affirmations of truth found in the Bible, whether they be of a moral, creedal, or historical nature, have been written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for the purpose of our salvation and possess a unique claim to inerrancy that is unknown in any other literature, religious or secular, of human history.

A proper understanding of the doctrine of biblical inerrancy is vital, since a defective view of this doctrine diminishes the power of the proclaimed Word of God. St. Paul reminds us, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim 3:16-17). Indeed the doctrine of biblical inerrancy logically flows from the supernatural truth of the Bible's inspiration. It is precisely because of God's authorship of the Sacred Scriptures that error is necessarily precluded, since God is incapable of error, and the divinely-willed purpose of the Scriptures is to lead us on the path to salvation, and not to mislead us to the path of skepticism. Yet the doctrine of the utter truthfulness of the Bible must not be understood in a naive sense; it is paramount that the intentions of the sacred authors are discerned as one interprets the Scriptures. Grounded in the literal (or historic) sense, the three-fold spiritual sense of Scripture further reveals the plan of God and must be taken into account in biblical interpretation.

The Bible is authoritative for us because it is trustworthy. It is trustworthy because it contains truth without error. It contains truth without error because it has been divinely inspired. Once we begin to call into question the inerrancy of the Bible and begin to doubt its trustworthiness, we effectively silence the Spirit and thereby blunt the powerful words of the author of the Hebrews, "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Heb. 4:12).

I have argued that the Second Vatican Council's teaching on the inerrancy of scripture is in complete continuity with the tradition. I have supported this claim through an investigation of the intent of the Council Fathers, moved by the Holy Spirit, in promulgating Dei verbum, as well as how the authoritative footnotes of Dei verbum 11 further manifest this intention of the Council Fathers. I also reflected on the fact that history is the means by which instructions pertaining to faith and morals is knowable to us via divine revelation, and therefore even the domain of history is included in the scope of the bible's inerrancy. Ultimately, I have shown that theologians who reject the plenary inerrancy of the Bible have no grounds in appealing to the Second Vatican Council to support their own errant claims.

Notes

  1. Letter 82, i, 3 in Philip Schaff (ed)., Letters of St. Augustine: The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series, vol 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: WM. B. Eerdmans, 1994) 348.
  2. Cf. Providentissimus, 21.
  3. Ibid., 20.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Cf. Providentissimus, 7.
  6. Spiritus Paraclitus, 69.
  7. Cf. Spiritus Paraclitus, 15-17.
  8. Spiritus Paraclitus, 18.
  9. Ibid., 22.
  10. Divino Afflante Spiritu, 2.
  11. Cf. Divino Afflante Spiritu, 3-4.
  12. The full text of König's original intervention is found in Francisco Gil Hellin, Concilii Vaticani II Synopsis: Constitutio Dogmatica De Divina Revelatione Dei Verbum (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1993).
  13. Alois Grillmeier, "The Divine Inspiration and the Interpretation of Sacred Scripture," in Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, vol. 3, ed. Herbert Vorgrimler (New York: Crossroad Publishing Company, 1989), 205-206. The primary source consulted to assess what transpired in the conciliar debates on Dei verbum pertinent to the issues of inspiration and inerrancy is Alois Grillmeier, "The Divine Inspiration and the Interpretation of Sacred Scripture," in Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, vol. 3, ed. Herbert Vorgrimler (New York: Crossroad Publishing Company, 1989),199-246.
  14. Cf. Hellin, 91, 594. Emphasis added. "Since therefore everything which the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit" compared with, "Since therefore truth — that is to say, the truth of Sacred Scripture — which the inspired authors or sacred writers assert should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit . . ."
  15. Xavier Rynne, Vatican Council II (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1968), 311-312. Ibid., 311.
  16. Robert Tracy, American Bishop at the Vatican Council: Reflections and Projections (New York: McGraw Publishing Company, 1966), 166-167.
  17. Grillmeier, 210.
  18. Hellin, 597. "We do not express the result of inspiration with the negative term inerrancy, but positively with the words of the apostle Paul, 'All scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.'"
  19. "Sed nullomodo video necessitatem mutandi doctrinam traditionalem de inerrantia Sacrae Scripturae." Ibid., 664.
  20. Rynne, 540.
  21. Although both Catholics and Fundamentalists affirm the absolute truthfulness of the Bible, Catholics interpret the truthfulness of the Bible according to the intention of the sacred authors as communicated via the literal sense, whereas Fundamentalists tend to consider the meaning of the phrases found in the Bible apart from any consideration of the intention of the sacred authors. Therefore what appears to be common ground results in drastically different interpretations.
  22. Grillmeier, 210-211.
  23. Ibid., 212.
  24. Rynne, 540-541.
  25. CCC (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997), par. 107.
  26. Raymond Brown and Thomas Aquinas Collins, "Church Pronouncements" in Raymond Brown, ed., NJBC (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1990), 1169.
  27. Raymond Brown, The Critical Meaning of the Bible (New York: Paulist Press, 1981), 18 n. 41.
  28. William Most, Free From All Error: Authorship, Inerrancy, Historicity of Scripture, Church Teaching, and Modern Scripture Scholars (Libertyville: Prow Books / Franciscan Marytown Press, 1990), 38.
  29. "Consequitur, ut qui in locis authenticis Librorum sacrorum quidpiam falsi contineri posse existiment, ii profecto aut catholicam divinae inspirationis notionem pervertant, aut Deum ipsum erroris faciant auctorem," EB 126-127.
  30. "Denique nefas omnino esse 'aut inspirationem ad aliquas tantum Sacrae Scripturae partes coangustare, aut concedere sacrum ipsum errasse scriptorium'," EB 539.
  31. Augustine Bea, The Word of God and Mankind (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1967), 189-190.

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