For Roman Catholicism, Holy Scripture is a primary source of revelation. As Trent puts it, saving truth and moral teaching “are contained in written books.” These are the books of the Old and New Testament, which are venerated, “since one God is the author of both.” A highly respected and authoritative Scripture is thus the basis of Christian preaching and teaching.
How important and authoritative this source is may be seen even more fully from the declarations of the Vatican Council of 1870 and subsequent statements. Thus the books of the Old and New Testaments must be “accepted as sacred and canonical in their entirety, with all their parts.” “They contain revelation without error.” “They were written as a result of the prompting of the Holy Spirit, they have God for their author, and as such they were entrusted to the Church.” Anathema is pronounced on all who deny that they were divinely inspired (Vatican Council I).
In answer to modern critical and theological developments, Roman Catholicism has maintained this high view of Scripture. While there may have been errors in copying, it is wrong “either to limit inspiration to certain parts … or to concede that the divine author has erred.” It is also impossible to restrict inspiration “to matters of faith and morals” (Providentissimus Deus, 1893). Nor are the historical passages to be construed in terms of relative rather than absolute truth. Even if fallible men were used as instruments, “God stimulated and moved them to write and so assisted them in their writing that they properly understood and willed to write faithfully and express suitably with infallible truthfulness all that he ordered.” The divine writings are thus “free from all error” (Spiritus Paraclitus, 1920). ...1
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