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DANGER AHEAD: ". . . developing the idea of biblical inspiration . . ."

Caution: 2,000-year-old book being "developed"
No. 30 of the Instrumentum laboris for the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family includes a proposal of "developing the idea of biblical inspiration and the 'order in creation,' which could permit a re-reading of the concept of the natural law in a more meaningful manner in today’s world (cf. the idea of the law written in the human heart in Rm 1:19-21; 2:14-15)."

Two things in particular stand out in No. 30 for what they could imply and for their ambiguity. Firstly, the proposal for "a re-reading of the concept of the natural law in a more meaningful manner in today's word,"and secondly, the suggested means for achieving that "re-reading," namely, "developing the idea of biblical inspiration."

It is, to be sure, in the nature of an instrumentum laboris to be somewhat vague or ambiguous. Even so, something very like the idea of "developing the idea of biblical inspiration" seems to have appeared in the Instrumentum laboris for the October 2008 Synod of Bishops on the Bible.  Section 15(c) of that Synod's working document including the problematic claim -- in conflict with the Church's teaching as expressed in Providentissimus Deus 20-21-- that "inerrancy applies only to 'that truth which God wanted to put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation'" (emphasis added).

It seems necessary to ask if the language of "developing the idea of biblical inspiration" entails an application of the erroneous but currently widespread concept of "limited biblical inerrancy" to explain, or explain away, what the New Testament says about divorce.

Meanwhile we still await the Pontifical Biblical Commission's study "Inspiration and Truth of the Bible" which had been prompted by a request of the bishops at the October 2008 synod. The study was to have been completed in April 2013, but has yet to be published -- perhaps being placed on the back burner, so to speak, with the synod on the family now everyone's focus.  It is devoutly to be hoped that the Holy See will sooner rather than later definitively address and resolve the controverted questions pertaining to the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.

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