The Vatican's doctrine of Biblical inerrancy

Discussion in 'Sacred Scripture' started by anglican74, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    In 2008 Christianity Today published an article which referenced an important development in Roman Catholic theology, that had been little heard of ever since. Here is the Article: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/octoberweb-only/143-11.0.html

    It references a Synod of Vatican bishops, that took place some time during the 2008-2009 period. Here are the relevant excerpts:

    You really have to read between the lines to see what's going on here, as even the CT article is confused beyond belief. The meaning I've tried to extract from it is not at all clear if one were to just read the article straight through.

    Nevertheless, a common thread emerges. Vatican II established an important position of strong inerrancy:

    The first draft at Vatican II said "the entire sacred Scripture is absolutely immune from error." But the final draft concluded 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."​

    And the 2009 Synod watered down the strength of that, by converting the "is" into a "might":

    "According to Allen, some of the more conservative Catholic leaders expressed concern over early drafts of the synod's working document, Instrumentum Laboris...​

    "Allen reported that the working document said, "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.' (emphasis added)"​

    "The English translation from the current synod's working document would signal further weakening of the Roman Catholic Church's doctrine of inerrancy.​


    The blog 'Called to Communion' wrote a post on Vatican's view of Inerrancy in 2010 in their usual blustering fashion:
    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/10/vatican-ii-and-the-inerrancy-of-the-bible/

    but interestingly, no mention was made of this important Synod resolution from just a year earlier. This leads me to believe that they just weren't aware of what the Vatican has done. And based on how little I hear of this even today, it seems that few know of this 2008/2009 Synod even today.

    All this finally brings me to my question:

    What IS the Vatican's doctrine of Inerrancy? Did Vatican II stand as an important bulwark asserting Inerrancy? Did the recent Synod weaken this doctrine, as CT and conservative Roman Catholics claim?
     
  2. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

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    Vatican II certainly opened the way for the thought that the Bible might contain factual errors in matters not pertaining to salvation. This is clearly infered from the text: "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."

    Vatican II was a bulwark of the nouvelle theologie. It did have some positive inputs, though: a partial recovery of the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, a renewed interest in the sacred scriptures, especially among the faithful, the recovery of the vernacular in the mass and other sacraments, etc.
     
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  3. Pax_Christi

    Pax_Christi Member

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    Do those on this forum view Vatican II as on the whole a good or bad development in Catholic theology?
     
  4. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Probably positive, all things considered..
     
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  5. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    As a traditionalist/neoconservative/former Roman Catholic, I have delved into this issue perhaps more widely than most Anglicans have. In my opinion, Vatican II was better, of itself, than most Romanist councils have been in the past 1000 years. In the context of the other Roman "ecumenical" councils, however, Vatican II is contradictory - and it is very progressive, a quality which Romanism never consciously embraced before the 1960s.

    It advanced a greater love for the Scriptures, while allowing for liberal textual-criticism which degrades the Scriptures. It advanced a greater independence of national churches by proposing "Episcopal Conferences", while still retaining the Pope - though only through great interior struggles: Paul VI noticed that one of the Constitutions for Bishops' Conferences had almost no references to the Papacy, so he had to add an addendum clarifying that the infallibility, authority, and supremacy of the Roman See was retained.

    It was a contradictory council within itself. It speaks of the true Body of Christ, yet does not teach that Rome is its only constituent part. It teaches that only via the Church does grace get delivered in sacraments, but it also declares in Unitas redintegratio that other "Christian communities" have grace in "sacramental rites". Vatican II constantly undercuts itself after making strong positive opinions. They don't seem to have known what they were doing. Paul VI had to add another addendum to Lumen Gentium in 1964, clarifying that this was only a "pastoral council", and that it was not infallible unless it specifically said so - which it never did (a good way to cover one's mistakes, given that all ecumenical councils were considered infallible before).

    It was a contradictory council in the context of others. Vatican I says that none are saved outside the Pope's jurisdiction, while Vatican II makes the possibility pretty clear, and even normative. Trent demands that the Mass be entirely in Latin, and that anyone who proposes otherwise should be anathema, while Vatican II desires, and did implement, vernacular-language Masses. Trent also demands that Muslims cannot be saved, but Vatican II openly says that through alms, fasting, and good works, Muslims will be able to "see God" at the end. All the councils before the 1960s taught Marian dogmas, but Vatican II simply ignored her entirely. All these are good developments by themselves (except on Islam), but in their context they are hypocrisy, contradiction, and chaos.

    Rome's "Magisterium" shows itself to be a farce. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, released in 1994 on Vatican II principles, says all sorts of odd things. For example, Trent says that if anyone denies that auricular confession to a priest has existed across the Church since Pentecost, he is anathema. Vatican II's catechism says that private confession was invented by eastern monks in the 400s and came into the West in the 600s. There is no end to the mess of anti-biblical & pro-biblical rubbish-heap.
     
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  6. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

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    Consular stole my words!
     
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  7. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    Old Christendom said
    Possibly the R.C. Church admitted that there may be factual errors in the Bible a lot earlier than Vatican II. I remember reading that when Martin Luther was banging on about the infallibility of scripture compared to human canon law, Cardinal Cajetan ran Matthew 27:9 past him. Unfortunately the book failed to mention what Luther's reply was.

    Edit spelt that as than.
     
  8. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

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    I never heard of that incident before.
     
  9. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    Yes unfortunately I can't remember where I read it , it may well have been from a library book.
     
  10. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    Matthew 27:9 is dealt with here:
    http://christianthinktank.com/judas30where.html
    Very technical explanations but very probable.

    I wanted to add that most of the bible translations approved and widely used by the church post-Vatican II have been guilty of liberal scholarship in some form or another. Except perhaps Douay (which is the most orthodox because it is literally rendered from the Vulgate), many of the bibles such as the RSV, NRSV, and of course, New American Bible, have been accused of rendering things liberally. Knox was a brilliant translator who managed to make a version of the bible to rival KJV in elegance, though it did sacrifice some of its integrity by showcasing too much of his 'genius', adding more than what is originally said to seem clever. There is an article about Knox from a Catholic source that gave some criticism to his works in general:
    http://catholicism.org/problem-knox.html

    I have no idea about the New Jerusalem Bible, as I don't have any experience with it, so I can't say how orthodox or not it is.
     

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