Friday, October 10, 2008

The Current Synod of Bishops is Underway

My hope is that this would have a bit more pub than its getting. Let's face it. Most of us probably had to look up what a "synod" was in the first place.

The topic is "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church." More specifically, we're dealing with the Bible here. You can find the working document here. I haven't read the whole thing, but I did notice that the footnotes lacked any references to Leo XIII, Pius XII, or Benedict XV. Weird, since they've written the main encyclicals on Scripture over the last century or so.

I also noticed an extremely problematic point.

In summary, the following can be said with certainty . . . with regards to what might be inspired in the many parts of Sacred Scripture, inerrancy applies only to "that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation" (Dei Verbum 11). . .

This is a classic error regarding Dei Verbum. Here's what it says:

Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation.

The footnote to this section cites to the Second Council of Orange and Vatican I. If you read about the history of this section of Dei Verbum, you'll find that it reads the way it does because Paul VI directly intervened because he wanted to defend the inerrancy of all of Scripture. You can find this tale at my previous post here. The interpretation given by the Synod document, as its written, is clearly contrary to Vatican I.

Let's see what the above popes have said.

This supernatural revelation, according to the belief of the universal Church, is contained both in unwritten Tradition, and in written Books, which are therefore called sacred and canonical because, "being written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their author and as such have been delivered to the Church." This belief has been perpetually held and professed by the Church in regard to the Books of both Testaments; and there are well-known documents of the gravest kind, coming down to us from the earliest times, which proclaim that God, Who spoke first by the Prophets, then by His own mouth, and lastly by the Apostles, composed also the Canonical Scriptures, and that these are His own oracles and words -- a Letter, written by our heavenly Father, and transmitted by the sacred writers to the human race in its pilgrimage so far from its heavenly country.

Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus

Moreover, our predecessor, sweeping aside all such distinctions between what these critics are pleased to call primary and secondary elements, says in no ambiguous fashion that "those who fancy that when it is a question of the truth of certain expressions we have not got to consider so much what God said as why He said it," are very far indeed from the truth. He also teaches that Divine inspiration extends to every part of the Bible without the slightest exception, and that no error can occur in the inspired text: "It would be wholly impious to limit inspiration to certain portions only of Scripture or to concede that the sacred authors themselves could have erred."

Benedict XV, Spiritus Paraclitus

And finally, the coup de grace from Pius XII.

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.

Pius XII, Humani Generis

Of course, this doesn't even get into Pius X, Pius IX, Trent, the unanimous consent of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and the non-ecumenical councils, such as Orange, all of which affirm that Scripture is inerrant in its entirety, rather than only in part. Needless to say, this is all very disconcerting. Oh, and if you are looking to cite "development of doctrine" in all this, keep in mind that a doctrine cannot "develop" into its opposite, nor can a dogma take on a meaning other than the one already defined by the Church. This is explicitly taught in Vatican I.

Hence, too,that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by holy mother church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.

For those who want more resources on why the Synod document is flawed, I have yet another post on this same error here.

If you are wanting to keep up with the Synod and the various interventions being offered, Zenit is doing a good job of keeping up with them. Hopefully, somebody will get up and drop some mad Leo XIII science on his episcopal brethren so that this can be cleared up.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, I really enjoy the blog and it is on my list of regular reading. However, I have been confused on this and other posts regarding the inerrancy of scripture. Perhaps another explanatory post for those of us unfamiliar with the documents you reference would be helpful. For example, how does the Church deal with the parts of the gospels that contradict each other? Or some of the contradictions between Acts and Paul's letters detailing historical facts/events of his life? Or even old testiment books like the creation stories in Genesis - certainly the Church doesn't teach that we have to believe that God literally created the world in 7 days, correct? I apprecaite your commentary and clarification regarding some of these type of issues would be great! Thanks.