The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

“The history of salvation is not mythology, but history”

The prolific pontiff has unexpectedly issued a lengthy, major document on scripture, which biblical scholars will certainly be poring over:

Pope Benedict XVI has issued a lofty and impassioned plea for everyone in the Church to rediscover the Bible and to grow in “an ever greater love of the Word of God.”


“We must never forget that all authentic and living Christian spirituality is based on the Word of God proclaimed, accepted, celebrated and meditated upon in the Church.

The Pope’s new apostolic exhortation, “Verbum Domini” (The Word of the Lord), issued Nov. 11, is a book-length response to a special 2008 Synod for Bishops on the Bible and the life of the Church.

In this document, the Pope offers a rich theological reflection on the meaning of the Word of God becoming flesh and the meaning of the Scriptures as the Word of God.

The Pope reaffirms forcefully the Church’s traditional teaching that the Bible is the revealed Word of God written by human authors inspired by the Holy Spirit. He notes that it conveys not just moral and spiritual truths but also truths about “the reality of human history.”


“The history of salvation is not mythology, but a true history,” the Pope said.

He added: “It must be remembered first and foremost that biblical revelation is deeply rooted in history.”

But the Pope declined to wade into the controversial question of how “true” Scripture is when it speaks of historical events.

You can read more details here. And you can find more of the pope’s document here.

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posted November 12, 2010 at 6:54 am

There is nothing unexpected about the document. The custom has been for the Pope to issue a document to present and reflect the work of the synod of Bishops. For such an important issue for the Church, lets hope it is not just scholars who “pour over” the document but that all Catholics take up the Pope’s challenge to grow deeper in the Word of God. For sure the document is a call to the whole church and not a scholarly document for a few.

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posted November 12, 2010 at 9:24 am

From the article:
“In addition, Pope Benedict includes a decidedly personal section in which he proposes to teach people the practice of praying with the Bible, known as “lectio divina,” or sacred reading.”
This pope has been enthusiastically encouraging the practice of Lectio Divina at every opportunity. If the challenge were taken it has the potential to bear great fruit.

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posted November 12, 2010 at 10:56 am

It is the testimony of truth and
saving grace; it is the witness
of GOD’S love and GOD’S Spirit
within us !!

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Richard Plavo

posted November 12, 2010 at 11:05 am

One thing the Pontiff can do is to gather priests and laity to revise the lectionary so that the selections are comprehensible to the average person and reflect the broad spectrum of biblical themes…..

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Deacon Norb

posted November 12, 2010 at 12:57 pm

For Richard:
Here is some protocol you might not be aware of. Catholic Canon Law actually leaves it to the individual bishop to decide which vernacular translation of the Sacred Text he wants his diocese to use in public worship. All Church Law says is that the translation must include all of the books of Sacred Scripture that the Roman Catholic Church uses and that NONE of the commentaries within the footnotes or end-notes are to deviate from long standing Catholic Magisterial teachings about the Bible.
NOW — in practical matters like this, it is really the Conference of Catholic Bishops within a respective country which decides which vernacular translation is used in public worship within that country.
Here in the United States, the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops decided long ago (right after Vatican II ended) to edit/publish what is now known as the New American Bible. The New Testament of that text also went through a revision maybe in mid 1990’s. The bishops of the US — through their conference — also own the copyright for that translation as well.
The National Conferences of Bishops within the various other nations who also speak English DO NOT have to use or approve the NAB. In fact, the New Revised Standard is the norm in several other English-speaking countries of the world.
Your complaint about the NAB has some merit. In fact, there are parts within the text where I do not think the translation is at all an accurate one, but that decision is “beyond my pay-grade.” And likely beyond yours as well.
The only other translation that has been approved for public worship in Roman Catholic Churches in the US is the Contemporary English Version which is approved for use in Children’s Liturgy.
NOW, there are a lot of other fine translations you can use for your own personal prayer life.

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