Thursday, November 11, 2010

Historic Papal Document on Scripture Released!

Today the Holy Father, whose papacy has focused much on the importance of Scripture, released a new Apostolic Exhortation on Scripture, Verbum Domini. You can read it here. An Apostolic Exhortation is considered "ordinary papal magisterium" though it is not quite as weighty as an "Encyclical Letter." The letter is a follow-up to the Synod on Scripture held in 2008.

Now we know why it has taken so long to come out--the PDF version is about 200 pages long! This is an extensive treatment!

For some perspective, the last major papal document on Scripture was Divino afflante Spiritu, which was released by Pius XII in 1943. Before that the two other major papal documents on Scripture were Leo XIII's landmark Providentissimus Deus (1893) and Benedict XV's, Spiritus Paraclitus(1920). All three of those documents were encyclicals. Again, today's new document is not.

So, today's document is an important milestone--it is the first major papal document on Scripture in 57 years! The last magisterial document which really dealt with Scripture in an extensive way was Dei Verbum (1965), which is one of the documents of the Second Vatican Council. So the last magisterial document treating Scripture extensively is 45 years old!

So today's document is historic! Keep your eyes glued to We'll have more on this soon!


Holy Innocents said...

I am anxious to hear your comments on this new Apostolic Exhortation.

John said...

I get to hear things like this pretty much weekly. :)