Posted April 14, 2014
Book: The Catholic Church and the Bible
Author: Rev. Peter M. J. Stravinskas
Newman House Press. Pine Beach, NJ. 2014. Pp. 111
An Excerpt from the Book:
One of the most persistent and pernicious images of the Church's relationship with the Scriptures is that of the Bible chained to a desk in a medieval library. The image is correct, but the interpretation is not. For critics of the Church, this picture says it all: The Church "chains down" the Word of God both literally and figuratively, placing herself above the Scriptures and at the same time restricting access to the Word.
In point of fact, the image admits of another interpretation --- the correct one, I would say, and it is this: The Bible chained to a lectern shows forth the Church's esteem for the Scriptures, as well as her guardianship of them, so that they might be available to the faithful from age to age. But available for what purpose and in what sense? Just how do Catholic regard the Scriptures?
Perhaps the best guide for discovering the "Catholic" understanding of the Bible is the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation.
The Constitution opens with a careful explanation of basic notions undergirding the process of Divine Revelation, grounding it in the life and ministry of Jesus, Who "completed and perfected revelation and confirmed it with divine guarantees." Clearly teaching the divine inspiration of the sacred authors and therefore, the inerrant quality of their writings, the Constitution affirms "that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully and without error, teach that truth that God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to be confided to the sacred Scriptures." This serves as a response to a rationalism that would deny the inerrancy of Scripture.
Excerpt from Book:
If we were to seek an apt image to describe the God of the Bible, it might well be Francis Thompson's "Hound of Heaven," relentlessly pursuing man, seeking to persuade him to enter into a love affair with his God. The bible is the story of that encounter between God and a certain people. He calls His own (Israel and the Church). It is an encounter that occurs in ordinary human events and in not-so-ordinary events, but it is concrete and real. The Judeo-Christian Tradition takes most seriously God, man, and human history; those of us who share this common Tradition must have a similar appreciation, for the religion of the Bible presupposes such a prior understanding.
Table of Contents:
1. The Word of the Lord
2. The Church's scriptures
3. A biblical theology of the Mass
4. Mass prayers, biblical prayers
5. "What about. . .?
A. Catholic biblical resources
B. Seven principles essential to fundamentalism