It is wise to listen to those who are faithful scholars.
Question on 16/12/2007:
Does the Catholic Church still maintain that all of scripture is inspired and inerrant, or did this teaching change with Vatican II’s Dei Verbum #11, in which only the portions of scripture necessary for salvation are considered to be inspired?
**Answer by Fr. John Echert on 20/12/2007 (EWTN):**You are likely working off a badly translated version of Dei Verbum, which changed the word order of the original Conciliar statement, which some use–erroneously–to claim that inerrancy applies only to matters related to salvation. In the text below, I provide an accurate translation, with the correct order: The Church formally teaches that the Sacred Scriptures are absolutely without error. This teaching is not arrived at inductively–namely, that a careful study of the entire Bible has revealed no discrepancies or difficulties–but follows from the fact that God is the ultimate Author of the Bible and falsehood is incompatible with Truth Itself. As taught by the Second Vatican Council: The inspired books teach the truth. **“Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach the truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures.” **
On a literal interpretation:
See rtforum.org/lt/lt59.html: [Fr Brian Harrison refers to The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (*Dei Verbum) of Vatican II, 1963-5].
“The true sense of Dei Verbum, 11, then, is not that the guarantee of inerrancy covers those propositions which a biblical author affirms (or teaches) as opposed to those which he merely “states,” i.e., with less force or deliberation, but still as an expression of his own judgment. Rather, it covers those propositions he affirms (or teaches) as opposed to those which he merely “uses materially,” i.e., those in which what appears on paper, taken in isolation, or in its most superficially literal sense, does not express his own judgment in any way.
”These “materially used” (but not formally affirmed) propositions in Scripture would appear to be of three main kinds. First (and most obviously), there are those which the human author does not himself utter but attributes to someone else, in which case divine inspiration guarantees only the truthful reporting of such propositions, not the truth of the propositions themselves. Secondly, this category would include individual propositions used by the author as part of a parable or other imaginative literary composition, in which the formally affirmed teachings it sets out to convey emerge only from the story as a whole. Finally, there are propositions in which not every word is meant to be understood in the most immediate literal sense, since the author may be “using” hyperbole, metaphor, or other literary devices, even within a passage or book which is substantially ‘straight’ history or didactic teaching rather than fiction of some sort.
”In short, what is essentially guaranteed to be true by virtue of divine inspiration, according to the sentence of Dei Verbum, 11, we are considering, is not the isolated propositions taken in their ‘surface’ meaning and without regard to their historical and literary context, but rather (as the next article of Dei Verbum puts it) “that meaning which the sacred writers really intended, and which God, by their words, wanted to make known.” 55 The discernment of that divine and human meaning is what the Church understands by a proper ‘literal’ interpretation of the text - which is not to be confused with a ‘literalist’ interpretation.”
There are no “errors” or “contradictions” in the meaning which the sacred writers intended – only in the feelings of those fail to understand and assent to the teaching of the Church on the Sacred Scriptures.