Church No longer Swears by Truth of Scripture?


I picked up this article @ They continue to misrepresent our faith. Can anyone help clarify this article referenced? God Bless. Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible


Nothing to worry about here, once again the Times publishes a sensationalist piece hoping to provoke people into thinking the Catholic Church has changed its mind, which of course, she has not. Particularly striking is the comment that Galileo was condemned for defending Copernicus’ system which is not true. Galileo was condmened partly because of it but mostly because he claimed the book of Joshua was wrong. Copernicus was a monk of the Catholic Church after all, and the Church didn’t say Galileo couldn’t hold to his view as a hypothesis. What she said was that if he wanted to assert it Galileo had to prove it. Unfortunately Galileo couldn’t. Indeed, it would be left to Sir Issac Newton to provide the mathematical formulae based upon elipitical orbits to do that.

Equally amusing is the idea that belief in ‘intelligent design’ means one is a fundamentalist. How exactly does Darwinism disprove belief in God? Even Darwin himself was uncertain of what the implications of his theory and Alfred Russell Wallace who published ‘On the origin of species’ with Darwin and in whose work it was that the term ‘natural selection’ was initially found believed in God and that he had interceded thrice in temporal affairs: 1) in the creation of matter 2)in the introduction of consciousness in higher beings and 3) in the generation of man’s higher facultires. The two men who founded Darwinism disagreed on its conclusions this should make people e.g. journalists who write for the Times, realise that Darwinism is science not philosophy. In science you dont prove negative statements you simply try to establish what the evidence suggests is the most logical explanation of how something has occured. The why is left to others.

This is precisely what Proffessor Keith Ward at Oxford states in his book “God, Chance and Neccessity”.

Darwinism doesn’t state anything about belief or disbelief in God, rather Darwinism is a scientific theory fought over by metaphysical philosophers e.g. Materialists on one side and Theists on the other. Thus, just as with Darwin and Wallace, it is possible to find two biologists in the same faculty here at Oxford, Proffessors’ Richard Dawkins and Alisdair McGrath, the former who writes books on how science makes theism implausible the latter on how science makes theism more plausible e.g. ‘The Blind Watchmaker’ by Dawkins and ‘Dawkins’ God’ by McGrath.

Lastly, of course, there is nothing to this at all for Catholics since this is nothing new. The Bible has never been promoted as being literally true in every single sense. If you dont believe me pick up some 3rd century works by an exegete known as Origen of Alexandria (albeit some of Origen’s propositions were condemned but his influence is present in a variety of Church Fathers like Sts Athanasius, Gregory the Theologian, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Hilary of Poiters and particularly St Jerome whose Latin vulgate translation of the Bible acted as the official text of the Roman Catholic Church for almost 2,000 years with revisions every so often of course). Fundamentalism is a 19th century phenomena it is not the tradition of the Catholic Church, which has always held that scripture must be taken literally but defines literal as what the text is supposed to have originally intended to mean. Often their views were coloured by the science of the day but St Augustine factors this into consideration in his primer on Biblical interpretation ‘On Christian Doctrine’ stating:

“For if he takes up rashly a meaning which the author whom he is reading did not intend, he often falls in with other statements which he cannot harmonize with this meaning. And if he admits that these statements are true and certain, then it follows that the meaning he had put upon the former passage cannot be the true one: and so it comes to pass, one can hardly tell how, that, out of love for his own opinion, he begins to feel more angry with Scripture than he is with himself.”–St Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, Book 1 Chapter 37.

The Catholic Church does not base its authority on the Bible because the Bible a testament to the tradition of the Church. ‘Biblos’ is Greek for Books, books that weren’t always together in one collection but were canonised by the Church by verification of their content against the teaching of the Apostles as all doctrine is (St Irenaeus of Lyon ‘Against Heresies’ Book 3 c.180 AD). Because the Bible is an authentic witness of truth’s held by the Church it is referenced by her but the canon of Scripture stands and rests upon her authority. Anyone in any doubt about these things should just pick up the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is a condensed version of the central tenents of the Catholic faith. All the issues supposedly provoked by this move by the English Bishops to simply restate Catholic teaching have been comprehensively dealt with long ago.


[quote=Michael Bitler]I picked up this article @ They continue to misrepresent our faith. Can anyone help clarify this article referenced? God Bless. Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible

The Catholic Church has never heald that the Bible is a history text book. Indeed, if you consider the reality that the stories of the bible, espescially the Old Testament, were oral histories that were written down, sometimes hundreds of years after the events took place, you can understand that the stories changed over time.

The Church understands that the absolute truth of the bible lies in what it teaches about God, which cannot be given in error.

Example: Samson and Delilah - Samson allowed himself to be distracted from God with Delilah. The distraction caused him to lose his strength (i.e., his relationship with God). When Samsom re-established his relationship with God, he regained his strength.

Samson’s hair represents God symbolically.

How likely is it that the story happened exactly as told? Did Samson really slaughter thousands of Philistines singlehandedly? Or, was the story given to hyperbole over time in order to make it more exciting to listen to? Remember, it is oral history that was written down hundreds of years after the event. No doubt Samson existed and was heroic.

The document you have mentioned that was recently published only expounds past teachings that the church has given. Here is a Vatican document on the subject dated 1968:…-verbum_en.html

Scroll down to CHAPTER III
SACRED SCRIPTURE, ITS INSPIRATION AND DIVINE INTERPRETATION and you will find the teaching on reading the bible.

Also, the Catholic Church is not alone in this. The Orthodox Church maintains that,
"We shall not compare the biblical story of creation with modern scientific theories of the origin of the universe. The protracted dialogue between science and theology has not yet come to any definitive conclusions about the connections between biblical revelation and scientific developments. It is, however, very clear that the Bible does not aim to present a scientific account of the origin of the universe, and it is rather naive to polemicize on the biblical narrative understood in its literal sense. Sacred Scripture regards all of history from the perspective of an interrelationship between the human and the divine."



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