Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Father Corapi: Catholics Must Read Scripture In Light of Sacred Tradition And Magisterial Teaching

Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word, his one Utterance in whom he expresses himself completely (CCC 102; cf. Heb 1:1-3). Jesus Christ, the eternal Word, is what every word found in Sacred Scripture is ultimately about.

God our loving Father has revealed himself to us, giving us the unimaginably generous gift of his Word. This Word is transmitted to us in the form of Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and magisterial teaching, no one of which can stand without the other two. May we be thankful for and ever-faithful to this gift.
God himself is the author of Sacred Scripture (CCC 105), and because of that the Word of God as transmitted to us in the Bible is to be accepted as inspired and true. We accept it, as we do the Doctrine of the Faith in general, not because it sounds plausible to us, but because of the One who has given it to us — God, who is Truth itself; the One who can neither deceive nor be deceived (VATICAN I, Dei Filius, 3, Denzinger Schinmetzer 3008).
God, the Author of Sacred Scripture, transmitted his Word to us by inspiring the human authors of Scripture (CCC 106; cf. VATICAN II, Dei Verbum 11). The Catechism asserts what Vatican II asserted, which is what the Church has always asserted: that Sacred Scripture teaches the truth. We are obliged to accept as true all that the Holy Spirit who is affirming this truth, thus, We must acknowledge that the books of Sacred Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures (CCC 107; cf. VATICAN II, Dei Verbum 11).
As is the case when trying to understand and properly construe anything transmitted by language–whether written or spoken–certain principles have to be followed. Through Sacred Scripture God in his great love for us speaks to us in a human way. Therefore, in order to interpret Scripture correctly the reader must be attentive to trying to understand what the human authors were really trying to say. It is the Church, our holy Mother and Teacher, who shows us how to do this. We are to pay attention to such things as the language, culture, modes of feeling and narrating current at the time of the human authors writing (Cf. CCC 109-110).

But, since Sacred Scripture is inspired, there is another and no less important principle of correct interpretation, without which Scripture would remain a dead letter. “Sacred Scripture must be read and interpreted in the light of the same Spirit by whom it was written” (CCC 111; cf. Dei Verbum 12). The greatest gifts of intellect, expertise in biblical languages, etc., although of great value, account for nothing ultimately if the person is not filled with the same Holy Spirit who inspired Sacred Scripture in the first place.
The acid test of whether or not a person in fact is operating in the Holy Spirit is humility. If one is humble one has the desire and the true freedom of will to obey legitimate Church authority. One who does not have this essential virtue of humility will ultimately rebel against the authentic and authoritative teaching of the Magisterium of the Church — the only legitimate interpreter ultimately of God’s Word, whether written or passed on in the oral form of Sacred Tradition.

from Fr. John Corapi

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