Rorate Caeli

Pontifical Biblical Commission to take up Synod Proposition 12

Of special notice is this announcement today from Vatican Information Service:

The Pontifical Biblical Commission is due to celebrate its annual plenary meeting at the Vatican's "Domus Sanctae Marthae" from 20 to 24 April, under the presidency of Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Fr. Klemens Stock S.J., pro-secretary general of the commission, will oversee and direct the work of the assembly.

This will be the first gathering of the Pontifical Biblical Commission since the partial renewal of its membership, in accordance with current norms. During the meeting attention will be given to a new study entitled "Inspiration and Truth of the Bible", the draft version of which has already been examined by the commission members.

As previously reported here, at the Synod of Bishops in Rome last October, the synod asked for clarification of the concepts of biblical inspiration and truth:

Proposition 12: Inspiration and truth in the Bible

The synod proposes that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith clarify the concepts of “inspiration” and “truth” in the Bible, along with their reciprocal relationship, in order to better understand the teaching of Dei Verbum 11. In particular, it’s necessary to emphasize the specific character of Catholic Biblical hermeneutics in this area.

In light of widespread confusion engendered by Catholic exegetes who depart from the teaching found in papal encylicals such as Providentissimus Deus and Divino afflante Spiritu, the need for clarification is urgent, so this month’s PBC discussions and proceedings will bear close attention and ought to be the subject of much intercessory prayer. Of course anything the non-magisterial PBC decides would have to be vetted and approved by the Pope and the CDF first. Unless the PBC’s findings are issued by the CDF and approved by the Pope, they would remain an interesting and hopefully useful but non-binding meditation on the subject.