Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Bible in Catholic Theology

Here are some of my favorite quotes on the role of Scripture in Catholic Theology. . . some of them might surprise you!

Vatican II, Dei Verbum 11: “The Sacred Scriptures contain the Word of God, and, because they are inspired, they are truly the Word of God. Therefore, the ‘study of the sacred page’ should be the very soul of theology.”

Thomas Aquinas: “Only the canonical scriptures are the standard of faith.”[1]

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger: “Dogma is by definition nothing other than an interpretation of Scripture.”[2]

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger: “The normative theologians are the authors of Scripture.”[3]

Pope Leo XIII: “Most desirable is it, and most essential, that the whole teaching of theology should be pervaded and animated by the use of the divine Word of God.”[4]

The Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, The Theological Formation of Future Priests [1976]: “The basic fact which theological teaching must take into account is that Sacred Scripture is the starting point, the permanent foundation, and the life-giving and animating principle of all theology.” The document goes on to say, “The teaching of Sacred Scripture must culminate in a biblical theology which gives a unified vision of the Christian mystery.”[5]

John Paul II citing Paul VI: “Sacred Scripture is ‘a perpetual source of spiritual life, the chief instrument for handing down Christine doctrine, and the center of all theological study.’”[6]

John Paul II, lecture to the Faculty at the University of Lyon: “Theology must take its point of departure from a continual and updated return to the Scriptures read in the Church.”[7]

Pope Benedict XVI: “We are grateful to God that in recent times, and thanks to the impact made by the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, the fundamental importance of the Word of God has been deeply re-evaluated. From this has derived a renewal of the Church's life, especially in her preaching, catechesis, theology and spirituality, and even in the ecumenical process.”[8]

[1] Super Evangelium S. Ionnis Lectura, 21:24 [2656]. Cited in Christopher T. Baglow, “Thomas Aquinas as Biblical Theologian,” in Letter and Spirit: Reading Salvation 1 (2005): 141.
[2] Cited from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, “Crisis in Catechetics: Handing on the Faith and the Sources of the Faith,” in Canadian Catholic Review 7 (1983): 178.
[3] Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology: Building Stones for a Fundamental Theolgy (trans., M. F. McCarthy; San Francisco: Ignatius, 1987, 321.
[4] Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus: On the Study of Sacred Scripture, 19.
[5] Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, The Theological Formation of Future Priests (February 22, 1976), in The Pope Speaks 21 (1976): 365-66.
[6] Paul VI, Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum. This address is also quoted by John Paul II is found in U.S.A.: The Message of Justice, Peace and Love (Boston: Daughters of Saint Paul, 1979), 117.
[7] Pope John Paul II, Address (October 7, 1986); AAS 79 (1987):337-38.
[8] Address to the participants in the international congress organized to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum, at Castel Gandolfo (September 16, 2005). Available on the Vatican website: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2005/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20050916_40-dei-verbum_en.html


Ed Gentry said...

It does surprise me.

I still wonder though. Is it possible for exegesis to inform or even modify theology? Or is it just assumed that catholic theology is biblical sound. So if you find your exegesis out of sync with catholic theology then the problem is the exegesis not the theology.

I actually think this kind of thinking is, ironically, very prevalent in many reformed, and fundamentalist circles. These groups have created their own canonical tradition.

"Any exegesis that disagrees with my theology is bad exegesis, since my theology is of course biblically sound."

Mike Koke said...

Interesting quotes. It seems to me to show how much closer conservative Catholics and conservative Protestants are to each other than some people think.

Anonymous said...

Those are great quotes! I'm always looking for good ones. Have you seen this? It's the best site out there for Catholic quotes: