Wednesday, September 10, 2008

FFM Parishes: O'Donaghue on being Catholic, 8

Another of our extracts from 'Fit for Mission? - Parishes' by Bishop O'Donaghue of Lancaster. Click on the 'label' FFM Parishes to see others. See the 'Fit for Mission?' website and download the full document. The previous title in the series, 'Fit for Mission? - Schools' is downloadable here (pdf). This generated a Facebook support group.

From section 8.6, p47
As your bishop I am concerned that those in positions of responsibility pass on a full and complete exposition of Catholic doctrine. It is my duty to ensure that none of you are deprived of the right ‘to receive the message of the Church in its purity and integrity and not to be disturbed by a particular dangerous opinion’. (CDF, Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian; 37). Dei Verbum sets up a series of checks and balances that should be used by theologians in studying scripture and by the faithful to judge the authenticity of sensational claims and media-hyped speculations.

Firstly, the Bible is the Book of the Church. In order for the meaning of the sacred texts to be correctly brought to light, ‘the living tradition of the whole Church must be taken into account along with the harmony which exists between elements of the faith’. (DV 12).

Secondly, the Bible has been entrusted to the Church. The Church has final judgement over the interpretation of Scripture, ‘which carries out the divine commission and ministry of guarding and interpreting the word of God’. (DV 12). As Pope John Paul II puts it, a Catholic does not take an individualistic approach to Scripture, based on the assumption that they can be better understood outside the community of believers. The opposite is true, Scripture has been entrusted to the Church, ‘in order to nourish faith and guide the life of charity.’ (His Holiness Pope John Paul II, Address on The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, 10).

Thirdly, the Bible cannot interpret itself. The deeper understanding of sacred Scripture is not to be undertaken solely through the historical critical method, but also through attention to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture (DV 12), and through the study of the Fathers of the Church and sacred liturgies (DV 23).

No comments:

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen