What led me to accept Vatican II's modern approach to the Bible was the holiness of the modern scholars who give their lives to the Bible.

Tuesday, 8/5/14

The Church gives us sets of Bible readings for every day of the year. The first reading is always from the Prophets or Apostles, while the Gospel is taken from one of the four Gospels. All of them are provided to us as aids in growing closer to God.

But, often the readings leave us with questions. For instance, today’s Gospel from Matthew tells us  how Peter walked on the water, then, frightened, he sunk. It puzzles us that while Mark and John’s account tell us how Jesus walked on the water, they don't mention that  Peter did it too. Why is that?

Let me say something about our Church’s understanding of the Bible stories. Up until 1750 a.d. the Bible was the only source book we had for the history of the Middle East. So, we took it all as factual.

Then, with scholars learning how to read Mesopotamia’s cuneiform tablets, we discovered that two thousand years before the Bible was written, there was the story of a man who was directed by heaven to build an ark for saving pairs of  animals. So, we had to see that the Israelites simply copied that old story, giving the hero the name Noah.

Language scholars became aware of how every generation adds its own new words to their language, and in careful reading of Mark’s Gospel they found words that only came into use after the year 70 a.d..
Likewise, they came on words in John’s Gospel that were not in use until after 90 a.d..

Another important discovery of those recent Bible scholars was that many Bible writers told us they were using poetic license, writing parables and fables.

The official Catholic Church was slow about accepting the findings of modern Bible scholars. At the outset of Vatican II, Pope John XXIII asked the Holy Office to prepare a document expressing our official stand on understanding the Bible.

There were twenty-two hundred bishops in St. Peter’s the week late in 1962 when the Holy Office presented their six chapters on what they saw as our official stand on understanding the Bible. It ignored the findings of modern Bible scholars, and sixteen hundred of the bishops present rejected it, calling for a new document. The next year the bishops unanimously accepted a modern approach.

At first I was unhappy with the modern approach, feeling that it would lead me to no longer believe in the Bible. But after 1975 our diocese began to be visited by modern American Bible scholars, and I was brought to accepting their views by seeing that they were grand men for whom the modern methods brought out the beauty and truth of the Bible.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank You, Father!
Without you from whom can I get the precious teaching like this.
May God bless You and be happpy.

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