In the april 15 issue of this magazine (p. 42), Professor Leslie R. Keylock gave readers an overview of the International Conference on the Theological Issues of Vatican II, held at the University of Notre Dame on March 20–26. The present article has to do with one aspect of the conference’s concern, revelation.
It should be said at the outset that the differences of opinions (i.e., between conservatives and progressives) expressed in this area were much less pronounced than those that emerged during the discussions of the nature of the Church and the organization of the hierarchical structure. This Protestant observer was at times astonished to hear the statements of responsible Roman Catholic spokesmen about the primacy of the Bible, and to note their tributes to the work of Protestant Bible societies. Certainly the stereotyped idea that the Roman church is determined to “keep the Bible from the people” found little support at Notre Dame.
The interpreters of the Constitution on Divine Revelation accepted as a point of departure the position that divine revelation is a gift from God that man is obligated to accept. This gift (the divine Word) was declared to be a living communication of God himself to man, and in its written form to be the revealing echo of the unitary Living Word, through whom the Father of the Christian Trinity speaks. The centrality of Christ in the Word means, to the drafting fathers, that Jesus Christ sums up in himself everything the Father needs to say, and thus all threads and trends in the Scriptures can be seen to unite in the Son.
Chapter 3 of this constitution affirms that God chose men, infused their powers and faculties with the Holy Spirit, and acted in and through them to convey and affirm ...1
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