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GOSPEL READING: Background

The Teaching of the Roman Catholic Church

The teaching of the Roman Catholic Church concerning the Bible has developed remarkably over the past sixty years. The importance of the Scriptures was been especially prominent in the teaching of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI.

Key Documents: from Dei Verbum to Verbum Domini

For now, I will list the most important documents of the Church which form the background to this Gospel Reading project.

Fundamental is the 1965 Constitution on Divine Revelation of the Second Vatican Council. It is known by its first two words in Latin: Dei Verbum, the Word of God.

Like all documents of the Council, this consitution brought together the developments of preceeding years, the new openness of the Church to the Bible. It then became the starting point for further developments. It continues to provide the foundation of the Church's teaching about the Bible and Church Tradition.
Dei Verbum is readily available because it is printed at the front of many Catholic Bibles. The 2010 New American Bible revised edition (NABRE) is a good example. It is as short document, tightly put together. It is therefore a recommended read.

Two documents of the Pontifical Biblical Commission are important: first, there is the 1964 instruction on the Historical Truth of the Gospels.
Then there is the much longer 1994 document on The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church.

The Bishops of England and Wales and the Bishops of Scotland in 2005 published a teaching document: The Gift of Scripture (published by CTS). This gives an excellent summary of what the Catholic Church has to say about Holy Scripture

Finally in 2010, Pope Benedict issued Verbum Domini (The word of the Lord) (Alive Publishing). This was published as his response to the 2008 Synod of Bishops with the theme "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church". The Pope in this document gives us a thorough (and rather verbose) survey of the place of the Bible in the Church today.

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