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Rome's Battle for the Bible
The doctrine of biblical inerrancy doesn't belong only to those who cry "Sola Scriptura!" Inerrancy has emerged as a key issue in the Roman Catholic Church's Synod of Bishops, which started October 6. Focused on "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church," the synod provides 180 Catholic bishops and other participants a rare opportunity to share their concerns and listen to colleagues from around their world. Pope Benedict XVI addressed the synod on October 14 and lamented the divide between biblical scholars and theologians. Church leaders have warned that this divide leads many Catholics to question the vitality and authority of God's Word.
According to the official Vatican bulletin, Pope Benedict XVI "dwelt upon the fundamental criteria of biblical exegesis, upon the dangers of a secularized and positivistic approach to the sacred Scriptures, and upon the need for a closer relationship between exegesis and theology."
"Reading between the lines, this is an effort to call the Roman Catholic Church back to the scriptural sources," said Timothy George, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School. "We should read this discussion in light of Pope Benedict XVI's book Jesus of Nazareth. He comes down as a conservative on issues of critical scholarship, though he is not likely a Chicago Statement inerrantist."
Noted Vatican observer John Allen Jr. has been filing daily synod reports from Rome. He described the Catholic Church's view of biblical authority as steering a "middle course between two extremes — evangelical-style fundamentalism on the one hand, and secular skepticism on the other. In a sound bite, Catholicism falls somewhere between the Southern Baptist Convention and the Jesus Seminar."
According to Allen, ...1