Vatican commission document on inspiration of Scripture nearing completion
April 04, 2013
A long-expected Vatican document on the inspiration and truth of Sacred Scripture is nearing completion. When the Pontifical Biblical Commission holds its annual five-day meeting at the Domus Sanctae Marthae from April 8 to 12, it will conclude its work on the document, according to a Vatican press release.
“For some years, the Commission has decided to concentrate its effort on verifying how the themes of inspiration and truth are manifested in the various books of Sacred Scripture,” the Pontifical Biblical Commission explained in a statement. “The aim of the reflection is to offer a positive contribution so that, in a deepened understanding of the concepts of inspiration and truth, the Word of God may be welcomed by all faithful in a way that is ever more suited to this unique gift in which God communicates himself and invites humanity to communion with him.”
Founded in 1902, the Commission since 1971 has been an advisory body at the service of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, currently Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, is the ex officio president of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. The commission’s secretary general, who directs the Commission’s meetings, is Father Klemens Stock, S.J.
In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI presided over a Synod of Bishops devoted to the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church. At the conclusion of the synod, the synod fathers proposed that “the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith clarify the concepts of inspiration and truth of the Bible, as well as their reciprocal relationship, in order to understand better the teaching of Dei Verbum 11” – a reference to the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation. “In particular, it is necessary to highlight the originality of the Catholic biblical hermeneutics in this field,” the synod fathers continued.
In April 2009, the Pontifical Biblical Commission devoted its annual meeting to “a new study entitled ‘Inspiration and Truth of the Bible,’ the draft version of which has already been examined by the commission members.” Members of the commission continued to discuss the document at their 2010, 2011, and 2012 meetings.
Pope Benedict XVI addressed the topic of the inspiration and truth of Scripture in addresses or messages to the commission in 2009, 2011, and 2012.
In his 2010 post-synodal apostolic exhortation Verbum Domini, Pope Benedict wrote that “theological reflection has always considered inspiration and truth as two key concepts for an ecclesial hermeneutic of the sacred Scriptures. Nonetheless, one must acknowledge the need today for a fuller and more adequate study of these realities, in order better to respond to the need to interpret the sacred texts in accordance with their nature.”
“Here I would express my fervent hope that research in this field will progress and bear fruit both for biblical science and for the spiritual life of the faithful,” he added.
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