Saturday, October 08, 2005

Catholic Church "dissing" the Bible?

> THE hierarchy of the
> Roman Catholic Church
> has published a teaching
> document instructing the
> faithful that some parts of
> the Bible are not actually
> true.
>
> The Catholic bishops of
> England, Wales and
> Scotland are warning their
> five million worshippers,
> as well as any others
> drawn to the study of
> scripture, that they should
> not expect "total
> accuracy" from the Bible.

First off, "the Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland" do
not make this a "teaching from the Catholic Church." Yes, they are
PART OF the Magisterium, but they are not THE Magisterium.

Second, the article/position is actually somewhat accurate in that
many parts of the Bible are figurative or even poetic, and not
intended to be a literal history lesson. That being said, many of the
verses quoted at the bottom do not fall into that category. Hence, I
detect some bias in the reporter's claims. I'd like to see the
original statements from those bishops before we can comment much
further.

Scott Windsor
Founder of http://www.americancatholictruthsociety.com

Original article:

"Catholic Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible"

By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

THE hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has published a teaching
document instructing the faithful that some parts of the Bible are not actually
true.

The Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland are warning
their five million worshippers, as well as any others drawn to the study of
scripture, that they should not expect "total accuracy" from the Bible.

"We should not expect to find in Scripture full scientific accuracy
or complete historical precision," they say in The Gift of Scripture.

The document is timely, coming as it does amid the rise of the
religious Right, in particular in the US.

Some Christians want a literal interpretation of the story of
creation, as told in Genesis, taught alongside Darwin's theory of evolution in
schools, believing "intelligent design" to be an equally plausible theory of how
the world began.

But the first 11 chapters of Genesis, in which two different and at
times conflicting stories of creation are told, are among those that this
country's Catholic bishops insist cannot be "historical". At most, they say,
they may contain "historical traces".

The document shows how far the Catholic Church has come since the
17th century, when Galileo was condemned as a heretic for flouting a
near-universal belief in the divine inspiration of the Bible by advocating the
Copernican view of the solar system. Only a century ago, Pope Pius X condemned
Modernist Catholic scholars who adapted historical-critical methods of analysing
ancient literature to the Bible.

In the document, the bishops acknowledge their debt to biblical
scholars. They say the Bible must be approached in the knowledge that it is
"God's word expressed in human language" and that proper acknowledgement should
be given both to the word of God and its human dimensions.

They say the Church must offer the gospel in ways "appropriate to
changing times, intelligible and attractive to our contemporaries".

The Bible is true in passages relating to human salvation, they say,
but continue: "We should not expect total accuracy from the Bible in other,
secular matters."

They go on to condemn fundamentalism for its "intransigent
intolerance" and to warn of "significant dangers" involved in a fundamentalist
approach.

"Such an approach is dangerous, for example, when people of one
nation or group see in the Bible a mandate for their own superiority, and even
consider themselves permitted by the Bible to use violence against others."

Of the notorious anti-Jewish curse in Matthew 27:25, "His blood be
on us and on our children", a passage used to justify centuries of
anti-Semitism, the bishops say these and other words must never be used again as
a pretext to treat Jewish people with contempt. Describing this passage as an
example of dramatic exaggeration, the bishops say they have had "tragic
consequences" in encouraging hatred and persecution. "The attitudes and language
of first-century quarrels between Jews and Jewish Christians should never again
be emulated in relations between Jews and Christians."

As examples of passages not to be taken literally, the bishops cite
the early chapters of Genesis, comparing them with early creation legends from
other cultures, especially from the ancient East. The bishops say it is clear
that the primary purpose of these chapters was to provide religious teaching and
that they could not be described as historical writing.

Similarly, they refute the apocalyptic prophecies of Revelation, the
last book of the Christian Bible, in which the writer describes the work of the
risen Jesus, the death of the Beast and the wedding feast of Christ the Lamb.

The bishops say: "Such symbolic language must be respected for what
it is, and is not to be interpreted literally. We should not expect to discover
in this book details about the end of the world, about how many will be saved
and about when the end will come."

In their foreword to the teaching document, the two most senior
Catholics of the land, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of
Westminster, and Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of St Andrew's and
Edinburgh, explain its context.

They say people today are searching for what is worthwhile, what has
real value, what can be trusted and what is really true.

The new teaching has been issued as part of the 40th anniversary
celebrations of Dei Verbum, the Second Vatican Council document explaining the
place of Scripture in revelation. In the past 40 years, Catholics have learnt
more than ever before to cherish the Bible. "We have rediscovered the Bible as a
precious treasure, both ancient and ever new."

A Christian charity is sending a film about the Christmas story to
every primary school in Britain after hearing of a young boy who asked his
teacher why Mary and Joseph had named their baby after a swear word. The
Breakout Trust raised £200,000 to make the 30-minute animated film, It's a Boy.
Steve Legg, head of the charity, said: "There are over 12 million children in
the UK and only 756,000 of them go to church regularly.

That leaves a staggering number who are probably not receiving basic
Christian teaching."

BELIEVE IT OR NOT

UNTRUE


Genesis ii, 21-22

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while
he slept he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib
which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her
to the man

Genesis iii, 16

God said to the woman [after she was beguiled by the serpent]: "I
will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth
children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over
you."

Matthew xxvii, 25

The words of the crowd: "His blood be on us and on our children."

Revelation xix,20

And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its
presence had worked the signs by which he deceived those who had received the
mark of the beast and those who worshipped its image. These two were thrown
alive into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone."


TRUE

Exodus iii, 14

God reveals himself to Moses as: "I am who I am."

Leviticus xxvi,12

"I will be your God, and you shall be my people."

Exodus xx,1-17

The Ten Commandments

Matthew v,7

The Sermon on the Mount

Mark viii,29

Peter declares Jesus to be the Christ

Luke i

The Virgin Birth

John xx,28

Proof of bodily resurrection
(Link to article: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13509-1811332,00.html )

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